Even though anabolic steroids do not cause the same high as other drugs, they can lead to addiction. Studies have shown that animals will self-administer steroids when they have the chance, just as they do with other addictive drugs. People may continue to abuse steroids despite physical problems, high costs to buy the drugs, and negative effects on their relationships. These behaviors reflect steroids' addictive potential. Research has further found that some steroid users turn to other drugs, such as opioids, to reduce sleep problems and irritability caused by steroids.
Conclusions: A long-term comparison of anabolic steroid use (from 1989-1996) indicates that use among adolescent males and females has decreased significantly ( P <.05). However, for females the low point in lifetime steroid use was reached in 1991, with subsequent significant ( P <.05) increases in use being reported in several national data sets. For adolescent males, after declining sharply between 1989 and 1991, steroid use has generally been stable since 1991. Moreover, based on the 1995 estimates of high school students and Youth Risk and Behavior Surveillance System data, approximately 375 000 adolescent males and 175 000 adolescent females in public and private schools in the United States used anabolic steroids at least once in their lives. These results suggest that prevention, intervention, and regulatory efforts to reduce steroid use at the local, state, and national levels should be reassessed, especially those efforts that focus on adolescent female steroid use. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:1197-1206