About this Research Topic
Starting from the beginning of the 21st century, increasing use of Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs (APED) has been observed. This particular group of pharmacologically active substances not only refer to natural or synthetic products consumed to enhance appearance or improve physical performance, but also to compounds referred to as stimulants of cognitive and sexual boosters. It has been demonstrated that each of these substances and any mixture of them can cause alteration of psychiatric homeostasis in consumers and that pharmatoxicological consequences of their use are likely associated with psychiatric consequences.
The first substances to be taken into consideration are Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS); a family of synthetic "Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs" (APED) derived from natural sex hormones, administered to elite athletes to boost muscle growth and enhance athletic performances. Their popularity also increased among amateur bodybuilders, adolescents, and young adults who aimed to improve their physical appearance. In addition, different classes of substances kept coming to attract users to enhance different kinds of behavioral and cognitive performances. The so-called Chem-sex drugs are diverted prescription drugs (e.g. phosphodiesterase V inhibitors) and psychoactive illicit substances used to facilitate and prolong sexual intercourse. Furthermore, the need for cognitive functioning improvement has pushed an increasing consumption of psychoactive substances such as methylphenidate and analogs, nootropics, racetams, and eugenoids drugs, especially among students. The common reason for the abuse of those substances seems to be the achieving of alleged perfection at different levels.
Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) and other hormones and pro-hormones, CNS stimulant drugs, (e.g. amphetamines, cocaine) -hydroxybutyric acid and (GHB), -butyrolactone, nootropics, cognitive enhancers such as nootropics, racetams, methylphenidate analogs, Eugeroics (armodafinil and modafinil) and New Psychoactive Substances are all examples of substances already abused to enhance certain performances. However, new emerging drugs constantly appear on the black market. Several intoxications related to this phenomenon have been reported in the literature, concerning even some natural molecules contained in food supplements. Considering the most frequently reported simultaneous intake of these Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs (APED), synergistic psychiatric implications may occur. This special issue mainly focuses on these repercussions.
This Research Topic welcomes Original Research, Reviews, Mini Reviews, and Reports focusing on the following topics;
• the most recent findings on psychiatric and pharmacotoxicological insights on APED consumptions, and related health threats.
• contributions focusing on chemo-analytical aspects of cognitive, sexual, and physical enhancers detection associated with psychiatric consequences.
Keywords: Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs, APED, Pharmacotoxicology, Anabolic Androgenic Steroids, psychoactive illicit substances, methylphenidate, CNS stimulant drugs, cognitive enhancers, psychiatric implications
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