Do Steroids Cause Uncontrollable Rage?

Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has been charged with pre-meditated murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. At his bail hearings, South African investigating officer Hilton Botha testified that he found two boxes of drugs that could be testosterone, and needles in Pistorius’ bedroom.

PISTORIUS DENIES MURDER: Pistorius claims that he mistakenly killed Steenkamp when he fired four shots into a locked bathroom, hitting his girlfriend three times after thinking she was a burglar. The police claim that screams were heard after the first shot. Pistorius claims that the drugs found in his bedroom are herbal remedies. The world’s most famous disabled athlete tested negative for drugs twice at the London Olympics last year on Aug. 25 and Sept. 8, 2012.

WHY SOME ATHLETES TAKE STEROIDS: Competitive athletes often take testosterone derivatives, also called steroids, because they help them recover faster from intense workouts so they can do more intense workouts sooner. This makes them stronger and faster. When a person takes a hard workout and exercises through the muscle burning, he damages his muscles. The next day, muscle soreness can prevent him from taking another intense workout for several days. However when he takes testosterone derivatives, he often recovers so fast that he can take another intense workout on the next day.

IS THERE SUCH A CONDITION AS STEROID RAGE? Some studies show that males who take steroids are more likely to be violent and to use other drugs (Am J Public Health. 2008;98 (12): 2185- 7). However the majority of men who use anabolic steroids do not commit violent acts (Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) 1996;22(6): 367-90). Yet there is strong evidence that some men do become violent when they take steroids and have acted completely out of their normal behavior (Arch Gen Psychiatry, February 2000;57(2): 133-140).

HOW LONG ARE STEROIDS DETECTABLE? Steroids can be detected in a person’s body from one week to over a year after use. AndroGel, a testosterone cream that is taken by rubbing on the skin, can be detected for up to five days after use. The most popular steroid, nandrolone, can be detected for up to a year. Injectable testosterone, that is suspected here, can be detected for up to three months. Police will need to get a court order to test him right away if they want to prove that he took steroids. Other forms of testosterone include testosterone propionate (detectable for up to two weeks), testosterone undecanoate (one week) and clenbuterol (four days).

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