Steroid Abuse

Steroid Abuse: Overview

Alternative names: Anabolics, Arnies, Gym Candy, Juice, Pumpers, Roids, Stackers, Weight Trainers.

Steroids are synthetic drugs that mimic the actions of testosterone.  Often used by athletes and others to build muscle mass, abuse can lead to steroid addiction.

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Steroids are prescribed as a treatment for many different disorders and diseases, but anabolic steroids are also used illicitly by athletes wishing to gain competitive advantage over others through enhanced musculature and performance.  The advantages that come from steroid abuse come at a great cost: it can cause serious side-effects.


Most steroid abusers are male, but steroid use/abuse is increasing among females also.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of steroid abuse include:

  • Irreversible male-pattern baldness
  • Stunted growth during adolescence
  • Increased masculinity in females: smaller breasts, enlarged clitoris
  • Coarser, more hairy skin
  • Reduced sperm production / male infertility
  • Smaller testicles
  • Male breast development
  • Severe acne
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Learning difficulty
  • Memory loss
  • Impaired decision-making ability
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Mood swings
  • Hostility
  • Extreme violence
  • Delusions and other mental illness

Many of these changes are irreversible.

Treatment and Prevention

No single type of treatment is right for everyone, so a program needs to be tailored to the individual.  Counseling is an essential part of any treatment plan.  Recovery is a long process, and relapse is possible just as it is for other drug addicts and alcoholics.

On This Page

Steroid Abuse:

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Steroid Abuse:

Lab Values - Cells

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