In the last few years, much has been said about the uses, risks, and side effects of anabolic steroids. While one cannot deny that much of the information brought forward by some is not based on facts and is rather influenced by exaggerations about the dangers of steroid use, it is true to some extent that anabolic androgenic steroids can lead to side effects, which may be mild or severe, temporary or irreversible.
However, these side effects occur only when lack of knowledge or an "over-enthusiasm" is shown by overdosing on these performance enhancing drugs to get faster and quicker results.
Why Are Steroids Used
Anabolic androgenic steroids are used by different people for different reasons. A large majority of people use them under medical supervision during the treatment of health conditions like short stature, primary or secondary hypogonadism, many forms of anemia, acute and chronic wounds, severe burns and protein-calorie malnutrition with associated weight loss. They may also be used for treating Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) wasting syndrome, prolonged catabolic state secondary to long-term use of corticosteroids, certain kinds of breast cancer in some women, failure to gain or maintain normal weight because of unexplained medical reasons. They may also be used to treat hereditary angioedema, which causes swelling of the face, arms, legs, throat, windpipe, bowels, or sexual organs.
These drugs may also be used for treating certain blood clotting diseases, growth failure, Turner's syndrome, osteoporosis, to stimulate bone growth and appetite, induce male puberty and treat chronic wasting conditions such as cancer. Anabolic steroids may also be recommended for bone marrow stimulation, stimulation of appetite as well as preservation and increase of muscle mass in people with chronic wasting conditions, induction of male puberty, or hormone replacement for men with low levels of testosterone. They may also be used to improve libido in elderly males, increased bone and muscle mass, facial hair, increased levels of red blood cells, and clitoral enlargement in female-to-male patients.
Amateur and professional athletes or fitness-conscious people may make use of these drugs to gain or lose weight, build lean and solid muscle mass , improve performance, and ability to handle intense workouts and exercise sessions. They may also be used for improving the levels of red blood cell production, nitrogen retention, protein synthesis, muscle function, muscle size, body strength, endurance, sense of well being and invincibility, and hit harder, run faster, and jump higher.
Difference between Steroid Use And Steroid Abuse
There is a very thin line between steroid use and steroid abuse and this is what most users fail to realize. The use of premium-quality, genuine anabolic androgenic steroids for medicinal purposes in accordance with medical advice is rarely associated with any danger or side effect. However, the use of steroids in the absence or intervention of medical advice or steroid use for purposes other than medical is what constitutes steroid abuse. The risk of side effects increases when these drugs are purchased from the black market or unverified sources of performance enhancing drugs.
Extent and Dangers Of Steroid Use
The extent of steroid use and popularity can be measured from the fact that around 660,000 high school students admitted to using anabolic steroids in 2005, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 2.6 percent of twelfth graders reported using these drugs at least once in their lifetimes, and 39.7 percent surveyed in 2005 reported that steroids were "fairly easy" or "very easy" to obtain. Another 56.8 percent of twelfth graders said that using anabolic androgenic steroids was a "great risk."
If that is not all, more and more people are talking about these drugs nowadays and using them with the help of the internet which is a platform full of opportunities to purchase not only the drugs, but to connect with doctors who are more than willing to prescribe them illegally. The worst part is that most users tend to believe that they can always stay safe even if they over-use or abuse steroids that may be legally purchased or from the black market This is surely the wrong approach to buy and use steroids. Anabolic steroids are extremely potent drugs and can lead to side effects and health complications in the short as well as the long term.
A quick Google search for "buy steroids online" or "buy anabolic steroids" can quickly return thousands of pages of results of different online sellers of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs and promises that they would help get better athletic performance, bigger muscles, gain or lose weight faster, and other things.
However, buying steroids is not as easy as just a few clicks. The repercussions can be quite brutal. For example - If you buy steroids and such a purchase is illegal according to the laws of your resident country and you get caught, you can face a stiff fine and/or imprisonment. If you have obtained these drugs through a doctor via a fake prescription and the doctor gets caught by the Drug Enforcement Agency, you may become answerable to questions regarding your steroid use habits and then you may be subjected to criminal charges or a hefty fine.
The possession or purchase of steroids with intent to sell are all classified as felonies under United States federal and state laws. An individual convicted of the possession of steroids unlawfully with intent to sell, may be penalized by up to five years in prison under the US federal law.
Facts and Statistics
- A research team at Luleå University of Technology and Umea University in February 2012 revealed that elite lifters who use anabolic steroids have more dangerous fat distribution in the body. According to the study that was published in The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, elite lifters who take anabolic androgenic steroids have a higher possibility to suffer from strokes and heart attacks. This research led to the World Anti-Doping Agency deciding to extend the shutdown option from 2-4 years of professional athletes who have been caught doping.
- According to a U.S. study published in Behavioral Neuroscience, Vol. 120, No. 1, anabolic steroids may have a lasting effect on the brains of teenagers and these drugs could even flip the adolescent brain's switch for aggression which may last for at least two years. The researchers at Northeastern University also revealed that steroids can cause permanent brain changes. Dr Richard Melloni, who led the research, said steroids could change the trajectory if administered during development because the developing brain is more adaptable and pliable. He also added that people considering the use of such drugs should consider the long-term health risks and the serious potential for aggression and violence.
- A new study on elite male strength athletes that researchers from the University of Gothenburg recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that there is a link between steroid use and reduced mental health later in life. Claudia Fahlke, director at CERA, remarked that the users of anabolic androgenic steroids were more likely to have been treated for depression, concentration problems and aggressive behavior. It was also suggested by the study that these users were more likely to have abused other illicit drugs and alcohol and psychiatric symptoms and use of steroids and other drugs tend to reinforce each other in a vicious cycle.
- According to a paper being presented at the American Society of Nephrology's 42nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition in San Diego, CA, athletes who use steroids may gain muscle mass and strength but they can also destroy their kidney function and the habitual use of these potent drugs has serious harmful effects on the kidneys that were not previously recognized. The study abstract, "Development of FSGS Following Anabolic Steroid Use in Bodybuilders," (TH-PO163) was presented as part of a Poster Session during the American Society of Nephrology's 42nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition on October 29, 2009. The study was conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Vivette D'Agati, MD at Columbia Univeristy Medical Center. Study co-authors include Glen Markowitz, MD, Joshua Schwimmer, MD, Michael Stokes, MD, Cheryl Kunis, MD, Vivette D'Agati, MD, (Columbia University Medical Center); Alton Farris, MD, and Robert Colvin, MD (Massachusetts General Hospital).
- According to research reported in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal, the use of steroids in the long term may weaken the heart more than previously thought and may increase the risk of heart failure. Aaron L. Baggish, M.D., lead author of the study and instructor in the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston said heart is one of the organs that are negatively impacted by long-term steroid use. It was suggested that steroids can weaken the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber, and even impair diastolic function, which is when the left ventricle relaxes and fills with blood.
- According to a study conducted by McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School investigators, the long-term use of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) may severely impact the ability of a user to accurately recall the shapes and spatial relationships of objects. The study, published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, revealed that users performed significantly worse on the visuospatial tests that were administered and those deficits directly corresponded to their length of use of anabolic-androgenic steroids. Research Psychiatrist Harrison Pope, MD, remarked that we have seen a significant increase in the use of anabolic steroids within the general population over the last 20 years, and are finding that people are taking doses that are often 10 times stronger than those typically used in the 1960s and 70s. Pope also said that some people with higher doses of AAS and longer periods of lifetime exposure might even eventually develop visuospatial deficits similar to those sometimes seen in elderly people with dementia, who can become easily become lost or disoriented.
- Dr. Fia Klötz of Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues studying the associations between criminality and steroid use in 1,440 Swedish residents tested for the drugs between 1995 and 2001 remarked that those who tested positive for steroid use were about twice as likely to have been convicted of a weapons offense and one and a half times as likely to have been convicted of fraud. Dr. Klötz also remarked that the use of anabolic steroids is associated with a lifestyle involving crime, including weapons offenses and fraud, but did not appear to be associated with violent crimes or crimes against property. The study authors disclosed that aggressiveness appears to occasionally trigger violent behavior, sometimes even including homicide and steroid use is linked to extreme mood swings, impulsiveness, depression, paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment.
Side Effects Of Anabolic Steroids
The list of side effects associated with the abuse of anabolic steroids includes:
Male pattern baldness in women
Oily skin, acne, gynecomastia, and bloating
Lower sperm count and infertility
Shrinking of breasts in women and testicles in men
Blood clotting disorders
High blood pressure, stroke, and other heart diseases
Acne on the back, chest, and shoulders
Excess water and salt retention
Abnormal menstrual cycles and deepened voice in women
Damage to the fetus in case of pregnant women
Addiction, depression, insomnia, hallucination, and delusions
Liver cysts or cancer
Kidney or liver damage
Increased aggressiveness, anger and hostility, and possibly violence
Feelings of inadequacy
Blood transmitted infections such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV/AIDS.
How to Avoid Steroid Side Effects
The side effects of anabolic steroids can be prevented and even eliminated with the application of the right knowledge at the right time.
To avoid these side effects, it is best to use steroids only for medicinal purposes after a qualified and authorized medical practitioner has recommended their use after thoroughly evaluating all medical reports and history.
Steroids, when taken through injections, should be used with great care and the habit of needle or syringe sharing should always be avoided. Moreover, it is best to administer these drugs through a sterile needle from an unopened pack.
The dosages of anabolic androgenic steroids should be regulated in strict and complete accordance with the medical instructions.
While using steroids, avoid using other drugs like antidepressants and prescription drugs (unless specifically recommended by a doctor); it is always good to be open with your doctor that you are using anabolic steroids while seeking his advice on steroid use in the future.
It is also important for you to note that these potent drugs are not to be used by children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those diagnosed with a severe health condition like kidney or liver damage, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, or prostate/breast/testicular cancer.
In short, anabolic androgenic steroids are extremely potent drugs and should always be used with caution and a sense of diligence. Before you decide to buy and use steroids, it is always recommended that you consider the risks and side effects involved with the purchase and sale of such drugs. Moreover, be careful to check the law in your country for these drugs and make it a point to always consult with a doctor before you buy steroids. Moreover, you should always remember that buying steroids carries a risk. You can buy steroids cheap on the internet but always remember that the internet markets are not controlled and so are these drugs.