What are Steroids?
Pronounced as /ˈsteˌrɔɪd/
Steroids are chemicals or hormones that are naturally produced and present in our body. These substances aid in the normal function of the organs and body tissues. There are two types for these substances: corticosteroids and anabolic-androgenic steroids.
Corticosteroids: These are hormones naturally made by the external part of the adrenal gland - the cortex. There are two types: glucocorticoids (anti-inflammatory) and mineralocorticoids (salt retention hormone).
Anabolic-androgenic or anabolics: These are the man-made or synthetic male sex hormones. The main function of these chemicals are for muscle building and increase male traits.
What do Steroids look like?
These male synthetic hormones come in various forms in the market. Below are the main types for the physical form of these drugs.
- Tablets, syrups, and liquids: example – prednisolone
- Inhalers and nasal sprays: examples – beclomethasone and fluticasone
- Injections (in joints, blood vessels or muscles): examples – methylprednisolone
- Creams, gels, and lotions: example – hydrocortisone
What are the other names of Steroids?
These substances are also known by the following names:
- Betamethasone (Celestone)
- Prednisone (Prednisone Intensol)
- Prednisolone (Orapred, Prelone)
- Methylprednisolone (Medrol, Depo-Medrol, Solu-Medrol)
- Dexamethasone (Dexamethasone Intensol, DexPak 10 Day, DexPak 13 Day, DexPak 6 Day)
Some Brand names:
- Methitest (Pro)
- Xyosted (Pro)
- Depo-Testosterone (Pro)
- Delatestryl (Pro)
What are the street names?
The drug is known in the streets by different names, depending on the area or what it is mixed with.
Here are some street names:
- Weight trainers
What are Steroids used for?
These substances have both medical and recreational functions which greatly depends on the intention of the person.
One main medical function of these substances is to treat hormonal imbalances like delayed puberty development. Aside from that, these synthetic hormones have the following medical applications:
- Hay fever
- Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Hives and eczema
- Joint inflammation
- Inflammation of bowel – for example: Crohn’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
In contrast, these substances are also misused mostly by weightlifters and athletes in enhancing their performance and muscle figure. Majority of men who misuse these synthetic hormones are between the age of 20 to 30 years old. Fortunately, there has been less misuse of these substances among women.
How does Steroid work?
These synthetic male hormones are taken in by the person in various ways such as oral ingestion, injection or inhalation These substances mimic the presence and effect of the natural corticosteroids produced in the adrenal cortex. Once taken in, these synthetic hormones are broken down into smaller molecules and then binds to the androgen receptors. In this stage, the synthetic hormone takes the function of testosterone and activates the androgen receptor. The activation affects the genes of the cell where the synthetic hormones are attached. Generally, the effects include enhanced protein production for muscle growth and increased strength of the person.
These substances are commonly taken in large amounts to induce greater effects such as reduce swelling and inflammation, water and salt content balance, and boost muscle figure and strength.
How strong are Steroids?
If properly used, these synthetic hormones show strong and effective positive results. In a span of 10 weeks, a normal person can gain approximately 2 to 5 kilograms of lean protein mass. Several studies supported this result and reported a 5% to 20% increase in strength.
In contrast, when abused, these synthetic hormones do not have the same quick impact on the user’s brain as other illicit drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine. In terms of rapid increments in dopamine levels, these substances don’t exhibit the same intensity as the two illicit drugs. The main impact on the abuse of these substances is the disruption of the hormonal balance of the person which can be reversible or irreversible depending on the dosage and time he has been abusing these drugs.
How long do Steroids stay in your system, blood, urine, saliva, hair?
The retention time for these synthetic hormones to stay inside your system greatly depends on certain factors such as dosage, length of usage, kind of drug, other drugs are taken alongside, metabolism, genes, and lifestyle.
Here is a summary chart to show the different half-lives for certain brands of this substance.
|12-18 monthsDeca-Durabolin, Norandren, Dynabolan, Anabolicum, Turanabol Depot, Durabolin, Anabolin, Fenobolin, and Turinabol|
|5-12 monthsD-Bol, Dianabol, Equipoise, Equigan, Ganabol, Finaject, Finjet, and Finaplix|
|2-4 monthsTestosterone Cypionate, Primoteston Depot, Sten, Injectable steroids, Sostenon, Durateston, Anadrol, Anapolin, Hemogenin, Stenox, Halotesten, and Winstrol|
|2-6 weeksNilevar, Parabolan, Dianabol (oral), D-Bol (oral), Primobolan Depot, Anavar, Winstrol/Stanozolol (oral), and testosterone Propionate|
|Less than a weekClenbuterol and Testosterone Undecanoate (Andriol)|
How does one get addicted to Steroids?
Despite the fact that these synthetic hormones do not contain any addictive component which stimulates euphoric feeling, still, around 1% of US citizens misuse and abuse them.
The main reason driving them to be dependent on this drug is their need to maintain good muscle figure, better performance, and enhanced strength. This event is typically known as substance use disorder which later on leads to serious hormonal imbalances for the user. Likewise, most male misuse and get addicted to these substances due to body dysmorphic disorder. It’s a mental health status where an individual spends a huge amount of time getting anxious on one’s physical imperfections.
How does Steroid use affect the brain and the body?
The abuse of these substances affects the body and brain in a complex manner. In terms of the brain or mental health, abuse of these synthetic hormones results in hormonal imbalance and unstable mood swings. The severe detrimental effect on the abuse of these drugs includes paranoia, intense aggression, and depression. Meanwhile, its adverse effects on the body include liver disorder, extreme acne problems, increased cholesterol level in the blood and fluid retention.
What are the short and long-term effects of Steroids?
Below are the prominent short-term and long-term effects of these synthetic male hormones.
- Increased water retention
- Severe acne problems
- Lesser sex drive
- Increase blood cholesterol level
- Heart ailments
- Liver disorders
- Unstable mood changes
- Irritability and aggression
- Uncontrolled risk-taking behavior
- Inability to sleep
- Mental disorders
- Hair loss
- Growth of breast tissue
- Size reduction of testicles
- Low sperm production
Long-term effects for Women using this synthetic male hormone:
- Growth of hair in the face
- Deeper tone of voice
- An abnormal change in the menstrual cycle
- Size reduction of breast
- Swelling of the clitoris
Why is Steroid dangerous?
Long-term abuse and misuse of these synthetic male hormones pose both reversible and irreversible effects on the brain and body features of the person. Some of the irreversible severe negative effects for the abuse of these substances include kidney failure, damaged liver, enlargement of the heart, hypertension, increase in blood cholesterol levels, higher chance for stroke, and increase the probability for blood clots.
What causes Steroid overdose?
The main reason for the overdose with these drugs is taking in more than what is required for the sole purpose of getting a physical competitive advantage among other people. This is usually committed by the weightlifters, gym buddies, athletes and people suffering from body dysmorphic disorder.
What are the signs of an overdose?
Below are the evident signs and symptoms for excessive usage of these synthetic male hormones.
- Itchy skin
- Elevated blood pressure
- Muscle and bone weakening
- Swelling of legs
How do you treat Steroid overdose?
If medical assistance is still not available, the following things are recommended as a temporary treatment for the substance overdose.
- Manage and check vital signs
- Ensure the patient’s air passage is clear and his properly breathing
- Loosen clothing if necessary
- Let the patient orally take activated charcoal to reduce the substance inside the body
- You can also let the patient orally take prescribed laxatives to induce a bowel movement
- Keep the patient properly hydrated by administering fluids intravenously
What are the withdrawal symptoms from steroids?
Here are some of the common withdrawal symptoms from abusing these synthetic male hormones.
Withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Skin Rashes
- Impaired hearing
- Elevated blood pressure
- Muscle weakening
- Swelling of lower extremities
- Unstable mood shifts
- Uncontrolled body shaking
How can you treat Steroid addiction?
Abuse of this kind of substance is treatable. Treatment must be done step-by-step for complete recovery. You can consider the following steps for your treatment process:
- Consult your medical personnel or clinician for a comprehensive guideline in order to recover from drug dependence.
- Reward System: A contingency management plan where sets of rewards will be given to the patients who avoid using this drug.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): A treatment process seeking to determine the variables causing drug abuse, risk reduction methods, and enhancing coping mechanisms.
- Recovery Group: A community-based plan which allows the patient to meet other victims and have a sharing about their experiences and success.