Increased educational resources are available to at least certain age groups and are now reaching larger numbers of children. The percentage of pre-adolescent athletes who have heard of steroids has increased significantly from 78% in 1989 to 88% in the current survey (p<.05). In 1989, only 50% of respondents had had steroid side effects explained to them. This significantly increased to 64% in the current study (p<.05). Currently, 60% of respondents felt that steroids, even if used carefully, would still harm the athlete compared to 56% in 1989 (p<.05). Furthermore, 65% currently consider steroid use a drug problem compared to 57% in 1989 (p<.05).
Each user experiences their own unique feelings when using steroids and coming off the drug. When someone chooses to stop using they can experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms linked to addiction. Symptoms can include mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive, the desire to take more steroids, and depression. Evidence for steroid addiction is certainly not as strong as it is for other drugs like cocaine or heroin. Though it is clear that people develop a tolerance and dependence on them and willingly experience negative consequences when using steroids - both of which are signs for drug dependence.
The steroid-using group included 12 male weight lifters, average age 40, who reported taking about 675 milligrams of steroids per week for nine years. The control group was seven age-matched, male weight lifters who reported no steroid exposure. Both groups had similar durations of past and current weight lifting and other physical activity, as well as similar cardiac risk factors other than steroid use. Although the users and non-users had comparable body-mass indices and body-surface areas, the steroid users had more muscle mass than the non-users.