8 Side Effects of Steroid Use

Learning How to Spot Side Effects of Steroid Use Is Crucial to Recovery. Learn More.

People of all ages, genders, and backgrounds abuse anabolic steroids. While it might seem like a harmless way to improve muscle tone and enhance performance in athletic sports, steroids can cause both short- and long-term harm to your body and impair your physical and mental health. The side effects of steroid use present differently in men and women, so it's important to learn more about what can happen to you if you use them. If you or someone close to you needs help finding rehabs, call Indianapolis Drug Treatment Center at 317.682.1670 to get more information.

What Are Anabolic Steroids?

The term "anabolic steroids" (or simply steroids) refers to types of testosterone (a male sex hormone) that are synthesized in a lab. Many people confuse these steroids with corticosteroids, which are immunosuppressants and not at all related to the kind of drug abuse that we're focusing on. The effects are anabolic steroids are vastly different than the effects of corticosteroids.

Why Do People Use Anabolic Steroids?

There are many legitimate medical uses for anabolic steroids. Hormones are substances that, in small doses, control a broad range of bodily functions. One of the things that the hormone testosterone is responsible for is muscle growth. Physicians may prescribe them to treat issues related to delayed growth during puberty or to help counteract muscle loss resulting from illnesses like AIDS or cancer.

Some athletes, body builders, or even regular people take this drug (either orally or by injecting them) hoping to make use of one of the most notorious side effects of steroid use, which is bulking up. There are numerous adverse effects of anabolic steroids, however, and addiction to steroid symptoms can start presenting quite quickly.

Common Side Effects of Steroid Use

  1. Increase in sebaceous production, resulting in severe acne and oily skin and hair
  2. Hair loss
  3. Liver conditions, such as tumors and cysts
  4. Kidney disease
  5. Cardiovascular issues problems
  6. Mood swings, severe aggression, depression, and suicidal behavior
  7. High blood pressure
  8. Altered cholesterol levels

Are There More Side Effects of Anabolic Steroids?

Further, there are gender-specific side effects of steroid use. In men, they may cause:

  • Painful erections
  • Breasts to grow
  • Testicles to shrink
  • Decreased sperm count
  • Infertility
  • Impotence

In women, side effects of steroid use include:

  • Excessive hair growth
  • Deepened voice
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Enlarged clitoris
  • Reduced breast side
  • Masculinized female fetus

Do the Effects of Anabolic Steroids Appear Quickly?

Not all of them. Some take a relatively short time to appear, while others get progressively worse with time. Some symptoms are short term, such as:

  • "Roid rage," that is, extreme aggression
  • Irritability
  • Delusions
  • Impaired judgment

The long-term side effects that you may experience are:

  • Kidney failure
  • Liver damage
  • Enlarged heart and blood alterations, which can lead to stroke or heart attack

What Are the Addiction to Steroid Symptoms?

Abusing steroids can lead to a chemical dependence and addiction. Like other addictions, the symptoms are complex and not always physical. If someone is unable to stop using steroids, they might be addicted. Once the abuse ceases or diminishes, they may experience withdrawal symptoms.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms

Once your body develops a tolerance, suspending steroid use causes an imbalance. That's when the withdrawal symptoms begin, including:

  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Agitation
  • Lack of appetite
  • Insomnia or trouble sleeping
  • Decreased libido
  • Drug cravings

Seek Help

If you suspect that you or someone you care about is abusing steroids, you should seek professional help. Detoxing and withdrawal can be very stressful on the body and relapses may occur. For that reason, it's important to equip yourself with help from trained professionals and create a comprehensive treatment plan.

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