Steroids can come in a variety of different forms however, the most commonly known form is the anabolic steroid. The anabolic steroid is most often associated with athletics because of the way it is used to directly increases the formation of bone and muscle. Anabolic steroids are hormones that can be taken orally or injected and cause the body to create more testosterone. These come in both natural and synthetic forms. They are usually banned from athletic competitions to prevent an unfair competitive advantage, but they are also illegal to sell or possess without a prescription. There are many dangers that can come from the use and abuse of steroids which is why individuals should understand the drugs when considering use or if you suspect someone you care about may be using them.
Some general street names for steroids include: ‘roids, juice, Arnolds, and gym candy. Specific types of steroids sometimes have their own unique nicknames, such as “Cyp” for testosterone-cypionate.
Anabolic steroids are most commonly a pill or a liquid to be injected, but they can also be a topical cream or gel. The anabolic steroids prescribed in medicine usually come in tablet form.
Steroids are a naturally occurring substance, but are also classified as a type of drug. They are broken up into several different sub-classifications, but anabolic-androgenic steroids are the area of focus for abuse.
Anabolic steroids are listed as Schedule III controlled substances. The DEA does maintain a list of exempt anabolic steroids, however. These are types that are designed in such a way that they are considered to have no risk of abuse.
Anabolic steroids can be taken by athletes to gain a competitive performance advantage, but most fields of competition test for these substances. They are more commonly used by bodybuilders and athletes to more quickly gain muscle mass while working out.
Since they spur testosterone production, anabolic steroids can have different effects on men and women. In men, they can cause cardiovascular damage, reduce sperm count, cause a loss of sexual function and cause difficulty urinating. Women can experience increased body hair growth and breast reduction.
Both genders can experience rapid weight gain, increased blood pressure, a spike in cholesterol, swollen feet and ankles, insomnia and headaches.
As with the short-term effects of use, there are differences between genders. Men can develop liver disease, shrinking of the testes or development of breasts. Women can experience disturbances to their menstrual cycles, a deepened voice and enlargement of the clitoris.
Both genders are at elevated risk for blood clots, cardiovascular problems, strokes and muscle injuries. Adolescents may also experience stunted growth.
In addition to the health consequences already listed, steroids can cause unpredictable outbursts of anger and violence, a condition frequently referred to as “roid rage.” These outbursts can be severe and can cause the user to mentally lose control, hurting others in the process.
Since steroids are taken exclusively for athletic enhancement, they are very rarely mixed with recreational drugs. There are significant dangers if they are mixed with any other kind of drug, however. Mixing them with alcohol is very hard on the liver and can lead to serious damage. Mixing with any other drug can also dangerously elevate blood pressure and put the user at risk for a stroke.
One area where athletes might mix steroids is with amphetamines, specifically amphetamine analogues found in some pre-workout products. This can intensify negative psychological symptoms such as aggression.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has declared that steroids may be physically addictive, given that users often continue to use them despite obvious negative consequences. They do not have the same mechanism of action as other addictive substances, however; they do not block the re-uptake of chemicals that influence mood. Early signs of steroid abuse are extremely fast weight gain and extreme swings in mood. Acne is also extremely common.
Treatment for steroid abuse is a little different from other addictive drugs, since steroids do not work the same way. Treatment needs to have more of an emphasis on removing psychological dependence rather than physical. As such, treatment may be conducted on an outpatient treatment basis with one-on-one psychological counseling. Certain medications may also be used for treatment, especially if withdrawal symptoms manifest. Mental health professionals at a licensed treatment center are the best bet for determining the proper program of action.
Read more about Steroid abuse and addiction treatment by visiting our Steroid Rehab page.
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