What Are The Side Effects Of Anabolic Steroid Use?

If you’ve ever wondered how the bulky weight lifters down the gym get so big, sometimes it isn’t through a strict routine of weight lifting and diet, but instead through the illegal use of steroids. 

In this guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at the side effects of using anabolic steroids and some of the common reasons why people use them. What’s more, we’ll also look to answer a few of the frequently asked questions. 

What Are Anabolic Steroids?

Before taking a closer look at some of the reasons why people use anabolic steroids and the potential side effects of anabolic steroid misuse, it’s worth explaining exactly what they are. 

Anabolic steroids are drugs that are manufacturered to replicate the effects of the male sex hormone, testosterone. These steroids are a prescription-only medicine that can provide some legitimate medical uses.

What Are The Side Effects Of Anabolic Steroid Use?

However, they can also be taken without medical advice for other, non-essential use.

Anabolic steroids aren’t to be confused with corticosteroids, which are a completely different type of steroid drug commonly used for a variety of conditions, including the treatment of swelling-related symptoms.   

It’s worth noting that most organizations in professional sport ban the use of anabolic steroids and regularly test their athletes for banned steroids to maintain the integrity of their sport. 

Why Do People Use Them? 

Doctors can prescribe anabolic steroids to help individuals who suffer from certain kinds of anemia, as well as men who are unable to produce enough testosterone naturally. 

However, doctors don’t prescribe anabolic steroids to athletes looking to increase muscle mass and improve physical performance. This is the most common reason for anabolic steroid misuse, and it’s completely illegal without medical advice from a doctor.

It’s not only bodybuilders and weightlifters that take anabolic steroids to build up their bodies, the drug is a serious problem among adolescent boys who suffer from body dysmorphic disorder.

This is a mental health condition where individuals often spend long periods of time worrying about the flaws in their physical appearance. 

Unfortunately, a common misconception is that anabolic steroids can quickly help young athletes become fit and healthy, however this is far from the truth.

In fact, if anabolic steroids are regularly used in this sense, it can become an incredibly dangerous drug habit. 

Side Effects 

Side Effects 

Using anabolic steroids on a regular basis can lead to a number of physical and psychological changes in both men and women, as well as a wide range of potentially dangerous medical conditions. 

Listed below are some of the common physical side effects that men can experience when taking anabolic steroids: 

  • Infertility 
  • Shrunken testicles 
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Reduced sperm count
  • Higher risk of prostate cancer
  • Baldness
  • Breast development 
  • Severe acne 

Whereas, some of the common side effects that women experience from taking anabolic steroids include: 

  • Loss of breasts
  • Facial hair and body hair growth 
  • Deeper voice
  • Swelling of the clitoris 
  • Hair loss
  • Severe acne
  • Higher sex drive
  • Issues with periods

Furthermore, both men and women can also develop the following medical conditions from anabolic steroid use: 

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Blood clots
  • Liver or kidney problems
  • High cholesterol 
  • Fluid retention

Psychological Effects

In addition to the physical side effects of anabolic steroids misuse, there are also some psychological effects to keep in mind. These include mood swings, paranoia, aggressive behavior, hallucinations, and manic behavior. 

Addiction 

As is the case with any substance, anabolic steroids can be addictive. This means that, not only can you crave the drug, you’ll also suffer from withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking them.

Despite the unpleasant side effects listed above, someone who’s addicted to anabolic steroids, will want to keep using them. 

If doctors prescribe an individual anabolic steroids, they always advise to come off the medication by slowly reducing the dose.

This is because coming off the drug suddenly can result in a range of withdrawal symptoms, including depression, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, anorexia, extreme tiredness, decreased sex drive, and muscle/joint pain.

ALSO READ: Are Anabolic Steroids Safe?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Your questions answered.

How Are Anabolic Steroids Taken? 

People usually take anabolic steroids by either injecting it directly into the muscle or swallowing tablets. What’s more, they can also come in the form of cream or gels that are applied onto the skin. 

Many people who take anabolic steroids are aware of the potential risks, so therefore try to use the drugs in a certain way to avoid some of the worst side effects. 

For example, an individual might take the drugs for a period of time, and then stop for a rest period. This is known as “cycling”. Another common method is to take more than one anabolic steroid at a time.

This is known as “stacking”, and is believed to increase the efficiency of the drug. 

It’s worth noting that there isn’t any evidence which suggests these methods actually reduce the chances of suffering unpleasant side effects from taking anabolic steroids.  

Do Anabolic Steroids Have An Effect On Growth?

Yes, anabolic steroids have the potential to accelerate bone growth, so if adolescents misuse the drug, it can cause premature ageing of the bones and restricted growth.

This is because they haven’t yet experienced the growth spurt associated with puberty. 

How Do You Sleep On Steroids? 

Using steroids can affect your ability to sleep, especially when taken before going to bed in the evening. This is why many physicians recommend taking the entire daily dose in the morning. 

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