Street Names: roids, rocket fuel, juice.
“Anabolic steroids” is the familiar name for synthetic substances related to the male sex hormones (e.g., testosterone). They promote the growth of skeletal muscle (anabolic effects) and the development of male sexual characteristics (androgenic effects) in both males and females.
Fast facts about anabolic steroid abuse:
A recent study by Dr A Basson of the Youth Research Unit at UNISA found the following among secondary school learners in South Africa:
- 1 out of 10 learners doing sport have used drugs to enhance performance
- 6.2% has used anabolic steroids (AAS)
- 87.5 % said they were motivated by parents to use steroids.
The primary medical use of steroids:
The primary medical uses of these compounds are to treat delayed puberty, some types of impotence, and wasting of the body caused by HIV infection or other diseases.
Anabolic steroids were found to facilitate the growth of skeletal muscle in laboratory animals, which led to abuse of the compounds first by bodybuilders and weightlifters and then by athletes in other sports. Steroid abuse has become so widespread in athletics that it can affect the outcome of sports contests.
Why do people abuse anabolic steroids?
- to improve their athletic performance (Although testing procedures are now in place to deter steroid abuse among professional and Olympic athletes, new designer drugs constantly become available that can escape detection and put athletes willing to cheat one step ahead of testing efforts.
- to increase their muscle size or to reduce their body fat (This group includes people suffering from the behavioral syndrome called muscle dysmorphia, which causes them to have a distorted image of their bodies).
How do people abuse steroids?
Anabolic steroids are usually either taken orally or injected into the muscles, although some are applied to the skin as a cream or gel. Doses taken by abusers may be 10 to 100 times higher than doses prescribed to treat medical conditions. Abuse of anabolic steroids may lead to aggression and other psychiatric problems.
Legal Status: Steroids are a controlled substance under provisions of the Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990. A related chemical, human growth hormone, is now also controlled.
1. It is illegal to use steroids for muscle building in South Africa. Anabolic steroids may only be used for medical conditions related to muscle wastage and hormone shortages.
2. It’s illegal for anyone besides a doctor, pharmacist or other health professional to sell anabolic steroids, or anything labelled as such.
3. It’s also illegal to have them in your possession without a prescription.
Article link – http://www.mh.co.za/health/are-steroids-illegal/
The negative effects of steroid use:
Although many users report feeling good about themselves while on steroids, extreme mood swings can also occur, including manic-like symptoms and anger (“roid rage”) that may lead to violence. Researchers have also observed that users may suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility.
Some of the most dangerous consequences that have been linked to steroid abuse include kidney impairment or failure; damage to the liver; and cardiovascular problems including enlargement of the heart, high blood pressure, and changes in blood cholesterol leading to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack (even in young people).
Steroid use commonly causes severe acne and fluid retention, as well as several effects that are gender- and age-specific:
1. For men—shrinkage of the testicles (testicular atrophy), reduced sperm count or infertility, baldness, development of breasts (gynecomastia), increased risk for prostate cancer
2. For women—growth of facial hair, male-pattern baldness, changes in or cessation of the menstrual cycle, enlargement of the clitoris, deepened voice
3. For adolescents—stunted growth due to premature skeletal maturation and accelerated puberty changes, and risk of not reaching expected height if steroid use precedes the typical adolescent growth spurt.
Is steroids addictive?
Steroids can become an addiction, although it differs from other drugs that cause a dopamine high. Studies has shown that animals will self-administer steroids when given the opportunity, just as they do with other addictive drugs. People may persist in abusing steroids despite physical problems and negative effects on social relationships, reflecting these drugs’ addictive potential. Also, steroid abusers typically spend large amounts of time and money obtaining the drug—another indication of addiction.
Withdrawal symptoms will occur when a person stops using steriods for example mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive, and steroid cravings. One of the most dangerous withdrawal symptoms is depression—when persistent, it can sometimes lead to suicide attempts. Research has found that some steroid abusers turn to other drugs such as opioids to counteract the negative effects of steroids.
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REFERENCES: www. drugabuse.gov /www.wikipedia.com