The Effects of Steroid Abuse
The adverse effects of steroids on body and mind range from mildly irritating to serious and even life threatening. The majority of these ill effects are reversible once use of the drug is discontinued.
Many users, especially athletes, believe the benefits far outweigh the risks. Anabolic steroids help retain nitrogen in the body and this is used to build up muscle which explains why the drug is so popular among body builders. Prolonged use can bring on a type of aggression called "roid rage", viewed as a positive thing by many muscle men as it enables them to train longer and harder.
There are no studies to prove that prove that anabolics alone have a direct effect on performance. Research shows that steroids can increase endurance and muscle strength but they're not proven to enhance physical achievement unless backed by intensive exercise and high protein diets.
Why people turn to steroids
For many users anabolic steroids are part of their lifestyle. But high level competition athletes need to bear in mind that the drug can be detected in urine for up to six months after it was last taken.
Steroids can be highly effective medically. Their use in the treatment of people with muscle wasting diseases has had a positive effect in building up bulk and strength. They have also proved successful in treating certain types of impotence caused by a lack of testosterone.
But because anabolic steroids are synthesised from male hormones they can have a masculine effect on the body. Women may find they lose hair on their head or have an increase in body hair. Their voice may get deeper or they may experience a decrease in breast size and enlargement of the clitoris.
Men may find they develop breasts, their testicles may shrink and their sperm count can plummet as the synthetic drug shuts down the male reproductive system. Studies have shown there is also an increased chance of prostate cancer.
Skin problems such as acne and infection are common side effects for both sexes.
Youngsters who take the drug run the risk of stunted growth because the steroids stop the skeleton from maturing. They also risk accelerated puberty
Because steroids increase red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body, all users face an increased risk of coronary heart disease due to raised blood pressure and cholesterol. There have been reported cases of heart problems including heart attacks in athletes under the age of 30.