Anabolic steroids are synthetic derivatives and have a similar structure to testosterone, a male hormone manufactured in the testes. They stimulate the growth of cells and body tissues.
They also have a chemical structure the similar to cholesterol. As such, steroids like these can have a number of effects on body functions.
But are they really bad for you?
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Legal anabolic steroids are used in treatment plans for a number of medical conditions.
This can include hypogonadism, some growth deficiencies such as delayed puberty in males, or anemia.
And studies have found that use of anabolic steroids with cancer and HIV/AIDS patients can help reduce cachexia or muscle-wasting syndrome often associated with those conditions.
When used for nonmedical reasons and without a prescription, the risks associated with any effects of anabolic steroids can take many by surprise.
Anabolic androgenic agents are commonly used by a number of athletes and bodybuilders or even those seeking accelerated weight loss.
Most of the time, we think of men as the primary steroid users, but more and more women are abusing steroids like Clenbuterol, Anavar or Winstrol for fat loss.
While there is little dispute that synthetic hormones contribute to increases in muscle mass, they can be dangerous, psychologically as well as physically.
So while steroids can aid the increase in muscle size and strength for some, they also contribute to a number of side effects that are not only detrimental, but can be permanent.
Some of the most common side effects associated with anabolic androgenic steroids range from mild to severe.
Some of the most common side effects associated with use of many types of anabolic steroids names, prescription or not, include:
In addition to the effects of anabolic steroids on the body are concerns about the psychological ramifications as well as potential for increased likelihood of dependence and addiction.
One research study, “Psychological and physical impact of anabolic-androgenic steroid dependence” recruited approximately 40 fitness, body building, and athletic enthusiasts from websites promoting steroid use and steroid alternatives.
The study came to the conclusion of that approximately 23% of the participants exhibited behavior that was consistent with anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) dependence.
They showed a higher inclination to take higher quantities, more frequent dosages, and to use the steroids longer than the nondependent users.
The individuals exhibiting dependence within the study mentioned anxiety disorders and major depression issues to a greater degree than the non-users.
A number of studies have been engaged in recent years in an effort to determine the potential for dependence on anabolic-androgenic steroids.
Additional research “Anabolic-androgenic steroid dependence: an emerging disorder,” has resulted in the conclusion that steroids can be addictive.
Individuals exhibiting AAS dependencies likely share similar brain mechanisms that result from other substance dependence including that of opioids.
This has led to an increased interest in the development of treatment strategies for AAS dependence.
Before putting a powerful drug in your body that can severely alter hormonal, metabolic, and musculoskeletal functions, it’s important to know how effective anabolic steroids really are.
But isn’t it true that studies have shown that uses anabolic-androgenic steroids may enhance muscle mass and athletic performance? Yes.
What are the effects of anabolic steroids on the muscle cells of strength-trained athletes?
Studies have shown that short-term use does provide benefits in strength gains and potential increase of lean body mass, though not loss of fat.
Steroids may prove beneficial in boosting production of red blood cells that transports oxygen, which in turn can boost stamina and endurance.
However, with short-term use, individuals involved in such studies also complain about development of severe acne, increased growth of body hair, and increased aggressive feelings and behaviors.
Longer effects of anabolic steroids may interrupt normal testosterone production that can last months after the drug is discontinued.
Researchers also noted an increased, severe risk in regard to the function of cardiovascular activities such as higher blood pressure and increased levels of “bad” (LDL or low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels.
Steroids have been noted to exert “hazardous” effects on the structure and function of the heart muscle.
Anabolic steroids and long-term effects of steroids may also have a huge impact on the psyche.
In most studies involving anabolic-androgenic steroid reviews, test subjects have exhibited increased hostility and aggression.
Long-term use and extremely high doses have been shown to increase the potential for hypomania, depression, and psychotic features.
Additional anabolic steroids side effects include interference with the immune system and endocrine function.
There is a trend exhibited in the attitudes of individuals interested in using anabolic steroids that the effects of the drug are minor, temporary, and will go away when the drug is stopped.
This is not always the case. Potential users must always carefully weigh the beneficial (and temporary) effects of anabolic steroids with the potential risks of use.