Steroid addiction is a growing problem worldwide. These drugs are used to gain muscle and speed up the rehabilitation of injuries. They are most often abused by athletes. Steroids are federally classified as a Schedule III drug and come in liquid or pill form.
Steroid abuse is a growing problem worldwide. These drugs are used to gain muscle and speed up the rehabilitation of injuries. They are most often abused by athletes. Steroids are federally classified as a Schedule III drug and come in liquid or pill form.
Anabolic steroids are taken orally or injected. Abusers typically take them for monthly or weekly cycles. This pattern is referred to as “cycling” by the using community. Cycling involves taking multiple doses of steroids over a specific period of time, stopping for a period, and starting again. In addition, users frequently combine several different types of steroids to maximize their effectiveness while minimizing negative effects, a process known as “stacking.”
Anabolic androgenic steroids may increase lean muscle mass, strength, and the ability to train longer and harder. However, the serious side effects of steroids are many and may not be reversible. The minor side effects of steroid abuse include acne, oily skin, excess hair growth, and deepening of the voice. The major side effects of steroid use include an increased risk of cancer, increased risk of heart and liver disease, jaundice, fluid retention, reduction in HDL-C (“good cholesterol”), high blood pressure, changes in blood coagulation, increased risk of atherosclerosis, swelling of the soft tissues of the extremities (edema), and obstructive sleep apnea.
Side effects specific to men can include testicular atrophy (the shrinking of the testicles), reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, and the development of breasts. For women, side effects can include enlargement of the clitoris, changes in the body contour, growth of facial hair, disruption of the menstrual cycle, deepened voice and infertility.
An increase in androgenic (male) hormones may lead to aggressive behavior. Research also indicates that steroid users often suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility. The combination of these side effects has been labeled by popular media as “roid rage.”
Adolescents who abuse steroids are at a significant risk of suffering irreversible side effects, including stunted growth, accelerated puberty changes and abnormal sexual development. Adolescent girls in particular may suffer from severe acne, excessive body and facial hair, deepened voice, permanent enlargement of the clitoris, disruption of the menstrual cycle, and permanent infertility.