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10.09.2009


Four percent of bodybuilders go off the rails on 600 mg testosterone cypionate a week

No doubt the media attention is exaggerated, but you can't ignore it. Occasionally steroids users go beserk and end up resorting to violence. Fortunately most users are not susceptible to this effect, American psychiatrists discovered in 2000. According to their study, only four percent of bodybuilders who use steroids are susceptible to the psychiatric effects of androgens.

Four percent of bodybuilders go off the rails on 600 mg testosterone cypionate a week

Four percent of bodybuilders go off the rails on 600 mg testosterone cypionate a week
That steroids can increase aggression is a known fact. But how serious is this? More aggression doesn't necessarily mean that if you're having a bad day you'll turn up at work with a submachine gun or cut your girlfriend up into little pieces. For this to happen you need to be somewhat removed from reality. Psychiatrist Harrison Pope wanted to know how many steroids using gym goers could in theory go crazy as a result of taking supplements.

Pope recruited 50 male steroids users from gyms for his experiment. For six weeks he gave his subjects a weekly dose of 600 mg of testosterone cypionate [structural formula shown above] from Upjohn. Pope got the test subjects to complete questionnaires designed to detect signs of mania. A mania is described as an over-stimulated condition, in which people wildly overestimate their capabilities and the importance of their own feelings. Much steroids-related violence is associated with users who have manic tendencies.

Pope used the Young Mania Rating Scale to identify signs of mania. If you score more than 20 on the test, you're a basket case. A score between 10 and 19 indicates that you've got problems but don't need to be locked away.

Of the 50 bodybuilders that Pope studied, 42 did not react to testosterone. Their YMRS score did sometimes rise by a very small amount, but nothing significant. The figure below represents a typical non-responder.


Four percent of bodybuilders go off the rails on 600 mg testosterone cypionate a week


The black horizontal bar represents the testosterone treatment. The white horizontal bar represents a fake hormone-treatment.

If you extrapolate the figures, then for 84 percent of steroids users nothing at all happens with a weekly injection of 600 mg of testosterone. In 12 percent [6 test subjects] something does happen, but the disturbances were not serious enough to require intervention. These were the moderate responders. The figure below shows that their YMRS score rose during the study, but did not reach the critical breakpoint of 20.


Four percent of bodybuilders go off the rails on 600 mg testosterone cypionate a week


In 4 percent [2 test subjects] of the steroids users things went wrong. The figure below shows the curve of a marked responder.


Four percent of bodybuilders go off the rails on 600 mg testosterone cypionate a week


Pope was unable to predict which of his test subjects would have a bad psychological reaction to the testosterone injections. Inheritance doesn't seem to play a role, he discovered. Eleven of the 50 test subjects came from families where mood disturbances were known to occur, but none of the 11 was among the 2 marked responders and 6 moderate responders.

So Pope concludes that only four percent of steroids users will have a tendency to go off the rails as a result of taking steroids. Four percent doesn't seem like much, but it's enough to be taken seriously. It doesn’t take that many steroids driven crazies to cause a tragedy. One is enough.

Source:
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2000 Feb; 57(2):133-40.

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