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The use of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) and other image- and performance-enhancing drugs is a growing public health concern. AAS use is associated with various physical and mental harms, including cardiovascular risks, cognitive deficiencies, and dependence. The aim of this study was to determine whether patterns of AAS use and other variables are associated with the presence of an AAS use disorder (AASUD). An online survey was completed by 103 male AAS consumers visiting gyms. The association of different patterns of AAS consumption (cycling vs. continuous forms of AAS use), psychoactive substance use, mental health disorders, and sociodemographic variables with moderate-severe AASUD (fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ≥4 criteria) was investigated. The associations between duration of AAS use and the AAS dose with moderate-severe AASUD were investigated using logistic regression analysis with moderate-severe AASUD as the dependent variable. Moderate-severe AASUD was present in 25 (24.3%) of the participants. AAS consumers meeting criteria for moderate-severe AASUD, compared to those that did not, in the last 12 months reported a longer duration of AAS use (in weeks), a higher average AAS dose (mg/week), and a greater number of AAS side effects. Duration of AAS use and the AAS dose were the only independent predictors, with an increase of 3.4% in the probability of moderate-severe AASUD with every week increase of the duration of AAS use in the last year (p < 0.05) and an increase in moderate-severe AASUD of 0.1% with every 10 mg increase in the average AAS dose per week (p < 0.05), respectively. Our findings show that moderate-severe AASUD is relatively frequent among male AAS consumers and is positively associated with the duration and average dose of AAS use in the last 12 months. © 2023 The Author(s). Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.


Tjeerd Idger de Zeeuw, Tibor Markus Brunt, Jan van Amsterdam, Katinka van de Ven, Wim van den Brink. Anabolic Androgenic Steroid Use Patterns and Steroid Use Disorders in a Sample of Male Gym Visitors. European addiction research. 2023;29(2):99-108

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PMID: 36731448

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