Hysteria Over Anabolic Steroids Leads to Ignorance of More Dangerous Corticosteroids

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The hysteria over anabolic steroids has kept sportswriters and journalists busy writing about the topic on a regular basis. At least one new article about anabolic steroids and/or performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) has been in the news practically every day for the past five years. Most articles usually include a list of side effects associated with steroids. Regrettably, most articles have an anti-steroid bias that leads to the exaggeration and overstatement of the anabolic steroids side effects.

Anabolic steroid have well-known and well-documented side effects. However, what is not very well-known is that a much more widely-used type of steroid that can be much more problematic than anabolic steroids. This type of steroid can arguably be considered much more dangerous than anabolic steroids.

The side effects of corticosteroids are equally well-documented. But most people are not as familiar with corticosteroid side effects or simply choose to discount the significance of such side effects

Over ten million prescriptions for corticosteroids, like prednisone and methylprednisone, are prescribed in the United States every year. While most people have heard that anabolic steroids can cause adverse psychiatric side effects, they don’t realize that prednisone-type drugs cause negative mental effects.

Interestingly, the side effects include many of the very same problems typically associated with anabolics. These include mood changes, insomnia, mania, delusions and depression.

Corticosteroid psychiatric side effects may even be more common than anabolic steroid psychiatric effects. Some literature reviews have reported several psychiatric adverse effects in six percent of patients and mild to moderate reactions in 28 percent of patients. Like any drug, the dose and duration of steroid use are correlated with occurrence of side effects.

Unfortunately, anabolic steroids will likely continue to be demonized even though their side effects are not any more serious that those of corticosteroids, and possibly even less serious. Of course, few people would know this after being bombarded by anti-steroid (anabolic steroid) articles on a daily


Hecht, M. (July 24, 2012). Many steroids cause adverse mental effects. Retrieved from http://timesleader.com/stories/Many-steroids-cause-adverse-mental-effects-Ask-Dr-H-Mitchell-Hecht,180239