Anabolic steroids help in increasing the muscle mass and physical strength and are consequently used in sport and bodybuilding to enhance strength or physique. No wonder, one of the most common words in gyms & sports nowadays is “steroids”! So, other than prescribed medicinal users, there are many user groups who look towards steroids to assist them in attaining the physical attributes they crave for.
Some of the common steroid user groups are:
- Football or baseball players, wrestlers – players of sports that depend on strength and size
- Cricketers, Track-field athletes & swimmers – those who need endurance
- Any person interested in building and developing their muscles
A Typical Steroid User’s Profile
Anabolic steroid users often are stereotyped as uneducated "muscle heads" by media; however, a 1998 study on steroid users showed that anabolic steroid users tend to research the drugs they are taking more than any other group of users of controlled substances. The people who use steroids are actually quite diverse:
- Studies have shown anabolic steroid users tend to be mostly middle-class heterosexual men with a median age of about 25 who are noncompetitive bodybuilders and non-athletes and use the drugs for cosmetic purposes. According to a recent survey, 78.4% of steroid users were noncompetitive bodybuilders and non-athletes.
- Illicit use of anabolic steroids among high school and college students was found to be less than 1%. However, this figure has increased in the past few years due to the pressures of high school combined with an adolescent's low self-esteem and exposure to peer pressure.
- A smaller, less well-known group of steroid users are people who are victims are assault or abuse. These individuals seek steroids in order to become physically stronger and emotionally less vulnerable.
- Farmers of livestock might use steroids to raise larger animals, produce greater yields, and earn more money.
Medical Usage of Anabolic Steroids
Steroids are widely used for a diverse array of medicinal purposes, and not simply for athletics and bodybuilding. They can be therapeutically applied in medicine to stimulate bone growth and appetite, induce male puberty, and treat chronic wasting conditions, such as cancer and AIDS. They are also used for treating delayed puberty; some types of impotence; osteoporosis (brittle bones in menopausal women) and for itching caused by a liver condition called primary obstruction. The most common applications of steroid treatment
- Post-surgery weight gain
- Hormone regulation
- Bone conditions, i.e. Arthritis
- Blood conditions, i.e. Anemia
- Cystic Acne
What Are Anabolic Steroids Made Of?
Anabolic steroids are made up of testosterone and progesterone. Steroids are generally used to achieve both increased muscle mass (anabolism) and increased masculinity (androgeny).
Most steroids are naturally-occurring, but prolonged steroid use can lead to addiction. If desired performance and aesthetic results are achieved quickly, users will feel the lure to use more.
Steroid withdrawal symptoms include:
- Shrunken gonads (reproductive organs)
- Increased breast size in men (gynecomastia)
- Low sex drive
- Lack of appetite
- Craving for more steroids
Why Steroids Are Bad
Steroids are not bad in and of themselves. However, when they are abused outside of the guidance of a medical professional, the risk of negative side effects dramatically increases. Studies indicate people who use steroids illicitly can administer doses up to 100x more concentrated than a standard medical dosage.
Long-term side effects of steroid use include:
- Cystic acne
- Violent behavior
- Stunted growth (in teens)
- Feminization (in male users)
- Masculinization (in female users)
- Increased risk of liver disease, i.e. hepatitis
Are Anabolic Steroids Legal?
Anabolic steroids can be legally used, but only with a valid prescription from a doctor or specialist. In fact, steroids are often prescribed for the treatment of many health conditions. While medicinal use of steroids is fully justified, there are many socio-psychological reasons which can explain non-medicinal steroidal use to some extent:
Anabolic steroids have been used by men and women in many different kinds of professional sports to attain a competitive edge or to assist in recovery from injury. Such use is prohibited by the rules of the governing bodies of many sports.
- There is more pressure to win and perform in sports today than ever before in history. With so much pressure to perform, it is no wonder that young athletes look to performance-enhancing supplements to gain an edge.
- Easy accessibility is also a major reason for the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs among youth today.
Choosing to use anabolic steroids to better one's body doesn't make one a horrible person. For those whose dedication and desires reach the highest levels, those who are intelligent enough to become responsible users, steroid use can prove to be a safer and an effective way to realize their goals. Use them, but use them responsibly!