Steroid Education Sheet
Steroids are used to reduce or prevent inflammation and decrease immune responses.
They also can be used to treat some cancers.
How to take steroids:
*Take with food to avoid stomach upset.
*Take in the morning to coincide with the body’s natural cortisol secretion cycle.
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS
Additional Information about Potential Psychological Effects
• Emotional and social side effects of steroids can be unpredictable. Research estimates vary
widely, but suggest that between 2 – 57% of people experience these side effects.
• Up to 6% of patients experience severe psychiatric side-effects including mania, depression,
psychosis, delirium, and obsessive-compulsive syndrome.
• These psychological difficulties, even if at relatively low levels, can cause relationship challenges
and can lead to frustration, poor communication, and fear.
• A pre-existing mental illness does not necessarily predict psychiatric side effects from steroids.
However, if someone has pre-existing symptoms or a pre-existing vulnerability for mental
health problems, steroids can potentially make them worse.
• Psychiatric side effects can emerge at the start of treatment and often get better after the steroid
is discontinued; however, these side effects can sometimes first emerge after the medication
• Inform your doctor if you or a loved one notices concerning emotional, social, or psychological
changes. Different treatments are available, including medication-based treatments and
treatments not involving medication (such as therapy).