The most severe form of a substance use disorder is addiction. People might continue to misuse steroids despite physical problems, high costs to buy the drugs, and negative effects on their relationships. These behaviors reflect steroids' addictive potential. Research has further found that some steroid users turn to other drugs, such as opioids, to reduce sleep problems and irritability caused by steroids.
One of the more serious withdrawal symptoms is depression, which can sometimes lead to suicide attempts. Some people seeking treatment for anabolic steroid addiction have found a combination of behavioral therapy and medications to be helpful. In certain cases of addiction, patients have taken medicines to help treat symptoms of withdrawal.
For example, health care providers have prescribed antidepressants to treat depression and pain medicines for headaches and muscle and joint pain. Other medicines have been used to help restore the patient's hormonal system. This publication is available for your use and may be reproduced in its entirety without permission from NIDA. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. Drug Topics. More Drug Topics. Quick Links. About NIDA. Anabolic Steroids DrugFacts. What are anabolic steroids?
Points to Remember Anabolic steroids are synthetic variations of the male sex hormone testosterone. Health care providers can prescribe steroids to treat various medical conditions. But some athletes and bodybuilders misuse these drugs to boost performance or improve their physical appearance.
People who abuse anabolic steroids usually take them orally, inject them into the muscles, or apply them to the skin with a cream or gel. People misuse steroids in a variety of doses and schedules. Misuse of anabolic steroids might lead to short-term effects, including paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability and aggression, delusions, impaired judgement, and mania. Continued steroid misuse can act on some of the same brain pathways and chemicals that are affected by other drugs, including dopamine, serotonin, and opioid systems.
Request Appointment. Prednisone and other corticosteroids. Products and services. Free E-newsletter Subscribe to Housecall Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics. Sign up now. Prednisone and other corticosteroids Weigh the benefits and risks of corticosteroids, such as prednisone, when choosing a medication. By Mayo Clinic Staff. Show references Ritter JM, et al.
The pituitary and the adrenal cortex. Elsevier; Accessed Oct. Grennan D, et al. Steroid side effects. Saag KG, et al. Major side effects of systemic glucocorticoids. Major side effects of inhaled glucocorticoids. Roberts WN, et al. Joint aspiration or injection in adults: Complications. Nieman LK. Pharmacologic use of glucocorticoids. Long-term glucocorticoid therapy. Mayo Clinic; Wilkinson JM expert opinion.
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