- Education and Science
Anabolic Steroids are all the Rage
In the past, anabolic steroids were used by professional athletes and bodybuilders to enhance performance and reduce recovery time from a stressful game or workout. Professional sports figures risked the illegal and dangerous complications to build muscle mass quickly and increase muscle response time. The current trend reports steroids are being used by people of all ages to decrease fat, improve muscle strength, and feel more attractive.
There are different types of steroids used legitimately by physicians. Corticosteroids and anabolic steroids are often used interchangeably, but are completely different drugs. Corticosteroids treat inflammation in the body, asthma, allergic reactions, and do not effect muscle growth or strength.
Anabolic Steroids, however, target the growth of muscle and bones, and are the steroids of choice by bodybuilders and athletes. Anabolic steroids are normally used to treat children with delayed puberty onset, low testosterone in men, and other medical conditions that require an increase in male hormones. Taking steroids without the supervision and prescription of a physician is illegal. Most people use 10 to 100 times the usual therapeutic dose for performance enhancement normally given by a doctor.
Taken as a pill, injected into a muscle, or rubbed into the skin as a gel, the composition of steroids mimics the effects of the powerful hormone testosterone. Muscle cells become enlarged and increase in bulk, bones become stronger, and the body fat, especially around the abdomen, decrease and create a “ripped” appearance.
A legal and over-the-counter supplement called DHEA converts into testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol in the body. Little is known about the effectiveness of DHEA, but people are taking it in huge amounts in hope to achieve the same results from anabolic steroids. Complications from DHEA use are not sufficiently studied.
Complications of Steroids
Serious side effects can occur from the use of steroids and may be permanent. Teens can experience a sudden stop in bone growth and not reach their height potential. Even young people have had heart attacks and strokes from steroid use. Men and women may develop liver disease, cancer, male-pattern baldness, excessive facial and body acne, and high blood pressure. Illegal steroid use has contributed to many early deaths of young people.
Anabolic steroid users become more irritable, aggressive, and may lose their impulse control mechanism resulting in violent outbursts of rage. Although not studied well, and not completely understood by researchers, the rage is described as a response to steroids in the brain that normally doesn’t exist. Many acts of murder and brutality have been attributed to “roid rage.” The additional side effect of mania, a super burst of excitement, delusions, and over activity, contributes to the aggression presented in roid rage.
Side Effects in Men
· Enlarged breasts
· Shrinkage of the testicles
· Decreased sperm count
Side Effects in Women
· Deepening of the voice
· Coarse and rough skin
· Decreased breast size
· Increase in body hair
Withdrawal from Steroids
Using steroids over time will cause the body to become dependent on the drug. Once the drug is stopped, they may experience mood swings, extreme fatigue, decreased or no appetite, and a strong psychological desire to resume the steroid use. Symptoms of withdrawal may be severe and require hospitalization. Rehabilitation for drug abuse and individual counseling for addiction may be appropriate or required.
Anabolic steroids have become a drug of choice for people of all ages to increase muscle, decrease fat, and enhance overall physical beauty. Older athletes are using the drug to achieve better performance in recreational sports. The dangerous complications of anabolic steroids cause many deaths, chronic disease, and induce violent acts by the users.