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Utilisation de stéroïdes anabolisants chez des adolescents ayant une activité sportive


Objective: Until a few years ago, the use of anabolic androgen steroids (AAS) had been reserved exclusively for professional athletes. In the Anglo-Saxon countries, AAS are widely disseminated among adolescents and high school students. In Australia, the United States and England, the use of AAS could become a phenomenon of social relevance, if in fact it has not already done so, due to behavioral disorders among consumers of these substances. The literature indicates that AAS users are consumers of many other substances likely to trigger aggressive and dangerous behavior to themselves and to others. The purpose of this study is to investigate the habits, the lifestyle and the psychological profile of a group of adolescents who attend sports centers of the city of Palermo (Italy), and who use AAS. Methods: One hundred and twenty subjects (86 men and 34 women), aged between 16 and 19 years were interviewed in gyms and sports centers. A revision of the American Massachusetts Youth Risk Survey questionnaire (1993), adapted to the Italian context, and a personality assessment scale were administered to this group of subjects. The questionnaire includes a specific question on the use of AAS and questions about the presence of risky behavior: drug use, suicide attempts, sexual risk behaviors. The Adjective Check List was also used. From the data obtained, correlation analysis (rank correlation Spearman's Rho) was carried out. Results: The data analysis showed that 24% of people make use of AAS with a different frequency -20% of female subjects using steroids-which is an usage percentage higher than that reported in the literature. Those who use AAS reported a higher percentage than non-users regarding serious suicidal thoughts (7.2%). They also admitted to not using condoms for casual sex (53% versus 48%), denying the risk of contracting AIDS. In our study, the correlation analysis between the scales of the ACL and AAS use variable provides interesting insights: subjects who use AAS frequently appear to have fewer incentives and narrow interests, are more reserved, and more conventional. These individuals are more prone to self-depreciation, are overwhelmed by everyday problems. They describe ambiguous relations with others, manifesting a deviant opposition, subject to litigation. They are unwilling to conform to the expectations of everyday life. These individuals are prone to superstition and display a low ability to cope with stress. They are more suspicious and distrustful of the intentions of others and are defensive about themselves. They have more difficulty compared to other people as they are anxious, worried about being emotionally involved, detached and skeptical about the intentions of others. They do not like routine and they seem dissatisfied with their current situation. They react badly to social pressure. They are perceived as unpredictable, lacking self-control and influenced by irrational and illogical thoughts. Discussion: This study is systematically included in the psychiatric literature and confirms the most recent data from previous studies providing a valuable psychological profile of young people who use AAS. The teenager who uses AAS seems shy in interpersonal relationships, has a tendency to self-depreciation, is quarrelsome, all of which are in proportion to the frequency of use of these substances. Numerous studies support that AAS are psychostimulant substances and that they are used for this reason. Interestingly, many steroid users combine the use of these substances with other drugs. This suggests that consumers of AAS (especially those also taking other drugs) are pushed to consume it for its psychostimulant effects. It is often the effects on the muscles that maintain the addiction.