Sunday, January 15, 2006

Review: MTV True Life - I'm On Steroids

In a recent "documentary" (and I use that term loosely), MTV explored the lives of three young men who decided to use steroids in an attempt to enhance their bodies, and more importantly, their lives and careers. In the course of the show, we see all three of them inject steroids but are never told what they are using, how they are using them, for how long, what if any ancillaries and if there is any type of post cycle therapy. This is unfortunate, because it doesn't let the viewer know any of the details of
the individual cycle and what it includes. They simply go over the benefits and side effects, including one guy's conflict with his girlfriend.

The show involves three men, one is a model and is trying to get on the cover of a fitness magazine, one is a semi-pro fighter or some type and one is a gay guy who wants to win a strip competition at a bar. At the end, after doing their cycles of unnamed substances they all succeed at their goals. The one guy gets his pictures in a magazine, although not on the cover. The other dude wins his fight but his bitchy girlfriend breaks up with him, and the gay guy wins the strip competition. The moral of the story?

Well, that's up to the the viewer. A major aspect of the show is about a man named Rob Garibaldi who's parents claimed killed himself because of his steroid use. According to them, he was on "steroid withdrawal".

One of the most disturbing things about the entire show is the fact that we do not hear from a single medical doctor. All of the claims about steroids are made about their users and their hearsay knowledge and opinions on the subject. MTV obviously attempts to use the typical scare tactics and drug propaganda to scare people away from steroids, but when I was done watching the show I was ready to shoot up 3cc's of testosterone and go to the gym. The entire way this episode was displayed to the viewer was deceptive, misconstruing and at best a half hearted attempt to keep teenagers off steroids.

Unfortunately, this show sends the complete opposite message. The problem with these individuals is not that they use steroids, but that they have body dysmorphia and are depressed. They need medical treatment and therapy to deal with their inferiority complexes, body obsessions and other possible disorders that were lost on the editing floor. An excellent book covering the subject, The Adonis Complex: The Secret Crisis of Male Body Obsession, is a book the shows participants should consider picking up a copy of, as well as it's readers. It details these problems and the fact that steroids is simply a side issue of body dysmorphia.

With all the lies and half truths on this show it's hard to known where to start and where to end with what's wrong with this episode. The first thing is that no one has ever killed themselves because of steroids. I truly feel sorry for the parents of the young man who committed suicide that was featured in this episode, but steroids are not at fault. Trying to use steroids as a scapegoat for poor parenting and missing obvious signs of emotional trauma is an easy way to cope with the loss of their son, but they don't realize how many people they're actually hurting with their nonsense. People like these testified before Congress, which eventually enacted legislation to increase stronger penalties to steroid users. That doesn't put them in treatment or help them with any emotional difficulties, it just puts them in jail. The truth is that there is absolutely zero evidence that steroids have any link to suicide. When you look at the data, it's very clear that when individuals abuse steroids they have very obvious emotional problems and generally use other recreational narcotic substances as well.

Toxicological findings and manner of death in autopsied users of anabolic androgenic steroids.

Petersson A, Garle M, Holmgren P, Druid H, Krantz P, Thiblin I.

Department of Forensic Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Sweden.

With the aim to characterize patterns in toxicological profile and manner of death in deceased users of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS), a retrospective autopsy protocol study of 52 deceased users of AAS was undertaken. The AAS users were compared to 68 deceased users of amphetamine and/or heroin who were consecutively tested and found to be negative for AAS. Use of AAS was in the majority of cases (79%) associated with concomitant use of psychotropic substances. AAS-related deaths differed in several respects from deaths among users of heroin or amphetamine, most strikingly with regard to: (a) the median age at death, which was significantly lower for AAS users (24.5 years) than for users of heroin and/or amphetamine (34 and 40 years, respectively); (b) the manner of death, with AAS users dying significantly more often from homicide or suicide than users of other drugs; and (c) the body mass index (BMI), with AAS users exhibiting significantly higher BMI than users of other drugs. These results support the earlier reported association between use of AAS and use of other psychoactive substances. In addition, the data suggest that AAS users are more likely to become involved in incidents leading to violent death and have a higher risk of dying at a younger age than users of other drugs.

The common misnomer "roid rage" is applied to people who use steroids, but medical reports do not correlate the two. The truth is that many doctors are now prescribing anabolic steroids, most specifically testosterone, to depressed patients with low levels of the steroid in order to enhance mood.

The effects of supraphysiological doses of testosterone on angry behavior in healthy eugonadal men--a clinical research center study.

Tricker R, Casaburi R, Storer TW, Clevenger B, Berman N, Shirazi A, Bhasin S.

Division of Endocrinology, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, California 90059, USA.

Anecdotal reports of "roid rage" and violent crimes by androgenic steroid users have brought attention to the relationship between anabolic steroid use and angry outbursts. However, testosterone effects on human aggression remain controversial. Previous studies have been criticized because of the low androgen doses, lack of placebo control or blinding, and inclusion of competitive athletes and those with preexisting psychopathology. To overcome these pitfalls, we used a double-blind, placebo-controlled design, excluded competitive athletes and those with psychiatric disorders, and used 600 mg testosterone enanthate (TE)/week. Forty-three eugonadal men, 19-40 yr, were randomized to 1 of 4 groups: Group I, placebo, no exercise; Group II, TE, no exercise; Group III, placebo, exercise; Group IV, TE plus exercise. Exercise consisted of thrice weekly strength training sessions. The Multi-Dimensional Anger Inventory (MAI), which includes 5 different dimensions of anger (inward anger, outward anger, anger arousal, hostile outlook, and anger eliciting situations), and a Mood Inventory (MI), which includes items related to mood and behavior, were administered to subjects before, during, and after the 10 week intervention. The subject's significant other (spouse, live-in partner, or parent) also answered the same questions about the subject's mood and behavior (Observer Mood Inventory, OMI). No differences were observed between exercising and nonexercising and between placebo and TE treated subjects for any of the 5 subdomains of MAI. Overall there were no significant changes in MI or OMI during the treatment period in any group. Conclusion: Supraphysiological doses of testosterone, when administered to normal men in a controlled setting, do not increase angry behavior. These data do not exclude the possibility that still higher doses of multiple steroids might provoke angry behavior in men with preexisting psychopathology.
Individuals who take the time to educate themselves about steroids and how to use and cycle them properly will know the potential side effects, how to deal with them, and what to expect when the cycle ends. This is a responsible steroid user who is not abusing the drug, but using it for aesthetic purposes - just as a woman might go into a plastic surgeon and request shots of Botox.

See also: Don't Confuse Me with the Facts: Doctors Have Their Own Opinions on Steroids!

Despite the fact that we couldn't discern what the individuals were using in the show, I caught two clues of the possibilities. The first was 6-OXO, and OTC anti-estrogen and testosterone booster manufactured by Ergopharm.

Free Image Hosting at

The second was a bottle of Quality Vet (no longer in business, shut down by the DEA). It could of been any of their products from deca, test, eq or something else possibly depending on when the show was shot.

Free Image Hosting at


There is no denying steroids are very power compounds and very much care and caution must be taken when one chooses to use them. A lot of research needs to be done before anyone would want to attempt to use them if they so choose. However, most steroid users who use them responsibly will tell you that they are glad with their results and that they use them with the care and caution they deserve. Unlike the individuals in the show who most likely did not know what they were using.

MTV True Life - I'm on Steroids  - Watch the full episode below (thanks to

For those who want to learn the truth about steroids, I recommend the following.:
Anabolics 2005
Legal Muscle: Anabolics in America
Big Cat's Steroid Profiles

Steroids? Alcohol is real problem


Anonymous said...

the QV (quality-vet) steroid that is in the photo is boldenone undecyclate, commonly refered to as "equipoise." The QV bottles designated a different color label to each compound. Pink was nandrolone decanoate, orange was stanazolol (winstrol), gold was testosterone propionate or testosterone enanthate, and green was "equipoise."

Anonymous said...

The last article cited has a seriously flawed design. Neurohormone sciece has progressed rapidly within the last decade. Many steroids are known to exert their action at several levels of biological activity, including receptor alterations, changes in enzyme activity, and gene regulation and transcipt modification. Some of these processes take weeks to months to manifest as global changes in neurological status. The effect of these same steroids on hypogondal individuals will not be same, after repeated cycles, as has been observed for eugonadal (normal sex hormones panel status) subjects.

On more item. A body of evidence is emerging that suggests AAS compound are addictive, which supports their concommitant use with psychoactive drugs as means of self medication for induced neurotransmitter imbalance.

I suggest you look to the neuropharmacology of nicotine for an excellent example of this self medicating cycle of treatment complicating and worsening, in the long term, neurostransmitter receptor function.

Anonymous said...

If what you say is the case, then please cite specific studies that suggest AAS are physically addictive substances.

My recollection is that during congressional hearings prior to the "scheduling" of AAS in 1991, the AMA, FDA and DEA opposed adding AAS to the CSA.

There has yet (to my knowledge) been any significant study that suggests physically addictive properties of AAS.

Related Posts with Thumbnails