What else should you know about steroids?
Anabolic steroids are synthetic or artificial variations of testosterone, the male sex hormone. The appropriate term for these compounds is anabolic-androgenic steroids . “Anabolic” refers to building muscle, and “androgenic” refers to enhancing male sexual characteristics. Some common names for anabolic steroids are Gear, Juice, Roids, and Stackers.
Medical professionals may prescribe steroids to treat hormonal problems such as delayed puberty. Steroids can also treat diseases that cause muscle loss, such as cancer and AIDS. But some athletes and bodybuilders abuse these drugs in an attempt to increase performance or improve their appearance.
Most people who abuse steroids are male weightlifters between the ages of 20 and 30. Anabolic steroid abuse in women is much less common.
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How do people abuse anabolic steroids?
People who abuse anabolic steroids usually take them orally, inject them into their muscles, or apply them to their skin as a gel or cream. These doses can be 10 to 100 times the doses prescribed for disease treatment.
- Wolf run – taking multiple doses over a period of time, stopping for a period of time, and then going around in circles
- Stack – combining two or more different steroids and mixing oral and/or injectable types
- Pyramid – slowly increasing, reaching a maximum value, and then gradually tapering off toward zero
- Plateau – alternating, different steroids to avoid tolerance
There is not a single scientific study confirming that at least one of these practices reduces the harmful effects of taking these drugs.
How do anabolic steroids affect the brain?
Anabolic steroids work differently than other drugs; they do not have short-term effects on the brain. The most important difference is that steroids do not directly activate the reward system; they do not cause a rapid increase in the brain’s chemical dopamine, which most drugs enhance.
Improper use of anabolic steroids can lead to negative mental health consequences such as:
- Paranoid (extreme, unreasonable) jealousy
- Extreme irritability and aggression (“rage”)
- Delusions of false beliefs or ideas
- mental disorder
Long term effects
Improper use of anabolic steroids can lead to serious, health problems such as:
- Kidney problems
- liver damage and tumors
- An enlarged heart, high blood pressure, and changes in blood cholesterol levels that increase the risk of stroke and heart attack, even in young people
- increased risk of blood clots
Several other effects dependent on gender and age:
- decreased sperm count
- breast development
- increased risk of prostate cancer
- facial hair growth or excessive body hair
- reduced breast size
- Changes or stoppage in the menstrual cycle
- deepened voice
People who abuse steroids may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using steroids.
- loss of appetite
- trouble sleeping
- decreased sex drive
- steroid cravings
One of the most serious symptoms of withdrawal is depression, which can sometimes lead to suicide attempts.