The good the bad and the ugly. Steroids.
Anabolic steroids are a synthetic copy of the hormone testosterone. They have been the subject of much debate over the last few decades as well as misinformation. Athletes, especially bodybuilders, may feel lured towards them as these drugs do increase muscle size, strength, and stamina.
Steroid Myth #1. Taking Any Kind of Steroid Will Result In Death
The first thing that we need to understand is that steroids are drugs. Even Tylenol and Aspirin can cause serious problems if you take them in large quantities. All drugs when misused and abused have the potential to kill; its not only steroids. However, since taking steroids is against the law, issues of product purity and authenticity as well as innaccurate information surrounding their usage add serious risks to steroid experimentation.
Steroid Myth #2. Steroids are Easy to Get
Another misconception about steroids is that they are easily obtained. As far as accessibility, the truth is that they are illegal substances without a medical prescription, so your accessibility will be through the black market (good luck as far as quality). In addition, if you get caught in their possession without a prescription you may face up to 5 years in a federal prison.
Steroid Myth #3. All Steroids Are Pills
On the issue of variety, there are many different types of steroid out there. There are injectable steroids and oral steroids. The injectable kind are generally more androgenic (provide male characteristics like hair growth and aggression) in nature and less damaging to organs like the liver. The oral versions are more anabolic in nature and cause more side effects than their injectable brothers as they have to be processed by the liver. Different steroids have different properties so there are some that have more tendencies to build muscle mass while others have a tendency to increase strength. As their properties vary, so do their side effects. Usually the stronger the steroid (especially if oral), the more side effects you can expect.
The Good Side of Steroids?
Steroids do increase size and strength. In fact, they do so very significantly. In addition to gains in strength and muscle mass they also seem to provide you with more energy and aggressiveness, things that are conducive to good workouts (but not so in interpersonal relationships). Depending on the steroid used, you may also get cell voluminizing effects that promote a bigger pump. Aside from even just the legal risks of steroids, the “good side” comes at a high price.
The Psychological Effects of Steroids
Based on the fact that steroids give you all of these good effects that bodybuilders constantly look for, it is no surprise that they cause a psychological dependence. Think about it. If you have been taking them for the past 8 weeks, assuming good diet and training, chances are that you got very big and strong quick. You feel unstoppable after the 8 weeks of use. Suddenly you taper them off, up until you completely stop their use. A week later after cessation of use you notice that you are not getting good pumps, that your strength is diminishing regardless of your best effort and that your muscle mass is shrinking! Add to that the fact that for the first few weeks after cessation of use you will feel depressed due to low testosterone levels and it is no wonder that there are people out there that never get off from them.
Depression Effects of Steroids
Due to the post cycle low period of testosterone along with the fact that your estrogen levels will rise, depression at this time will be very real. In order to minimize this, you would need to get with a doctor and jump on many post cycle drugs that will re-establish your natural testosterone production along with supressing your estrogen levels. If you have an understanding doctor that is willing to help, he may prescribe you with the medications you need. However, chances are that your medical insurance will not cover these drugs due to the fact that the condition was caused due to illegal steroid use. If you do not get these medications, then expect a very bad depression and total loss of gains.
If you do not know what you are doing (i.e. you used steroids with the most side effects, you abused the dosage, etc) then not only will you get bad side effects during the period of use, but you also will also get worst side effects after the use. Again, the degree of side effects is directly proportional to the dosage and type of the steroid and also dependent of the genetic propensity of the subject to get such side effects. Therefore, it would be impossible for me or anyone else to exactly predict what kind of side effects a user might encounter during a period of use. However, one thing is for certain. If you abused the drugs by using super high dosages and for very long periods of time, you may never be able to re-establish natural testosterone production, so you will then need to get with an endocrinologist and possibly stay on low dose testosterone therapy for life.
Steroid Users Risk:
1) Increased Liver Function.
2) Depression of Natural Testosterone Production.
3) Increase in Cholesterol Levels and Blood Pressure (Not conductive to good cardiovascular health).
4) Altered Thyroid Function.
6) Nose bleeds.
8) Development of breastlike tissue in men (Gynecomastia).
9) Insulin Insensitivity (Even though Deca Durabolin improves the insulin metabolism).
10) Androgenic Side effects such as thinning hair, enlarged prostate, oily skin, water retention, increased body hair, aggressiveness.
11) Stunted growth if you are a teenager.
12) Oral Steroid specific side effects: In addition to the above, the orals also tend to cause nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting.
13) May accelerate the growth of tumors.
Again, keep in mind that different steroids offer different side effects and that everything is dosage dependent, so the list above is a generalized list of side effects.
I am not even going to go into the kind of side effects that females encounter when they decide to use these drugs, especially the androgenic ones like testosterone. That could be a whole article by itself, but I think that most people could imagine what happens when you start introducing abnormal amounts of hormones from the opposite sex into your body
Medical Uses of Steroids
I think anabolic steroids have their rightful place in medicine. For instance, I can see their use in patients with extreme muscle wasting conditions like AIDS, for instance. Also, some steroids can be used to eliminate severe anemia. Finally, I have read alot of European research on the positive effects of low dosages of anabolic steroids like testosterone and deca-durabolin on males suffering from clinically low levels. This is called Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), and I personally see value in it, as in this case you are just replacing a necessary hormone that the body is no longer producing. This is done all of the time. For instance, if your thyroid is not functioning well, then the doctor prescribes you with thyroid medication. However, again keep in mind that you are still introducing a foreign substance to the body and HRT does not come without risks. Your Doctor can educate you more on that subject.
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