01-16 | By Rachael
Steroids – chemicals produced naturally by the human body to support the normal functioning of various organs, cells and tissues – are also available as manmade medicines. As such, steroids can be broadly categorized as corticosteroids (steroid hormones produced in the adrenal gland) and anabolic-androgenic steroids (also known as anabolics and the synthetic variant of the male sex hormone testosterone). While corticosteroids assist in decreasing inflammation, anabolic-androgenic steroids help in building bigger muscles.
Over the last few years, teenagers and youngsters seem more inclined toward bodybuilding and sports. This has pushed up the abuse of steroids, specifically anabolics that enhance both performance and muscles. However, it is important to understand that the long-term abuse of these drugs poses serious health risks to users.
Besides damaging vital organs like liver, kidneys, etc., the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) recently revealed that individuals misusing anabolic steroids are at an increased risk of dying early due to heart attacks and strokes. Despite being aware of these consequences, many continue to consume anabolic steroids for nonmedical purposes, such as development of sexual characteristics and male reproductive tissues.
A large number of youngsters are falling prey to steroids than to any other illicit drugs. According to a recent report shared by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), there has been a significant rise in the number of young people using anabolic steroids in the United Kingdom.
The number of people using the drug has now increased by four times as compared to the last year. As in the United States, where steroid abuse has been a major problem among adolescents, youngsters are using these medicines without any supervision. Speaking on behalf of the BCS, Dr. Aneil Malhotra, MBBChir, MA (Hons), MRCP, MSc, highlighted that youngsters in their teens and 20s are behind the rise of steroid abuse.
During a case study conducted on a steroid user of nearly five years, several health checks revealed that the wall of his heart had thickened and the results were “at the very edge of normal.” Despite not having the habit of drinking and smoking, it was a matter of concern to note that he developed heart-related problems. As the persistent abuse of anabolic steroids causes an imbalance of hormones in the human body, one runs an increased risk of damaging different organs, like heart.
According to Dr. Malhotra, the users of steroids have changed dramatically. Now, they are primarily the youth in their late teens or early 20s, abusing steroids simply to attract girls. Unlike people using steroids for long term, they are using such drugs as a quick fix solution. Such changes have been witnessed even at the professional level.
Besides increasing the risk of heart-related problems, steroid abuse increases the risk of other health problems like infertility, mood swings, shrinking of testicles, growth of breasts, permanently deepened voice among women, etc. The long-term dangers associated with these drugs are a higher cholesterol level, elevated blood pressure and increased risk of diabetes.
It is not easy to quit steroids as going cold turkey can lead to effects like depressive symptoms, anxiety, lack of concentration, trouble in sleeping, pain and headaches. So, staying away from the drugs is the best way to keep its harms at bay. However, if someone has fallen into the trap of steroids, experts’ help becomes a need. There is no common treatment available for steroid abuse due to the difference in impacts. While some may be treated using medications and behavioral therapies, others may need to be hospitalized.
If there’s someone you know who is addicted to steroids or any other form of substance, contact the Colorado Substance Abuse Advisors to seek the right treatment. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-300-5857 or chat online with our representative for information on the substance abuse treatment centers in Colorado and other parts of the U.S.