Can you overdose or die if you misuse anabolic steroids?

Yes. Although it is rare, there are a few ways steroid misuse can cause death.

  • Heart attacks and strokes. Steroid misuse can lead to a condition called atherosclerosis, where fat builds up inside arteries and makes it hard for blood to flow. When blood flow to the heart is blocked, a heart attack can occur. If blood flow to the brain is blocked, a stroke can occur.
  • HIV. People who inject anabolic steroids using needles might share dirty drug injection equipment that can spread serious viral infections such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis (a liver disease).
  • Depression. Steroid misuse can lead to depression, especially during withdrawal. In rare cases, this can contribute to destructive behaviors, including suicide. 
  • Cancer. There is some scientific evidence that repeated misuse of anabolic steroids can contribute to the development of liver and prostate cancer. 

Mixing steroids with other drugs, including alcohol, can be especially dangerous.

Learn more about drug overdoses in youth.