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Was the Santa Barbara ‘Virgin Killer’ an Addict?
Reports surfaced earlier this week that UC Santa Barbara shooter Eliott Rodger, commonly referred to as the “Virgin Killer,” flew into a blind rage as a result of an addiction to creatine. However, it turns out those rumors amounted to Internet trolling.
The Mirror UK used quotes from a man named Chris Akin, who claimed to have known Rodger for years, and said his behavior had changed drastically after using creatine for five months. Akin said Rodger began to display “sinister changes” during their Skype conversations. “I believe he took it everyday,” he said. “He wouldn’t answer my questions about his usage but as time went on you could totally tell the changes in his character.”
…Rodger began using creatine after the loss of his “beloved best friend” who “died in a tragic squatting accident just a few months ago where he attempted a 350kg squat and the bar crushed his head.”However, it turns out that a reporter from The Mirror had been contacting all of Rodger’s Facebook friends for quotes, including this particular individual who was trolling the reporter. His lengthy messages with journalist Emma Foster included claims that Rodger began using creatine after the loss of his “beloved best friend” who “died in a tragic squatting accident just a few months ago where he attempted a 350kg squat and the bar crushed his head.”
Despite the story being preposterous, Foster decided to run with his quotes verbatim. Most media outlets have since taken down their reports of Rodger’s alleged creatine use.
What is Creatine?
The media may have jumped on addiction as a possible reason for Rodger’s mass shooting because creatine is often linked to steroid use, which can cause “roid rage.” However, the weightlifting supplement is not a hormone or steroid and has no addictive components. A 2004 study also showed that “oral creatine supplementation at a rate of five to 20 grams per day appears to be very safe and largely devoid of adverse side-effects, while at the same time effectively improving the physiological response to resistance exercise, increasing the maximal force production of muscles in both men and women.”
The media may have jumped on addiction as a possible reason for Rodger’s mass shooting because creatine is often linked to steroid use, which can cause “roid rage.”
Although creatine is commonly used as a supplement, relatively minor side effects such as muscle cramping and diarrhea related to hydration status can occur. Although there were reports of kidney damage due to creatine use, these have since been scientifically refuted. The European Food Safety Authority noted in 2004 that “oral long-term intake of 3g pure creatine per day is risk-free.”
Can You Get Addicted to Steroids?
Steroid use has several potentially serious side effects, including a rise in blood pressure, aggressive behavior, increased acne and liver damage. However, experts argue that you cannot become physically addicted to steroids because they don’t trigger rapid increases in the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for the “high” from other substances. But, prolonged use can affect the brain chemicals associated with one’s mood, such as dopamine.