Steroids, also called anabolic-androgenic steroids, or AAS, are synthetic reproductions of the sex hormone testosterone 3. Though other steroids provide useful medical treatments for people with diseases such as AIDS and cancer, AAS are used illegally by people hoping to enhance exercise abilities and muscle mass. According to the Mayo Clinic, the potential aesthetic benefits of steroids are outweighed by potential dangers. People who choose to inject steroids directly into the muscles for increased results face additional risks.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Increased Risk for Disease
Injecting steroids may increase a person's risk for serious medical conditions, such as hepatitis and HIV. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, anyone who injects steroids and shared needles with others are at high risk for infections 2. In many cases, infections caused by injected steroid use requires lifelong medical treatment and may lead to life-threatening complications. Steroids taken orally or through injection also increase a man's risk for prostate cancer, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse 3.
Side Effects of Dianabol
Steroids, whether through injection or oral supplements, pose numerous physical risks. According to the Mayo Clinic, men and women steroid users may become bald. Since testosterone is a sexual hormone, male steroid users may develop enlarged breasts, shrunken testicles, reduced sperm count and infertility. Women who use steroids may develop an enlarged clitoris, a deepened voice and increased body hair. Both men and woman may develop severe acne. Youth abusing steroids may experience development delays or stunted growth. On the inside of the body, people using steroids risk liver damage and liver tumors. People using steroids may also cause unintentional self-harm, due to emotional side effects.
- Steroids, whether through injection or oral supplements, pose numerous physical risks.
- Since testosterone is a sexual hormone, male steroid users may develop enlarged breasts, shrunken testicles, reduced sperm count and infertility.
Steroids can have a dramatic impact on a person's emotional health and moods. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, psychiatric dysfunction has been reported by clinicians who treat steroid users 3. People using steroids may exhibit aggressive emotions and behaviors. They may develop a heightened sense of arrogance and invincibility, which poses risks for violence, accidents and injuries. Steroids may increase feelings of paranoia, irritability and jealousy. While using steroids, a person may experience delusions and reduced ability to judge reality accurately. Risk for mental illnesses, such as depression, also increases with steroid use. The NIDA also describes addiction and dependency as significant steroid-related risk. As a result, users may spend excessive amounts of money on steroids and their interpersonal relationships and work or study obligations may suffer. In addition, steroid abuse may lead to abuse of other drugs, such as opiates.
- Steroids can have a dramatic impact on a person's emotional health and moods.
- As a result, users may spend excessive amounts of money on steroids and their interpersonal relationships and work or study obligations may suffer.
Side Effects of Dianabol
Cons of Performance-Enhancing Drugs
Emotional Side Effects of Steroids
Effects of Steroids on the Male & Female Reproductive Systems
Side Effects of Men Taking Female Birth Control Pills
Major Side Effects of Winstrol in Men
Will Having Too Much Testosterone Make You Angry?
The Long-Term Effects of Steroids
Clenbuterol Side Effects
Risks of Men Taking Female Hormones
- Mayo Clinic: Facts and Risks Regarding Performance-Enhancing Drugs
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Dangers of Steroids
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: Steroids (Anabolic-Androgenic)
- Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. Drug Guide: Steroids. Published online, no date.
- Basaria S, Wahlstrom JT, Dobs AS. Clinical review 138: Anabolic-androgenic steroid therapy in the treatment of chronic diseases. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001;86(11):5108-17. doi:10.1210/jcem.86.11.7983
- Drug Enforcement Administration, Diversion Control Division. Rules 2005: Implementation of the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004. FR Doc 05-23907, December 16, 2005. 70(241)74653-74658. From the Federal Register Online. DOCID:fr16de05-7
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA issues warning about body-building products labeled to contain steroid and steroid-like substances. Updated online, June, 20, 2017.
- Drug Enforcement Administration, Diversion Control Division. Steroid Abuse in Today's Society: A Guide for Understanding Steroids and Related Substances. Published online, March 2004.
- Christou MA, Christou PA, Markozannes G, Tsatsoulis A, Mastorakos G, Tigas S. Effects of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids on the Reproductive System of Athletes and Recreational Users: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Med. 2017;47(9):1869-1883. doi:10.1007/s40279-017-0709-z
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Steroids and Other Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs (APEDs). Published online, updated February 21, 2018.
- Pope HG, Kouri EM, Hudson JI. Effects of supraphysiologic doses of testosterone on mood and aggression in normal men: a randomized controlled trial. Archives of general psychiatry. Feb 1, 2000;57(2):133-40.
- Kanayama G, Brower KJ, Wood RI, Hudson JI, Pope HG. Anabolic-androgenic steroid dependence: an emerging disorder. Addiction. 2009;104(12):1966-78. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02734.x
- Goldberg L, Elliot D, Clarke GN, MacKinnon DP, Moe E, Zoref L, Green C, Wolf SL, Greffrath E, Miller DJ, Lapin A. Effects of a multidimensional anabolic steroid prevention intervention: The Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids (ATLAS) Program. JAMA. 1996 Nov 20;276(19):1555-62.
- Elliot DL, Goldberg L. Athletes targeting healthy exercise and nutrition alternatives. Handbook of prevention and intervention programs for adolescent girls. 2008:206.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. Anabolic steroids. MedlinePlus. Reviewed August 18, 2014.
- UK National Health Service. Anabolic steroid misuse. Choices: Your health, your choices. Published August 2013
August McLaughlin is a certified nutritionist and health writer with more than nine years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in various magazines such as "Healthy Aging," "CitySmart," "IAmThatGirl" and "ULM." She holds specializations in eating disorders, healthy weight management and sports nutrition. She is currently completing her second cookbook and Weight Limit—a series of body image/nutrition-related PSAs.