|(Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Oscar Pistorius, known as the paralympic star “Blade Runner” made the headlines last week after he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkemp, through the bathroom door of his house. Pistorius made more headlines yesterday when banned steroids were found in his home.
Pistorius claims he forgot Steenkemp was spending the night and thought there was an intruder in house and shot at them through the bathroom door. Detectives believe he may have been in an alcohol and steroid induced rage, known as roid rage, and intended to shoot Steenkemp after an altercation occurred over texts she received from a Francis Hougaard, a South African Rugby star.
Under this assumption, detectives ordered blood tests for steroids and searched his house to determine if steroid abuse was at play. It is unclear as of yet if his defense attorney will use self-defense or roid rage insanity to defend Pistorius. According to South African law, self-defense is permissible only to the extent that you have repelled an attack, which means when Pistorius fired his weapon, it was an excessive use of force. If Pistorius tests positive for steroids, the roid rage defense could be used but skeptics say it would win only in extraordinary circumstances.
Steroids can be abused just as other addictive substances like cocaine and heroin and often require drug rehab for recovery. They are used to build up muscles by boosting the male hormone testosterone. Excess testosterone can cause negative physical impacts such as liver and heart damage and mental and emotional damage by inciting aggressive and paranoid behavior. Studies have revealed that incarcerated violent criminals and athletes attracted to sports with a high propensity toward violence, like football and hockey, have above average levels of testosterone.
When men or women take steroids above the therapeutic dosage, they can experience intense mood swings, aggression and irrational behavior. Steroids can become addictive because they are potent mood elevators at first and if an abuser stops taking them they experience “estrogen rebound” – causing a surge of suppressed estrogen to flood the body, lowering mood and sex drive. The abuse of steroids mimics the abuse of alcohol or drugs in that addicts continue to take them despite negative health and social consequences, they need more to achieve the same effect and experience withdrawal symptoms once they have stopped.
Steroid addiction often requires addiction treatment because of the severity of depression and suicide risk after stopping the drug. Unlike the speedier recovery from other addictive substances, studies have shown that the depressive symptoms associated with steroid abuse can last up to a year after use is discontinued. Either way, Pistorius has a long, rocky road ahead of him.