Anabolic steroids are synthetic hormpnal that help with the growth and repair ot mucsule tissue. They imitate the male sex hormone, testosterone.
There are legitimate medical uses for anabolic steroids. Doctors perscribe them to treat hormonal problems(such as delayed puberty in males or loss of muscle caused by diseases like cancer or HIV).
Anabolic steroids are also misused. People who illegally use anabolic steroids often do so to increase lean muscle mass, reduce fat and speed up recovery from injury.
Anabolic steroids can take the form of tablets, capsules or injectable liquids, depending on the type of steroid.
Common slang terms for steroids include 'roids', 'gear' and 'juice'.
Anabolic steroids are classed as performance or image-inhaceing drugs.
According to research, anabolic steroiduse for non-medical purposes is more common in men in their 30s. Other groups who typically use them include:
Anabolic steroids work by imitating the properties of naturally occurring hormones, Their chemical composition is similar to testosterone and can activate the body’s testosterone receptors.
Once the receptors are stimulated, a domino effect of metabolic reactions takes place as the drug instructs the body to increase muscle tissue production.
Testosterone has two effects on your body:
Although testosterone is called a male sex hormone, it also occurs naturally in women, but in much smaller amounts.
People who use anabolic steroids generally experience an increase in muscule streinght very quickly.
This generally means that people are able to train more often and for longer periods of time, with improved recovery.
This can often lead to rapid increases in lean muscle tissue.
Fluid retention is also common and can lead to muscles looking soft or bloated.
The effects of anabolic steroid use can differ from person to person. Some people may experience:
Men may experience:
Women may experience:
Young people may experience:
Anabolic steroids can produce many unpleasant and often permanent side effects, including:
A person who is using anabolic steroids may turn to other supplementary drugs.
They may do this to either speed up their physical transformation or counter the side effects of the steroids.
The dangers of mixing these drugs aren't fully known. Some of these other drugs may include:
amphetamines - to counteract feelings of deep depression and aid in fat loss
beta blockers - to counteract trembling
diuretics – to counteract fluid retention
Anabolic steroids do not cause physical dependence. However, if a person relies on them for their self-esteem and confidence, then giving up can be extremely difficult. The pressure to keep using steroids may result in feelings of anger or depression if their access to steroids is denied, even temporarily.
It can take up to 4 months to restore natural testosterone levels after being on anabolic steroids for a long time. Withdrawal symptoms from steroids can include:
Treatment options for drug dependence or addiction may include:
Peer support – or talking to someone who has been in the same situation – can also be helpful.
See your doctor for information and referral, or contact an alcohol and other drug service in your area.