Effects of Steroid Abuse

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are synthetically produced variants of the naturally occurring male sex hormone testosterone. “Anabolic” refers to muscle-building, and “androgenic” refers to increased male sexual characteristics. “Steroids” refers to the class of drugs. These drugs can be legally prescribed to treat conditions resulting from steroid hormone deficiency such as delayed puberty as well as diseases that result in loss of lean muscle mass like cancer and AIDS.

If a person is using a steroid without a prescription, there is the potential for abuse. The reason is that the person has chosen to use steroids in an attempt to enhance performance and/or improve physical appearance. Extended, unsupervised use of steroids has an impact of just about every part of your physical, mental and emotional health.

Steroids Effect on the Brain

Long-term use of AAS can have an impact on some of the same brain pathways and chemicals—such as dopamine, serotonin and opioid systems. Thus extensive use of steroids can affect mood and behavior in significant ways.

Steroids and Mental Health

Several research studies show that extensive use of steroids can lead to aggression and mood swings which can include manic symptoms that can lead to violence. Other irrational mental health behaviors include paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions and impaired judgment.

Another study of 227 men admitted in 1999 to a private treatment center for dependence on heroin or other opioids found that 9.3 percent had abused steroids and of that group 86 percent first used opioids to counteract insomnia and irritability resulting from the steroids.

Steroids and Physical Health

Steroid abuse can lead to serious, even irreversible health problems with the most dangerous conditions being:

  • Liver damage
  • Jaundice
  • Fluid retention
  • High blood pressure
  • Increases in LDL (“bad” cholesterol); and decreases in HDL (“good” cholesterol)
  • Renal failure

Steroids and Men’s Side Effects

Unique to men, steroid abuse can present the following conditions:

  • Shrinking of the testicles
  • Reduced sperm count and infertility
  • Baldness
  • Development of breasts
  • Increased risk for prostate cancer

Steroids and Women’s Side Effects

Unique to women, steroid abuse can present the following conditions:

  • Growth of facial hair
  • Male-pattern baldness
  • Changes in or cessation of the menstrual cycle
  • Enlargement of the clitoris
  • Deepened voice

Get Help for Steroid Abuse

If you or someone you know has experienced the effects of steroid abuse, it’s best to seek assistance. It is possible and we can help. Please call our toll free number 1 (888) 898-5706 today.  We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about steroid addiction treatment.  We are here to help.