Some people begin steroids for injury recovery, and others begin from peer encouragement to get stronger. Doctors may prescribe steroids to treat muscle loss due to disease, hormone imbalances in men, delayed puberty, or certain types of anemia. Others take non-prescription steroids to gain strength.
Anabolic steroids are a synthetic drug that mimics testosterone, the male sex hormone. These are different than corticosteroids, another type of steroid. These steroids, like prednisone, are often used to treat severe allergic reactions. They do not facilitate muscle growth or mimic testosterone. Dependence on prednisone does not occur.
Anabolic steroids increase muscle mass and strength. They reduce body fat while increasing aggressiveness. Many steroid users want to increase their fitness and appearance. Over time tolerance to steroids builds, leading to dependency and addiction.
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Anabolic steroid tolerance occurs when the user needs more of the drug to produce the same result. Addiction, or dependency, occurs when the person becomes physically, emotionally, or psychologically dependent on the drug for certain outcomes. This is despite the negative effects on the body and mental health.
There are many risks with steroids. They can impact sexual organs to the point of infertility or sterility. Teenage males may develop breasts and/or genital issues. Females who abuse steroids experience baldness, facial and body hair growth, lowered voices, and an enlarged clitoris. Hostility and aggression are common with steroids. Other risks include heart damage, stroke, irritability, delusions, depression, liver or kidney damage, rage, and even death.
Prolonged steroid use affects your hormone balance in your body. You can experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking steroids. They include:
- Mood swings
- Loss of appetite
- Reduced sex drive
- Steroid cravings
The most dangerous of the withdrawal symptoms is depression because it can sometimes lead to suicidal idealization. Some withdrawal symptoms like depression can last for a year a longer after ceasing steroid intake if untreated.
If you or a loved one are addicted to steroids, there is help. Treatment includes detox and comprehensive programs to focus on the underlying reasons that began the addiction. You will also develop tools to live without steroids. Reaching out for help is the best place to start. There is hope.
One step at a time, one day at a time, you can recover. At Design For Change, we offer refuge to those seeking to win against addiction because there is freedom in recovery. There is hope. Call us today to learn more about our long-term treatment programs and recovery services, creating change, one step at a time.