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The Pitfalls of Steroid Use

Articles, Australia, International, Understanding Addiction

Anabolic steroid use has exploded over the last decade. They are considered “performance enhancing drugs” and as such, most people don’t see the dangers they pose. They just choose to concentrate on the fact that they “enhance performance”. It does, there is no denying it, but at what cost?

The use of anabolic steroids as performance enhancement drugs became very popular among athletes who felt like they needed a “leg up” on their rivals. These clinically engineered chemicals are often prescribed to people with hormone imbalance and other legitimate health complications, however, illegal and unfounded use of these dangerous substances can be very dangerous because they are taken in much greater amounts than would be prescribed and deemed safe by a medical professional.

What are steroids

Our bodies produce various types of hormones, they control our bodily functions and growth. Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of natural hormones like genadotropin, the human growth hormone, most often abused by bodybuilders and anyone looking to gain more muscle mass without the effort needed to achieve it naturally. There are also substitutes to such hormones as androstenedione, erythropoietin and of course, testosterone. Hormones regulate how our bodies operate, thus, by taking drugs that contain specific hormones, we can enhance that specific trait. Steroids can allow an athlete grow muscle mass, increase stamina and be able to train longer and harder than usual.

The dangers

Use of anabolic steroids destroys the natural balance of hormones in the body. It can hinder or halt natural production of them which leads to many long-lasting and irreversible problems. They affect more than just the users physique. Steroids can induce irritability, aggression and drastic mood swings. Some types of steroids can cause a rapid rise in cholesterol placing the user in danger of stroke or heart failure.

Side effects

Usage of anabolic steroids can be extremely disruptive in the human body. The equilibrium of hormonal balance is very easy to disrupt and usually with dire consequences. Use of such drugs affects men and women differently because our natural hormone composition is very different. It is, in fact, the very thing that determines our gender. Prolonged use of steroids for me can cause such issues as rapid growth of mammary glands, or in layman’s terms – breast enlargement. No less scary are other side effects, like testicle atrophy, impotence and general inability to have children. For women, the effects can be different but just as dangerous and long lasting. Rapid body hair growth, deeper voice irregular menstrual cycle and of course infertility. The same type of hormones affect men and women differently, but there are some side-effects that are shared between both genders. Skin gets very oily and severe acne has been observed. Liver damage, high blood pressure, depression and aggressive behavior are but few of the symptoms.

Most of these symptoms can reduce in severity or disappear altogether, however, there are those that never do. Infertility, breast growth in men, hair loss and impotence are few that usually are untreatable.

The battle

How to fight the use of these drugs? By education and full disclosure. Most people will never sign up for anabolic steroid use if they know the repercussions. Physically impressive men and women worldwide regret the use of these drugs once they have lost the ability to have children or been forced to use a dialysis machine on a daily basis due to their kidneys failing.

Teaching children at a young age about the dangers and caveats of these drugs is imperative in ensuring their healthy and prosperous future.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.

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