Anabolic steroid addiction may not be as high profile as heroin or cocaine addiction but is just as serious and deadly. Steroid addiction can cause several health conditions, withdrawal symptoms, and even fatal outcomes. Furthermore, while steroid abuse is equally as dangerous to the user as other substances can be, it can also put family members, friends, and acquaintances in jeopardy and harm’s way. Referred to as “roid rage,” anabolic steroid users can become highly agitated easily and often develop aggressive and violent behaviors. It is imperative to know and understand the facts surrounding steroid addiction, especially for those who suffer from addiction and the recovering community. Often times, addicts will use steroids in conjunction with other illicit drugs and sometimes those in recovery will use steroids, because they are under the impression that they not addictive or harmful to their sobriety.
Steroid Addiction Can Take You To Dark Places
MMA fighter War Machine (formerly Jon Koppenhaver) is on trial for the attempted murder of his ex-girlfriend. A known anabolic steroid user, War Machine’s lawyers are blaming the drugs for causing the rage that led to more than 30 charges of abuse against him. His victim needed to undergo cosmetic surgery to fix her teeth and nose. Professional bodybuilder Mike Matarazzo died at age 47 while waiting for a heart transplant after he suffered severe damage due to anabolic steroid abuse. “Most guys think nothing bad will ever happen to them. But you watch. You’ll be seeing more and more serious heart problems, and worse, once these guys hit 40,” said Matarazzo.
Many people do not think of anabolic steroids as addictive because they do not have them same effect on the brain that other drugs do. In anabolic steroid abuse, there is no dopamine cascade that causes a user to feel high like they would with other drugs. Those who abuse anabolic steroid abuse take them in ways other than prescribed which can result in a need to take increased amounts in order to achieve the desired effect. Abusers may also experience serious side effects and withdrawal symptoms when stopping cold turkey.
Why Someone Would Take Steroids
Corticosteroids (not to be confused with anabolic steroids) are steroid hormones prescribed by a doctor and used to treat inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, as well as many other conditions. Anabolic steroids are synthetic and are used to promote the growth of muscle for patients with AIDS or other diseases in which muscle mass is lost. They are also used to treat conditions in which there is a delayed development of male sexual characteristics such as certain types of impotence, or delayed puberty. People take and abuse steroids for a variety of reasons. Some suffer from muscle dysmorphia and this causes them to have a distorted view of their body. While in reality, they may have adequate muscle mass, when they look at themselves they see someone who is small or weak and become obsessed with building a larger frame. Studies have shown that physical or sexual abuse may contribute to a person abusing anabolic steroids. About 25% of male weight lifters have reported abuse in childhood, while female weightlifters who had been raped or sexually abused were almost twice as likely to abuse steroids. Those who abuse anabolic steroids do so by taking them orally, by injection, or by applying them to the skin in the form of a cream or a patch.
Side Effects And Withdrawal Symptoms Of Steroid Addiction
Side effects are an unwanted complication, and some users try to avoid them by either cycling, stacking, or pyramiding. Cycling is when the dose is taken for a predetermined amount of time, stopped, and then restarted. Stacking is taking different types of steroids to offset the effects of each other. Pyramiding is when the dose is slowly increased to a maximum amount, and then gradually tapered off. While these formulas to reduce side effects may work for some, not everyone can avoid them. Side effects can include: extreme irritability, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), insomnia, severe acne (not only on the face but on the body as well), nausea, blood clots, hair loss, paranoia, hyperactivity, abdominal pain, kidney failure, liver damage, high blood pressure, enlarged heart and vomiting blood.
Males may experience shrinking of the testicles, decreased sperm count, hair loss, and gynecomastia (the development of breasts in males). Women may experience excessive facial hair growth, male pattern baldness, changes or a stop in their menstrual cycle, and a deepened voice. Long-term risks include kidney disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, insulin resistance, heart attack, coma, and liver cancer. In adolescents, abuse may also stunt growth and age bones prematurely.
Those who abuse anabolic steroids may experience several withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking them. Physical symptoms of withdrawal include headaches, fatigue, nausea, and muscle cramps. Psychological symptoms include severe depression, anxiety, problems concentrating, insomnia, and even attempted suicide. Supervised detox is highly recommended for anyone who wants to stop abusing steroids. Therapy has shown to be helpful, and a supervised drug rehabilitation program is proven to be the best course of action.
Contact Clearbrook For Steroid Addiction Help Today
There are several signs that you or someone you know has developed or is developing an addiction to anabolic steroids. Developing a tolerance to your usual dose, experiencing withdrawal symptoms when steroids aren’t used, continuing to use steroids despite mental or physical problems, extreme mood swings or aggression, violent behavior, mania, or delusions. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, please know that steroid addiction can be treated.
For more than 40 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been effectively treating alcoholism and drug addiction; this includes steroid addiction. Our trusted medical staff will provide you with a customized detox protocol to safely and comfortably withdraw from your addiction to steroids. From there, your primary counselor will construct individualized treatment plans that will offer the most potential for continued sobriety and success. If you are struggling with steroid addiction, please contact our Admissions Specialists today and get on the road to recovery.