Erin McCool & Abby Cranney

What are Steroids?

Steroids, also known as anabolic-androgenic steroids, are synthetic variations of male sex hormones such as testosterone. Put in simple terms these are "muscle building-increased male characteristics" drugs. Steroids are sometimes referred to as gear, juice, roids or stackers by the users. (NIDA)

How are Steroids Used in Medicine?

Steroids are similar to hormones, the chemicals produced in the human body that control metabolism. Steroids used for medical purposes are synthesized in labs to treat a variety of diseases such as muscle wasting, growth deficiency, asthma, skin conditions, and more. When used medically, these steroids are safe and legal. When taken illegally for sports or games, steroids can cause medical issues (Tasian, Steroids).

44% of teens say that it is very or fairly easy for them to obtain steroids even though they don’t have a doctor’s prescription for them (emedicinehealth).

How are Steroids Administered?

Injection: This is the most popular use because it puts the substance directly into your bloodstream. It would directly stimulate muscle tissue to grow and "bulk up" in response to training by mimicking the effects of natural hormones. (Tasian, Abusing Steroids).

Pills: A common, but less popular mode of administration. The most powerful male sex hormone pill comes in the form of testosterone, but there are over 100 different versions. Steroidal supplements contain DHEA or andro, can be found in most health clinics or pharmacies, but you need a prescription to obtain them. (Tasian, Abusing Steroids).

What are the Physical and Psychological Effects?

Short Term,

-Trouble sleeping

-High blood pressure

-Altered mood, irritability,increased aggression

-Severe headaches


Long Term,

-Delayed Puberty

-Hormonal Imbalance

-Decrease in serotonin and dopamine levels

-Alterations in cholesterol

-Excess facial/body hair, deeper voice

-Risk of viral infections

-Liver, kidney, heart disease

-Depression, suicidal thoughts

-Stunted growth




How Long do the Effects Last?

Following the use of steroids, rapid muscle growth can continue up to three months after intake. Muscle growth continued to grow by 30% in 15% of a users lifetime.

Some steroid effects can last for decades. Steroid use will increase the amount of nuclei in muscle cells even after temporary use of performance enhancing drugs. Each nucleus can produce proteins for a certain volume of cells. The more nuclei you have, the greater potential for your muscle to grow in the future. This will continue even after steroid use has ceased. (NIDA).

Laws and Social Concerns?

There are many laws that prohibit steroid abusers from selling or having steroids in their possession. Without a prescription for steroids from your doctor, the possession or sale is illegal. Obtaining or possessing steroids carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison, the minimum is a $1,000 fine, if it's your first drug offense. If steroid abusers are caught trafficking this drug, the penalty is 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

It's not just athletes and body builders that are abusing steroids now. School age children, and business professionals are now abusing this drug. About half a million 8th-10th grade students have been abusing this drug. Many schools have made new laws that allow student drug testing as a student drug prevention program. Even sports teams are considering these programs for athletes who have been abusing these drugs.

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Support Systems for Steroid Abusers

Many Steroid abusers have trouble even getting to this stage of treatment. There are many rehabilitation centers such as, local hospitals, drug hotlines, some even go to medical professionals instead of drug rehab centers. The drug abusers that will most likely go to medical professionals first will probably be the long term drug abusers that need extra assistance with their treatment plan. The medical professionals can help dealing with the physical and psychological side effects.

One specific type of treatment that some medical professionals use is called:

Three-Pronged Treatment:

1. Medical help (deal with physical side effects when the drug isn't taken anymore).

2. Help mental health professional to deal with mental side effects from quitting and issues that led to the drug abuse.

3. Healthy--exercise and nutrition to keep body strong while in the withdrawing stages.