Anabolic Steroids - Abuse, Side Effects and SafetyAre you hoping to gain a competitive edge by taking anabolic steroids risks supplements or other performance-enhancing drugs? Learn how these drugs work and how they can affect your health. Most serious athletes will tell you that the competitive drive to win can be fierce. Besides the satisfaction of personal accomplishment, athletes often pursue dreams of winning a medal for anabolic steroids risks country or securing a spot on a professional team. In muscle gaining steroids cycle an environment, the use of performance-enhancing drugs has become increasingly common.
DrugFacts: Anabolic Steroids | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Medically reviewed on May 4, by L. Androgens and anabolic steroids include the endogenous male sex hormone testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, and other agents that behave like these sex hormones.
Androgens stimulate the development of male sexual characteristics such as deepening of the voice and beard growth and development of male sex organs. Anabolic steroids stimulate growth in many other types of tissues, especially bone and muscle.
Anabolic effects also include increased production of red blood cells. Medically, androgens and anabolic steroids are used to treat:. Anabolic steroids can be given by injection, taken by mouth, or used externally.
Some athletes may abuse anabolic steroids to build muscle, prolong endurance and enhance performance. Anabolic agents are prohibited at all times, both in- and out-of-competition in collegiate and professional sports and appear on both the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA and U.
Anabolic steroids include all synthetic derivatives of testosterone, both oral and injectable. Examples of anabolic steroids include testosterone, methyltestosterone, danazol, and oxandrolone.
Anabolic steroids are performance-enhancing agents and act by increasing lean muscle protein synthesis and body weight, without increasing fat mass.
Illegal use and street purchase of anabolic steroids is risky. Illicit steroids may be sold at gyms, sporting competitions, and via mail order, and buyers may be at risk of purchasing adulterated or contaminated products. Often, illicit steroids are smuggled into the U.
Steroids may also be illegally sourced from U. Common street names that are used to refer to anabolic steroids may include:. Abuse of anabolic steroids can occur in any age group, but statistics on their abuse is difficult to quantitate because many surveys on drug abuse do not include steroids. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDA , scientific evidence indicates that anabolic steroid abuse among athletes may range between one and six percent.
Steroidal dietary supplements can be converted into testosterone or other androgenic compounds in the body. Steroidal over-the-counter dietary supplements such as androstenedione and tetrahydrogestrinone THG were previously available without prescription through health food stores, however, these supplements are now illegal after amendments to the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of Clinical research reports indicate that these agents are ineffective or lack evidence of performance-enhancing effects.
There is a wide array of serious side effects associated with abuse of anabolic steroids. Most side effects can be reversed if the drugs are stopped, but some, such as a deepened voice in women may persist.
Data on long-term side effects primarily come from case reports and not from well-controlled, long-term epidemiological studies, which might be reliable. Users of anabolic steroids can become both physically and psychologically dependent upon the drugs, as evidenced by a drug-seeking behavior, continued use even with adverse effects, and physical withdrawal symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive, and steroid cravings.
Severe withdrawal can lead to depression and possible suicide. Depressive symptoms can persist for up to one year after the user stops taking the steroid.
Supportive treatments and medication interventions may be needed for severe anabolic addiction. Medications that have been used for treating anabolic steroid withdrawal allow the natural hormonal system to restore. Other medications target specific withdrawal symptoms. For example, antidepressants may be prescribed to treat depressive episodes and analgesics , such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may be used for headaches and muscle and joint pains.
Some patients may also undergo behavioral therapies. Awareness and educational efforts are working to help prevent anabolic steroid abuse in schools and communities. These programs provide weight-training and nutrition alternatives, increase healthy behaviors, less likelihood to try steroids, and less likelihood to engage in other dangerous behaviors such as drinking and driving, use of marijuana and alcohol , and and improved body image.
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