Steroids can also treat diseases that cause muscle loss, such as cancer and AIDS. But some athletes and bodybuilders misuse these drugs in an attempt to boost performance or improve their physical appearance. 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 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 may be 10 to times higher than doses prescribed to treat medical conditions. There is no scientific evidence that any of these practices reduce the harmful medical consequences of these drugs. Anabolic steroids work differently from other drugs of abuse; they do not have the same short-term effects on the brain.
Aside from mental effects, steroid use commonly causes severe acne. It also causes the body to swell, especially in the hands and feet. Some of these physical changes, such as shrinking sex organs in men, can add to mental side effects such as mood disorders.
Even though anabolic steroids do not cause the same high as other drugs, they can lead to a substance use disorder. A substance use disorder occurs when a person continues to misuse steroids, even though there are serious consequences for doing so. The most severe form of a substance use disorder is addiction. People might continue to misuse steroids despite physical problems, high costs to buy the drugs, and negative effects on their relationships.
These behaviors reflect steroids' addictive potential. Research has further found that some steroid users turn to other drugs, such as opioids, to reduce sleep problems and irritability caused by steroids. One of the more serious withdrawal symptoms is depression, which can sometimes lead to suicide attempts. Some people seeking treatment for anabolic steroid addiction have found a combination of behavioral therapy and medications to be helpful. In certain cases of addiction, patients have taken medicines to help treat symptoms of withdrawal.
For example, health care providers have prescribed antidepressants to treat depression and pain medicines for headaches and muscle and joint pain. Other medicines have been used to help restore the patient's hormonal system. You can have withdrawal symptoms if you stop using them, including. The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health. Anabolic Steroids Also called: Anabolic-androgenic steroids, Performance-enhancing drugs.
What are anabolic steroids? What are anabolic steroids used for? Why do people misuse anabolic steroids? What are the health effects of misusing anabolic steroids? You can have withdrawal symptoms if you stop using them, including Fatigue Restlessness Loss of appetite Sleep problems Decreased sex drive Steroid cravings Depression , which can sometimes be serious and even lead to suicide attempts Behavioral therapy and medicines can be helpful in treating anabolic steroid addiction.
Diagnosis and Tests. Learn More. Anabolic Steroids -- see more articles.
However, research has not shown that steroids improve skill, agility, or athletic performance. Steroids can also have serious psychological side effects. Some users may become aggressive or combative, believe things that aren't true delusions , or have extreme feelings of mistrust or fear paranoia. And people who use steroids also appear to be at higher risk for using other drugs, such as alcohol or cocaine, often to counteract some of the negative effects of steroids.
Steroid users who inject the drugs with a needle are at risk for infection with HIV human immunodeficiency virus , the virus that causes AIDS, if they share needles with other users. People who use dirty needles are also at risk for contracting hepatitis , a liver disease, or bacterial endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart.
Some people "cycle" their steroid doses. This means they take multiple doses of steroids over a period of time, stop for a period, then start up again. Other steroid users may "pyramid" their steroids, starting with a low dose and gradually increasing the dose, frequency, or number of anabolic steroids taken, then tapering off to complete a cycle.
Users believe that stacking enhances the effects of each individual drug, pyramiding allows the body to get used to high doses of steroids, and steroid-free periods help the body recuperate from the drugs. There is no scientific evidence to support any of these claims. A lot of people tell themselves they'll only use steroids for a season or a school year. Unfortunately, steroids can be addictive, making it hard to stop taking them.
And once users stop taking steroids, they can have withdrawal symptoms such as loss of appetite, tiredness, restlessness, insomnia, mood swings, and depression. Anabolic steroid use is illegal and banned by professional sports organizations and medical associations.
In spite of this, some athletes continue to take steroids because they think it gives them a competitive advantage. As seen in high-profile cases, if an athlete is caught using steroids, his or her career can be destroyed. And there are serious health consequences.
When it comes right down to it, harming your body or getting disqualified aren't smart ways to try to improve your athletic performance. Being a star athlete means working hard and training the healthy way: eating the right foods , practicing, and strength training without the use of drugs. Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD. Larger text size Large text size Regular text size.
What Are Steroids? Athletes sometimes take anabolic steroids because of their testosterone-like effects. Even though they don't cause a high, anabolic steroids can be addictive. You can have withdrawal symptoms if you stop using them, including. The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.
Anabolic Steroids Also called: Anabolic-androgenic steroids, Performance-enhancing drugs. What are anabolic steroids? What are anabolic steroids used for? Why do people misuse anabolic steroids? What are the health effects of misusing anabolic steroids?
You can have withdrawal symptoms if you stop using them, including Fatigue Restlessness Loss of appetite Sleep problems Decreased sex drive Steroid cravings Depression , which can sometimes be serious and even lead to suicide attempts Behavioral therapy and medicines can be helpful in treating anabolic steroid addiction.
Diagnosis and Tests. Learn More.
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