Anabolic steroids affect the brain neurotransmitter systems
Synthetic testosterone and anabolic steroids, after extensive experimentation and research, have been found to profoundly affect the central nervous system both in laboratory animals and humans. The locations of their affects in the brain are closely linked to those centers that regulate mood, sexuality and aggression. These centers are known as the limbic system.
People who use steroids in excessive doses, such as competitive athletes and chronic injury patients, often experience, during administration or post usage, mood disorders that identically mimic the criteria of psychiatric disease categories such as depression, anxiety, psychosis and cognitive deterioration.
Extensive studies have shown that steroids affect the brain serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitter systems.
Dopamine is a multi-functional neurotransmitter participating in the regulation of mobility, learning, emotions, appetite and positive reinforcing effects. It is a neurotransmitter imperative for operating the self-reward system; so dopamine is the essential component in addiction development. Serotonin, on the other hand, regulates sleep patterns, movement, appetite, sexuality and emotions. According to recent research, it is also strongly related to memory operations and sustainable concentration.
In animal experiments it has been found, inter alia, that the anabolic steroid, nandrolone, changes the dopamine system’s response to stimulating intoxicants. The release of intoxicant-induced neurotransmitters lessens, and so does the pleasure procured from using intoxicants. As a result, the dosage and usage of intoxicants has to be systematically increased to experience the same levels of pleasure and stimulation. This is the definition of addiction.
It is well-known that anabolic steroid abuse in high doses will likely impair a number of vital organs and functions, catalyzing both physical and psychological illnesses. More importantly, many of these symptoms have been found to be long-lasting even after the discontinuation of using these compounds.
Anabolic steroids in large doses have been demonstrated to induce programmed cell death in many cell types, including neuronal cells. This could result in irreversible changes in the nervous system, leading to chronic nervous and psychiatric disorders, and increased use of intoxicants.
Effects of nandrolone on the nervous system are long-lasting
The use of anabolic steroids can cause considerably long-lasting changes in the user’s brain neurotransmitter pathways. The serotonin neurotransmitter system often exhibits the strongest reaction to nandrolone administration. This supports the previously observed side effects, such as aggressiveness and mood changes, because decreased serotonin levels in the brain are associated to the aggressive and uncontrolled behavior of both humans and animals.
Numerous case studies suggest that intervals of non-use generally observed by users in between the administration periods are not long enough to recover the studied neurotransmitter pathways activity to their basic level. When a new administration period begins before the affected neurotransmitter pathways activity has been recovered, the new changes will be greater and the effects can last even longer than the effects of the preceding use.
Other severe adverse effects
When used in excessive doses, both synthetic testosterone and anabolic steroids cause harmful elevation in cholesterol levels. Without the correct Vitamin D synthesis and genesis, the continuous use of these hormones will increase the risk of developing heart and vascular diseases, heart infarction and apoplexy. An increase in steroids above natural thresholds weakens the cardiac contractile force, and cause cardiac muscle degeneration, which can lead to cardiac arrhythmia and even sudden death.
Abuse of AAS and testosterone increases the risk of diabetes
Excessive use of testosterone and anabolic steroids also increases the risk of cancer and liver damage. Anabolic steroids that are administered orally are more harmful to the liver than injected anabolic steroids because when taken orally, the steroids pass through the digestive tract, and have to be metabolized by the liver. Liver diseases vary from reversible, slight cell damage and yellowness, to malignant liver tumors with a bad prognosis even when treated.