Steroid abuse, while historically the drug of choice for bodybuilders and professional athletes has crossed over into the mainstream, now being abused by students from middle school through college as well as by older generations. The American Heart Association estimates that at least 50 percent of all Division I college football players have engaged in steroid abuse for substantial periods of time, and this estimation is based only on the ones who were willing to talk. Naturally medical experts assume the abuse rate is much higher. So what exactly is the big deal about steroids? There are so many misconceptions and just flat out wrong information out there about steroids and the side effects of steroids that it’s time to set the record straight.
Steroid Abuse Facts vs. Fiction
Misconception #1: Steroids Aren’t Dangerous
This statement is unbelievably false. Considering some of the major side effects of steroids include liver cancer, heart disease, epileptic fits, hepatitis and strokes, it’s hard to understand why anyone operates under the assumption that steroids are safe. Short term side effects of steroid abuse in men include acne, testicular atrophy, decreased sperm count, enlarged breasts, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, abnormal liver function and prostate cancer. Long term side effects of steroid abuse in men include HIV due to intravenous needle sharing and a heightened sex drive, liver failure, cardiovascular problems, stunted growth, ligament and joint injury, weight problems and neurological issues that can cause permanent increases in depression and aggression.
Misconception #2: Steroids Aren’t Addictive
Of course steroids are addictive! A countless number of Americans continue to engage in steroid abuse in spite of all of the side effects outlined above. Physical and psychological dependence are both achievable through steroid abuse. Physical withdrawal symptoms from steroids include fatigue, mood swings, reduced sex drive, restlessness and insomnia. The main psychological symptom associated with steroid withdrawal is mild to severe depression that can persist for a year or longer when left untreated.
Misconception #3: Steroid Abuse is Limited to Men
While men are estimated to be four times as likely to abuse steroids as women are, women still represent a substantial number of steroid abusers in this country. The reasons women engage in steroid abuse run the gamut from bodybuilding and athletic competition to body dysmorphic disorder to self defense. In a recent study of female steroid abusers, over 13 percent of women surveyed admitted that they started abusing the drug after being raped in hopes of being able to defend themselves better in the future.
Destination Hope is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment center for men with substance abuse issues in Florida. Steroid abuse is a very real and very serious problem that is responsible for thousands of addictions across the nation. Men will abuse steroids for a variety of reasons from performance enhancement to body dysmorphic disorder to trying to fit in. No matter the reason you started abusing these drugs, they are highly addictive and can open you up to a host of physical and mental illnesses that can stay with you for life. No athletic competition or ability to fill out a tee shirt is worth signing over your health and body for. If there’s a man in your life who’s abusing steroids, please put him in contact with the experts at Destination Hope today at 1-877-380-9777 so we can get him on the path towards true health.