We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is the Connection between Steroids and Depression?

By T. Carrier
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Depression is a psychological ailment that can produce short-term or long-term bouts of sadness, hopelessness, and lethargy. Some medical researchers and general critics claim that substances used to enhance performance and treat certain conditions — steroids — may induce depression. Evidence seems to suggest a link between depression and both steroid use and steroid discontinuation.

The alleged consequences of steroid abuse are well-documented. Steroid psychosis and so-called "‘roid rage" occur when extreme mania and aggression manifest after overuse of steroid substances. In some cases, the use of steroids and depression may serve as a precursor to these extreme states of mind. These effects, along with other harmful consequences like paranoia and suicidal thoughts, seem to occur after long-term steroid abuse. In the short term, steroid use may produce opposite results, like increased energy and jubilance.

Scientific studies hint at a link between steroids and depression. Anabolic steroids in particular are notorious for their supposed side effects, but commonly prescribed steroids used for medical treatments may possess many of the same risks. Various controlled research has shown that anywhere from 20 to 75 percent of individuals taking a particular kind of adrenal steroid treatment, called glucosteroids, show signs of significant mood disturbances and potential depression.

The negative link between steroids and depression may result from the substance’s impact on the pituitary and hypothalamus glands. These portions of the body’s endocrine system help regulate chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, and some of these neurotransmitters control stress. If the duties of these glands are hindered and unbalanced, then stress levels elevate and become unchecked. This creates a greater susceptibility to certain psychiatric disorders like chronic depression.

Addiction cycles also contribute to negative effects of steroids and depression symptoms. Steroids can easily become addictive, particularly for athletes who desire the muscle building that the substance can deliver in the short term. As the individual continually increases dosages and amounts of use, a dependence can develop in individuals vulnerable to addictive patterns of behavior. This causes long-term use and the resulting harmful consequences. Addictive substances work in large part by altering brain wave activity, which can then help lay the foundation for psychological disturbances such as depression.

Steroid effects from withdrawal seem to be a subject of lesser understanding. The same short-term effects as documented above may occur when the body begins to break its dependence on steroids, and depression is often one of the most prominent steroid withdrawal effects. This effect may happen because the body becomes flooded with estrogen that has been suppressed by testosterone during heavy steroid use, and large doses of estrogen may cause symptoms like irritability and depression. Although these symptoms may be highly unpleasant, in the long run they may restore a dependent individual’s physical and mental health.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon935494 — On Feb 25, 2014

Depression is a meaningless term, It's a big umbrella that 1,000 different problems are put under. You can't test for it and you can't quantify the severity.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.