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Anabolic steroids are prescription-only medicines that are sometimes taken without medical advice to increase muscle mass and improve athletic performance. If used in this way, they can cause serious side effects and addiction. Anabolic steroids are manufactured drugs that mimic the effects of the male hormone testosterone.
They have limited medical uses and aren't to be confused with corticosteroids , a different type of steroid drug that's commonly prescribed for a variety of conditions. This page explains the dangers of misusing anabolic steroids, and aims to advise and support those who are addicted to the drugs. It's not illegal to possess anabolic steroids for personal use.
They can also be imported or exported, as long as this is carried out in person. However, it's illegal to possess, import or export anabolic steroids if it's believed you're supplying or selling them. This includes giving them to friends. Anabolic steroids are performance-enhancing drugs that increase muscle mass and decrease fat, as well as causing many undesirable effects.
Some athletes, weightlifters and bodybuilders take them regularly to improve their physical performance and build up their bodies. Teenage boys and young men may take the drugs because they have reverse anorexia. This is known as "cycling". Users believe this increases the effectiveness, and is known as "stacking". The term "pyramiding" refers to a combination of both stacking and cycling.
One or more anabolic steroid is taken in a low dose. Users tend to exercise more when they're taking high doses to make the most of their improved performance during this time. Athletes have been known to try to time their injections so the drug is out of their system by the time they're drug tested. Regularly taking anabolic steroids causes a range of male features, not just increased muscle mass. In addition, both men and women who take anabolic steroids can develop any of the following medical conditions:.
As anabolic steroids are often injected, there are risks associated with sharing needles. These are the same risks associated with recreational drug use, and include:. Like many other substances, anabolic steroids are addictive. A person who is addicted to anabolic steroids will continue using them despite experiencing unpleasant physical side effects.
Coming off anabolic steroids suddenly can result in withdrawal symptoms that include:. You should see your GP if you think you're addicted to anabolic steroids. Treatment for an addiction to anabolic steroids will be similar to that of other types of addiction. Check here for alerts. Home Health A-Z Anabolic steroid misuse. Are anabolic steroids illegal? Why people misuse anabolic steroids How anabolic steroids are taken Side effects of anabolic steroids Addiction Getting help.