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Anabolic Steroid Use: How it Affects Your Brain and Body

What are Anabolic Steroids?

Anabolic steroids are derivatives of testosterone.

This is the abbreviated version of the full name, anabolic-androgenic steroids. “Anabolic” means it helps build muscle, and “androgenic” means it increases male sex characteristics. Anabolic steroids are frequently referred to as Roids, Stackers, Gear, and Juice.

Most people who illegally use steroids are male weight-lifters in their 20s or 30s. Roid misuse is much less common in women and use among teens is minimal.

How are Steroids Abused?

Anabolic steroids are misused by taking them orally, injecting them into muscles, or via skin gels or creams. Juice abusers use approximately 10 to 100 times more anabolic steroid than usually prescribed to treat medical conditions. Any non-medical use of anabolic steroids is substance abuse.

Common styles of steroid misuse include:

  1. The cycling style involves using for a time, then stopping, and then restarting
  2. Stacking refers to the use of two or more types of steroids and/or combining oral with injectable or topical types
  3. Pyramiding involves gradually increasing the frequency of steroid misuse, very briefly plateauing, and then slowly tapering off to zero
  4. The plateauing style involves substituting or alternating one steroid with another in an empty attempt to keep tolerance from happening

Roid misuse is associated with the following mind altering effects:

  • Unreasonable
  • Hyper-jealousy
  • Paranoid
  • Irritability
  • Aggression or “roid rage”
  • Physically combative
  • Dellusions
  • Impaired judgment
  • Mania

Long-term effects include:

  • Kidney problems including failure
  • Liver damage and tumors
  • Enlarged heart
  • High blood pressure
  • Changes in blood cholesterol
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Increased risk of blood clots

Side effects specific top males include:

  1. shrinking testicles
  2. decreased sperm count
  3. baldness
  4. development of breasts
  5. augmented risk for prostate cancer

Side effects in women include:

  1. growth of facial hair
  2. growth of excess body hair
  3. decreased breast size
  4. male-pattern baldness
  5. changes in menstrual cycle
  6. amenorrhea
  7. enlarged clitoris
  8. deepened voice

Side effects in teens include:

  1. stunted growth
  2. stunted height

Steroid misuse withdrawal symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • restlessness
  • loss of appetite
  • sleep problems
  • decreased sex drive
  • steroid cravings

Steroid Dependence

Steroid dependence is a twin addictions phenomenon because it meets the criteria of:

  1. Classic substance abuse because it is an example of repetitive self-defeating behavior
  2. Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a non-substance use, psychiatric disorder characterized by the somewhat delusional notion that their muscles are never big enough and therefore they are compelled to engage in exceptional measures to keep weightlifting and using steroids despite what is an abundantly muscular person.

Reach Out

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse problem, please reach out to our addiction specialists for guidance and support, at (877)-RECOVERY or (877)-732-6837. Our addiction specialists make themselves available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because We Care.

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