In many cases, the subject of steroids abuse is brought up when talking about the use of these substances among athletes or bodybuilders. Steroids, which are also known as anabolic steroids, are named for the synthetic substance that is related to testosterone. Testosterone is a sex hormone found in most male species, and in male humans, it is responsible for facial hair, muscle and bone growth, and the development of reproductive tissues.

Steroids were developed to help with testosterone issues, a condition known as hypogonadism. It was also used to treat delayed puberty, impotence and help people whose bodies had been ravaged by certain diseases. However, it was found that steroids could help with muscle growth too and this is when athletes and bodybuilders started using it illegally and abusing it.

Steroids are illegal to use without a prescription. People often take steroids orally, inject it in the muscle, or apply a gel or cream on their skin. The dose for non-medical use of steroids can be 10 to 100 times higher than medical doses.

Steroid Abuse Among Athletes

For bodybuilders, steroids help speed up muscle growth far faster than how the human body does naturally. Steroids target the androgen receptor in muscle tissue and gets inside to the cells, prompting them to start producing more of the protein that builds muscles.

Not all steroid use is about building muscle, however. Athletes often partake in steroids abuse to enhance their performance in sports and reduce muscle breakdown. When training, the body releases a stress hormone called cortisol, which breaks down muscle tissues and makes people sore after workouts. Steroids work by stopping cortisol from binding to the receptors in our muscles, slowing down the natural breakdown process. This means athletes can recover far more quickly and improve their performance over all.

Whatever the reason that an individual has for abusing steroids, this behavior can has serious and harmful effects.

The Symptoms of Steroids Abuse

Steroids can have profound physical and psychological effects on a person, with some physical changes gender-specific that can be irreversible.

  • Physical changes in men: Can start growing breasts, testicles can shrink, may go bald, can become infertile.
  • Physical changes in women: Breast size decreases, body fat decreases, voices changes, may excessive grow body hair.

Both men and women can experience adverse health effects from steroid addiction which include damage to their heart, liver or kidneys, which can sometimes lead to heart attacks or liver cancer. They may develop acne, cysts or their skin may retain fluids. There’s also the risk of contracting hepatitis or HIV from using needles to inject steroids.

The psychological changes of steroid can affect a person even after only one use. They include:

  • Delusions
  • Irritability, often leading to extreme anger
  • Loss of judgment

Steroids may not be used to get high, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t addictive. Once someone starts needing to take steroids to get through their day-to-day or compulsively seeks out the drug, often at the expense of everything else, that is the sign of steroid addiction.

Due to the health risks associated with steroid abuse and addiction, it’s important that a person seeks out treatment as soon as possible to regain control of their life and prevent any of the irreversible side effects.

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Treatment For Steroids Abuse

For those who seek steroid abuse treatment, one of the first steps is to go through medical detox. Unfortunately, a person cannot just simply stop using steroids. The withdrawal symptoms can be painful, even deadly, and a person needs time for their adrenal glands to start functioning at normal levels. Most people will need to be weaned off steroids and can experience withdrawal symptoms until the substance is completely out of the body. Detoxing from steroids should be done under medical supervision, so withdrawal symptoms can be treated to reduce the risk of relapse and life-threatening complications.

Symptoms of steroids withdrawal can include any of the following:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

Along with detox, a person who has abused steroids needs to go through therapy to learn about the nature of addiction, the factors that might have led to them abusing or becoming addicted to the drug. They’ll need to learn to identify and combat the triggers that might lead them to relapse. Any co-occurring illnesses should be treated as well, if a person has steroid addiction and depression, for example. Treating one illness but not the other can also lead to relapse.

A person should continue to receive supportive care, such as in a 12-step program or by taking classes. This way, they can continue to get the support they need to stay drug-free and start regaining control of their life again.

Are you or a loved one struggling with steroid addiction? Sovereign Health of El Paso, Texas, can help. Our facility offers world-class care and cutting-edge treatment methods that can help a person struggling with addiction get the best start to recovery. Find out more about treatment for steroids addiction by calling our 24/7 helpline.

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