Harmful effects of anabolic steroids are they worth the risk?
Anabolic steroids often referred to as roids or juice, are synthetic forms of testosterone, a male hormone. It is prescribed by the doctors for treating problems like delayed puberty and other issues that lead to the body making very low amounts of testosterone or help people who are suffering from diseases like cancer and AIDS. In this article, I will discuss the harmful side effects of anabolic steroids.
Anabolic steroids generally are injected or can be taken orally. Anabolic steroids help in making stronger and bigger muscles and causing puberty to start. It also helps boys with certain genetic disorders to grow normally. The most common anabolic steroids include Deca Durabolin and Halotestin.
Apart from the people who are prescribed this medicine by doctors, there are others who illegally consume this steroid to change their physical health, appearance and performance. Some of the most common users and abusers of anabolic steroids are athletes who want to improve their skills, bodybuilders who wish to gain muscle and other who want to expedite recovery from injury.
People use and abuse this steroid to improve the physical performance, appearance and muscle growth. But, often with this intended growth and strength can come various unwanted danger and short-term side effects like:
- Mood swings
- Decreased appetite
- Decreased sperm count
- Sleeping disorders
- Swelling of skin
Anabolic steroids influence various characteristics of gender in the person using and abusing the synthetic forms of testosterone. In cases where people take doses up to around 100 times the medically-proven and appropriate levels, various side effects are caused, including:
- Fertility problems
- Shrinking of testicles
- Growth of breast tissue in men
- Excessive hair growth
- Deepening of voice in women
- Heart problems
- Menstrual irregularities
- Rapid mood swings
Anabolic steroid can even cause some major long-term side-effects like:
- Kidney failure or problems
- Liver damage or tumor in the liver
- Heart Attack or enlarged heart
- Anger as well as aggression
- High blood pressure
- Blood-borne diseases from the use of injection
- Changes in blood cholesterol
The danger of dependency: Excessive use of anabolic steroid may lead to dependency on the drug where the person feels like he or she cannot live without the steroids in their system. Overuse of this drug will lead to an increase in the hormones of the body causing harmful effects. If the drug is stopped, the person may feel the need to take it again even though severe side effects are taking place.
Withdrawal Symptoms: People who use and abuse anabolic steroids may experience the withdrawal symptoms as soon as they stop using it. Steroid withdrawal treatment is then done to minimize the withdrawal symptoms through a tapering program. The symptoms include the following:
- Apathy and depression
- Mood swings and restlessness
- Fatigue and loss of appetite
- Difficulty in concentration and lack of proper sleep
- Steroid cravings
- Decreased sex drive
- Headache, joint and muscle pain
The most dangerous effect of withdrawal symptoms is depression because of its long-lasting and intense nature. In certain situations, suicidal attempts or mere suicidal thoughts may also occur. However, proper treatment may reduce the risk of relapse and treat abuse and dependence on steroids is safe and manageable in the short-term.
Dangerous effects on the Brain: Anabolic steroids work in a different way from other drugs of abuse, in the sense that they do not have the same effects on the brain. They trigger different impacts on the brain based on the type of drugs taken and amount of daily doses of those drugs.
It is possible to see many of the side-effects of steroids from a person’s appearance or behavior. However, it is not possible to observe the long-term effects or effects on the brain easily. Even though abuse of anabolic steroid does not trigger the same response in the brain as cocaine or other substance, yet it creates major changes to the brain over time. Long-term drug abuse can impact the supply and production of some chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters.
This will have a significant effect on mood and overall behavior of a person. Other short-term effects on the brain include extreme irritability and jealousy, delusions of false beliefs and ideas, impaired judgment, extreme mood swings like anger and sadness, etc.
Apart from these major mental problems, anabolic steroid abuse also causes problems like acne, bloating, and various other side-effects. Some of the major side-effects of anabolic drug abuse can be age-specific and gender-specific also.
In men, the side-effects of this drug abuse include baldness, decreased sperm count, infertility problems, increased risk of prostate cancer, enlargement of breasts, etc.
In women, the major problems include increased body hair, a decrease in breast size, enlargement of the clitoris, male-pattern baldness, growth of facial hair, change in menstrual cycle, deepening of the voice, reproduction problems, etc.
In both the men and women, anabolic steroids may cause heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, lower levels of good cholesterol called HDL and higher levels of bad cholesterol called LDL, liver disease leading to liver cancer, skin infections, irritability, aggression, violence, rage, mania leading to uncontrolled high energy, addiction and delusions.
In teens, the side-effects involve stunted growth which happens when high levels of hormones from the steroid signal the body to stop the growth of bone too early, stunted height if they happen to use this drug before their growth spurt. Teens suffer from some of the mental problems too.
People suffering from these dangers and side-effects of use and abuse of anabolic steroids should undergo treatment to solve the problem and cure themselves. There are various treatments available for which behavioral therapy has been proven to be extremely helpful.
Sometimes people may have to take further medicines, like an anti-depressant, to treat themselves of the withdrawal symptoms. Proper usage of prescribed medicine and proper treatment will definitely help cure the patients of the harmful effects of anabolic drug abuse in the short-term. For a long-term cure, one has to undergo different types of treatments continuously to see the positive impact and get rid of all the side-effects permanently.