Symptoms of steroids abuse
Steroids can be injected, taken orally or applied as creams and gels. Commonly known as Arnolds, Gym Candy, Pumpers, Roids, Stackers, Weight Trainers, Gear, and Juice, some of the common steroid brands available in the market include Anadrol-50, Oxandrin and Winstrol.
Anabolic steroids are classified as Schedule III Controlled Substances by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which implies that these can only be obtained with a prescription. However, illegally produced steroids are readily available online. A number of dietary supplements marketed for bodybuilding also contain steroids. These can be particularly dangerous because they may contain toxic adulterants.
Abusing anabolic steroids can take a serious toll on a person’s body. Some of the common symptoms of steroids abuse include:
- Liver and kidney tumors
- High blood pressure
- Increased cholesterol
- Severe acne
- Fluid retention
Men abusing steroids may also experience testicle shrinkage, reduced sperm count, baldness, breast development and prostate cancer. Women may experience increased facial hair, male-pattern baldness, changes or cessation in the menstrual cycle and deepening of the voice.
In addition to the physical side effects, steroid abuse also affects users psychologically and can lead to symptoms like:
- Dramatic mood swings
- Paranoid jealousy
- Impaired judgment
Of particular concern is the growing problem of anabolic steroids abuse among young people. A 2015 survey funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that 2.3 percent of high school seniors had used anabolic steroids at some point in their lives. Ali Mohamadi, M.D., a medical officer in the Food and Drug Administration’s Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products observes, “Parents tend not to believe their teens would consider taking anabolic steroids, but the truth is that the frequency of steroid use in this age group is far greater than many would guess.”
Teens are susceptible to certain side effects of steroids abuse that are not experienced by adults, such as disrupted puberty, compromising bone development that may result in limiting height, and impaired brain development, etc. Dr. Richard Melloni of Northeastern University says, “because the developing brain is more adaptable and pliable, steroids could change the trajectory if administered during development.”
It is likely that young people often get influenced by professional athletes who have used steroids in order to successfully compete at the highest levels. However, they should remember that in recent years; there have been a number of high profile cases involving athletes and steroid use. For instance, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees was banned for the entire 2014 season for using performance-enhancing drugs, including anabolic steroids. In 2012, champion cyclist Lance Armstrong was stripped of the seven Tour de France titles for using anabolic steroids and other prohibited substances.