What Are Anabolic Steroids?

Anabolic or anabolic-androgenic steroids are synthetic or “man-made” variations of testosterone, the male sex hormone. The term anabolic refers to muscle building and androgenic refers to increased male sex characteristics.

Testosterone is a necessary hormone in men needed for male sex characteristics like facial hair, deep voice, and muscle growth. Women also have testosterone but in much smaller amounts.

How Does an Anabolic Steroid Work?

Anabolic steroids are used to treat some health problems such as hormone problems in men, delayed puberty, and to treat muscle loss that some diseases may cause. However, these drugs are also misused.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

The majority of people who misuse steroids are male weightlifters in their 20s or 30s. Anabolic steroid misuse is much less common in women. It is difficult to measure steroid misuse in the United States because many national surveys do not measure it. However, use among teens is generally minimal. The 2016 NIDA-funded Monitoring the Future study has shown that past-year misuse of steroids has declined among 8th and 10th graders in recent years while holding steady for 12th graders. People who misuse anabolic steroids usually take them orally, inject them into muscles, or apply them to the skin as a gel or cream. These doses maybe 10 to 100 times higher than doses prescribed to treat medical conditions. (NIDA)

Misusing anabolic steroids can cause several health problems and lead to addiction and dependence on the steroids to look and feel good despite the negative health consequences.

What Are Anabolic Steroids?

Side Effects of Anabolic Steroids When Taken By Men

Anabolic steroids, especially when abused over a lvong period, can cause several physical and psychological side effects. Some of the physical side effects in men can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Blood clots
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney damage
  • Cholesterol issues
  • Stomach pain
  • Increased risk for prostate cancer
  • Acne
  • Baldness
  • Breast growth in men
  • Low sperm count
  • Shrinking testicles

Side Effects of Anabolic Steroids When Taken By Women

Anabolic steroids, especially when abused over a long period, can cause several physical and psychological side effects to a woman. Physical side effects in women can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Blood clots
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney damage
  • Cholesterol issues
  • Stomach pain
  • Severe acne
  • Loss of breasts
  • Facial and body hair growth
  • Deepened voice
  • Hair loss
  • Increased sex drive
  • Menstrual issues
  • Swelling of the clitoris

Anabolic steroids can also cause stunted growth in teens. These drugs accelerate bone growth, so if an adolescent who hasn’t yet hit a growth spurt misuses them, they can cause premature aging and restricted growth.

Abusing Anabolic Steroids Have Devastating Health Effects

Abusing steroids especially over a long period can have a devastating effect emotionally and psychologically as well. Some of the psychological side effects of misuse can include:

  • Paranoia
  • Manic behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Aggression
  • Extreme irritability
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Impaired judgment

Withdrawal Symptoms from Anabolic Steroid Abuse

While steroids do not have the same short-term effects on the brain as other drugs, meaning they do not get you high, they are still addictive. Users can develop a tolerance to them, have withdrawal symptoms if they are suddenly stopped, and crave more of the drug. Some of the withdrawal symptoms steroids can cause if they are abruptly discontinued can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Appetite loss
  • Problems sleeping
  • Decrease in sex drive
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Intense cravings

Anabolic steroid addiction is unique in fashion. Research has shown that it can lead to other substance abuse issues as well. If you are having an issue with steroid abuse or addiction, please get help or treatment as soon as possible.

Treatment for Anabolic Steroid Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Recreate Life Counseling offers solution-focused treatment and evidence-based addiction treatment programs.

We believe that treatment must be tailored to each person for the best outcome, and we pride ourselves on individualized treatment. Recreate Life Counseling will help you get on the road to achieving long-lasting recovery. Call us today.