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Troubled social background of male anabolic-androgenic steroid abusers in treatment

DOI: 10.1186/1747-597x-2-20

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We compared thirty-four AAS-abusing patients from an Addiction Centre (AC) with two groups, 18 users and 259 non-users of AAS from a public gym in Orebro, Sweden. The study is based on semi-structured interviews and questionnaires.Histories of a troubled childhood as well as current social disadvantage were both more frequent among the AAS users. Users also reported poor relationships with their parents and almost half of them had experienced physical or mental abuse. The AC group's experiences from school were mostly negative, and included concentration problems, boredom and learning difficulties. Their current circumstance included abuse of other drugs, battering of spouses and other criminality such as assault, illegal possession of weapons and theft.In conclusion, this study shows that abusers of AAS often have a troubled social background. This underlines the importance of making a thorough social assessment as a part of the treatment programme. The results of the study may help in directing appropriate questions relevant to the abuse of AAS.Experimenting with anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) has been common among athletes for several decades [1]. In the 1950s and 1960s, usage was almost entirely restricted to highly trained athletes [2]. Later, AAS abuse spread from professional to high school sports performers [3] and these substances are now also being abused by those whose training is purely recreational and/or cosmetic [4].Today, the abuse of AAS is thus no longer confined to elite athletes but can be found among various groups of people. Until recently, AAS abusers were rarely seen at addiction clinics in Sweden, but today they have begun seeking help there. Unfortunately, even clinicians working at addiction clinics frequently neglect to ask about AAS in their history taking [5]. It has therefore become important to encourage the systematic gathering of information about the lives and backgrounds of these patients, so that effective treatment programme


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