Steroid use can promote a number of benefits for individuals in a myriad of scenarios.
Steroids are available through prescription by doctors who recommend treatments of either corticosteroids or anabolic steroids for their patients.
When is steroid use okay and when is it considered illegal?
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In certain groups, the mention that someone is taking steroids evokes a “cringe response”.
The reason why steroids typically get a bad rap is due to the misuse, overuse, and abuse of the drug by athletes and bodybuilders.
While there certainly is a prevalent trend of bodybuilders and athletes purchasing and using steroids without a prescription from black-market resources.
The plain truth is that steroids can provide a number of health benefits when used correctly and under the supervision of a physician.
Proper medical steroid use involves a diagnosis, treatment plan, and a prescription with careful monitoring by a doctor.
For example, steroids – corticosteroids and anabolic steroids – are often recommended in the treatment of certain medical conditions. What’s the difference between the two?
Corticosteroids are manufactured in the adrenal glands, more specifically the adrenal cortex.
However, in cases of malfunction, dysfunction, or inadequate levels in the body, oral, topical, or injectable forms of laboratory developed corticosteroids may be recommended in the treatment of:
Corticosteroids are often recommended in the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.
Anabolic steroids are different. Anabolic steroids are synthetically created. They’re similar in structure as well as function to the male hormone testosterone.
Testosterone is a primarily male hormone manufactured in the testes that gives men their secondary sex characteristics, but it’s also manufactured in small amounts by women’s ovaries.
Anabolic steroids are often recommended in the treatment of:
Use of anabolic steroids for nonmedical reasons is strongly frowned upon by medical communities around the world.
Use of any performance enhancer, including steroid use, use of growth hormone, growth factors, or other drugs to increase muscle size, strength, or physical endurance and stamina is also banned by sporting organizations around the world.
Refer to the World Anti-Doping Agency for a list of currently banned substances before taking any kind of steroid, steroids supplement, steroid alternative, or testosterone booster.
Steroid use – and any other drug for that matter – can become dangerous when it is misused, overused, or abused.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse cautions that bodybuilders and athletes looking for accelerated muscle mass, increased endurance and stamina, and overall improvement of physique often inject 10 to 100 times more drug into their bodies than is recommended for medical treatments.
Steroid abuse and misuse is when it becomes dangerous and contributes to a number of physical health risks as well as development of psychological mental/emotional issues.
The concept of “roid rage” is very real. Even short-term use and misuse of steroids can contribute to a number of psychological changes.
These include increased bouts of irritability and aggression, bursts of violence, unreasonable reactions to situations, as well as an increasing sense of irritability, anxiety, depression, and for some, paranoia.
Not everyone experiences the detrimental side effects of steroid use in sports but it’s always important to remember that steroids are very powerful components that can have an impact on numerous body organs, systems, functions, and activities.
Hormone levels in the body are carefully balanced. Exceed those levels, and a steroid user may experience a number of side effects – some minor, some more severe.
Some of the most common side effects associated with steroid use include those that range from minor to rather alarming.
Most commonly, outwardly visible side effects can include eruption of severe acne on the face, or the body, fluid retention (edema), an increased growth of body hair, or conversely, male pattern baldness.
Non-visible side effects can include but are not limited to complaints of headaches, high blood pressure (hypertension), and increased cholesterol levels of the bad kind (LDL or VLDL Cholesterol).
This can contribute to buildup of plaque inside the artery walls, leading to decreased blood flow and increasing the risk of a potential heart attack or stroke.
Safer alternatives are out there. Don’t scoff at the potential of steroid use to cause physical as well as emotional changes in your body that are unexpected and unwanted.