PSY 853 PRESENTATION –
• Androgenic-anabolic steroids are
chemicals related to the male hormone
– They have:
1. Muscle –building (anabolic) effects
2. Masculinizing effects
Steroids and Body Functions
• Steroids affect body functions by:
1. Overwhelming the system that regulates
levels of testosterone including the testes,
hypothalamus, and pituitary gland.
2. Shut off production of gonadotropin-releasing
factor (GRF), follicle stimulating hormone
(FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH).
3. Shut off process of spermatogenesis.
• In summary, anabolic steroids:
– Block the normal process that regulates
spermatogenesis, testosterone, and male
– Exert peripheral hormone actions to increase
muscle mass and produce a more masculine
– Exert central effects that increase aggression.
Steroids and Muscles
• Steroids increase muscle mass by:
1. Steroids enter the blood stream and pass through cell
walls of target tissues.
2. Attaches to steroid receptors in the cytoplasm of the
3. The hormone-receptor complex moves into the
nucleus of the cell, attaching to DNA.
4. Genetic transcription occurs, producing RNA, a new
5. RNA translation results in the production of specific
new proteins that leave the cell and mediate the
biological functions of the hormone.
6. Increased protein synthesis = increased muscle mass.
• Withdrawal from anabolic steroids can be
accompanied by psychological depression, fatigue,
restlessness, insomnia, loss of appetite, and
decreased libido, however no defined withdrawal
syndrome has been described, although depression
• Similar to all psychoactive drugs, treatment of
steroid dependence requires abstaining from the
drug, treating withdrawal symptoms, and
maintaining drug abstinence.
• The two most frequent users of steroids are teenage and
young adult males and competitive athletes.
• Both use the drug to gain more muscle strength and
a more powerful, muscular appearance.
• Competitive athletes often choose to terminate drug
use when competition ends, but nonathlete youths
may continue to take steroids in order to maintain
the cosmetic effect.
• Anticatabolic effects
– Anabolic steroids block the action of natural
cortisone, which normally functions to increase
energy stores during periods of stress and
training. Also the major mechanism by which
these drugs increase body mass.
• Anabolic effects
– Follow both the synthesis of new protein in
muscle cells and steroid-induced release of
endogenous growth hormone. The increased
protein synthesis increases muscle mass and
strength and produces a more masculine
• Motivational effects
– Athletes taking steroids often develop very
aggressive personalities, “roid rage,” serving
the purpose of enhancing combativeness.
• Endocrine effects
– Males experience a hypogonadal state
characterized by atrophy of the testicles,
impaired production of sperm, and infertility,
causing reduced libido and impotence.
• Cardiovascular effects
Increased risk of coronary artery disease due to:
a. Reduction in serum HDL cholesterol (“good”
B. Elevation in LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol)
C. a + b = greater risk of developing atheromatous
plaques within arteries
• Effects on the liver
– Increased risk of liver diseases (i.e. jaundice
Summary of Side Effects
1. Cardiovascular – increase in cardiac risk factors.
2. Hepatic effects associated with oral compounds –
3. Reproductive system:
– Males – infertility, testicular atrophy
– Females – Altered menstruation
4. Endocrine effects – decreased thyroid function.
5. Musculoskeletal – increased risk of tendon tears
– Males – accelerated male pattern baldness, acne,
– Females – Increased facial/body hair, deepened
• Psychological effects associated with the use of
1. Risk of habituation
2. Severe mood swings
3. Aggressive tendencies
4. Psychotic episodes - Large doses may produce
marked signs of mania and or aggression
6. Reports of suicide
• The misuse of these substances may be
prevented by education. Education is
needed because steroids produce a desirable
outer appearance often associated with good
health, therefore many people may not
know about the adverse and damaging
effects of the drug.