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Aggressive Teenage Behaviour: Blame It On The Anabolic Steroids

A new research has found that aggressive behaviour associated with teenage and young adulthood could be due to anabolic steroids. The effect may be only temporary// , but may have long-term consequences on the developing brain. The results of this study can be seen in the Behavioral Neuroscience journal, published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

There has been an increasing concern among Neuroscientists regarding abuse of anabolic androgenic steroids (AASs) by adolescents. More than 0.5 million eighth and tenth grade students are estimated to use anabolic steroids every year, according to estimates by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Long-term abuse can lead to hallucinations, mood swings, paranoia, liver damage, hypertension, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and even cancer. Tendency to yield to habit formation and depression are common manifestations of withdrawal symptoms.

In order to analyze the effects of anabolic steroids, researchers injected the compound into adolescent hamsters and studied the behavioral changes. Mild mannered hamsters were found to defend their territory through aggression in the form of play fighting, wrestling and nibbling, learnt during puberty.

Injection of steroids in an oil suspension was found to precipitate an extreme aggressive response. The aggression was 10 times greater than that showed by control group hamsters. Furthermore, the effect of drug-induced aggression was found to last for approximately 2 weeks after withdrawal. The experimental group hamsters had their normal behaviour restored following 3 weeks of withdrawal.

Autopsy examination of the hamsters found a correlation between drug-induced brain changes and outward aggressiveness. The effect could be attributed to increased secretion of vasopressin, a neurotransmitter secreted by anterior hypothalamus. Previous studies have established the ability of vasopressin
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