Scientists have attempted to test the association between anabolic steroids and aggression by administering high steroid doses or placebo for days or weeks to human volunteers and then asking the people to report on their behavioral symptoms. To date, four such studies have been conducted. In three, high steroid doses did produce greater feelings of irritability and aggression than did placebo, although the effects appear to be highly variable across individuals. In one study, the drugs did not have that effect. One possible explanation, according to the researchers, is that some but not all anabolic steroids increase irritability and aggression. Recent animal studies show an increase in aggression after steroid administration.
Increased educational resources are available to at least certain age groups and are now reaching larger numbers of children. The percentage of pre-adolescent athletes who have heard of steroids has increased significantly from 78% in 1989 to 88% in the current survey (p<.05). In 1989, only 50% of respondents had had steroid side effects explained to them. This significantly increased to 64% in the current study (p<.05). Currently, 60% of respondents felt that steroids, even if used carefully, would still harm the athlete compared to 56% in 1989 (p<.05). Furthermore, 65% currently consider steroid use a drug problem compared to 57% in 1989 (p<.05).
Transdermal patches (adhesive patches placed on the skin) may also be used to deliver a steady dose through the skin and into the bloodstream. Testosterone-containing creams and gels that are applied daily to the skin are also available, but absorption is inefficient (roughly 10%, varying between individuals) and these treatments tend to be more expensive. Individuals who are especially physically active and/or bathe often may not be good candidates, since the medication can be washed off and may take up to six hours to be fully absorbed. There is also the risk that an intimate partner or child may come in contact with the application site and inadvertently dose himself or herself; children and women are highly sensitive to testosterone and can suffer unintended masculinization and health effects, even from small doses. Injection is the most common method used by individuals administering AAS for non-medical purposes.