Roid Rage


The Origins of ‘Roid Rage’ and its Portrayal In the Media

Roid Rage’ is the common phrase of description of a condition created as a propaganda tactic, which actually belongs to a broader category of propaganda tactic known as Voodoo Pharmacology, that is used by the government, and subsequently the mass media. The tactic of Voodoo Pharmacology is a widely utilized tactic, mostly by politicians and special interest groups, usually in an attempt to influence the general public’s opinions and viewpoints upon drug use in favor of criminalization and prohibition towards whichever drug in question is being assaulted by such a tactic. What Voodoo Pharmacology specifically is, is the unfounded and often baseless claim that “drugs make you do bad things”. Under rational, logical reasoning, and modest thinking, it is a fact that many drugs in existence are either not very harmful, or at the very least, are not anywhere near as harmful as they have been portrayed to be by the mass media to the individual personal user. There exist various specific drugs and substances that ascribe exceptionally well to this fact, which is most usually utilized by opponents of drug prohibition. Other reasons favored by the opponents of drug prohibition laws include the argument that even if a particular drug does indeed present a personal or individual harm to the user, it is not the government’s right to infringe on the individual personal freedom of every individual to exercise their right to ingest or administer whatever they desire into their own bodies, so long as they are not infringing on the rights of any other individuals.

The two arguments outlined above (the fact that the risk factor of most drugs are extensively exaggerated, as well as the infringement of personal rights and freedoms) are very popular arguments in favor of anti-prohibition (or at the very least, anti-criminalization) stances. These arguments in fact tend to stand up very efficiently against the arguments for drug prohibition (pro-prohibition). However, there exists one counter-argument, although quite a weak one, that is commonly employed by those who are pro-prohibition and pro-criminalization of drugs.  This particular counter-argument is a component of Voodoo Pharmacology, and it is the counter-argument that the users of any given particular drug or substance “makes people do bad things”, and it is believed that through this, drug users are indeed infringing on other people’s rights. This is essentially the argument known as Voodoo Pharmacology, and the medical establishment frequently mocks such an argument, as it is not based upon any solid scientific or medical evidence, but instead relies on lies, exaggerations, and mass hysteria promoted by the government and media. This argument of Voodoo Pharmacology is an extensive manipulation of the facts that the mass media and government loves to utilize so heavily in order to frighten the minds of the general population for the purpose of directing the individual into a stranglehold that drug prohibition laws are in fact something ‘good’. It is this psychological manipulation and instilling of fear that prevents individuals from logically and rationally breaking out of this mind-lock created by the fear of Voodoo Pharmacology that the government and the media has instilled.

What is interesting to note, however, is that many other drugs excluding anabolic steroids have resisted this weak argument extremely well (Marijuana is a very prominent example here). But one must understand that one of the largest the reasons as to why this is the case is simply because the majority of individuals among the population has been exposed to Marijuana at some point in their lives, as it has become quite a common subject in many people’s lives in one way or another. This is in contrast with anabolic steroids, which cater to a very small niche group, and so one could easily see how the average person would be familiar with Marijuana to much greater degrees than a drug such as anabolic steroids, which would then seem very ‘scary’ and foreign to most people for this exact reason.  The majority of individuals in our society have been introduced to and exposed to Marijuana (even if they do not partake in its use) at various points in life to such a degree at which the majority of people hold enough experience to know that Marijuana does not cause individuals to go ‘insane’. People are not stupid when the media totes this claim, as individuals know better through their experiences in exposure to the drug as opposed to the lies or exaggerations the media tells them. This claim that Marijuana drives individuals insane has actually been absent as of the recent decades due to the fact that more and more individuals are growing aware of the absurdity and stupidity of these unfounded claims by the media and government. The claim that Marijuana drives people to ‘insanity’ originated in the very first anti-Marijuana propaganda film released in 1936, Reefer Madness. It is unfortunate, however, that this is not so with anabolic steroids due to the exact opposite in social dynamics, whereby only a very small percentage of the population has held any real experience or exposure to anabolic steroids, their users, or the communities in which they are often used. The facts, however, lay in real medical data and statistics, whereby any well-informed doctor or medical professional on the subject of anabolic steroids would instantly disagree with the argument of Voodoo Pharmacology where anabolic steroids (and even most illicit drugs) are concerned.

When the issue is shifted directly towards anabolic steroids, even those involved in lawmaking and legislation cannot even agree on the specific reasons for the prohibition of anabolic steroids. It was first claimed that the issue was that of cheating in athletic and professional sports, which is one of the more ridiculous, childlike, and very unconstitutional reasons to legislate and criminalize anabolic steroids to begin with). Shortly thereafter, it was then claimed that anabolic steroids were extremely harmful and/or fatal to the health of the user, which is once again not only an unconstitutional reason for legislation, but the vast amount of medical and clinical data available for all to see points to the contrary of such a claim. After that, the final argument for the prohibition of anabolic steroids was that they cause “Roid Rage” among users and cause anabolic steroid users to attack people around them in what is portrayed by the media as an over-exaggerated rage-fuelled and anger-filled rampage. So, which reason is it? The situation is strongly indicative of a confused situation whereby the politicians and lawmakers are ignorant of the effects of anabolic steroids, they are uncertain of why these substances should be criminalized, or that it is “all of the reasons listed”. The purpose of this article is to examine the origins of where, how, and why such a false rumor of Roid Rage originated, tempered with actual medical and clinical data as well as statistical data to dispel this myth of Roid Rage.

The Origins of ‘Roid Rage’

Before delving into the heart of the matter, every reader must understand very clearly of the following extremely important point: ‘Roid Rage’ is not a medical indication, nor does it belong under any medical terminology. The words and phrase ‘Roid Rage’ is slang terminology. Roid Rage is also not a medical condition at all, and is not recognized by the medical establishment or in any medical or scientific governing in the world. Medical professionals, scientists, doctors, and experts in this field (as well as all of the associated organizations and bodies) have never determined this condition, dubbed as ‘Roid Rage’ to exist. ‘Roid Rage’, as it is known by the mass media and the general public, is a direct product of the anti-steroid hysteria, media hype, and propaganda generated by the mass-media and government for the purpose of sensationalism and fear induction in the general populace. The question then remains: where and when did such a myth of ‘Roid Rage’ originate?

It is very important to first understand that the myth of Roid Rage is one which is composed of partial truths, a vast amount of exaggeration, misinformation, and twisting of the facts, as well as an overwhelming amount of sensationalism and over-hype. It is a very well understood fact that the male gender holds tendencies of greater degrees of aggression in all aspects of nature in comparison to females, of which higher Testosterone production in males compared to females is the prime causative factor[1]. Testosterone is the number one primary anabolic steroid that the human body endogenously naturally manufactures, and all anabolic steroid analogues and derivatives operate in more or less the same manner in the various subsystems of the human body. Within the brain, Testosterone (and associated androgens) acts upon the amygdala and the hypothalamus, which are components of the human brain known to play a role in controlling aggression. There are other areas of the brain that androgens are involved in, which include the orbitofrontal cortex, responsible for governing human impulse control[2]. It is a well-known fact that through these pathways, anabolic steroids do increase aggression, confidence, and assertiveness. However, this does not translate into an increase in the incidence of rage and violent acts, which will be covered in this article very soon. Real statistical data will be presented for the purpose of proving that Roid Rage is indeed an exaggeration of various minor truths, and is in general a myth.

But what must be clearly understood by the reader is the following: the increase in aggression caused by anabolic steroids does not translate or equate to an increase in impulsive violence and uncontrollable actions.


The increases in aggression that are resultant from anabolic steroid use and how they are attributed to bodybuilding, athletics, and sports are defined as the attempt to put forth an all-out effort to win and succeed, as well as the impulse to be vigorously energetic and competitive, and the tendency to become boldly assertive and forward. All of these definitions listed are found under the dictionary definition of the word “aggressive”, which any individual can easily look up. This is a striking difference from the common media description of Roid Rage as being mindlessly, uncontrollably, and impulsively violent. The increase in aggression as promoted by the use of anabolic steroids simply manifests as an increase in drive, determination, and motivation to accomplish challenges and tasks in a very competitive spirit. Many anabolic steroid users do not even experience this psychological effect in aggression increases, while many others do to varying degrees. The increase and enhancement in aggression, drive, and assertive competitiveness as provided by anabolic steroids in terms of its application in sports is actually a highly favored by strength and speed sport oriented athletes[3]. These types of athletes who desire such effects would normally be most attracted to those anabolic steroids that exhibit higher androgenic effects, such as Testosterone, Trenbolone, and Fluoxymesterone (Halotestin).

It is through the over-exaggeration and manipulation of these truthful facts that anabolic steroids increase aggression, as well as reports of very small isolated incidences of rare violent behavior that have driven the mass media and the government to generate the myth of Roid Rage. Roid Rage is therefore nothing more than an amalgamation of foundationless claims and wild exaggerations of half-truths.

Medical and Scientific Data Concerning ‘Roid Rage’

The real facts behind the myth of ‘Roid Rage’ exists in the form of a variety of studies conducted by the medical establishment for the purpose of examining the psychological effects of different increasing doses of Testosterone in test subjects. It has been found that when Testosterone is administered at what is considered medical therapeutic doses, there are no noted abnormal psychological effects. Surprisingly, however, the majority of the studies conducted demonstrate that therapeutic administration of Testosterone for TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) resulted in extremely positive and beneficial improvements in mood, well-being, quality of life, and positive feelings[4]. At an increased dose, which was considered a ‘contraceptive dose’ of 200mg per week of Testosterone, no abnormal psychological effects were observed in test subjects[5]. Following this, doses of Testosterone were then increased to supraphysiological ranges of 300mg per week, and an increase in aggression was noted in a small number of test subjects, and the psychological effect of aggression increase was very infrequent and mild[6]. When doses were then increased into what is considered a bodybuilding dose range of 500 – 600mg weekly, the same mild increases in aggression were observed but remained very infrequent, while a very small number of test subjects (5%) were observed to exhibit manic and/or hypomanic behavior, with the majority of subjects demonstrating zero psychological changes (and those that did were reportedly very minor) [7]  [8].

Before continuing, the definition of hypomanic and manic behavior must be clarified for the reader, as these are conditions which the majority of individuals are unaware of. Upon first glance, one might think that the terms ‘manic’ and ‘hypomanic’ describe the psychological state someone who is berserk, deranged, crazy, or psychotic, which is painfully wrong. Individuals should take exquisite care not to jump to conclusions when reading about a condition for the first time, and should always conduct research into a condition if the individual has been introduced to it for the first time. The dictionary definition of mania lists manic individuals, or mania, as “excessive excitement or enthusiasm”, and a hypomanic individual, or hypomania, is simply mania of a lower intensity. Manic disorder in psychiatry is specifically defined as “a state of abnormally elevated or irritable mood, arousal, and/or energy levels”[9]. Essentially, mania is the opposite of depression. Hypomania, which is mania of a lesser intensity, is defined in psychiatry as “a mood state characterized by persistent elevated euphoric-type or irritable mood, as well as thoughts and behaviors that are consistent with such a mood state”. Mania and hypomania are not conditions that refer to deranged, berserk, crazed, or demented individuals/activity, nor does it refer specifically to violence or violent acts. Hypomanic behavior, when channeled and controlled properly, can in fact be extremely beneficial in driving an individual to accomplish challenges and tasks. Many of the most famous and highly achieved individuals in history exhibited manic or hypomanic behavior, and these include people such as Abraham Lincoln, Sir Isaac Newton, Christopher Columbus, Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Carnegie, Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton, Charlie Sheen, Rahm Emanuel, and Mark Zuckerberg.

In the case of anabolic steroids, it is a high possibility that there exist individuals, as anomalies, that might possibly be far more prone to odd and very rare excessive levels of aggression resultant of anabolic steroid use. In such cases, there are many other psychological determinants and aspects involved in these situations that would determine these outcomes, rather than the biological and biochemical effects of anabolic steroids on the brain on its own. Dr. Harrison Pope, who is an American professor as well as one of the leading researchers and experts in anabolic steroids and their effects for over 20 years at this point, mentioned the following in an interview of a documentary known as Bigger, Stronger, Faster: “If someone exhibits anger or irritability on steroids, How do we know that it is caused by the steroids?  Maybe it’s just that irritable and aggressive people are the ones that try steroids in the first place and it has nothing to do with the drugs.”. Rick Collins, an American lawyer involved in legal cases where anabolic steroid use and laws are concerned had said the following in the same documentary concerning ‘Roid Rage’ being used as a defense in court cases: “It’s been raised as a defense by some lawyers in some cases of violent crimes. Typically it is not a successful defense. I think that if one looks at the literature, you’ll see that the prevalence of it is something that has been widely exaggerated by the media.”[10].

Roid Rage from anabolic steroids

Anabolic steroid use has also presented other very interesting psychological phenomenon, whereby an individual who possesses anger or temper control issues prior to the use of anabolic steroids will then exhibit an amplified effect of their anger and temperament issues. This can be the case sometimes, but many other situations will more commonly be the result of a person that becomes bigger and stronger (with or without the use of anabolic steroids) whom already possesses an underlying problem of anger, ego, and self-control issues. What then results is a person who now possesses an even more massive ego, which is accompanied with the loss of any humbleness. Such a situation is not due in any direct part of the anabolic steroids, but is instead almost exclusively the fault of the individual. This is an extremely common occurrence and is one of the many hypothesis and theories regarding the question as to why a particular amount (or percentage) of anabolic steroid users can and do exhibit abnormally over-aggressive behaviour. In such a case, as previously mentioned, anabolic steroids are not the causative factor, but are instead supportive factors to the overall problem.  This holds almost no weight on the anabolic steroids themselves or their effects, but more so in terms of the person’s psychological state, individual responsibility, as well as self-control. This same situation is essentially no different than a situation in which a psychologically or mentally unstable individual without an effective means of injuring another person (such as a gun, a lethal weapon, or a dangerous motor vehicle, for example) would be very inoffensive and harmless. However, once this same person is given a dangerous weapon (such as a gun), they are now provided an effective means to feel and exert their superiority over others, and this person then becomes very, very dangerous.

Such is the case with anabolic steroids as well, and in these instances, the drugs themselves are not to blame and should never be blamed. The individual who exercises poor self-responsibility and poor decision making should be held to blame and punished – much like the way in which society accepts the responsible consumption of alcohol, but punishes those irresponsible enough to drink and drive a motor vehicle – the drug should never be punished, only the irresponsible individuals should. A motor vehicle itself can be utilized efficiently, positively, and responsibly, but any individual can assume control of it for malicious intent – but we do not punish the vehicle, we punish the irresponsible and malicious individual in our society.

This particular hypothesis and argument could be easily summed as the following:

Individuals that utilize anabolic steroids as an excuse to act in an irresponsible and unacceptable violent manner should be the ones to be punished, and themselves controlled, not the anabolic steroids.

There also exist other various similar hypotheses, which include the concept of ‘Roid Rage’ as being an almost completely placebo effect on the individual’s psyche. There are many who ascribe to the theory that the miniscule amount of anabolic steroid users who claim to experience ‘Roid Rage’ are in fact all the result of placebo effects that have in fact become cultivated as a result of the constant consistent harping of ‘Roid Rage’ by the mass media. This constant bombardment of the issue of Roid Rage and ‘aggression increases’ has resulted in a repetitive reinforcement of the issue, which results in a subconscious effect wherein the individual will exhibit behavior of the same manner that is descriptive of ‘Roid Rage’ as portrayed by the media (such as impulsive misconduct, violence, and maltreatment of others). What is happening in this case is the individual thinks that their anabolic steroid use is causative of them acting in this manner. The question must then be asked: if these people have never even heard of ‘Roid Rage’ or the increases in aggression resultant from anabolic steroids, would these people have ever acted this way to begin with? The human mind is an extremely powerful apparatus and mechanism. If people are constantly told something in particular again and again in a very repetitive manner, it is then reinforced in their psyche, and these people will then start believing (even subconsciously) that these things they have been told indeed do exist, whether or not what they have been repetitively told is a lie or an embellishment. The end result is that some of the anabolic steroid users, long before they even begin use, will already hold that reinforced idea of ‘anger’, ‘irritability’, ‘aggression’, and ‘Roid Rage’ deep in their subconscious. What occurs here is a situation in which the person will either consciously (or subconsciously) obsess over it whether  they realize it or not, and as anabolic steroid use continues, the impulsive irritability, anger, and aggression will manifest not because of the anabolic steroids, but instead it is because the person has become so utterly convinced (subconsciously or consciously) that they will absolutely experience ‘Roid Rage’ from their anabolic steroid use.

The Real Statistics and Truth In Regards to the Myth of ‘Roid Rage’

Real statistics and data where the aggression from anabolic steroids and Roid Rage is concerned is very rare, very inconsistent, and very difficult to derive. The real statistics are far less conspicuous than the majority of the population has been lead to believe by the mass media and the government. There have even been very extrusive anti-steroid oganizations and individuals that have even stated the following: “if this phenomenon is real, it is relatively rare (probably less than 1%) among users. Even among those affected, the impact of previous mental illness or abuse of other drugs is still unclear.”[11]. Such a statement is a perfect example that the politicans and lawmakers are even well acquainted with the fact that the myth of ‘Roid Rage’ is essentially a weightless argument with little to no proof to back it up.  There has even been a statement bade in a book written by medical experts on the subject of anabolic steroids that “Some long-time steroid users have never suffered any emotional instability, or anything more than transient physical effects” in addition to a plethora of anabolic steroid users that actually report non-violent feelings of increased well-being and self-confidence as more common side effects from anabolic steroid use[12].

Jack Darkes is a PhD and a clinical psychologist, and is currently the Director of the Psychological Services Center in the Department of Psychology at the University of South Florida stated that the relation between anabolic steroids and increased aggression is surrounded by far more complexity than the mass media and the press reports to the population, and the most extensive review of medical and clinical literature did not locate conclusive evidence for a direct correlating relationship between anabolic steroid use and aggression, even in those individuals affected[13].

A 1996 examination of studies investigating anabolic steroid induced aggression was conducted which had found that even though those studies demonstrated a link between aggression increases and anabolic steroid use, it estimated that among over one million anabolic steroid users in the United States, a very small percentage of anabolic steroid users appeared to have experienced psychological disturbance that was considered severe enough to result in medical intervention and treatment[14]. What this alludes to is the fact that anabolic steroids and their resultant effects on people, whether they are psychological or physical, is very much the same as any other food or drug: there will always exist a very small percentage of users that will experience some sort of an adverse reaction in some way (mental or psychological) to an extreme at either end of a spectrum. The key point here, however, is that incidences such as these are both very small and very rare as evidenced by the studies and information thus far in this article. The reason why this happens to be the case is very much unknown among the medical establishment, and it is because there are a multitude of factors that play a role in determining such a behaviour type. These factors include: individual response to a drug or food, genetics, other substance use aside from anabolic steroids, as well as a possibility that a person might encompass some underlying (and often unknown) psychological condition that could manifest itself only during anabolic steroid use. There are many ‘triggers’ that could trigger such unknown underlying conditions or predispositions, though these instances are extremely rare.

In 2000, one study demonstrated this (which happens to be one of the studies mentioned earlier in the article), which involved test subjects administered 600mg per week of Testosterone Cypionate, with the results demonstrating that 84% of the test subjects had only reported minor psychological effects where 12% manifested mild hypomanic symptoms, and the other 4% (2 test subjects) exhibited highly significant hypomanic behaviour. The reason as to why these reactions occurred among the small percentage of users who reacted in this manner could not be explained by any sort of demographic, psychological, physiological, or laboratory-related measures.

As far as nation-wide statistics on the incidence of Roid Rage related crimes and incidences is concerned, there is very little data in this department for a couple of different reasons. The first reason is because it is not easy to differentiate between the many different criminal records in order to be able to separate crimes that could be said to be definitively correlated with the aggression increases associated with anabolic steroid use. Very few of these, if any, exist as it is which creates even greater difficulty in locating crime records of these types. The second reason is due to the fact that formulating generalizations to the larger population from very small amounts of certain case studies or criminal indexes is very questionable, disputed, and unsubstantiated, as well as lacking supported reasoning, and this will be explained directly in the next section of this article.

Conclusion – Roid Rage: Real or Myth?

The fact that Testosterone and its analogues and derivatives increase aggression to varying degrees is well documented as fact. The degree to which aggression is increased is dependent on many factors, such as the individual’s response, the dose used, as well as the type of anabolic steroid used (as some anabolic steroids are less androgenic or more androgenic than others). However, the direct question is: is the mass media portrayal and definition of Roid Rage real? The depiction of ‘Roid Rage’ in the media is that of an unprovoked individual exploding into giant fits of psychotic rage, causing destruction to everything surrounding them, as well as harming others. Is this true? Absolutely not!

But then, how and why does the government and mass media develop and continually fuel these myths? The first factor is that of the mass media preying on the ignorance of the average individual among our population. The other factor involves a close examination of the context that these ‘Roid Rage’ stories and news reports by the mass media are construed to the general public. Every time an extensive news item concerning anabolic steroids winds up on the TV and in the general media, ‘Roid Rage’ is almost always branded with the news item, and the two words ‘Roid Rage’ are frequently scrolled across the TV screen in bright, big, bold letters. The most obvious example case to examine should be the unfortunate tragedy of Chris Benoit in 2007, who was a former WWE wrestler who murdered his family followed by killing himself. Once it had been discovered that Christ Benoit was a former regular anabolic steroid user, the media would then predictably focus exclusively upon anabolic steroids as the prime causative factor in the tragic incident. But what would not be mentioned at all was the fact that Chris Benoit’s postmortem toxicology reports confirming that he also contained varying levels of Xanax and Hydrocodone upon the time of death, as well as the knowledge that Christ Benoit had been a long-time sufferer of a type of depression, tempered by psychological and brain problems as a result of years of repetitive head trauma from years of career wrestling. Such brain damage is very common among professional wrestlers, and especially boxers.

After the tragic incident, Chris Benoit’s body was then examined at West Virginia University, where Julian Bailes (head of neurosurgery at the university) would conduct testing on Chris Benoit’s brain. Following the examination, Julian Bailes concluded in his own words that “Benoit’s brain was so severely damaged it resembled the brain of an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient.”[15].  Even the chief medical examiner in his own words stated that the conclusion as to the causes of what occurred excludes any possibility that any “Roid Rage” was involved[16].

However, as is typical with the sensationalist mass media, nearly every single news network decided to willfully ignore these facts and continue to beat upon the ‘Roid Rage’ issue as the causative factor of the murders, connected with the claim that Chris Benoit was a regular anabolic steroid user during the majority of his professional wrestling career. Even this directly flies face of the evidence presented above that proves the contrary. These types of twisting of the facts and outright lying by the mass media is not uncommon, as news items whereby the media commonly blames them on ‘Roid Rage’ frequently overlook other factors that perhaps played a far more influential role in the incidences and crimes. A perfect example is the consumption of other drugs and alcohol in such situations, or, in Chris Benoit’s case, the severe brain damage and depression. These are all picture-perfect textbook examples of what is media sensationalism, misinformation, and misleading new reporting – and these dishonest practices in journalism and media occur far more successively than the average person realizes.

This is what is known as a blatant disregard for factual data and evidence, and the demonizing of anabolic steroids in the face of evidence to the contrary is extremely common among the mass media, the government, and lawmakers – anabolic steroids are an easy target for such behavior. The most prominent, perfect, and most influential example is that of the original legislation of anabolic steroids. In 1990, US Congress held hearings concerning the legislation of anabolic steroids. During these hearings in which debates and discussions proceeded, Congress solicited the opinion and help of four major organizations concerning the subject of anabolic steroids: the American Medical Association (AMA), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). All four of these major and very influential organizations stated that they were all vehemently and outspokenly opposed to anabolic steroids being criminalized and becoming controlled substances. Each and every one of these major professional organizations brought forth the facts to Congress supporting the idea that the use of anabolic steroids does not lead to the two requirements for a substance becoming a scheduled drug. The two requirements are physical dependence, and psychological dependence, both of which are not expressed what so every by anabolic steroids. Rather than listening to these major organizations and following their advice, Congress elected to disregard all of the medical and scientific evidence brought forth before them and decided to schedule anabolic steroids regardless.

These organizations brought forth before Congress, which Congress originally solicited, are very powerful and very influential agencies and organizations. Their opinions would be expected to carry solid amounts of weight in any discussion or subject in regards to the use of various substances. The facts and arguments brought forth during the dispute by Congress in support of anti-steroid laws were non-existent, baseless, and foundationless for the purpose of scheduling anabolic steroids, but Congress decided to schedule the drugs regardless[17]. Such blatant disregard for solid facts and data in favor of political agenda, hype, and media sensationalism is extremely commonplace and has been a regular affair among Western society for the longest time, and especially when anabolic steroids are a central issue and topic.

Dr. Charles Yesalis, who is perhaps the world’s leading expert concerning anabolic steroid use, in an interview had the following to say when questioned about the myth of Roid Rage,

“The reporting is shoddy. The problem is that we live in a sound bite culture. I know of only a few exceptional journalists out there. Use of some drugs may induce a “rage,” but in only a very small percentage of users, and it’s these isolated incidents that are reported.

Another result of this shoddy reporting is that the average Joe thinks the steroid issue is all about Testosterone and HGH, because those are the only two names he hears in the media. Those of us who are informed about the subject know that the hormonal milieu is vastly broader than that, but the press predominantly harps on these two. This kind of wobbly portrayal of steroids indicates to me that there may be some hidden agenda involved with “steroid stories.”

But let me put this whole “rage” thing into perspective for you, Chris. You’ve been to Penn State home games. If you told me you’ve never seen outbursts of “rage” at a football game, then I would have to call “bullshit.” They happen all the time. And that’s not steroids – that’s alcohol. It’s not even in the same ballpark.””[18]

The final conclusion is therefore that it is very safe to say that the ‘Roid Rage’ myth is exactly that: a myth. Roid Rage is better defined as a perversion of exaggerated facts as opposed to a straightforward absolute lie. A general rule follows with any type of drug use: personal responsibility should always be at the forefront of any drug issue. It is impossible for any government or organization to be able to make people or an individual more responsible, or to make decisions for them, or to protect an individual from themselves. Should someone encompass some form of a medical contraindication whereby they possess a psychological problem, then anabolic steroid use is not for that person. If someone is known as having short temper problems, or known anger management issues, then anabolic steroid use is not for them. At the very least, an individual with anger problems should realize that the personal responsibility rests upon them and them alone for their actions. They should realize that anabolic steroid use is not for them, or at the very least make the decision to maintain appropriate and strict control over their mental thoughts, emotions, and impulses while engaging in responsible anabolic steroid use.

Testosterone increases aggression in males

Finally, the point must be reiterated that there is a clean-cut explicit difference between increased aggression resultant of anabolic steroid use, and behaviour that is defined by impulsive violent acts that is more indicative of a psychological or mental disorder. Aggression increases are not psychological or mental disorders. Impulsive and random outbursts of uncontrollable and insane psychotic rage, is absolutely not the same thing as increased aggression. Such behaviour is the precise definition of the mass media concocted myth of ‘Roid Rage’. The increases in aggression experienced by anabolic steroid users is in fact controlled very well by the majority of anabolic steroid users, and can in fact be channeled appropriately and properly to favor very desirable and positive outcomes, such as harder training in the gym, increased confidence at the workplace, and increased assertiveness as an asset in all aspects of life. An average healthy adult male can very easily control and channel the aggression in such a manner, and the increased aggression can actually become a very valuable and positive trait to possess. It is also very important to remember that not all individuals will experience such an effect from anabolic steroids – some do, and some do not.

A very mentally or psychologically unstable individual that might perhaps be violent, impulsive, irritable, or hostile who is given and administered a substance known to increase aggression is a very obviously irresponsible act with the potential to cause atrocious issues – but the same can be said in terms of providing a person with anger-control issues, or a mentally or psychologically unstable individual a gun, a knife, or even a car to drive (or alcohol or caffeine to consume).

Once more: responsible anabolic steroid use not only concerns the issue of utilizing sensible and moderate doses, cycle lengths, and overall diligent use, but it is also the concern of proper responsibility where self-control is an issue, and the knowledge of when to use anabolic steroids and when to realize it is not appropriate to use them.

Medical References:


[1] Behavioural effects of androgen in men and women. Christiansen K. J Endocrinol. 2001 Ful;170(1):39-48

[2] Exogenous testosterone enhances responsiveness to social threat in the neural circuitry of social aggression in humans. Hermans EJ, Ramsey NF, van Honk J. Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Feb 1;63(3):263-70. Epub 2007 Aug 28

[3] Underground Steroid Handbook II. Daniel Duchaine. 1989, HLR technical books. Venice, CA.

[4] The effects of exogenous testosterone on sexuality and mood of normal men. Anderson RA, Bancroft J, Wu FC. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1992 Dec;75(6):1503-7.

[5] Metabolic and behavioral effects of high-dose, exogenous testosterone in healthy men. Bagatell CJ, Heiman JR, Matsumoto AM, Rivier JE, Bremner WJ. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1994 Aug;79(2):561-7.

[6] Psychological and serum homovanillic acid changes in men administered androgenic steroids. Hannan CJ Jr, Friedl KE, Zold A, Kettler TM, Plymate SR, Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1991;16(4):335-43.

[7] Psychosexual effects of three doses of testosterone cycling in normal men. Yates WR et al. Biol Psychiatry. 1999;45:254-60.

[8] Effects of supraphysiological doses of testosterone on mood and aggression in normal men. H Pope, E Kouri et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2000;57:133-140.

[9] “Of mania”. Berrios G.E. (2004). History of Psychiatry 15 (57 Pt 1): 105–124. doi:10.1177/0957154X04041829. PMID 15104084.

[10] Bigger, Stronger, Faster. Dir. Christopher Bell. Perf. Christopher Bell, Mark Bell. DVD.

[11] The Steroids Game. C.E. Yesalis & V.S. Cowart, Champaign, IL; Human Kinetics, 1998, 60.

[12] Anabolic Steroids: Altered States. J.E. Wright & V.S. Cowart, Carmel, IN: Benchmark Press, 1990, 51.

[13] J. Darkes, The Psychological Effects of Anabolic/Androgenic Steroids, Parts I through IV, MUSCLE MONTHLY

[14] “Psychological and behavioural effects of endogenous testosterone and anabolic-androgenic steroids. An update”. Bahrke MS, Yesalis CE, Wright JE (1996). Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) 22 (6): 367–90. doi:10.2165/00007256-199622060-00005. PMID 8969015.

[15] ABC News: Benoit’s Brain Showed Severe Damage From Multiple Concussions, Doctor and Dad Say

[16] “Wrestler Chris Benoit Used Steroid Testosterone; Son Sedated Before Murders”. FOXnews. 2007-07-17.,2933,289649,00.html. Retrieved 2008-07-15.

[17] H.R. 4658

[18] “Playing With Steroids A Chat with Dr. Charles Yesalis”. Chris DiEugenio, Dr. Charles Yesalis. T-Nation.  PUBLISHED 11-12-07 []