Pros and Cons of Taking Steroids to Get Your Dream Body

Anabolic steroids are synthetic (man-made) chemicals that resemble testosterone, the male hormone that is responsible for muscle and hair growth. The Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) of the University of Maryland claims that “there are more than 100 varieties of anabolic steroids that have been developed, but only a limited number have been approved for human or veterinary use.”

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists anabolic steroids as a Schedule III drug, and people cannot purchase them without a prescription from a licensed physician. That does not stop traffickers from flooding the U.S. market with illicit anabolic steroids, however. People also sometimes purchase various brands online.

In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Anabolic Steroid Act to address the large amounts of steroids being sold illegally. Fourteen years later, Congress passed another measure, the Anabolic Steroid Control Act, which increased the penalties for anabolic steroid trafficking and possession. It also allocated funds to raise awareness on the dangers of steroid abuse.

Unfortunately, loopholes in the laws allow steroid sales to continue. Bodybuilders and athletes may source their products from Mexico or Europe because anabolic steroids are legal in these areas.

History Of Anabolic Steroids  

Anabolic steroid use has a long history. German scientists successfully isolated and synthesized the hormone testosterone in the 1930s. The initial goal was to harness the substance to treat depression. It did not take long for people to notice that steroids may enhance physical performance. At the 1956 Olympics, for instance, steroid use was common among Russian weightlifters.

Weightlifters embraced anabolic steroids because not only do they boost physical performance for athletes, they also promote muscle growth. By the 1980s, the use of anabolic steroids among athletes had become commonplace.

People can ingest anabolic steroids orally, inject them locally, or apply them externally in the form of gels or creams. Of course, if people inject steroids with needles, they place themselves at risk of contracting hepatitis, tetanus, or HIV, especially when they share needles.

Are Anabolic Steroids Legal?  

Regulatory bodies that oversee competitive sports ban the use of steroids among competing athletes because they may give undue advantage to users. Anabolic steroids are also restricted in the United States because of their proven health risks and the high potential for abuse.

But, steroids are not totally illegal because they have medical applications. The Drug Enforcement Administration lists anabolic steroids as Schedule III controlled substances, which means they are used to treat some medical conditions but carry the potential for abuse.

Because they are listed as controlled substances, it is illegal to possess anabolic steroids without a prescription. Possessing anabolic steroids can lead to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Smuggling large amounts can lead to five years in prison in addition to a $250,000 fine. And that is just for the first offense.

While they are illegal in the United States, there is a huge demand for anabolic steroids, which has inevitably spawned a multimillion-dollar trafficking industry. In fact, people travel to Mexico to buy steroids over the counter without a doctor’s prescription. They then smuggle them back to the United States.

It is also easy to purchase anabolic steroids online. Users, however, may not know if the product is diluted or contaminated, which can wreak havoc on their systems.

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Pros And Cons Of Using Steroids  

Anabolic steroids continue to be legal because they address a number of medical conditions. It is important that people not use more than the dosage prescribed by doctors because they risk developing tumors or damaging vital organs such as kidneys or the liver.

Medical Uses For Anabolic Steroids Include:

  • Temporary cures for anemia
  • Treatment for angioedema, a hereditary condition that causes the extremities and internal organs to swell. If not treated, it can cause death
  • Rapid weight gain for people recovering from illnesses, infections, or injuries
  • Assistance for certain types of breast cancer as well as arthritis, psoriasis, and asthma because they suppress inflammation and immune response
  • Supplements for people who cannot produce testosterone on their own

Athletes And Bodybuilders Use Steroids To:

  • Lose weight quickly
  • Enhance muscle definition
  • Increase mass and boost strength
  • Improve performance in sports and competition

Using anabolic steroids without medical supervision can be dangerous. For one, men who abuse steroids sometimes suffer from confidence problems or self-esteem issues. They may use steroids as a way of coping with stress. They may believe that if they look better, they will also feel better. There is a link between anabolic steroid abuse and body dysmorphia — an impaired view of body image — among men.

One study established a connection between the prevalence of steroids misuse and physical or sexual abuse among female weightlifters. The study found that the women used anabolic steroids to build strength and confidence because they felt so helpless at the time of the attacks.

Anabolic steroids work by suppressing the adrenal glands, the glands that produce cortisol and aldosterone. Suddenly stopping the use of steroids can be traumatic for those glands. It is important that users taper from using anabolic steroids by using alternative hormones to allow their bodies to recover.

 The Cons Of Using Anabolic Steroids Include:

  • Torn tendons and burst veins
  • Swollen breasts in men
  • Stunted growth in teens
  • Legal problems

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Who Abuses Anabolic Steroids?  

A study on the lifetime prevalence of anabolic steroid use in Americans revealed that 22 percent of steroid users started using the substances before the age of twenty. The researchers concluded that about 1 million Americans from the ages of thirteen to fifty have developed a dependence on the drug.

Abuse occurs when people use dosages many times more than what was prescribed for safe use. Just like other substances, anabolic steroids can be very addictive for some individuals. Some researchers believe that some people may be more biologically predisposed to addiction and may have an addiction gene. This may make people more predisposed to dependence not just on drugs and alcohol but also gambling, pornography, sex, exercise, money, computer games, or other behaviors or substances.

Symptoms Of Anabolic Steroid Dependence  

  • Aggressive behavior (Roid Rage?)
  • Sleeping and eating disturbances
  • Lack of interest in school and work
  • Preoccupation with steroids
  • Risk-taking behaviors
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Irritability
  • Enlarged heart
  • Extreme mood swings
  • High blood pressure

Side Effects Of Steroids Misuse  

For Men

  • Lower sperm count
  • Severe acne
  • High blood pressure
  • Enlarged heart
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Shrinking testicles
  • Gynecomastia (enlarged breasts)
  • Baldness
  • Water retention
  • Liver and kidney problems
  • Erratic heartbeat
  • Blood clots

For Women

  • Hair growth
  • Deepening of the voice
  • Breast loss
  • Increased libido
  • Severe acne
  • Baldness
  • Inconsistent menstrual cycle
  • Erratic heartbeat
  • Swelling of the clitoris
  • Liver and kidney problems
  • Blood clots
  • Sterility

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According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a small portion of students from eighth grade through twelfth grade use steroids. The figure is around just one percent. This small number is good news since anabolic steroids have been proven to stunt growth among teens.

If you use steroids for prolonged periods for your appearance, you could be endangering your health. It is important to educate yourself on the consequences of anabolic steroid use and then decide whether they are worth the risk.

The last thing you want to do is experiment with anabolic steroids. One misstep can have serious health consequences. If you are considering using anabolic steroids to get that dream body, you need to understand the seriousness of using this substance for something other than their prescribed use. Of course, the ideal situation is to avoid this chemical substance as much as possible.

Help Yourself Or A Loved One Today  

If you or your loved one are showing symptoms of steroid abuse, find help immediately. You are at risk of developing serious conditions as a result of prolonged misuse. This abuse can even be fatal.