Reinforcing aspects of androgens

Physiology & Behavior
Ruth I Wood


Are androgens reinforcing? Androgenic-anabolic steroids (AAS) are drugs of abuse. They are taken in large quantities by athletes and others to increase performance, often with negative long-term health consequences. As a result, in 1991, testosterone was declared a controlled substance. Recently, Brower [K.J. Brower, Anabolic steroid abuse and dependence. Curr. Psychiatry Rep. 4 (2002) 377-387.] proposed a two-stage model of AAS dependence. Users initiate steroid use for their anabolic effects on muscle growth. With continued exposure, dependence on the psychoactive effects of AAS develops. However, it is difficult in humans to separate direct psychoactive effects of AAS from the user's psychological dependence on the anabolic effects of AAS. Thus, studies in laboratory animals are useful to explore androgen reinforcement. Testosterone induces a conditioned place preference in rats and mice, and is voluntarily consumed through oral, intravenous, and intracerebroventricular self-administration in hamsters. Active, gonad-intact male and female hamsters will deliver 1 microg/microl testosterone into the lateral ventricles. Indeed, some individuals self-administer testosterone intracerebroventricularly to the point of death. Male r...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Androgen Effect
Operant Conditioning
Injections, Intraventricular
Preoptic Areas
Psychological Reinforcement
Self Administration
Substance-Related Disorders
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