Adult Steroid Abuse
The national perception of anabolic, illegal steroid use is centered on cheating by professional athletes who use them to enhance performance. Global attention was ignited in 2012 when Lance Armstrong was stripped of seven Tour de France victories. The reality of adult steroid abuse is that it is much more widespread than what we see in the media.
Who is taking steroids?
According to a study conducted by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, most steroid users are not professional athletes or bodybuilders, but instead they are on average about 30 years old, white, male and educated. They may have abused steroids since adolescence as many studies show.
These adults are taking non-prescribed anabolic steroids primarily to build body mass, as well as to improve their physical appearance and reduce body fat. Some adults continue to take steroids to elevate their mood. Other adults, primarily males, use steroids to enhance physical job performance in such roles as law enforcement and construction.
Both male and female adults may take dietary supplements that contain steroid precursors. These drugs are commonly obtained online and in health food stores. Internet sites often imply that these drugs are steroid-like in their performance and muscle-enhancing properties. The ingredients may have the same negative and unintended risks as anabolic steroids.
Are steroids addictive?
Although steroids are not used to get high, they can be addictive. Withdrawal symptoms may include severe depression, fatigue and mood swings. Chronic pain also may result, starting a whole cycle of drug use that often includes opiates. Anabolic steroid use is usually treated concurrently with other drug or alcohol use.
Holistic substance abuse treatment includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapies and individualized wellness programs that help patients realize balanced body images as they achieve health and fitness without the use of steroids.
About anabolic steroids
Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of male hormones. The formal name of this class of drug is called Androgenic anabolic steroids. These steroids are valid medications that are used for serious physical diagnoses such as muscle wasting diseases. Mental problems including rage and violence can occur following long-term steroids usage. Commonly abused steroids include:
- Oxymetholone (Anadrol-50)
How abusers use steroids:
- Intramuscular injection
- Orally in pill form (the most popular method)
- Pellet implantation
- Gels or skin patches
Adverse physical effects of steroid use may include:
- Males: shrinking of testicles, balding, breast development, infertility and prostate cancer
- Women: growth of facial hair, deepened voice and menstrual cycle cessation or irregularities
- Kidney tumors and cancer
- Internal bleeding caused by peliosis cysts on the liver
- High blood pressure
- Tendon rupture
- Heart attacks and other circulatory problems
- Liver cancer and benign tumors
- Severe acne
- Risk of contracting HIV from infected needles
Adverse mental and emotional effects of steroid use may include:
- Long-lasting depression
- Impaired judgment
- Nervousness and tremors
- Anger, rage and aggression
- Thoughts of suicide
- Mood swings and irritability
Illegal steroid use is clearly dangerous. Users must ask themselves whether a buff body is worth long-lasting or permanent health damage.