Anabolic Steroid Use Among College Wrestlers


Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Collegiate sports allow students the opportunity to grow, develop and challenge themselves in multiple ways.  Some athletes might have the opportunity to participate in sports during their college years, which can change their experience as a student – either for the better or worse.  Some students may find that their experience as an athlete increases pressure to perform or excel to a certain standard, which can bring out increased anxiety or apprehension.

Sports and Steroids

wrestlers-646521_1280Some sports may be described as more intensive than others.  This may be due to the commitment involved with the sport, the expectations associated with performance, and more.  For collegiate sports that emphasize a certain body stature and shape, such as wrestling, gymnastics, and dance, a whole new layer of pressure can be added to the athlete.  This may lead some athletes to engage in behaviors that would give them a competitive edge over other athletes, particularly as competition can be fierce.

In the wrestling world, the use of anabolic steroids is not uncommon.  According to the American College of Sports Medicine, steroid users are more likely to be males and to use tobacco, alcohol, and other illicit drugs[1].  Student athletes are also more likely to use steroids than non-athletes, with weightlifters, wrestlers, bodybuilders, and football players having a higher prevalence of steroid use than other athletes [1].  Anabolic steroids are thought to offer a competitive edge to athletes, as they have a similar effect to testosterone in the body.  Some athletes may look to steroids as a means of increasing muscular strength and overall muscle mass, which can be desirable to athletes who are competing with such emphasis.

men-83501_1280The use of anabolic steroids in competitive sports is controversial, particularly at the collegiate level.  There are many adverse and negative side effects associated with anabolic steroid use, which can jeopardize the health and wellness of a college athlete.  The use of anabolic steroids can also lead to addictive behaviors, which can cause severe consequences to the student athlete, in both their sport and overall collegiate career.

If you are a student athlete who is struggling with anabolic steroid abuse, please reach out to someone you trust about these concerning behaviors.  Ultimately, your life is more important than competition, and it is important to keep these priorities in check.


Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What pressures might wrestlers face at the college level?  How might a person who has a predisposition to addictive behaviors be more susceptible to steroid use as a wrestler?



  1. American College of Sports Medicine, “Anabolic Steroids”,

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions and co-occurring disorders.  These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.  We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors.  If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.  


Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on September 4, 2015. Published on