KNOW THE FACTS
Also known as: Anabolic-androgenic Steroids, Roids, or Juice
Common brand names: Androsterone, Oxandrin, Dianabol, Winstrol, Deca-durabolin, and Equipoise
Anabolic steroids are man-made medications related to testosterone (male sex hormone). Doctors use anabolic steroids to treat hormone problems in men, delayed puberty, and muscle loss from some diseases.
Bodybuilders and athletes may misuse anabolic steroids to build muscles and improve athletic performance, often taking doses much higher than would be prescribed for a medical condition. Using them this way is not legal—or safe, and can have long term consequences.
Anabolic steroids are only one type of steroid. Other types of steroids include cortisol, estrogen, and progesterone. These are different chemicals and do not have the same effects.
When people take steroids without a doctor’s prescription or in ways other than as prescribed, they are abusing steroids.
Some people who abuse steroids take pills; others use needles to inject steroids into their muscles.
Anabolic steroids affect a part of the brain called the limbic system, which controls mood. Long-term steroid abuse can lead to aggressive behavior and extreme mood swings. This is sometimes referred to as “roid rage.”
Steroids can also lead to feeling paranoid (like someone or something is out to get you), jealousy, delusions (belief in something that is not true), and feeling invincible (like nothing can hurt you).
Abuse of anabolic steroids has been linked with serious health problems. They include:
- high blood pressure
- changes in blood cholesterol (increases in “bad” cholesterol or LDL, decreases in “good” cholesterol or HDL)
- enlarged heart
- heart attack or stroke (even in young people)
- liver disease, including cancer
- kidney problems or failure
- severe acne
- breast growth and shrinking of testicles
- low sperm count/infertility (unable to have children)
- increased risk for prostate cancer
- voice deepening
- growth of facial hair
- male-pattern baldness
- changes in or end of menstrual cycle/getting your period
- enlargement of clitoris
In addition, if teens abuse anabolic steroids, they may never achieve their full height because anabolic steroids can stop growth in the middle of puberty.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)