Many kinds of steroids occur naturally in various hormones and vitamins. Drugs known as “anabolic steroids” are made in labs and are similar to the male hormone, testosterone. The muscle building effects of these drugs make them appealing to athletes and bodybuilders.
Anabolic steroids come in the form of tablets, capsules, a solution for injection and a cream or gel to rub into the skin. But most people swallow pills or inject fluid into their muscle.
Are steroids dangerous?
Yes. Taking steroids increases the risk of:
- Heart problems, blood clots, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Steroid-related heart failure has occurred in athletes younger than 30.
- Aggression and violence (“roid rage”), negative personality change, mania and depression, which may lead to suicide. Depression may continue for a year after drug use is stopped.
- Kidney and liver problems and liver cancer.
- Reduced ability to have kids in both women and men.
- Tendon ruptures, stop of growth in teens.
- Blood-borne infection (Hepatitis or HIV) if steroids are injected using shared needles, and infections if steroids are injected with dirty needles.
- Reduced sperm count, shrinking testicles, impotence and difficulty peeing.
- Risk of losing your hair and inappropriate breast development.
Are steroids addictive?
Yes, they can be. Many people get addicted to the changes in their bodies that occur with steroid use. Once you stop using steroids, the effects go away.
Others get addicted to the increase in adrenaline flowing through their bodies that can give them a rush, these same feelings are similar to “roid rage”
If you are using steroids or are thinking about using steroids contact your local Northwestern Health Unit needle exchange program sites for more information on how to use safely and for sterile supplies.
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