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Steroid Abuse and Addiction

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What to Know About Steroid Abuse and Addiction

Abuse of steroids is more common than some might think. And it’s not just in the athletic field. In 2014, almost 1 in 50 high school seniors used steroids—that’s tens of thousands of 12th grade students.

Navigation: Anabolic Steroids Overview, Steroid Abuse and Effects, Anabolic Steroid Addiction, What Is Estrogen Rebound?, Combining Steroids with Other Drugs, Rehab is Your Best Chance


Steroids are known for boosting athletic performance and allowing people to build muscle faster. Because of its effects, many people abuse steroids. But its reputation is far from perfect. Steroids are also known for adverse effects and the possibility of developing addiction.

Once a person becomes addicted, it can be hard to quit without help from medical professionals and addiction experts.

Because of its performance-enhancing properties, use of anabolic steroids is common in certain sports. One survey revealed that 9.1 percent of retired National Football League (NFL) players admitted to using steroids at some point during their career.

Abuse of steroids is more common than some might think. And it’s not just in the athletic field. In 2014, almost 1 in 50 high school seniors used steroids—that’s tens of thousands of 12th grade students.

Unfortunately, many of those who use anabolic steroids realize how addictive it is. They don’t know that steroids can be hard to quit once you’ve taken it consistently.

Here we are going to take a closer look at what anabolic steroids are, as well as their potential effects.


Anabolic Steroids Overview

Many people know what steroids do, but few actually know what they are. Anabolic steroids are drugs that are synthetically made to mimic the male sex hormone known as testosterone. The term “anabolic” refers to the substance’s ability to build muscle.

Anabolic steroids can be used in medical settings, which is why they are sometimes prescribed by doctors. Doctors may prescribe them for the treatment of hormone imbalances in men, or delayed puberty in adolescent boys.

Other uses of anabolic steroids include treatment of conditions like impotence, breast cancer, osteoporosis, endometriosis, hypogonadism, and muscle loss caused by disease. In some cases of people with HIV, anabolic steroids may be prescribed to help deal with their weight loss.

Common brands of steroids include: Winstrol, Anavar, Dianabol, Anadrol-50, and Oxandrin.

Anabolic steroids can increase muscle growth as well as body mass. They typically come in pill form, but can also come in the form of creams, topical gels, and injectable liquids.

Steroids are so commonly abused that they even have street names like juice, roids, stackers, and hype. It is worth noting that steroid abusers often go for the veterinary steroids because they produce the same effects, but are cheaper and easier to obtain.


Steroid Abuse and Effects

Because of its potential adverse effects, using anabolic steroids without a prescription is considered abuse. This is also illegal. What makes steroid abuse so dangerous is that abusers would often take much larger doses than would normally be prescribed.

Contrary to popular belief, most of the people who abuse steroids are not actually participating in sports. Most of them just want to reach their fitness goals or change their appearance. That said, there are still those who use it to get a competitive edge in sports.

Those who abuse anabolic steroids do so because of its ability to help them with their workouts. Steroids help their muscles heal faster, which means they can exercise for longer and achieve greater results.

It is possible for these individuals to eventually develop tolerance for the substance, which means they have to take more of it just to experience the same effects. This also puts them at a greater risk of severe side effects.

There are three common ways of abusing anabolic steroids, namely “stacking”, “cycling”, and “pyramiding”.

Stacking may refer to the act of taking multiple steroids at the same time, or taking both oral and injectable formulations at once. This is done because users believe it will boost the effects of the steroids even further, but there is no scientific evidence to support this.

Cycling refers to taking anabolic steroids during specific periods of time. Users will take multiple doses for several weeks and then stop for several weeks before taking them again. They do so to reduce the damage to their body.

Finally, pyramiding is a method of taking steroids in a particular cycle. Users may begin with a lower dose and then slowly increase their intake to a maximum dose. In the cycle’s second half, they will start to taper down their steroid intake.

Unfortunately, none of these methods have been verified by any scientific research. This means that the risks remain the same. In fact, these methods may be even more dangerous simply because people have the notion that they are safer. This belief may lead to continued abuse.

It is possible to overdose on anabolic steroids, but this situation is rare. However, a steroid overdose can be deadly as it can cause heart attack, coma, or stroke.

Anabolic Steroid Addiction

Unlike other drugs, anabolic steroids don’t actually produce a high. It does not cause euphoria in its users. But addiction is still possible.

People who regularly take these drugs may continue to abuse steroids in order to achieve the physique they want, which fuels their desire to keep taking them. Over time, the use of steroids becomes compulsive. The person will seek out and use anabolic steroids even if they are already experiencing its adverse effects. If they suddenly quit the drug, they will go through withdrawal.

Common withdrawal symptoms caused by anabolic steroids include: loss of appetite, mood swings, low sex drive, fatigue, insomnia, and severe depression.

Those who have a history of substance use disorders are at greater risk of developing an addiction to anabolic steroids. This also applies to people with certain co-occurring disorders, particularly body dysmorphia. They will continue to abuse steroids in order to keep “improving” their body even when they have already gone past their initial goals.

Signs of anabolic steroid addiction include: neglecting responsibilities at work or at home; spending a lot of money and time on obtaining steroids; and using steroids despite physical side effects.

Taking anabolic steroids for a prolonged period can disrupt the natural hormonal balances within the body. This is why it causes severe withdrawal effects if the user quits taking it after a while.

What Is Estrogen Rebound?

A condition called estrogen rebound may develop once a person—especially a man—stops their steroid cycle. This is characterized by the rapid production and release of estrogen, the female hormone. This condition includes symptoms such as depression.

The user’s intake and usage of anabolic steroids determines how severe the symptoms of estrogen rebound will be. The longer they abused steroids, and the more they took, the greater the effects of estrogen rebound.

Combining Steroids with Other Drugs

Because anabolic steroids do not cause a euphoric high, unlike other drugs, users may think it is okay to abuse them. This often leads to individuals taking more steroids than they are supposed to. However, this increases their risk of experiencing overdose.

Some users even take steroids with other drugs to compensate for the fact that steroids don’t produce a high. Steroid users will typically abuse it with substances like cocaine, MDMA, Adderall, marijuana, alcohol, and opiates.

Mixing stimulants with anabolic steroids can heighten the behavioral changes caused by steroids. This may lead to increased aggression and violent behavior. In fact, people who abuse anabolic steroids together with alcohol may be more likely to commit violent crimes. But it’s not too late to receive proper help. There are plenty of programs out there that can help those who are dealing with an anabolic steroid addiction.

If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against substance abuse. Because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.


Rehab is Your Best Chance

Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs or alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.

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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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