Anabolic steroids serve the purpose to increase the proteins within cells, especially in skeletal muscles. The intake of these steroids is common among athletes, wrestlers, etc. to increase their strength and develop physical appearance.
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Androgens or AAS are one of the three types of sex hormones, the other being estrogens like estradiol and progestogens like progesterone.
Some common name for steroids are roids, stacker, gear, juice, and stackers.
Every coin has two faces and so is the case with anabolic steroids. Some doctors prescribe it as medicine while others suggest its misuse may lead to several side effects for the body.
AAS were synthesized in the early 1930s and are now used in medication for the treatment of chronic diseases like Cancer and AIDS.
They are usually administered to a patient orally or through injection in the veins or apply them to the skin as a gel or cream.
When these drugs make an entry into the body, they travel through the bloodstream to the tissues.
Health care providers also prescribe steroids the UK for hormonal issues such as delayed puberty.
AAS, in the presence of adequate diet, can result in an increase in body weight, gains in muscle strength achieved through high-intensity exercise.
Health risks can be produced by long term use of steroids in the process of gaining mass and strength.
Examples of Anabolic Steroid:
Depending on their types they are injected or taken orally.
Health effects of anabolic steroids:
Steroids use commonly cause severe acne. Its misuse also results in the swelling of the body, especially in the hands and feet. Other health conditions could be long run or may become permanent such as:
- Kidney problems
- Liver problems or failure
- Enlarged heart or high blood pressure, changes in blood cholesterol
- Increased risk of blood clots
Other effects could be gender and age-specific:
- Development of breasts (Gynecomastia)
- Decreased testicles (Testicular atrophy)
- Loss of hair (Baldness)
- Risk of prostate cancer
- Growth of facial hair or excess body hair
- Decreased breast size
- Change in voice
- Delay in the menstrual cycle
- Stunted growth and height in the teenagers as steroids slows down the formation of height and growth hormone.
- Also stops bones, joints, and muscles from reaching full maturity.
- Premature sexual development may also occur.
Misuse of Anabolic Steroids
Misuse of anabolic steroids might lead to negative mental effects.
A study featured in the European Society of Endocrinology’s annual meeting, the researchers revealed that in order to get a strong physique and bulky muscles, men are taking high doses of anabolic steroids, despite knowing the health consequences associated with it.
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Some major health effects include:
- Paranoid (extreme, unreasonable) jealousy
- Extreme aggression and irritability
- Delusions-false beliefs or ideas
- Impaired judgment
Commons patterns or misusing steroids include:
Cycling: taking multiple doses over a period of time, stopping it and then restarting it.
Stacking: Combining two or more steroids to increase weight in less time.
Pyramiding: Slowly increasing the dose, taking it to a peak and then gradually decreasing it.
Plateauing: Substituting it with another steroid to avoid developing a tolerance.
Anabolic Steroids affect the brain
Scientists and researchers are still looking for answers about how anabolic steroids affects our brain.
Some researchers have shown in their study that anabolic steroids can trigger aggressive behavior in some people.
Aggression is nothing but developing a mean or selfish attitude towards the people around.
Some situations can be so serious that it leads to something known in media as “roid rages”.
Anabolic steroids work differently from other drugs of abuse, although this has been claimed by NIDA that anabolic steroids do not trigger rapid increases in the brain chemical dopamine which reinforces most other types of drug-taking behavior.
Addiction to anabolic steroids
Anabolic steroids are not addictive they may cause substance use disorder.
It does not cause the same ‘high’ as any other drugs. Substance use disorder occurs when a person continues to misuse steroids and there are serious consequences associated with it.
People might continue to misuse steroids despite physical and mental problems.
Researchers have also proved in a study that this addiction leads them to other drugs for reducing problems caused by steroids addiction.
People who misuse steroids might go through withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it:
- Fatigue- a feeling of tiredness and lack of energy.
- Loss of appetite- a feeling of not getting hunger
- Restlessness-inability to relax
- Decrease sex drive
- Depression- a continuous state of sadness
- Anxiety- a nervous feeling or showing worry
Diagnosis of Steroid Abuse
Often drugs remain in the body for a prolonged period of time and are detected with urine drugs test.
Since steroids are designed in a way that they are less detectable, there is a possibility that these drugs may escape detection.
However, the World Anti Doping Agency works with many laboratories to develop detection of performance-enhancing drugs in the body.
Treatment for anabolic steroids addiction
Addiction of these anabolic steroids must be considered as any other drug issue.
Though steroids are not believed to cause any stereotypical euphoric ‘high’, they have a huge potential to create dependency, which results in possible withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms can be harmful, sometimes it may lead to suicidal actions by the human as the craving of anabolic steroids go slowly.
There are medications available for the treatment of anabolic steroids addiction.
A combination of behavioral theory and medication has been found useful to treat such addiction.
Mental health counseling helps to recover addicts cope with mood swings during steroid withdrawal.
Throughout continued therapy, users can relearn how to perform without steroids.
It’s important to get treatment from a counselor and a physician with experience treating steroid addiction.
These professionals often collaborate to develop the most effective treatment plan.
Apart from this, doctors also prescribe some anti-depressant to minimize the effect of anabolic steroids.
Other medicines are also given to balance the hormones that have been changed due to the misuse of steroids.
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