What Are They?
Ever wondered how those bulky weight lifters got so big? While some may have gotten their muscles through a strict regimen of weight-lifting and diet, others may have gotten that way through the illegal use of steroids.
Steroids are synthetic substances similar to the male sex hormone testosterone. They do have legitimate medical uses. Sometimes doctors prescribe anabolic steroids to help people with certain kinds of anemia and men who don’t produce enough testosterone on their own. Doctors also prescribe a different kind of steroid, called corticosteroids, to reduce swelling. Corticosteroids are not anabolic steroids and do not have the same harmful effects.
But doctors never prescribe anabolic steroids to young, healthy people to help them build muscles. Without a prescription from a doctor, steroids are illegal.
There are many different kinds of steroids. Here’s a list of some of the most common anabolic steroids taken today:, oxandrin, dianabol, winstrol, deca-durabolin, and equipoise.
What Are the Common Street Names?
Slang words for steroids are hard to find. Most people just say steroids. On the street, steroids may be called roids or juice. The scientific name for this class of drugs is anabolic-androgenic steroids. Anabolic refers to muscle-building. Androgenic refers to increased male characteristics. But even scientists shorten it to anabolic steroids.
How Are They Used?
Some steroid users pop pills. Others use hypodermic needles to inject steroids directly into muscles. When users take more and more of a drug over and over again, they are called “abusers.” Abusers have been known to take doses 10 to 100 times higher than the amount prescribed for medical reasons by a doctor. Many steroid users take two or more kinds of steroids at once. Called stacking, this way of taking steroids is supposed to get users bigger faster. Some abusers pyramid their doses in 6-12-week cycles. At the beginning of the cycle, the steroid user starts with low doses and slowly increases to higher doses. In the second half of the cycle, they gradually decrease the amount of steroids. Neither of these methods has been proven to work.
How Many Teens Use Them?
What Are the Common Effects?
Steroids can make pimples pop up and hair fall out. They can make guys grow breasts and girls grow beards. Steroids can cause livers to grow tumors and hearts to clog up. They can even send users on violent, angry rampages. In other words, steroids throw a body way out of whack. Steroids do make users bulk up, but the health risks are high. It’s true, on steroids biceps bulge; abs ripple; and quads balloon. But that’s just on the outside. Steroid users may be very pleased when they flex in the mirror, but they may create problems on the inside. These problems may hurt them the rest of their lives. As a matter of fact steroid use can shorten their lives.
Steroids Cause Hormone Imbalances
For teens, hormone balance is important. Hormones are involved in the development of a girl’s feminine traits and a boy’s masculine traits. When someone abuses steroids, gender mix-ups happen.
Using steroids, guys can experience shrunken testicles and reduced sperm count. They can also end up with breasts, a condition called gynecomastia.
There are up to 32 types of anabolic steroid listed on commercial websites.
Some have only medicinal uses, such as Nebido. Anadrol is an example of a steroid with both medicinal and performance uses.
Others, such as anadur, have no therapeutic use, but athletes use them.
People choose different types for different purposes:
- bulking steroids for building muscle
- performance steroids for strength and endurance
- cutting steroids for burning fat
Other reasons for use include healing and recovery and enhancement of metabolism.
For both medical and illegal purposes, anabolic steroid can be taken:
- by mouth
- as pellets implanted under the skin
- by injection
- through the skin as a cream or gel
Oral forms are taken by mouth. They include:
- Fluoxymesterone (Halotestin), or “Halo”
- Mesterolone (Proviron)
- Methandienone (Dianabol), or “Dbol”
- Methyltestosterone (Virilon)
- Mibolerone (Cheque)
- Oxandrolone (Anavar, Oxandrin), or “Var”
- Oxymetholone (Anadrol), or “Drol”
- Stanozolol (Winstrol), or “Winny”
Injectable forms include:
- Boldenone undecylenate (Equipoise), or “EQ”
- Methenolone enanthate (Primobolan), or “Primo”
- Nandrolone decanoate (Deca Durabolin), or “Deca”
- Nandrolone phenpropionate (Durabolin), or “NPP”
- Testosterone cypionate (Depotest)
- Testosterone enanthate (Andro-Estro)
- Testosterone propionate (Testex)
- Trenbolone acetate (Finajet), or “Tren”
Anabolic steroid travel through the bloodstream to the muscle tissue, where they bind to an androgen receptor. The drug can subsequently interact with the cell’s DNA and stimulate the protein synthesis process that promotes cell growth.
Some types of steroid are commonly used for medical treatment. For example, corticosteroids can help people with asthma to breathe during an attack.
Testosterone is also prescribed for a number of hormone-related conditions, such as hypogonadism.
However, anabolic steroids are not commonly prescribedTrusted Source as a treatment.
In the U.S., an anabolic steroid is a schedule III controlled substance available only by prescription. The use of these drugs is only legal when prescribed by a medical provider.
Medical conditions they are used to treat include:
- delayed puberty
- conditions that lead to muscle loss, such as cancer and stage 3 HIV, or AIDS
Testosterone and several of its esters, as well as methyltestosterone, nandrolone decanoate, and oxandrolone, are the main anabolic-androgenic steroids currently prescribed in the U.S.
Steroids in sport
Non-medical use of steroids is not permitted in the U.S. Under the Controlled Substance Act, unlawful possession and distribution are subject to federal and state laws.
As it is not legal for athletic purposes, there is no legal control over the quality or use of drugs sold for this purpose.
Illegal steroids are obtained through the internet and through informal dealers, like other illegal drugs. However, they may also be available through unscrupulous pharmacists, doctors, and veterinarians.
“Designer” steroids are sometimes produced to enable athletes to pass doping tests. Their composition and use are entirely unregulated, adding to the hazards they pose.
Athletes often consume Trusted Source steroids on a trial-and-error basis, using information gained from other athletes, coaches, websites or gym “gurus.” As a result, they do not have access to medical information and support that can keep them safe while using these drugs.
The adverse effects of anabolic steroid use depend on the product, the age and sex of the user, how much they use, and for how long.
Legally prescribed normal-dose anabolic steroids may have the following side effects:
- fluid retention
- difficulty or pain when urinating
- enlarged male breasts, known as gynecomastia
- increased red cell count
- lower levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and higher levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol
- hair growth or loss
- low sperm count and infertility
- changes in libido
Users will attend follow-up appointments and take periodic blood tests to monitor for unwanted effects.
Non-medical use of steroids can involve quantities from 10 to 100 times the amount used for medical purposes.
Incorrect use of steroids can lead to an increased risk of:
- cardiovascular problems
- sudden cardiac deathTrusted Source and myocardial infarction
- liver problems, including tumors and other types of damage
- tendon rupture, due to the degeneration of collagen
- osteoporosis and bone loss, as steroid use affects the metabolism of calcium and vitamin D
In adolescents, it can result inTrusted Source:
- permanently stunted growth
In men, there may be:
- shrinking testicles
- enlarged breasts
Women may experience:
- changes to the menstrual cycle
- deepening of the voice
- lengthening of the clitoris
- increased facial and body hair
- shrinking breasts
- increased sex drive
Some of these changes may be permanent, even after stopping use.
There is also a risk of:
- liver damage
- aggression and feelings of hostility
- mood and anxiety disorders
- reckless behavior
- psychological dependence and addiction
People who suddenly discontinue anabolic steroid after using them for a long time may experience withdrawal symptoms, including severe depression