Consequences of Anabolic Steroid Use
Anabolic steroids are drugs that are available only via prescription that should only be taken under supervision. Sometimes they are used without medical advice to build muscle mass and enhance the user’s athletic abilities. When taken in this way, the user runs the risk of suffering from serious side effects and addiction.
Anabolic steroids are not illegal. They are a class C drug, which means they can only be obtained from a pharmacist via prescription.
As long as they are for personal use only, it is fine to have them. It is illegal, however, to possess, import and export anabolic steroids if you intend to supply or sell them, including to friends. The maximum penalty if found guilty is up to fourteen years in prison. An unlimited fine may be issued as well.
The primary use of anabolic steroids is as performance-enhancers that increase muscle and decrease levels of fat. Some people take them in the belief that they will become fit and healthy as a result. This is a dangerous misconception, as the effects of abusing anabolic steroids are severe and no good comes from it.
Although steroid use is reported most often in the world of athletics and similar sports, a wide range of people can fall prey to them, including men and boys suffering from body dysmorphic disorder and who believe that their bodies are insufficiently big or strong.
Anabolic steroids are usually administered via injection or ingested orally in tablet form, although on occasion they are offered as a cream or gel which is applied to the skin. Not everyone who takes them is oblivious to the high-risk factor and consequently may try one of a number of ways which they misguidedly believe will avoid side-effects. Some may take steroids for a period of time and then rest for a while before resuming. This process is known as “cycling”. Others may take several types of steroid in the belief that doing so will make them work better. Still more may do both simultaneously. This is known as “pyramiding”.
Regular use of anabolic steroids can produce adverse physical and psychological side-effects in both men and women. These can range from fairly mild to extremely harmful and potentially life-threatening.
If the user ceases their misuse, most of the effects will stop but others can be more lasting and even permanent.
Steroid use can have significant negative effects on the cardiovascular system and can thus cause such complaints as high blood pressure and weakening of the heart’s ventricles and cardiovascular diseases including heart attacks, strokes and damage to the arteries.
This is caused partly by steroids increasing the level of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), whilst simultaneously decreasing the level of HDL (high-density lipoprotein). When combined, these disproportionate levels increase the chances of developing atherosclerosis, which deposits fatty substances into arteries, disrupting the blood flow in the process. The result of this can either be a heart attack or a stroke, as both conditions require blood flow to the heart and brain to be disrupted. Blood clots are another direct risk of steroid abuse, sufficiently damaging the heart so that it can no longer function properly.
Steroids also have a negative impact on hormones. Reversible changes include a reduced sperm production, a decrease in the functioning of the testes and shrinking of the testicles. More permanent hormonal effects in men include baldness and the growth of breasts. In females, the opposite can happen: breast size and body fat can reduce, the voice deepens and the skin coarsens. Hair can be lost on the scalp and can grow excessively on the body. Continued steroid abuse can lead to some of these effects becoming irreversible.
The risk of infection can also increase due to steroid abuse. This is down to many needles used to inject the drug being nonsterile or contaminated. This in turn puts steroid users at greater risk of developing such viral infections as HIV/AIDs and Hepatitis B and C. Tests have also shown that steroids contribute to the weakening of the immune system, leaving the user more vulnerable to a wide range of infections and even worsen them.
The misuse of steroids has also been linked to liver damage, tumours and a rare condition known as peliosis hepatis which causes cysts filled with blood to form in the user’s liver. If these rupture, internal bleeding and even death in some cases can ensue.
Steroid abuse can cause a rise in testosterone and other sex hormones. This then triggers the growth spurt usually associated with puberty and can also signal to them to stop growth. If an adolescent takes anabolic steroids, this rise in hormones can prematurely stop the growth process.
There are also numerous skin conditions associated with steroid misuse. As mentioned above, hair loss on the scalp can occur in both men and women, but abuse can also cause acne and oily skin and hair. Injection sites are also known to develop abscesses around them and damage to the liver can also produce jaundice, which causes both the skin and the eyes to turn yellow.
As well as physical effects, steroids can also affect the user psychologically. Aggressive tendencies are a common side-effect of steroid misuse, including an increased tendency towards violence, anger and verbal aggression. This is commonly referred to as “roid rage”. Abusers of steroids also become more prone to such conditions as anxiety and serious mood disorders including mania and major depression. It is also not uncommon for users to turn to other drugs in an attempt to alleviate some of the effects of steroid abuse and becoming addicted to them too. A 1999 study found that 9.3% of heroin addicts tested had also previously abused steroids.
People may be tempted to take anabolic steroids in order to boost their physical and athletic capabilities. However, the risks associated with abuse are so great that it remains a drug to be taken only under very careful supervision. The alternative to building and muscle growth without steroids is by natural bodybuilding methods located here.
This article is for educational and informational purposes only and must not be used or taken as a substitute in any form for any medical advice, medication you are currently taking or any alternative treatments without the prior advice, guidance and consent from your medical doctor. Please speak with your doctor fist before making any changes to your diet or medicine as a result of reading any information laid out on this website or in this or any other articles.
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