anabolic steroidAppearance and performance enhancing drugs APEDs are most often used by males to improve appearance by building muscle mass or to enhance athletic performance. However, users may develop meabing substance use disorder, defined as continued use despite adverse consequences. They can lead to anabolic steroids drug meaning heart attacks, strokes, liver tumors, kidney failure, and psychiatric problems. In addition, stopping use can cause depression, often leading sustanon 250 beginner cycle resumption of use. Because steroids are often injected, users who share needles or use nonsterile injecting techniques are also at risk for contracting dangerous infections such as viral hepatitis and HIV. Steroids are popularly associated with doping by elite athletes, but since the s, their use by male non-athlete weightlifters has exceeded their use by anabolic steroids drug meaning athletes.
Anabolic steroids | definition of anabolic steroids by Medical dictionary
Description Anabolic steroids are more accurately called anabolic-androgenic steroids. This name defines their two principle characteristics. Anabolic means to synthesize or build up; thus anabolic steroids increase skeletal muscle mass. Androgenic means involving male sexual characteristics. Anabolic steroids are related to testosterone and affect the body the many of the same ways as testosterone. Testosterone is the main hormone responsible for male sexual characteristics.
It stimulates and maintains the male reproductive organs, stimulates development of bones and muscle, promotes skin and hair growth, and can influence emotions and sex drive. In males, the testes produce testosterone with a small amount also secreted by the adrenal glands. Women have only the small amount of testosterone produced by the adrenal glands.
Several hundred different types of anabolic steroids have been synthesized in attempts to maximize their benefits and minimize side effects. As of , not a single anabolic steroid had been manufactured that was free of negative side effects. In many developing countries, anabolic steroids can be purchased without a prescription.
However, in the United States, they have been controlled substances since Medical uses Anabolic steroids were first developed in the s in Europe in an effort to produce a drug to treat conditions where the testes did not secrete enough testosterone. Physicians tried using these drugs for many other purposes in the s and s with limited success. Disadvantages outweighed benefits for most purposes, and during the later decades of the twentieth century, medical use in North America and Europe was restricted to a few conditions.
During the second half of the twentieth century anabolic steroids were the mainstay of therapy for hypoplastic anemia not due to nutrient deficiency, especially aplastic anemia. In the twenty-first century anabolic steroids have been replaced by synthetic protein hormones that selectively stimulate growth of blood cell precursors oth fewer side effects. From the s through the s, anabolic steroids were used heavily by pediatric endocrinologists to treat children with growth failure.
The availability of synthetic growth hormone GH and increasing social stigmatization of anabolic steroids has significantly reduced their use for this purpose. Stimulation of appetite and preservation of muscle mass: Induction of male puberty: Androgens sometimes are given to boys distressed about extreme delay of puberty.
Testosterone is, as of , nearly the only androgen used for this purpose, but synthetic anabolic steroids often were used prior to the s. Treatment of breast cancer: Testosterone has been reported to slow the development of some, but not all, breast cancer in some women. The average adult male naturally produces 2. Testosterone is given as a replacement hormone if the testes either do not produce enough hormone or if the testes are damaged or removed e.
Abuse of steroids Soon after the first anabolic steroids were synthesized, experimenters realized that these compounds caused an increase in muscle mass in laboratory animals.
This soon led to the abuse of these drugs by bodybuilders and weightlifters. Anabolic steroid use spread to elite athletes looking for an edge in strength and speed. By the s some Olympic athletes, primarily from the Soviet Union, East Germany, and other Eastern European countries, were taking large doses of steroids that allowed them to dominate their sports. Many of the male athletes developed such enlarged prostate glands a gland near that surrounds the urethra that aids in semen production that they needed a tube inserted into their urethra in order to urinate.
Some of the female athletes developed so many male physical characteristics e. Concerns over the growing illicit market and the prevalence of abuse, combined with the possibility of harmful long-term effects of steroid use, led the United States Congress in to place anabolic steroids in Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act CSA.
The CSA defines anabolic steroids as any drug or hormonal substance chemically and pharmacologically related to testosterone other than estrogens, progestins, and corticosteroids that promotes muscle growth. On January 20, , the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of took effect, amending and expanding the Controlled Substance Act by placing both anabolic steroids and prohormones substances the body can convert into anabolic steroids on the controlled substance list and making possession of the banned substances a federal crime.
Also in , Major League Baseball MLB , amid long-time rumors of anabolic steroid abuse among players, was rocked by the publication of Juiced by former Oakland Athletics outfielder Jose Canseco who alleged steroid abuse was wide spread in professional baseball. MLB officials promised a crackdown on anabolic steroid use among players. Nevertheless, steroid use continued, and in , Barry Bonds, baseball's all-time home run leader was indicted for illicit steroid use. In that same year, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, in conjunction with many other federal agencies, broke up 56 illegal laboratories producing steroids and seized Most illicit anabolic steroids are sold at gyms, bodybuilding competitions, and through the mail and Internet.
Many of these substances or the raw materials to make them are smuggled into the United States from countries where their possession without a prescription is legal e. The drugs are available both as pills and injectable liquids. Anabolic steroids commonly encountered on the illicit market include: In addition, new anabolic steroid compounds specifically designed to be undetectable by current drug tests are constantly being developed.
Many of these drugs are produced in unsanitary, illicit laboratories with little or no quality control. In addition, many counterfeit products that do not contain any steroids or that are mislabeled relative to the type and dose of steroid they contain are sold over the Internet. Steroid abuse has spread downward from elite and professional athletes to college and then high school athletes and younger.
According to the a survey by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC , in , , high school students in the United States had used anabolic steroid pills or shots without a prescription. A more recent study found that 1. Anabolic steroid users generally take extremely high doses of steroids that can add up to mg a day or more through "stacking" or combining several different types or brands of steroids. Often athletes take these drugs on a schedule called "cycling," where they take steroids for a period of weeks followed by a steroid-free period.
Another approach to illicit anabolic steroids use is "pyramiding," in which doses are gradually increased to mid-cycle, then decreased to zero. Causes and symptoms Anabolic steroids do increase muscle mass. While this may seem desirable at first, these drugs have very serious side effects. Anabolic steroids fool the body into thinking that testosterone is being produced in large quantities. Excessive use causes a harmful disturbance of the body's normal hormone levels and body chemistry. Cardiovascular side effects are the most common.
They include increased heart rate tachycardia , heart attack myocardial infarction even in young athletes, high blood pressure hypertension , an increase in low-density lipoprotein LDL or "bad" cholesterol and a decrease in high-density lipoprotein HDL or "good" cholesterol that increases the risk of stroke.
Other negative side effects may include liver damage, liver tumors usually not cancerous , and a decrease in blood clotting factors. Young people may develop severe acne. Males may experience shrinking testes, falling sperm count, increased risk of infertility, enlarged breasts, and an enlarged prostate gland and baldness. In addition, the ends of long bones fuse together and stop growing, resulting in permanently stunted growth and short stature.
Women frequently show signs of masculinity including the development of facial hair, lower voice, and male-type musculature.
They may stop menstruating, may be at higher risk for certain types of cancer and have an increased risk of birth defects in their children. Anabolic steroids also affect mental health. Their use can cause drastic mood swings, inability to sleep, depression, and feelings of hostility.
There is some evidence that young men may become more volatile and violent when taking these drugs, a condition know "roid rage. Withdrawal symptoms may include insomnia, fatigue, restlessness, reduced sex drive, depression, and suicidal thoughts. In addition to these physical and mental side effects, steroid abuse brings other risks, some of which are connected to the way some steroids are manufactured and distributed.
The drugs are often made in motel rooms, bathrooms, and warehouses in developing countries and then smuggled into the United States. The potency, purity, and strength of the steroids produced this way are not regulated; therefore, users cannot know how much they are taking.
Some users of injectable steroids share needles, increasing the risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis. Most data on the long-term effects of anabolic steroids on humans come from case reports rather than formal scientific studies.
From the case reports, the incidence of life-threatening side effects appears to be low, but serious adverse effects may be under-recognized or under-reported.
Data from animal studies seem to support this possibility. One study found that exposing male mice for one-fifth of their lifespan to steroid doses comparable to those taken by human athletes caused a high percentage of premature deaths. Most effects of anabolic steroid use are reversible if the abuser stops taking the drugs, but some, such as short stature, can be permanent.
Diagnosis Diagnosis is often difficult, since anyone using anabolic steroids without a prescription and not under the direction of a physician is considered abusing the drug. Many athletes either do not understand what they are taking or strongly resist admitting that they are using performance-enhancing substances.
Sudden increase in musculature, as well as the symptoms listed above are clues that anabolic steroid abuse could be occurring. Virtually all major professional sports leagues in the United States test for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, as do most intercollegiate athletic leagues. Many steroids are detectable in urine samples, however new compounds are constantly being developed in a deliberate attempt to produce compounds that are undetectable by current tests.
Treatment Few studies of treatment for anabolic steroid abuse have been conducted. Knowledge as of is based largely on the experiences of a small number of physicians who have worked with individuals undergoing steroid withdrawal. The physicians have found that supportive therapy is sufficient in some cases. Patients are educated about what they may experience during withdrawal and are evaluated for suicidal thoughts.
If symptoms are severe or prolonged, medications or hospitalization may be needed. Depression needs to be monitored closely. Sometimes medications are used to restore hormone balance after its disruption by steroid abuse.
Other medications target specific withdrawal symptoms, for example, antidepressants to treat depression, and analgesics pain killers for headaches, muscle, and joint pains. Some individuals are psychologically addicted to steroids and benefit from behavioral therapies.
Alternative treatment There is little data on alternative medicines or treatments for anabolic steroid abuse. However, anabolic steroid manufacturers recommend saw palmetto to be taken in conjunction with androstenedione as it can help reduce associated hair loss and is useful in controlling prostate enlargement. Prognosis Anabolic steroid abuse is a treatable condition. Abusers can overcome the problem with the help of family members, support groups, psychotherapy, medication, treatment programs, and family counseling.
These programs are customized to help teens and adults lead productive and normal lives. However, heavy steroid use-even if it is stopped after a few years-may stunt growth and increase the risk of liver cancer.