Steroids or anabolic steroids are synthetic forms of the male sex hormone, testosterone. Anabolic steroids can be used to treat human hormones deficiencies (i.e, delayed puberty), and diseases causing muscle loss (i.e. cancer and AIDS).
Some athletes abuse these drugs to increase their muscular performance and improve their physical appearance, disregarding the danger of the substance.
Misuse of steroids may cause danger for both short-term and long-term health.
In the short term, anabolic steroids typically cause mental problems such as agitation/restlessness, mood swings, paranoia, and impaired judgments.
However, the most common and noticeable are changes in the body such as severe acne and water retention, especially in the hands and feet.
In the long term, some forms of steroids have permanent effects such as kidney failure, liver damage, strokes, and heart attack.
Steroid dangers vary in men and women, and commonly influence the characteristics of each gender.
In men, steroids may cause breast development, painful erections, decreasing the size of testicles, decreasing sperm count, impotence and/or infertility.
Women who abuse these drugs will experience problems like excessive face and body hair growth, deepening of the voice, menstrual problems, enlarged clitoris, reduced breast size, and even masculinized female fetus.
There are also some common health problems in both genders caused by the abuse of anabolic steroids, which are usually long-term and worsen as the abuse continues: such as, oily scalp and skin, jaundice, baldness, tendon ruptures, liver cancer and heart attacks.
Anabolic steroids may not cause euphoria like other drugs do, yet steroids can still be addictive. Research shows that some people who have used these drugs still continue taking them despite the high costs and negative impacts on their relationships and life.
They even choose to turn to other drugs to ease the uncomfortable and painful effects that they have experienced.
Due to the mental addictive characteristics of steroids, the withdrawal treatment for this drugs is done through a tapering down program to minimize the withdrawal symptoms, for example, insomnia, trouble in concentrating, depression, anxiety, decreased sex drive, headaches, and fatigue.