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Steroids, also known as anabolic steroids, are synthetically manufactured forms of the male hormone testosterone. These are used to improve physical appearance, promote muscle growth, enhance athletic performance and endurance, and shorten recovery time in working out. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified steroids as Schedule III drug. This drug helps in increasing muscles and are also prescribed by doctors during treatment for cancer, arthritis, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Steroids are available in various forms such as capsules, tablets, creams, gels, as well as various water and oilbased solutions. 

The drug is mainly used by teens to improve their performance in the field of sports. According to the 2017 NIDA funded Monitoring the Future reportafter increasing from 2011 to 2015, steroid abuse saw a decline in 2016. However, in 2017, it has been relatively steady. 

Signs and symptoms of Steroid abuse

Some signs of steroid abuse identified by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) include: 

  • Delusions 
  • Oily scalp 
  • Mood swings 
  • Stunted height 
  • Energy level swings 
  • Hair loss in clumps 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Persistent bad breath 
  • Polarized sleep patterns 
  • Skin abscesses and cysts 
  • Dizziness and trembling 
  • Drastic appetite changes 
  • Jaundice or liver damage 
  • Bloating or night sweats 
  • Loss of sound judgment skills 
  • Stretch marks on inner joints 
  • Thickening of body hair on women 
  • Weight gain – rapid or progressive 
  • Male pattern baldness in women and men 
  • Increased muscle size – sudden or gradual 
  • Red or purplish acne on face, shoulder, and back 
  • Trouble urinatingdiscoloration or blood in urine 
  • Joint pain and heightened proclivity to rupture muscles and tendons 
  • Abnormally excessive development of breast tissue in males (gynecomastia) 

Methods of Steroid abuse

Possession of steroids without prescription is illegal. However, they are easily available and are often bought and sold online. Steroids are commonly abused in three ways: 

  • CyclingUsing for a particulartime period, then stopping, and then starting again. 
  • StackingUsing more than one type of steroid at a time. There is a misconception that the drug will be more effective if one mixes different steroids. 
  • PyramidingCombining cycling and stacking. 

The effects of steroid abuse depend on the duration of use. The negative impacts of steroid abuse outweigh the positive effects. 

Effects of Steroid abuse

Steroid abuse has numerous irreversible physical effects like excessive body hair, acne, breast augmentation, kidney problems, heart disorders, and liver enlargement. Effects also depend upon the method of abuse like injection or oral consumption. 

Shortterm steroid abuse can lead to frequent mood swings and aggressiveness, which is also known as Roid Rage. It’s when the person may become unpredictable and volatile. Longterm abuse can cause heart attacks and strokes. Other effects include:  

  • Cancer 
  • Infertility 
  • Delusions  
  • Heart attack 
  • Heart blockage 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Shrinking of testicles 
  • Enlargement of clitoris 
  • HIV or hepatitis due to needle sharing 

Steroid abuse also leads to the development of mental health disorders like depression, delusions, nervousness, and indecisiveness among others. It also increases the probability of using opioids to self-medicate the symptoms and effects leading to opioid abuse. Steroid abuse is very prominent amongst weightlifters; though women weightlifters may use steroids, it is more prone to male weightlifters. 

Steroid addiction treatment

Steroids are highly addictive because results can be seen quicklyDue to the high quotient of its addictiveness and severe withdrawal symptoms, a steroid addiction treatment program would include a medically supervised detox program followed by therapy and counselling sessions, along with detox, to flush out the traces of drugs from the system. Therapies like yoga and meditation also help in controlling the mental health during withdrawal. 

Adeona Healthcare, the leading mental health and addiction treatment provider for teens aged 12-17, understands that each teen is special and unique in their own way. That is why, we offer a comprehensive treatment policy that includes not only peer group therapy but also amalgamates individual therapy, one-on-one therapy, family therapy, and other alternative therapies like yoga, exercise, and art therapy. Different combinations of therapies can help a teen gain control over their impulses, vent their feelings, and share their emotions and thoughts, thus allowing them to let go and accept themselves gradually 

To learn more about our safe, structured, and holistic treatment programs for teens, call our 24/7 helpline 888-379-9360 and speak to an admission team member. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance. 

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