Most people don’t fully understand what steroids are. Anabolic steroids a.k.a. anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), are a kind of drug that mimics the effect of hormones in the body. The hormones they mimic are that are in charge of how the body works and how you develop.
Some people misuse anabolic steroids to build muscles or in an attempt to be more masculine and look manly. Other people take them as performance enhancing drugs in sports; especially in sprinting and cycling. Lance Armstrong is a famous example of a cyclist who ended up in trouble with his steroid use.
The following are the important effects of anabolic steroids:
- They may enhance training and performance in athletes
- If they are taken by people following a strenuous exercise regime, then they help the body recover faster and develop muscle mass
- One of the adverse side effects is what is commonly called “roid rage“; steroids can induce feelings of paranoia and aggression, and can cause violent and dramatic mood swings
- They can also lead to unwanted physical changes (more body hair, “roid gut”, etc.)
Anabolic steroids come in both tablet and liquid form. The liquid version is injected rather than ingested. Anabolic steroids do have medical uses and may be used to treat people who suffer from muscle weakness and anaemia after getting surgery.
They are typically used by bodybuilders, athletes, and sports players as performance enhancers. Unfortunately, some of these people can take up to 100 times the recommended medical dose. Some young people will also use them in an attempt to improve their appearance despite the potential appearance-damaging side effects.
What Are the Benefits of Taking Anabolic Steroids?
People who take steroids have claimed that they have the following effects:
- They are able to train harder for longer
- They recover from their harsh workouts faster
- They help build muscle mass when coupled with exercise
- Anabolic steroids may also cause paranoia and irritability and may lead to violent outbursts and mood swings; commonly called “roid rage”
- They may also cause unwanted physical side effects such as causing acne or shrinking testicles
What Risks Do Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids (AAS) Have?
There are definitely risks to taking anabolic steroids. They can cause harm to your health and your body. They can also harm your mind by making you paranoid and aggressive. It’s surprisingly common for people on steroids to lash out on their friends and even their family.
Here are some of the other risks associated with anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS):
- If you’re young then steroids can interfere massively with how your body develops and can stop your body from growing how it should
- Steroids can cause erectile dysfunction in men and can also cause them to develop breasts, become sterile, lose their hair, develop acne, and shrink their testicles
- Steroids can cause women to develop male characteristics such as facial hair, hair loss, a deeper voice, smaller breasts, as well as developing an enlarged clitoris. Women also have the same risks of developing acne and a change in their sex drive that men do. Steroids can also impact the menstrual cycle
- Steroids increase your blood pressure and increase your risk of developing liver failure, strokes, or heart disease/attacks
- Taking steroids on a regular basis can cause sleeping problems; this is partly due to the other mental effects of taking steroids such as developing feelings of paranoia and aggression. This aggression can also cause violent mood swings
- Injecting any drug, including steroids, can damage your veins and can lead to ulcers and gangrene. The risk is enhanced when you use dirty needles and don’t inject steroids properly. There is also the risk of developing serious health concerns such as HIV, hepatitis C, and other diseases caused by sharing needles.
Are Anabolic Steroids Illegal?
- Anabolic steroids are classed as a Class C drug. This means that you can only buy them from a pharmacist if you have been prescribed them by a doctor .
- While it is legal to possess steroids for personal use you need to import or export them in person. It is illegal to import or export steroids using the postal service, a courier, or a freight service.
- Possessing steroids or importing them with the intent to sell them, or even just give them to your friends, is illegal and punishable by up to 14 years in prison and unlimited fine
Some sporting organisations have also banned anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS). They test for these steroids on a regular basis. If someone is caught taking steroids, they can be disqualified from the competition they are in and even banned from competing professionally for life.
Did you know?
Being convicted on a drug charge can have serious repercussion on your entire life. It can prevent you from travelling to other countries, such as the United States, and can hinder your chances to get a job.