My Advice to Potential Users:
If you don’t have what it takes, forget about it – no drug can give you willpower, determination and hard discipline!
That being said, in my law practice as well as in my days as an Olympic athlete, I have encountered the abuse of steroids on every level, sometimes justifiable (such as in treatment of injuries) but mostly only in order to improve recovery and performance. I have also seen athletes use cocaine and abuse alcohol in order to recover faster and regain composure before the race.
Unfortunately, some top athletes who “have what it takes” have been unjustly accused of drug abuse and, given the “bad rap” all steroids have, the scales of justice and fairness are heavily tilted against them from the get-go.
Steroids are medications, drugs that have their place in medicine. Their effect is limited and side effects unforeseeable, because they depend on the individual proclivities and body and mind constitution. Further, even outside the scope of purely medical use, they can only help in certain combinations, in limited amount and for a limited time, on which account, the following needs to be emphatically stated:
- Steroids are legally manufactured for medical uses in treatment of anemia, severe burns, and some types of breast cancer.
- Steroids are banned in almost all sports; any athlete found using them is usually disqualified or suspended for a long time and stripped of any titles they may have gained while they were using steroids.
- There is widespread use of steroids in the sport of body building due to the ability of steroids to increase muscle growth along with weight training.
- Some athletes practice “steroid stacking” by using three or more kinds of oral or injectable steroids to get quicker results in their physique.
- Injectable steroids result in the risk of spreading or contracting infections such as Hepatitis or HIV when sharing needles.
- Steroid users risk more than 70 side effects, which includes physical and psychological reactions like jaundice, stroke, acne, liver tumors, mood swings, low or high sex drive, aggressive behavior and others included in the list of short-term and long-term effects below.
- Steroid users often take from 20 to 200 times the recommended dosage to build muscles.
Steroids Impact on Your Body
Steroids affect your heart.
Steroid abuse has been associated with cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. These heart problems can happen to athletes under the age of 30.
Steroids affect your liver and kidneys.
Steroids can cause high blood pressure and kidney and liver tumors. Steroid use can also cause blood-filled cysts to develop in the liver. Both the tumors and cysts can rupture, causing internal bleeding.
Steroids affect your appearance.
In both sexes, steroids can cause male-pattern baldness, cysts, acne, and oily hair and skin.
Steroids can affect your growth.
Under normal conditions, sex hormones trigger growth spurts during puberty and also signal the body to stop growing when they reach a certain level. When teens take steroids, the resulting high sex hormone levels can signal bones to prematurely stop growing, stunting the user’s growth.
Steroids affect gender-specific features:
- For women-growing of facial hair, shrinking of the breasts, deepened voice, masculine changes in the shape of the face, and cessation of the menstrual cycle.
- For men-shrinking of the testicles, development of breasts (gynecomastia), and infertility.
Steroids affect your mood.
Steroids can make you angry and hostile for no reason. This is commonly referred to as “roid rage.” This can also include suicidal thoughts and/or attempts, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, and insomnia. There are many cases of steroids causing users to become violent towards themselves and others. Some users developed behavioral problems that were so extreme that they could not function within their workplace or society.
Steroids increase your risk of infection.
Sharing needles or using dirty needles to inject steroids puts you at risk for diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Because many steroids are imported illegally, they can be tainted with bacteria, toxins, or other dangerous byproducts.
Steroids are addictive.
Withdrawal symptoms include mood swings, suicidal thoughts and/or attempts, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite; desire to take more steroids, and insomnia.
Know the Risks
Steroids are illegal to possess without a prescription from a licensed physician. It is illegal for individuals to sell steroids. Some illegal steroids are made overseas and smuggled into the United States or made in underground labs domestically. They pose greater health risks because they are not regulated by the government and may not be pure or labeled correctly.
Signs of Abuse
How can you tell if a friend is abusing steroids? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. But there are signs you can look for. If your friend has one or more of the following warning signs, he or she may be abusing steroids:
- Development of breasts
- Growth of facial hair
- Deepened voice
- Breast reduction
For Both Genders
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
- Swelling of feet or ankles
- Aching joints
- Bad breath
- Mood swings