Can Steroids Affect My Memory?

Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of the male sex hormone testosterone. Individuals take anabolic steroids in order to enhance their athletic performance or increase the size of their muscles. Unfortunately, steroids can negatively impact natural hormone production – causing many unpleasant side effects – and can also affect the liver and other organs. One of the most devastating side effects of steroid use is memory loss.

The Relationship between Steroids and Memory Loss

Steroids affect the brain’s limbic system, which is responsible for learning and the formation of memories. Steroids can harm the hippocampus, the specific part of the limbic system that is responsible for converting short-term memories into long-term memories. This can cause not only memory problems, but also learning difficulties.

Aside from their impact on the hippocampus, steroids also interfere with the function of the hypothalamus, another part of the limbic system. The hypothalamus is responsible for maintaining normal functions in the brain. This can cause irreversible damage to hormones. Other long-term effects besides memory loss include the following:

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, from injections
  • Sexual dysfunction

While some drugs alter the user’s perception and cause the user to forget what happened while he or she was high, anabolic steroids do not cause this sort of temporary amnesia. They impact the development of memories.

How to Identify Steroid Abuse

While most drugs cause noticeable health problems, anabolic steroids are unique in that users appear to be in good health. Sometimes the only way to discern whether or not someone is abusing anabolic steroids is to look for paraphernalia or observe psychological changes.

Steroids can come in pills, patches or liquid form. Paraphernalia associated with steroid abuse include the following:

  • Foil packets and plastic containers
  • Small vials with rubberized tops and syringes
  • Ointment and patches

A user’s focus on appearance or muscle size may also lead to spending an inordinate amount of time at the gym or the use of dietary supplements.

Psychological signs of steroid abuse include the following:

  • Aggression
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Impulsivity
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Jealousy
  • Extreme mood swings

Being aware of the paraphernalia and psychological signs associated with steroid abuse can help an individual identify if a loved one is abusing steroids.

Steroid Addiction Treatment

While steroids do not produce the euphoric high that other drugs produce, users can still become addicted to anabolic steroids. The longer an individual takes steroids, the higher the risk is that the drug will cause irreversible damage. Professional steroid addiction treatment will included a medically assisted withdrawal phase followed by counseling and therapy. Many steroid users need to be treated for depression after tapering off steroid use. A professional treatment facility is best equipped to address a recovering addict’s physical and psychological needs.

Help for Steroid Addiction

If you or someone you care about is addicted to steroids, call our toll-free helpline to speak with a trained counselor about a personalized treatment program. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to help you put an end to anabolic steroid abuse. Please call today.