In addition, both men and women who take anabolic steroids can develop any of the following medical conditions:. Misusing anabolic steroids can also cause the following psychological or emotional effects:. Anabolic steroids accelerate bone growth, so if they're misused by adolescents who haven't yet had the growth spurt associated with puberty , the drugs can cause premature ageing of the bones and restricted growth. As anabolic steroids are often injected, there are risks associated with sharing needles.
These are the same risks associated with recreational drug use, and include:. Like many other substances, anabolic steroids are addictive. This means you can crave the drug, require more to get the same effect, and have withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking them.
A person who is addicted to anabolic steroids will want to keep using them despite experiencing unpleasant physical side effects. When doctors prescribe steroid medication, they always advise coming off the medication slowly by gradually reducing the dose.
Coming off anabolic steroids suddenly can result in withdrawal symptoms that include:. You should see your GP if you think you're addicted to anabolic steroids. Treatment for an addiction to anabolic steroids will be similar to that of other types of addiction. Your GP may refer you to a specially trained drugs counsellor.
They'll discuss your addiction with you, how to safely stop taking steroids, and any obstacles you may face when trying to stop, plus strategies for dealing with those obstacles. Page last reviewed: 30 August Next review due: 30 August Anabolic steroid misuse. Are anabolic steroids illegal? Why people misuse anabolic steroids Anabolic steroids can be used as performance-enhancing drugs that increase muscle mass and decrease fat, as well as causing many undesirable effects.
How anabolic steroids are taken Anabolic steroids are usually injected into the muscle or taken by mouth as tablets, but they also come as creams or gels that are applied to the skin. Users might: Take the drugs for a period of time and then stop for a rest period before starting again. This is known as "cycling". Taking more than 1 type of anabolic steroid at a time, known as "stacking" — which they believe makes them work better.
Do a combination of both stacking and cycling known as "pyramiding" — where they start off taking a low dose of 1 or more anabolic steroids, and then increase the dose over time up to a maximum dose. They then stop taking them for a rest period to give the body a break before starting the cycle again. Side effects of anabolic steroids Regularly taking anabolic steroids can lead to physical and psychological changes in both men and women, as well as potentially dangerous medical conditions.
Sharing needles As anabolic steroids are often injected, there are risks associated with sharing needles. These are the same risks associated with recreational drug use, and include: damage to veins, leading to ulcers or gangrene hepatitis B infection hepatitis C infection HIV transmission Addiction Like many other substances, anabolic steroids are addictive.
Coming off anabolic steroids suddenly can result in withdrawal symptoms that include: depression and apathy feelings of anxiety difficulty concentrating insomnia anorexia decreased sex drive extreme tiredness fatigue headaches muscle and joint pain Getting help You should see your GP if you think you're addicted to anabolic steroids.
In the past 20 years, more-effective law enforcement in the United States has pushed much of the illegal steroid industry into the black market. This poses additional health risks because the drugs are either made in other countries and smuggled in or made in clandestine labs in the United States. Either way, they aren't subject to government safety standards and could be impure or mislabeled. Androstenedione andro is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, ovaries and testes.
It's a hormone that's normally converted to testosterone and a form of estrogen estradiol in both men and women. Andro is available legally only by prescription and is a controlled substance. Its use as a performance-enhancing drug is illegal in the United States. Manufacturers and bodybuilding magazines tout andro's ability to allow athletes to train harder and recover more quickly.
Scientific studies that refute these claims show that supplemental androstenedione doesn't increase testosterone and that your muscles don't get stronger with andro use. In both men and women, andro can damage the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Human growth hormone is a hormone that has an anabolic effect. Athletes take it to improve muscle mass and performance. However, it hasn't been shown conclusively to improve either strength or endurance.
Erythropoietin is a type of hormone used to treat anemia in people with severe kidney disease. It increases production of red blood cells and hemoglobin — the protein that carries oxygen to your body's organs. Taking erythropoietin improves the movement of oxygen to the muscles. Epoetin, a synthetic form of erythropoietin, is commonly used by endurance athletes.
Erythropoietin use among competitive cyclists was common in the s and allegedly contributed to at least 18 deaths. Inappropriate use of erythropoietin may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and blockage in an artery in the lung pulmonary embolism. Diuretics are drugs that change your body's natural balance of fluids and salts electrolytes , which can lead to dehydration. This loss of water can decrease an athlete's weight, which many athletes prefer. Diuretics may also help athletes pass drug tests by diluting their urine and are sometimes referred to as a "masking" agent.
Diuretics taken at any dose, even medically recommended doses, predispose athletes to adverse effects such as:. Many athletes take nutritional supplements instead of or in addition to performance-enhancing drugs. Supplements are available over-the-counter as powders or pills. Creatine monohydrate is a supplement that's popular among athletes.
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound produced by your body that helps your muscles release energy. Scientific research indicates that creatine may have some athletic benefit by producing small gains in short-term bursts of power.
Creatine appears to help muscles make more adenosine triphosphate ATP , which stores and transports energy in cells, and is used for quick bursts of activity, such as weightlifting or sprinting. But there's no evidence that creatine enhances performance in aerobic or endurance sports.
Weight gain is sought by athletes who want to increase their size. But with prolonged creatine use, weight gain is more likely the result of water retention than an increase in muscle mass. Water is drawn into your muscle tissue, away from other parts of your body, putting you at risk of dehydration. It appears safe for adults to use creatine at the doses recommended by manufacturers.
But there are no studies investigating the long-term benefits and risks of creatine supplementation. Some athletes use stimulants to stimulate the central nervous system and increase heart rate and blood pressure. Common stimulants include caffeine and amphetamines. Cold remedies often contain the stimulants ephedrine or pseudoephedrine hydrochloride.
Energy drinks, which are popular among many athletes, often contain high doses of caffeine and other stimulants. The street drugs cocaine and methamphetamine also are stimulants. Although stimulants can boost physical performance and promote aggressiveness on the field, they have side effects that can impair athletic performance, including:. Do performance-enhancing drugs boost performance?
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Steroid misuse has been associated with liver damage, 50,51 tumors, 46,52,53 and a rare condition called peliosis hepatis, in which blood-filled cysts form in the liver. Rising levels of testosterone and other sex hormones normally trigger the growth spurt that occurs during puberty and adolescence.
These rising levels of testosterone also provide the signals to stop growth. Evidence suggests that weightlifters who misuse anabolic steroids have stiffer tendons, which could lead to an increased risk for tendon injury. Steroid misuse can cause acne, 70—72 hair loss on the head, cysts, and oily hair and skin. Anabolic steroids can also produce jaundice, or yellowing of the skin or eyes, as a result of damage to the liver. National Institutes of Health.
Drug Topics. More Drug Topics. Quick Links. About NIDA. Research Report. Liver Steroid misuse has been associated with liver damage, 50,51 tumors, 46,52,53 and a rare condition called peliosis hepatis, in which blood-filled cysts form in the liver.
Prev Next. February Cardiovascular system high blood pressure blood clots heart attacks stroke artery damage Hormonal system Men decreased sperm production enlarged breasts shrinking of the testicles male-pattern baldness testicular cancer Women voice deepening decreased breast size coarse skin excessive body hair growth male-pattern baldness. Stacking is the process of using two or more types of steroids at once, to multiply gains in a short period of time.
Cycling, on the other hand, is a tactic where users will increase their dosage in the first half of the cycle before reducing and eliminating intake in the second. While the logic behind these strategies may initially seem sound, they have the potential to cause more damage than normal steroid use. Neither tactic is wholly effective in avoiding side effects, and increased intake involved with these processes will often create even more issues.
Though most steroid use is illegal and unhealthy, there are rare situations where doctors may prescribe anabolic steroids to treat anemia and help men produce more testosterone. Corticosteroids are a different chemical altogether, and decrease inflammation in certain parts of the body.
Our pain management experts practice epidural spine injections to relieve leg and back pain. As pain management and sports medicine experts, ensuring that you have the resources you need to get fit and stay healthy is our mission. Please feel free to contact us for advice if you or a friend are experiencing health complications, psychological issues or anger problems from steroid use.
Toggle navigation. Steroid Ingestion and Composition Anabolic steroids are generally ingested orally by pill or with a needle. Medical Anabolic Steroid Use: Corticosteroids Though most steroid use is illegal and unhealthy, there are rare situations where doctors may prescribe anabolic steroids to treat anemia and help men produce more testosterone.