Depending on who you ask, steroids could either be used for a benefit or they could be seen as dangerous.
In fact, there are some bodybuilders who will admit that steroid abuse is prevalent and that when used incorrectly, they could prove to be very risky.
If you’re planning to use performance-enhancing drugs for sport, be very mindful of the short and long term effects of steroids.
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Steroid abuse is so common, that the National Institute of Drug Abuse has listed it under forms of drugs abused on a consistent basis.
Statistics show that the potential for steroid use starts as young as adolescence and grows by the time an individual reaches their senior year of high school.
What prompts individuals to use steroids?
They are appealing for a variety of reasons, whether it’s to gain a competitive advantage on the playing field, boost strength and endurance, or even speed up recovery time after an injury.
When there are specific factors at play – such as competition and obtaining spots in competitive sports, meeting salary or statistic requirements, or trying to get noticed by an agent or other sports professional, the temptation of steroids is even greater.
That’s not to say that only professional athletes are tempted by steroids – amateur bodybuilders and those who want to improve self-esteem and body image are known to incorporate steroids into fitness routines.
Steroids are illegal to use in any setting outside of a medical office and with doctor’s approval, but that doesn’t stop individuals from looking to international resources and even bodybuilding forums to obtain these products.
Due to the unsupervised nature of steroid use outside of a medical setting, the risk for steroid abuse increases dramatically.
Steroid abuse is a serious risk – there are a number of dangers that affect the body and mind when an individual uses steroids without doctor permission.
As with any type of drug abuse, there are short-term effects of steroids that are well-known and documented.
But when it comes to long-term, very little is known due to a lack of studies as a result steroid use takes on the body.
There are psychological / mental effects of steroids as well as physical effects, including:
When not administered by a doctor in a professional setting, the risk of steroids abuse side effects grows.
This could be related to the unsanitary injection standards implemented by some users or, as is in the case of some users, taking too much of the steroid in order to achieve better results faster.
In addition to risks of steroid abuse, the risk of obtaining a transmitted infection, such as hepatitis B or C – or even HIV/AIDS, is increased.
There is also no research that shows higher doses of steroids work better than lower doses, but that does not reduce the frequency (or quantity) of steroid usage.
While the health complications of steroid use is fairly well-known, the legality of using such substances is not as clear for some.
Under the Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990, anabolic steroids, which is defined as any substance or drug created to mimic the effects of testosterone, is illegal.
Selling or even having anabolic steroids can bring federal financial penalties and even prison time if caught – in addition to state offenses.
Countless professional organizations have banned the use of steroids for its athletes, including the International Olympic Committee, National Football League, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
As with any illegal drug, it is still possible to obtain it through illicit means. Steroids are often sold through international (and domestic mail order) in unmarked packages after exchanging funds through online forums and private messages.
They also have the potential to be exchanged in public settings, such as through competitions and even the local gym.
Though it might be tempting to try steroids, they are much like any other street drug in terms of the addictive factor.
As previously mentioned, exact numbers of dependent steroid users are not verified, due to the secretive nature of the drug and each individual responds differently to steroid use.
Signs of steroid abuse and addiction include spending a large amount of money to obtain and hide steroids, experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness and mood swings, as well as feeling depressed or suicidal.
Symptoms associated with steroid withdrawal have been experienced by users up to one year after stopping the oral supplements or injections.
While some of the short-term benefits of steroid use might be appealing for some, the long-term dangers of steroid abuse are not worth the health and mental risks associated.
Speak with your doctor about health and fitness goals before attempting to use steroids to achieve a goal.