Have you wondered how weightlifters became so bulky? Well, some of them got those muscles by following a regimen of dieting and weightlifting. However, some others got theirs by using steroids. While that may be illegal, steroids can also be used legally. There are different types of steroids but our focus is on anabolic steroids.
Anabolic steroids can be used to take care of various medical conditions. However, some people have been using them illegally, especially in the sports setting. They are used to enhance performance, endurance, and muscle mass. They are also used to reduce the recovery time from one workout session to another.
What Is an Anabolic Steroid?
Anabolic steroid is a synthetic version of testosterone, which is the primary hormone in men. It affects the body in different ways, including the hair follicles, bones, muscles, blood, kidney, liver, immune system, and the reproductive and central nervous systems.
During puberty, there is an increase in the level of testosterone produced in the body of a male. This hormone is responsible for the development of certain characteristics like body and facial hair, increase in muscle mass and height, voice deepening, and sex drive. This male hormone also contributes to self-esteem, aggressiveness, and competitiveness. Since anabolic steroid mimics the natural testosterone, taking it will increase the effects which the natural testosterone has on the body.
Anabolic steroid is also known as an anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS). Anabolic simply means muscle building while androgenic is related to an increase in male characteristics. Anabolic steroid can have adverse effects on health when it is used incorrectly. As a result, more people are becoming concerned about its use as well as its health effects.
How People Use Anabolic Steroid
Medically, anabolic steroid is used to take care of some hormonal issues in men. There are men who cannot produce enough testosterone, so a doctor can prescribe this steroid to treat such cases. It can also be used to treat some types of anemia, delayed puberty, and loss of muscle due to cancer, AIDS, or stage III HIV.
It is worthy to note that doctors do not prescribe steroid to young people who are healthy in order to enhance their muscle built. As a matter of fact, without a doctor’s prescription, steroid is illegal. Some anabolic steroids that are commonly used today are: anadrol, dianabol, equipoise, oxandrin, deca-durabolin, and winstrol. You can make use of the resources at Anabolics Health to get adequate information on legal steroids.
Consistent use of AAS can result in problems such as tolerance. It can even suppress the body’s production of testosterone. While some people are consistent users of AAS, some others have found ways to reduce the possible side effects by using certain patterns.
The following are patterns used by people to reduce the harmful effects of consistent use of AAS:
This pattern involves consuming multiple doses of AAS for a certain period (6 – 12 weeks). This period is referred to as “on” period. Later on, there will be a pause in its consumption for about 4 weeks or some months. When that time elapses, the circle will continue. Basically, this pattern involves an on and off period.
Here, the user combines different steroids or incorporates other supplements. This is done to increase the efficiency of the stacked steroids.
This involves slowly increasing the frequency or dose of AAS misuse. When the dose reaches the peak, the user will gradually reduce it to zero.
This pattern involves substituting, overlapping, or alternating with another AAS in a bid to avoid development of tolerance.
So far, there’s no scientific proof that any of the patterns can reduce the harmful effect of misusing AAS. The common slang words for AAS include roid, juice, gym candy, gear, Arnolds, stackers, and pumpers.
Types of AAS (Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid)
About 32 types of AAS have been listed on various commercial websites,. Some of them contain only medicinal properties like Nebidol. However, others have both performance and medicinal properties like Anadrol. Others like anadur are used by athletes but they do not have therapeutic use.
People prefer various types of AAS for various reasons. For example:
- bulking AAS are used for muscle building
- cutting AAS are used to burn fat
- performance AAS are used for endurance and strength
People also use steroids for healing, recovery, and improvement of metabolism.
Examples of Popular AAS
The following AAS are popular:
This type helps to build muscles in a quick manner. That is why it is commonly used by body builders. It was introduced in the 60’s and due to its effectiveness, more people still use it with confidence today.
This AAS is well-known for its efficiency in muscle and mass enhancement. Its anabolic effect is twice that of testosterone steroid. However, its androgenic effect is five times lesser than testosterone steroid.
Testosterone steroid is popular because of its really fast rate of muscle growth. It can be found in the market in different esters. However, the most popular variety is the one with 4 esters, which is Sustanon 250. This variety is popular for rapid gain of lean muscle.
Winthrop Laboratories developed this AAS in 1962. Winstrol is very popular among athletes, boxers, and footballers. This is due to the fact that it helps them to gain lean muscle while they are losing weight. It does so by helping to increase the body’s RBCs (red blood cells) and decrease rate of water retention in the body.
This type of AAS was first made for veterinary purposes. But it is now very popular among athletes as it gives them a lean and small physique. It is also known to increase appetite. This implies that as you gain lean muscle, you will also gain mass when consuming Boldenon.
You can click here to read reviews on different types of anabolic-androgenic steroids.
How Can AAS Be Taken?
AAS can be consumed in the following ways:
- By mouth
- By injection
- As pellet inserted in the skin
- As gel or cream applied on the skin
The following are examples of AAS that can be consumed by mouth:
- Fluoxymesterone (Halotestin)
- Methandienone (Dianabol)
- Mesterolone (Proviron)
- Methyltestosterone (Virilon)
- Mibolerone (Cheque)
- Oxymetholone (Anadrol or Drol)
- Oxandrolone (Oxandrin, Anavar, or Var)
- Stanozolol (Winstrol)
These AAS can be taken via injection:
- Boldenone undecylenate (EQ or Equipoise)
- Methenolone enanthate (Primo or Primobolan)
- Nandrolone phenpropionate (NPP)
- Nandrolone decanoate (Deca)
- Testosterone propionate (Testex)
- Testosterone cypionate (Depotest)
- Trenbolone acetate (Tren)
- Testosterone enanthate (Andro-Estro)
Anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) is transported from the blood stream to the target spot which is the muscle. Subsequently, the drug interacts with the DNA of the cell and stimulates protein synthesis which promotes the growth of the cell.
To know more about how the body absorbs AAS, check this out: https://www.mymed.com/health-wellness/fitness-and-exercise/the-facts-on-steroids-for-muscle-building/the-science-behind-anabolic-steroids-and-the-body
Health Effects of Anabolic Steroid
When anabolic steroid is prescribed by a doctor, the normal dose will have some side effects. They include:
- Painful urination
- Retention of fluid in the body
- Gynecomastia – a condition that enlarges male breasts
- Increased red blood cell count
- Low levels of HDL (“good” cholesterol) and high levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
- Increase or decrease in hair growth
- Infertility or Azoospermia (no sperm count)
- Decreased sperm count (oligospermia)
- Changes in sexual drive
Users are required to go for regular check-ups where their blood will be tested so that the doctor can monitor unwanted side effects.
Effects of Anabolic Steroid Misuse
Consistent misuse of anabolic steroid has very harmful health effects. These effects depend on certain factors such as the user’s sex and age, the product, the dosage, and how long they are being used. People who take steroids illegally usually consume over 10 – 100 times more than the dose recommended for medical use. Abuse of anabolic steroid can increase the risk of:
- cardiovascular issues
- myocardial infarction and unexpected death due to cardiac issues
- liver issues, including tumors
- collagen degeneration, leading to tendon rupture
- osteoporosis or loss of bone density, as use of steroid affects vitamin D and calcium metabolism
As mentioned earlier, the effects of AAS abuse depends on the sex and age of the user.
In teenagers, the health effects are:
- permanent stunted growth – the high steroid dose signals the body to discontinue bone growth.
- stunted height – if the teenager started abusing AAS before puberty.
- decreased sperm count
- shrinking testicles
- breast enlargement
- increased risk of prostate cancer
- excess growth of body and facial hair
- reduced breast size
- male-like baldness
- irregular menstrual cycle or amenorrhea (absent menstruation)
- enlarged clitoris
- deepened voice
Mental Effects of AAU Misuse
AAS abuse can also affect mental health negatively. Users are at risk of:
- being paranoid
- being extremely jealous
- being aggressive and irritable
- delusion – false ideas or beliefs
- impaired judgement
- serious mood swings
People who are already prone to the above-mentioned mental effects stand a higher chance of exhibiting them.
Long Term Harmful Effects of AAU Misuse
Abuse of AAS can result in serious or permanent health issues such as:
- kidney problem or failure
- liver damage, including cancer
- increase in the formation of blood clot
- high blood pressure, changes in the blood cholesterol, and enlarged heart, which can lead to heart attack or stroke, even in young people
Besides all the health effects we have discussed, there are other health risks associated with steroid misuse.
- Sharing needles when taking steroid injection can increase the risk of transmitting or contracting diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
- There is a high possibility of getting poisoned when using unlicensed products.
Is Anabolic Steroid Addictive?
Anabolic steroid does not have psychoactive properties that can make its users “high.” As a result, its users come back for more since they feel it does not have a negative effect. As they keep dosing and overdosing on the drug, they become addicted to it. Hence, anabolic steroid can lead to substance use disorder (SUD).
People have continued to abuse AAS despite the high cost of purchasing the drug, its physical and mental effects, and the negative effect it has on their relationship with other people. More research has discovered that some people who are addicted to anabolic steroid usually rely on other drugs like opiods to decrease irritability and sleep problems that are caused by AAS.
Anabolic Steroid Withdrawal
People who are addicted to overdosing on anabolic steroid will experience withdrawal when they rapidly decrease or suddenly stop their dosage. This is due to the fact that abuse of AAS leads to hormonal imbalance. AAS works like the natural testosterone in the body but when abused, there will be an unusual increase in the testosterone level. As this continues, the body will stop producing its own testosterone.
What Are the Symptoms of AAS Withdrawal?
AAS withdrawal symptoms are due to the abrupt reduction of the body’s testosterone level. The symptoms will linger until the body begins to normalize its production of testosterone. The withdrawal symptoms of AAS are usually the reverse of the steroid’s effect.
Common AAS withdrawal symptoms are:
- Trouble concentrating
- Reduced or no appetite
- Decreased libido
- Joint pain
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal pain
- Low blood pressure
- Drug cravings
- Weight loss
People who come off AAS suddenly need to be closely monitored because they become depressed and start harboring suicidal thoughts. Also, those who have a medical history of depression need to be checked into a rehab center for treatment. The doctors will administer medications that can help to reduce the withdrawal symptoms. You can read this article to know more about treatment of anabolic steroid dependence.
In this article, we discussed the different types of anabolic-androgenic steroids, how they can be taken, and the health effects of misusing them. We also established the fact that consistent misuse of the steroid can lead to addiction. However, people who stop their dosage suddenly will experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are the reverse of the health effects of the drug.
If you have been overdosing on anabolic steroid, you need to see a doctor before deciding to come off it. The doctor will prescribe medications that can help your body get rid of the drugs and restore balance to your testosterone level.