Is anabolic androgenic steroid dependency and addiction fact or fiction? Dependency or addiction, as defined by American Psychiatric Association (APA) is present if, during a 12 month period, an individual demonstrates three of the following traits: withdrawal, tolerance, inability to stop use of the substance despite a desire to do so, obsession (all time is spent seeking or using the substance), avoidance (of friends, family, and activities), continued use despite harmful physical effects, or using dishonest behavior (stealing, prescription falsification) to obtain the substance.
Most feel that steroid use and abuse is a fact, not simply alarmist fiction. However, abuse does not necessarily equal dependency or addiction. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does believe the possibility exists, and has classified anabolic androgenic steroids, or AASs, as a Schedule III controlled substance to prevent misuse.
Generally, Schedule III substances are used to create a heightened sense of pleasure or well-being. However, athletes are using anabolic androgenic steroids to improve physical performance and build muscle. They would argue, based on that fact, dependency and addiction would not apply in this case. While that motivation may be nobler, the human body can, and will, become dependent on anabolic androgenic steroids over time, leading to addiction.
The key, as with any drug or supplement, is to use them responsibly and safely. If used at the lowest doses and shortest length of time to produce effective results, the risks of dependency and addiction are quite low. The athlete needs to develop a regimen that monitors their physical condition and behavior. If they find abnormalities or signs of dependency, it is best to stop their use and seek the help of a medical professional.
If you follow this advice, the fact is that these problems can be avoided. The danger is believing that care does not need to be exercised. No one is immune to the risk of harm, but that risk can be nearly eliminated. Simply put, steroids are simply another tool available to the athlete. Used properly, steroid’s benefits outweigh their risks, and are an effective tool to maximize athletic performance and physical condition.