Roid Rage, you bet, it exists and anyone who is experienced with anabolic steroids and tells you differently is either lying or misinformed. But let’s be careful and tread lightly; roid rage exists but it is not a certainty nor is it common among the majority of anabolic steroid users and the term is often used inappropriately. Most anabolic steroid users will never experience roid rage or anything closely resembling it; funny how often pop-culture implies the opposite but if you’re relying on pop-culture rumor for any of your hard facts you’re probably not very smart to begin. Keep in mind and this is very important, roid rage and increased aggression are two very different things; we’ll delve into that as we go along.
Roid rage is a term associated with anabolic steroid use to infer violent aggressive behavior associated with the drugs. Generally this is observed as random outburst of anger far beyond what is deemed appropriate to a particular situation. Situations which although irritating to a non-anabolic steroid user will irritate one who uses anabolics to a far greater degree, resulting in loud outburst, hostility or violent behavior. With most cases of roid rage, after the violent outburst the individual will experience what we might call a “Crash” or quick revert to a more subdued persona.
No one can disagree; being around someone with roid rage would not be a lot of fun. No one likes a jackass and that’s typically the best way to label these individuals but don’t be too quick to throw every anabolic steroid user onto this heaping pile; the truth may surprise you for this “heaping pile” is very small indeed. In-fact, we can confidently say, most anabolic steroid users do not and will not experience anything remotely resembling roid rage.
For decades arguments surrounding roid rage have existed and for some time many have agreed upon the premise, the larger the doses the greater chance of uncontrollable roid rage. However with their study the New England Journal of Medicine, (NEJM) one of the most prestigious medical journals available concluded one simple thing; the experts are wrong. In the NEJM study, results were conclusive supporting the fact mental aggression from anabolic steroid use was non-existent or so small it was immeasurable. Of course the next question is obvious, if the old argument surrounds dosing, meaning, the more you take the greater the roid rage risk is viable, how did the NEJM test apply to this thinking? When we speak of anabolic steroids and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) a max dose of 200mg of testosterone is rarely surpassed; it is when we reach upper limits of this dose that we enter the performance enhancing world or what is commonly known as Supraphysiologic Doses. In their study, the NEJM did not give their subjects what would be considered an HRT dose, quite the opposite. This NEJM study was done on healthy adult men; individuals who did not possess mental deficiencies or predispositions to violent behavior; they were normal, sane and adjusted men just like you. These men were prescribed 600mg of testosterone per week for ten (10) weeks.
To asses each man’s mental behavior a series of test questions were asked to both the subject as well as an individual who lived with the subject, such as spouse or parent. It is important to note, as part of this test as a whole there were four (4) groups of men, those given testosterone with an exercising program, those given testosterone with no exercise program, those given a placebo with no exercise program and a placebo plus exercise. All-in-all there was 40 men ranging in age between 19 and 40 years of age. At the start of the study each man was assigned to withhold from exercise of any kind followed by the administered test. At the conclusion of testing the NEJM findings were as follows:
“No differences were found between the exercise groups and the no-exercise groups or between the placebo groups and the testosterone groups in any of the five subcategories of anger assessed by the Multidimensional Anger Inventory. No significant changes in mood or behavior were reported by the men on the Mood Inventory or by their live-in partners, spouses, or parents on the Observer Mood Inventory.”
At first glance this can only lead to one conclusion; roid rage or even the very idea has been grossly blown out of proportion; yes, you’ve been lied to, at least to a degree.
From the study done by the NEJM the obvious answer would be no, roid rage does not exist but sometimes real life versus a controlled study can produce conflicting results. Does roid rage exist to the extent often purported, not at all, not even close but any anabolic steroid user will tell you first hand aggression or better yet, increased aggression is a very real thing. Now we absolutely have to take into consideration a placebo effect anabolic steroids can have on an individual but most experienced veterans of anabolic steroid use generally have an understanding of the effects.
If you recall to the beginning of our discussion it was mentioned, roid rage and increased aggression do not belong to the same camp. If ones aggression is increased, how he uses it is his responsibility and his alone. If you recall our “jackass” analogy, give that jackass a little “Juice” increased aggression and all you’ve done is given an octane boost of asinine behavior to an individual who probably belongs locked behind bars or left in a ditch to begin with. So sure, roid rage exists but only to the extent of increasing rage in already prone individuals.
As with all topics surrounding anabolic steroids, the key phrase is responsible use, not abuse. Individuals who possess healthy mental capacity, individuals who carry themselves with sane, upright behavior, there is no study available, not a shred of evidence in any lab or medical journal to emphatically infer roid rage is a symptom this individual will ever experience with the use of anabolic steroids. You can research until you’re blue in the face but you will not find one credible study done to support asinine behavior in mentally stable individuals who use anabolic steroids. Beware, if you read an opinion piece written by even a doctor who says roid rage may exist in all who use anabolic steroids and can come out of nowhere, take it with a grain of salt; if this individual cannot support his claim with factual data what good is it? Further, if you find a study that supports prevalent roid rage existence, for every one there are two to counter it and many by the NEJM.
One of the most common places we hear of roid rage is on our local news. Almost every time the subject of anabolic steroids reaches the airways “roid rage” is part of the headline. Athletes and celebrities, every time one is caught using anabolic steroids the subject is one of the first to surround it. Take the gruesome death of WWE superstar Chris Benoit; Benoit murdered his family and took his own life and of course “Roid Rage” was blamed. Was Benoit a mentally stable individual? Doubtful but there are other aspects that are largely ignored and that is beyond irresponsible. Benoit, who was found to have anabolic steroids in his system at the time of his death was also found to have other drugs in his system as well, yet the media labels steroids and roid rage as the sole culprit; is this fair and balanced journalism? Drugs such as Xanax and Hydrocodone were also found in Benoit’s system but this is rarely mentioned. Even the doctors who examined Benoit’s body determined the amounts of anabolic steroids in his body were no higher than what would be considered therapeutic use; even so, if Benoit is brought up in any discussion, Roid Rage is always blamed; in what universe does this make sense?
No one can argue, increased levels of testosterone increase aggression; this is a given, this is the very nature of testosterone; this is the reason men are generally more aggressive than women. Further, no one can argue, various forms of anabolic steroids can increase aggression even more than others but the bottom line is simple; increased aggression is not a mental disorder, increased aggression does not cause your brain to go into a panicking frenzy. Increases aggression is just that, increased aggression, it isn’t uncontrollable rage; what you decide to do with it is on you. Granted, mentally unstable individuals who are given substances that increase aggression, this is going to be a problem but sane individuals who are not hostile nor violent, increased aggression means one thing; harder training and performance and that’s the bottom line.