The dark reality of roid rage
‘I knew something was wrong. It was the most anger I’ve ever felt in my entire life’
Running faster, picking up even bigger weights and getting a body girls dream of mean the benefits of taking anabolic steroids are obvious.
One million people in the UK are allegedly getting juiced in gym changing rooms across the country. But with chemically enhanced superiority comes the health warnings – namely shrivelled testicles, exploding biceps and of course roid rage.
The very same substance which apparently caused Spencer Matthews to storm out of the jungle last week has been sweeping university gyms and rugby fields for years.
One regular steroid user, Michael*, refused to believe in roid rage until it finally affected him directly.
The 23-year-old said: “I always thought roid rage was an absolute myth, having tried trenbolone, superdrol, halodrol and epistane in the past. I’ve been angry and even aggressive but I’ve always been able to control it in the past.”
This all changed when Michael tried a steroid called Halotestin for the first time, one of the most powerful anabolics on the market.
He admitted: “I got the amount wrong and took nearly 60mg of it. When I left the house half an hour later I know something was wrong. I dropped my keys and felt the most rage I’ve ever felt in my entire life.”
Despite the anger surging through him, Michael was achieving his best workout to date.
He said: “In the gym I was benching 40 lbs more than my usual record, which is absurd. I ended up staying there for four hours. Between sets I was so hyped I had to stop myself from banging my head on the bar.
I was fully aware of how crazy my mindset was but I just felt completely out of control.
“A guy bumped into me on the stairs and it took everything I had not to start shouting at him.”
Steroids are currently Class C drugs, and can legally only be sold by pharmacists with a doctor’s prescription – but are relatively easy to get hold of online or from a dealer in a gym.
Miracle benefits include faster recovery times and packing on muscle mass in a fraction of the time, and many steroids users report some pretty weird side effects, but no roid rage.
But steroids aim to increase testosterone, and scientists have found potential relationships between hormonal imbalance and anger.
A 1999 study suggested a link between relatively small doses and an increase in agitation and aggression.
Michael’s story and such rampant steroid use may seem a little extreme and more in touch with professional weightlifters and wrestlers than students, but riding the bicycle is rife at gyms in certain university cities.
Sheffield second year Emily lived with a boy who was taking steroids in halls and witnessed his regular bouts of anger.
She said: “Roid rage is very real and changes someone completely. It has ruined relationships and friends because the person can just snap.
“They can be constantly hot and less affectionate or completly unaffectionate because steroids increase your temperature and you get short of breath and angry at the smallest things.
“You could be talking and having a nice chilled chat, then they get hot and start moving around and snappy about small things – just generally becoming more argumentative.
“We would be watching TV then all of a sudden he would want to go out for a walk because he was too hot or he would randomly start moving around. If there were house talks he would get aggressive over anything like small decisions, cleaning or bills.”
Apparently the steroid use even goes as far back as school, and people can turn up at university already using the workout drugs.
She said: “I know some of my old school rugby team do use them and sell them because i’ve seen it happen.
“Not many normal gym goers do use it, but a lot of girls trying to lose weight for competitions take a shit ton of weight loss supplements that ruin your kidneys.”
Whether they’re taken orally or injected directly, a steroid user is extremely easy to spot – according to Nottingham film student and regular gym-goer Justin.
He said: “A lot of them have overly done trapezius muscles, no neck and weird pimples all over their backs.
“The obvious ones are often aggressive meatheads who never put their weights back.
“I remember seeing one guy who used to look exactly like a buff Robert Pattison. After a few months of not coming to the gym I saw him again and he looked skinny and really saggy.
“They would sell outside the gym, always alongside normal drugs which was mostly weed.”
*Some of the names in this article have been changed.