Criminality and Violence

Links between anabolic/androgenic steroid abuse and violence have been much more difficult to establish. Most papers suggesting such an association either used correlative data, or discussed individual case studies. These help broaden the scope of research, but are not reliable for proving causality. For example, one study questioned a group of 23 steroid abusing men, and reported that these men were involved in a significantly greater number of verbal and even physical fights with their girlfriends and wives during the times they were administering AAS drugs. With the known effects of anabolic/androgenic steroids on aggression, this finding is compelling. It may very well be that some men are more susceptible to this type of behavior when abusing AAS than others. A paper like this is not sufficient, however, to substantiate a violent “roid rage”. Further research is needed to determine if AAS can even trigger violent behavior in an extremely small minority of users, and if so, what trait(s) makes these individuals susceptible to this reaction when the vast majority of users are not.

Serious criminality has also been difficult to associate with steroid abuse. When discussed, we again tend to see weak correlative data and case studies. For example, one paper in Sweden reports an association between steroid abuse and weapons and fraud crimes. It is uncertain, however, if steroid abuse was actually responsible for this criminality, or just associated with it. It is simply possible these men were more exposed to, or more likely to use, illegal AAS for some unidentified reason. Another paper discussed three individuals with no prior criminal or psychiatric history that were arrested for murder or attempted murder after abusing anabolic/androgenic steroids. While stories like these are interesting (and numerous), with millions of steroid users in the general population they are far from compelling. To date, there is no conclusive medical evidence that anabolic/androgenic steroid abuse can cause violent or serious criminal behavior in a previously mentally stable individual.


Wlliam Llewellyn (2011) - Anabolics

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