Steroid abuse and addiction.
anabolic steroids differs from the abuse of other illicit substances: initial
abuse of anabolic steroids is not driven by the immediate pleasure or euphoria
that motivates cocaine, heroin or marijuana use. Instead, users take steroids
in order to change their physical appearances or athletic performances. Because steroids can cause confidence and strength, abusers often overlook their
serious and long-term consequences.
can be taken orally, rubbed into the skin or injected. Typically, users
take steroids in cycles—using for periods of weeks or months, stopping for a period
of time, and then starting again. During this process, known as cycling, users
often take a cocktail of several different types of steroids in an attempt to
maximize their effects, a practice referred to as stacking. Oral and
injectable steroids are often mixed. Another type of steroid abuse, known
as pyramiding, involves slowly increasing the amount of steroids taken until
they peak mid-cycle and then tapering dosage as the cycle ends.
abuse is dangerous. It can cause addiction and withdrawal upon cessation.
Withdrawal symptoms include mood swings, insomnia and, most notably, severe
depression (which occasionally leads to suicide attempts.) Often, abusers turn
to other drugs in an attempt to counteract these symptoms. Individuals who
abuse steroids are urged to
seek treatment before they cause lasting
damage to their health and lives.
How steroids affect users.
short term, abuse of anabolic steroids can lead to aggression, extreme mood
swings and manic-like symptoms that may lead to violence. Additionally,
users may experience extreme irritability, delusions, intense anger (roid
rage), paranoid jealously and feelings of invincibility that may impair
judgment. Furthermore, because steroids are often injected, users who
share needles or use non-sterile techniques are at
risk for contracting dangerous infections, such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and
abuse of steroids results in a variety of adverse side effects and serious (often
irreversible) health problems such as liver damage, jaundice, fluid retention,
high blood pressure, increased LDL (bad cholesterol) and decreased in HDL (good
cholesterol). Abuse can also cause renal failure, severe acne, oily scalp,
heart attacks, stroke, tendon rupture and trembling. Teens who abuse
risk stunted growth due to premature skeletal maturation.
addition to these general side effects, steroid use also causes gender and
age-specific side effects:
disruption that results in infertility
risk of prostate cancer
of the testicles
of the clitoris
facial and body hair growth
Signs of steroid abuse and
several signs that a person has become addicted to steroids, including a
preoccupation with getting the next dose; continued use in spite of negative consequences; loss of control when it comes to steroid use; abnormal
speed of muscle growth; and withdrawal symptoms upon rapidly curtailed or discontinued
Treating steroid abuse and
If you or
someone you care for is struggling with steroid abuse, professional
rehabilitation can help.