Anabolic Steroid AbuseAnabolic steroid abuse facts. What are anabolic steroids? Anabolic steroids are one type of performance-enhancing drug or medication. They mimic testosterone in the body to enhance performance by making muscle cells larger and by allowing the body to recover more quickly from the stress of exercise. Slang typess anabolic steroids is roids.
Anabolic steroids are synthetic variations of the male sex hormone testosterone. The proper term for these compounds is anabolic-androgenic steroids. Some common names for anabolic steroids are Gear, Juice, Roids, and Stackers. Health care providers can prescribe steroids to treat hormonal issues, such as delayed puberty. Steroids can also treat diseases that cause muscle loss, such as cancer and AIDS.
But some athletes and bodybuilders abuse these drugs to boost performance or improve their physical appearance. People who abuse anabolic steroids usually take them orally or inject them into the muscles. These doses may be 10 to times higher than doses prescribed to treat medical conditions. Steroids are also applied to the skin as a cream, gel, or patch. Some athletes and others who abuse steroids believe that they can avoid unwanted side effects or maximize the drugs' effects by taking them in ways that include:.
There is no scientific evidence that any of these practices reduce the harmful medical consequences of these drugs. Anabolic steroids work differently from other drugs of abuse; they do not have the same short-term effects on the brain. The most important difference is that steroids do not trigger rapid increases in the brain chemical dopamine, which causes the "high" that drives people to abuse other substances. However, long-term steroid abuse can act on some of the same brain pathways and chemicals—including dopamine, serotonin, and opioid systems—that are affected by other drugs.
This may result in a significant effect on mood and behavior. Extreme mood swings can also occur, including "roid rage"—angry feelings and behavior that may lead to violence.
Aside from mental problems, steroid use commonly causes severe acne. It also causes the body to swell, especially in the hands and feet. Some of these physical changes, such as shrinking sex organs in men, can add to mental side effects such as mood disorders. Intertwined Epidemics at www. Read more about drug use and hepatitis at www. Even though anabolic steroids do not cause the same high as other drugs, they can lead to addiction.
Studies have shown that animals will self-administer steroids when they have the chance, just as they do with other addictive drugs.
People may continue to abuse steroids despite physical problems, high costs to buy the drugs, and negative effects on their relationships. These behaviors reflect steroids' addictive potential. Research has further found that some steroid users turn to other drugs, such as opioids, to reduce sleep problems and irritability caused by steroids.
One of the more serious withdrawal symptoms is depression, which can sometimes lead to suicide attempts. Some people seeking treatment for anabolic steroid addiction have found behavioral therapy to be helpful. More research is needed to identify the most effective treatment options.
In certain cases of severe addiction, patients have taken medicines to help treat symptoms of withdrawal. For example, health care providers have prescribed anti-depressants to treat depression and pain medicines for headaches and muscle and joint pain. Other medicines have been used to help restore the patient's hormonal system. National Institute on Drug Abuse website.
Explores the latest research on anabolic steroid use, including health consequences of steroid abuse, the effects it can have on behavior, prevention research, and effective treatment approaches.
Skip to main content. What are anabolic steroids? Points to Remember Anabolic steroids are synthetic variations of the male sex hormone testosterone.
Health care providers can prescribe steroids to treat various medical conditions. They are also applied to the skin as a cream, gel, or patch. Some athletes and other people abuse steroids by cycling, stacking, and pyramiding them. Abuse of anabolic steroids may lead to short-term effects such as mental problems. Continued steroid abuse can act on some of the same brain pathways and chemicals—including dopamine, serotonin, and opioid systems—that are affected by other drugs.
Anabolic steroid abuse may lead to serious long-term, even permanent, health problems. Several other effects are gender- and age-specific. In certain cases of severe addiction, patients have received medicines to help treat symptoms of withdrawal.
This publication is available for your use and may be reproduced in its entirety without permission from the NIDA. Citation of the source is appreciated, using the following language: Department of Health and Human Services.
Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products. Synthetic Cathinones "Bath Salts". Addiction and Other Mental Disorders. Understanding Drug Use and Addiction. Monitoring the Future Survey: High School and Youth Trends. Lessons from Prevention Research. Substance Abuse in the Military. Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction.