Roid Rage Myth – Busted For Good?

Roid rage is like an urban legend – a lot of people talk about it but not many experienced it or seen someone raging from the use of steroids.

Many people would claim they have seen raging bodybuilder but it would be hard to actually isolate steroids as a main or only reason for aggressive behaviour.


We read the stories of frequent gym goers killing or beating someone but none of these stories actually proved steroids use has anything to do with it.

As for now there is no scientific evidence of steroids actually making an individual aggressive.

There is however empirical evidence, even from steroids users themselves, who claim roids rage is a fact.


What is roid rage?

In many ways roids rage is similar to road rage.

In short, roids rage can be defined as a loss of impulse control. Or in other words overreaction to problems or challenges which normally should not provoke such a behaviour.

It is easily to observe that roids range, in many ways, is similar to road rage. Just like a road rage, steroids rage requires external factor to take place. Something which triggers aggressive overreaction.

Because similarity between two types of rages the question needs to be asked – is rage of people using steroids actually caused by the use of anabolic drugs? Will steroids make a calm and gentle person a violent monster?


Where does the myth of roid rage actually comes from?

There are few sources of this myth. First is related to experiment performed on rats. Rats where injected steroids started to present more aggressive than usual behaviour. Researchers linked this directly to steroids. However, they missed the fact that rats don’t have self-control human being have. In other words – what could be direct cause of aggression in rats not necessarily would be in humans.

Shaming is added to creating of this myth as well. Many people who couldn’t get the same results without the help of steroids used this shaming tactic to demonstrate their own supremacy. “Maybe I’m smaller but at least I’m not a freak” form of supremacy.


What science tells us?

According to the studies performed by Swedish researchers there is a correlation between use of steroids and aggressive behaviour. It is, however, no possible to establish causation. In simple words – steroids users tend to be aggressive or violent but there is no evidence that their reactions are caused by the use of illegal substances.

Among 10000 males tested – those who actually committed the crime were admitting taking anabolic as well. However, even this statistic doesn’t prove a link between use of steroids and tendency to violence.


Roids rage myth has a lot to do with experiment on rats.

So what causes the violent behaviour?


More likely explanation

It is very likely that people who committed acts of aggression after the use of steroids had actually tendency to such behaviour beforehand. It would be similar to alcohol usage – people who are calm very often get drunk in a harmless manner while people who tend to be violent or aggressive become ultra-violent under the influence of alcohol.

Should we blame diet?

Interesting explanation comes from bodybuilders who experienced irritation or frustration while taking steroids. Many of them link these sensations to diet.

It is well known fact that undereating, especially prolonged, can cause aggressive behaviours. It is also well known fact that many bodybuilders starve themselves when in cutting stage. Perhaps it is more adequate explanation.


Or testosterone?

Some of the scientists blamed increased levels of testosterone caused by steroids as a reason of roids rage.

However, examining testosterone filed to establish increased level of aggression in males cause by increase of testosterone. This link has been, to some degree, established in females. Testosterone has rather positive impact on males.


So, what is the truth?


The truth is it is almost impossible to isolate each case to point in one direction with 100% certainty. Each individual taking steroids is actually a collection of many characteristics, own personality, lives under different circumstances, has different diet, sleep patterns and stress levels. It would be very difficult to say “yes, steroids are responsible for aggression” as you probably know many roids users who are lovely individuals.