There is some evidence that the reinforcing qualities of steroid use go beyond an attraction to their physical benefits. Lab animals such as mice and hamsters will repeatedly self-administer testosterone and other anabolic/androgenic steroids for example, an effect that cannot be caused by a perception of physical change. Testosterone is also known to interact with the mesolimbic dopamine system, which is common with other drugs of abuse. Studies additionally suggest that anabolic/androgenic steroids influence dopamine transporter density and increase sensitivity of the brain reward system. Steroids are known to influence psychology, and abusers commonly report an increased sense of wellness, vitality, and confidence when taking AAS drugs. Some speculate this is due in part to an inherent psychoactive effect. Further research is needed to determine if anabolic/androgenic steroids are actually mild psychoactive drugs.
Anabolic/androgenic steroids are not drugs of marked intoxication, which makes them very different from other drugs and abuse or dependency. This makes diagnosing a drug dependency difficult. By definition, drug dependency is related to the abuse of a psychoactive substance, and it is unknown if AAS drugs can accurately be classified as psychoactive substances. At the present time, most experts do not regard anabolic/androgenic steroids as drugs of true physical dependency. It is difficult to correlate the post-cycle hormone imbalance with traditional withdrawal symptoms,and tolerance is really a function of metabolic limits on muscle growth, not necessarily a diminishing biological effect. Individuals remain warned, however, that steroid abuse is commonly associated with the signs of psychological dependency. Further research is needed to evaluate the biological and psychological nature of steroid abuse.
Wlliam Llewellyn (2011) - Anabolics