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04.05.2016


Anabolic steroids make you more scared

Anabolic steroids encourage the growth of parts of the brain that play a key role in the sensation of fear, psychiatrists at the university of Harvard discovered. This effect may mean that steroids not only make users more fearful and anxious, but also fretful and – in the longer term – depressed.

Study
In 2015 the researchers published the results of a study in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, in which they had compared the brains of seven pharmacological bodybuilders with the brains of ten natural bodybuilders.

All the bodybuilders were no longer young: all had already been training for an average of 20 years with weights.

When the pharmacological subjects took a course of steroids they usually used about 1500 mg of anabolic steroids per week.

Results
The scans that the researchers made showed that the amygdala were bigger in the steroids users than in the natural bodybuilders.


Anabolic steroids make you more scared



The effect of steroids on the amygdala is considerable, researcher Marc Kaufman announced in a press release [mcleanhospital.org 15 Jun '15].

"The amygdala in the steroid users weren't just a little bit larger than the control group, they were more than 20 percent larger. That is a really marked difference, and it is particularly interesting because previous studies have shown that amygdala enlargement has been associated with aggression among other types of substance abuse populations."

Amygdala
Anabolic steroids make you more scared
The amygdala enable us to experience fear. Overactive amygdala not only make you experience the world as a fearful place, but also stimulate fretting and worry. Psychologists call it anxiety. In the longer term fearful and fretful people are more likely to become depressed too.

Conclusion
So you'd expect steroids use would make bodybuilders more anxious, worried and depressed. Whether that actually is the case the researchers don't dare to say. They refer to their research results as 'alarming', but also 'preliminary'. And – you’ve guessed it – they argue for more research. "Larger studies clearly are needed to better characterize these and other potential adverse brain effects of long-term AAS use", they write.

Source:
Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015 Jul 1;152:47-56.

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