Steroids can be addictive like alcohol or other drugs. Steroids are initially used for better performances to increase the ability to do more work and exercise by stimulating muscle growth, power, and aerobic capacity in an abnormal manner. This amplified performance can have life-threatening side effects.
The complications created by the use of steroid abuse are a result of greater testosterone production that affects almost all the organ systems in the body. Some of the effects are temporary and diminish when the drug abuse stops while others are permanent and irreversible. A large number of steroid users usually become addicted to the drugs.
Steroid users normally spend large amounts of money for buying the drugs, which is an indication that they may be addicted. Individuals who abuse steroids can experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking steroids, such as mood swings, fatigue, and restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive, and steroid cravings.
The most dangerous of the withdrawal symptoms is depression because it sometimes leads to suicide attempts. If left untreated, some depressive symptoms associated with anabolic steroid withdrawal have been known to persist for a year or more after the abuser stops taking the drugs as witnessed by their continued abuse despite physical problems and negative effects on social relations.
In males, the excess steroid suppresses the normal testosterone production in the body. This can lead to shrunken testicles and decreased sperm count, baldness, and breast development. In females, anabolic steroid abuse can lead to masculinization of the body with loss of body fat and breast size, swelling of the clitoris which may not be reversible and not stop even when the use of steroids is stopped.
Females also suffer from deepening of the voice, and the development of facial and body hair. Life-threatening side effects include heart attack and stroke, the risk of forming blood clots, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus, liver cancer, and liver failure.
Steroid use causes Acne conglobate which is a very acute type of acne that usually develops during steroid use or sometimes even after the drug has been discontinued. Infections are a widespread side effect of steroid use because of needle sharing and unsanitary techniques used when injecting the drugs into the skin.
These are similar risks to IV drug abusers with increased potential to acquire blood-borne infections such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. Skin abscesses may occur at injection sites and may spread to other organs of the body. Endocarditis or an infection of the heart valves usually occurs in steroid users
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