Many kinds of steroids occur naturally in various hormones and vitamins. Drugs known as “anabolic steroids” are made in laboratories and have the same chemical structure as the steroids found in the male sex hormone, testosterone. The musclebuilding (anabolic) and masculinizing (androgenic) effects of these drugs make them appealing to athletes and bodybuilders.
Anabolic steroids have few medical uses. Their primary use is to promote weight gain and muscle development in farm animals. They are rarely prescribed to humans; however, they are sometimes used to treat delayed puberty, some types of impotence, and wasting of the body caused by AIDS and other diseases.
Generic and trade names: oxymotholone (Anadrol®), methandrostenolone (Dianobol®), stanozolol (Winstrol®), nandrolone decanoate (Deca-Durabolin®), testosterone cypionate (Depo-Testosterone®), boldenone undecylenate (Equipoise®) and others
Street names: the juice, the white stuff, roids
Effects of Use:
Steroids can produce a variety of psychological effects ranging from euphoria to hostility. Some people who take steroids say the drugs make them feel powerful and energetic. However, steroids are also known to increase irritability, anxiety and aggression and cause mood swings, manic symptoms and paranoia, particularly when taken in high doses.
Variations in how people respond to steroids may be due in part to individual differences, or depend on which type of steroid was taken. Scientific understanding of the effects of non-medical anabolic steroid use is limited.
High doses, especially when taken orally, cause nausea, vomiting and gastric irritation. Other effects include fluid retention and trembling.
Long –Term effects of taking Steroids:
Some of the effects of steroids disappear when drug use is stopped, but others are permanent. The effects of long-term use include:
- Acne, cysts, oily hair and skin, and thinning scalp hair in both sexes
- Feminization in men, including permanent breast development
- Testicle shrinking, difficulty or pain urinating and increased risk of prostate cancer in men
- Masculinization in women, including breast size and body fat reduction, coarsening of the skin, enlargement of the clitoris, deepening of the voice, excessive growth of body hair, loss of scalp hair and changes or cessation of the menstrual cycle; with long-term use, some of these effects may be permanent
- In children or adolescents, the high levels of testosterone stop bone growth, preventing them from ever growing to full height
- Aggression and violence; personality changes revert when drug use is stopped.
Are Steroids Dangerous?
Yes. Taking high doses of steroids increases risk of:
- Enlargement and abnormalities of the heart, blood clots, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Steroid-related heart failure has occurred in athletes younger than 30.
- Aggression and violence (“roid rage”), negative personality change, mania and depression, which may lead to suicide. Depression may persist for a year after drug use is stopped.
- Hepatitis, liver enlargement and liver cancer
- Reduced fertility in both women and men
- Tendon ruptures, cessation of growth in adolescents
- Hepatitis or HIV if steroids are injected using shared needles, and infections if steroids are injected with dirty needles.