Steroids are normal drugs that people take for all kinds of medical purposes. When we talk about steroid abuse, we are often talking about anabolic steroids used by athletes and bodybuilders. Anabolic steroids are “a synthetic steroid hormone that resembles testosterone in promoting the growth of muscle.” Used medically, steroids help promote growth and can reduce inflammation in rashes, for example. On the abusive side of anabolic steroids, synthetic hormones increase athletic performance, build muscle, and gain strength.
People who abuse anabolic steroids are not using normal amounts of the steroids prescribed by a doctor. Substance abuse of any kind is defined as using a substance outside of its intended use. Illicit drugs are not intended to be used. Prescribed drugs, however, are. When someone hasn’t been prescribed steroids by a doctor, they are using them for non-medical purposes like athletic performance and muscle mass. When someone is abusing anabolic steroids, they are abusing the drugs at up to 100 times the amount of steroids that would be prescribed by a doctor. Using steroids as pills, topical applications, or intravenous administration, the high amounts of synthetic hormones eventually change the body.
There are few well-known symptoms of steroid abuse, as an alteration in male reproductive organs due to the high levels of synthetic testosterone, a change in voice, rapid muscle gain, and mood change. Called “roid rage,” testosterone is known to make people very edgy and aggressive. One of the less often discussed side effects of long term substance abuse is the effect steroids have on the heart. Studies have found that long term abuse of steroids can cause heart problems like an impaired ability to pump blood. Pumping blood is the heart’s purpose, sending blood to the brain, sending oxygen flowing throughout the body and the brain. When the heart loses its ability to pump blood, it can slow down, stop, or cause other problems resulting from reduced blood flow.
We know how it feels to feel like you cannot be yourself without drugs. You can be an excellent athlete, performer, and person without the use of anabolic steroids. There are freedom and hope for you in recovery.