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Side effects of anabolic steroids
The adverse effects associated with anabolic-androgenic steroids are dependent on the age and sex of the user, the amount used and the duration of use.
Typical side effects of legally prescribed normal-dose anabolic steroids may include acne, fluid retention, gynecomastia (enlarged male breasts), increased red cell count and changes in cholesterol levels. Users should follow up with their prescribing clinician and take periodic blood tests to monitor for these effects. Studies of men taking physiological doses of AAS medications found no changes in aggressive behavior.
In adolescents, use of anabolic steroids can permanently stunt growth. In women, use of the drugs can induce permanent physical changes including deepening of the voice, increased facial and body hair growth and the lengthening of the clitoris. In men, use of AAS can cause shrinkage of the testicles, enlargement of the male breast tissue and sterility. Anabolic steroid use can damage the liver and can cause an increase in cholesterol levels.
Anabolic steroid use can also induce psychological effects such as aggression, increased feelings of hostility, psychological dependence and addiction. Upon abrupt termination of long-term anabolic steroid use, abusers may experience withdrawal symptoms including severe depression.
Health risks of anabolic steroids
Numerous health risks are associated with chronic steroid abuse, including liver and kidney damage, severe acne, fluid retention, trembling, high blood pressure, enlargement of the heart and increased risk of stroke in individuals of all ages.
Adolescent steroid users put themselves at risk for stunted growth and other problems as they are already in a vulnerable position due to changing hormones.
The use of anabolic steroids can lead to many undesirable changes to the human body.
Female abusers could experience body and facial hair growth, male-pattern baldness, changes in the menstrual cycle, shrinking breasts, increased sex drive, acne and a deepening voice. Some of these changes are permanent, even when the anabolic steroids are stopped.
Abusers who inject their steroids run the added risk of contracting or transmitting blood-borne infectious diseases such as HIV or Hepatitis via shared needles.
Finally, chronic AAS users can also experience psychiatric symptoms such as severe mood swings, paranoia, delusions, impaired judgment, feelings of invincibility, mania and anger ("roid rage") that may lead to violence. These extreme unwanted effects are more likely to be seen in those who have a predisposition to these types of behaviors.
There is no evidence in the available literature that legitimate medical use of AAS leads to abuse or dependence. However, long-term AAS abuse can affect some of the same brain pathways and chemicals that are affected by other drugs such as opiates, resulting in dependency and even addiction.
Treatment for anabolic steroid abuse
Individuals who abuse anabolic steroids can experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking them. Withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, restlessness, mood swings, depression, fatigue, insomnia, reduced sex drive and cravings. Research shows that some abusers turn to other drugs such as opioids to counteract the negative effects of chronic AAS use.
The first step in treating anabolic steroid abuse is to get the individual to stop using these drugs and seek medical attention in order to address any psychiatric or physical symptoms they might have. Referral to an addiction treatment facility or counselor may be indicated.
Recent developments on anabolic steroids from MNT news
Since sports were invented, people have cheated. From figure skaters breaking competitors' legs, to marathon runners disappearing into the crowd and taking the subway, scandal populates sporting history.
Teens are risking their health in order to "bulk up" and "get toned" by using anabolic steroids and drinking protein shakes, according to a report conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota and published in the journal Pediatrics.
Anabolic-androgenic steroids are synthetic versions of the naturally occurring hormone testosterone and have legitimate medical uses. When legally prescribed and supervised by a medical provider, anabolic steroids are considered safe and therapeutic medications.
However, the majority of use of these drugs is among bodybuilders and athletes in order to enhance their muscle strength or appearance. Heavy AAS abuse can lead to potentially severe and sometimes irreversible negative health consequences, including early heart attack, stroke, depression and severe aggressive behavior.