Confidential Contact Form
Steroids: Abuse, Side Effects, Overdose & Treatment
When most people think of steroid abuse, they imagine pro athletes or bodybuilders taking illegal substances in an attempt to get ahead. But what exactly are they, and why are they so dangerous?
While steroids offer a variety of benefits when used as prescribed, there is also a high potential for abuse and negative side effects. This post will explore the risks associated with steroid use and abuse, as well as provide information on how to seek treatment if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction.
What Are Steroids?
Steroids are a class of man-made drugs that mimic the effects of the hormone testosterone. They can be taken orally, injected, or applied topically and are often used to treat a variety of conditions.
While steroids have medical uses, they are more commonly known for their illegal use in sports as performance-enhancing drugs. When used for this purpose, steroids can help increase muscle mass, strength, and endurance.
What Do Steroids Look Like?
It depends on the steroid. There are many different types of steroids, with different chemical structures. Some are designed to be taken orally, while others are designed for injection.
Some steroids are made to mimic the natural hormones produced by the body, while others are created in a lab specifically for performance enhancement or muscle growth.
What Are Steroids Used For?
Steroids are medications that people use to balance hormones in their bodies. People usually take steroids when they have an inflammatory disease, such as arthritis or lupus. They can also take steroids to help the body fight against certain types of cancer.
Some people use steroids to build muscle mass and improve athletic performance. However, abusing steroids can have serious side effects, such as liver damage and high blood pressure. Additionally, steroid use can lead to aggressive behavior and mood swings. For these reasons, it is important to talk to a doctor before taking steroids.
There are two types of steroids: anabolic and corticosteroids. Anabolic steroids build muscle tissue and can be used to treat conditions like delayed puberty or low testosterone levels. Corticosteroids are medications that can be used to treat inflammation and pain. They work by mimicking the effects of the hormone cortisol. Both types of steroids have legitimate medical uses, but they can also be abused.
How Do Steroids Work?
Steroids work by mimicking the effects of the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is a male sex hormone that is responsible for the development of male physical characteristics, such as facial hair and a deep voice. It also plays a role in muscle development and bone density.
After taking in the substance, it is metabolized in the body, and its molecules mix in the blood where it goes into the androgen receptors and binds to them. Consequently, it stimulates the androgen receptors where the overall effect is an increased production of protein in the body.
How Long Before You Can Feel the Effects of Steroids?
With steroids, the effects will vary depending on the condition you want to treat or address. Because there are many different uses for steroids, there is no one answer to this question. The efficacy will also depend on the type of steroid you are taking.
For example, if you are taking the steroid prednisone for arthritis, it can work as quickly as 1 to 4 days. However, if you are taking steroids to boost athletic performance, it can take three weeks to see the maximum effect.
How Long Do Steroids Stay In Your System?
It varies depending on the type of steroid taken and the method of administration. In general, steroids can be detected for up to 14 days if you take them orally. If you inject steroids, they can be detected for up to one month.
The time steroids stay in your system will also depend on how long you have been taking them. For example, if you have only been taking steroids for a few days, they will leave your system quickly. However, if you have been taking them for weeks or months, the probability that they will be detected for a longer period is increased.
What are the Short and Long-term Side Effects of Steroids?
The side effects of steroids can be both short-term and long-term. The most common ones include acne, increased blood sugar level, uncontrolled mood shifts, decreased sex drive, highly irritable, being hot-tempered, tiredness, and elevated cholesterol level in the blood.
Some of the side effects of long-term steroid use include a decrease in sperm count, smaller testicles, breast development, and gradual hair loss. For women using this substance, the following effects can be observed: the growth of beard and mustache, change in menstrual period, voice tone becomes lower, breast size decreases, and clitoris swells.
Are Steroids Addictive?
Steroids are believed to be not as addictive as other substances, such as opioids or benzodiazepines. However, people who misuse steroids can develop a dependence on the drug and may continue to take it even when there are negative consequences.
For example, someone who takes steroids to improve their athletic performance may continue to take the drug even if it causes them to experience side effects like acne or mood swings. Many bodybuilders also fall into the trap of taking ever-increasing doses of steroids in an attempt to build more muscle. This steroid abuse can lead to potentially dangerous side effects.
What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms?
Generally, the withdrawal symptoms from steroids are not life-threatening. However, they can be very unpleasant and can cause serious disruptions to your life. The most common symptoms include intense mood swings, depression, fatigue, excessive sleeping, restlessness, and loss of appetite.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek professional help to ensure that you can safely and effectively withdraw from steroids.
What Causes Steroid Overdose? Signs of an Overdose
A rare but potentially deadly consequence of steroid abuse is an overdose, which can cause coma, heart attack, and stroke. Some signs that a person has overdosed on steroids may include the following:
- Increased aggression or irritability
- Unusual changes in mood swings
- Changes in menstrual cycles for women
- Rapid weight gain or swelling in the face, hands, or feet
- Seizures or tremors
What Should You Do If Someone Is Overdosing?
Call emergency assistance if you believe someone has ingested or injected too many steroids. This is a medical emergency and should be treated as such.
If the person is unconscious or having trouble breathing, call 911 immediately. If they are conscious but exhibiting signs of overdose, try to get them to a hospital as soon as possible.
How Do You Treat Steroid Addiction? Detox & Treatment
When a person becomes addicted to steroids, it means they are continuing to take the drug even though it is causing negative consequences in their life. For example, a bodybuilder who is using steroids for a long-time may keep using even if the habit is causing liver and kidney damage. In these types of cases, it may be helpful to consult with a medical professional specializing in substance abuse treatment.
An addiction treatment center can help recommend detox programs as well as treatment options that can address the underlying causes of addiction. This may include therapy, medication, and support groups.
Final Thoughts: Addressing Steroid Abuse and Addiction
Steroid abuse can be very dangerous as it can lead to serious side effects. If you or someone you know is currently taking steroids, it is important to seek professional help to safely discontinue use