Just the Facts
What are steroids?
Anabolic androgenic steroids are synthetic derivatives of the male hormone testosterone that are taken to build muscle, enhance performance, and improve appearance. The drugs anabolic or muscle-building effects help the body retain protein, a necessary building block for the growth of muscles, bones, and skin. The androgenic or masculinizing effects cause the development of a deep voice, facial and body hair, muscle mass, and aggressiveness. Unfortunately, steroid abusers risk a variety of unwanted side effects, some of which are irreversible. Another significant danger includes HIV infection if needles are shared.
Some common trade names of anabolic androgenic steroids include Anatrofin, Anaxvar, Annadrol, Bolasterone, Decadiabolin, Decadurabolin, Dehydropiandrosterone (DHEA), Delatestryl, Dianiabol, Dihydrolone, Durabolin, Dymethazine, Enoltestovis, Equipose, Gamma Hydroxybutilate, Maxibolin, Methatriol, Methyltestosterone, Parabolin, Primobolin, Quinolone, Therabolin, Trophobolene, and Winstrol. Slang terms include Gym Candy, Pumpers, Stackers, As, Anabolics, Arnolds, Bolins, GHB, Oxys, Anabols, Balls or Bulls, Delatestryl, Maxibolin, Weight Trainers, Arnies, Dep-testosterone, Methyltestosterone, Rhoids, and Juice.
Who typically uses steroids?
The majority of steroid users tend to be young, male athletes, although steroid use is not limited to bodybuilders and football players alone. Increasing evidence shows that athletes in endurance sports such as swim-ming, running, and cycling use steroids. Adolescents may use them to quicken the onset of puberty and maturation, plus male and female models may take them to improve their body image. Those in certain, physically demanding occupations, like law enforcement, bouncers, or military per-sonnel may use steroids to build strength.
How are steroids used?
Steroids are either taken orally in tablet form or injected intramuscularly. Users rely on hearsay and gossip to determine dosage levels that may not be safe. Individuals abusing steroids take megadoses of hundreds of milligrams per day, whereas doctors prescribe only 1 to 5 mg. per day for legitimate medical uses. Under the false assumption that taking more steroids will yield better results, users typically take many types of steroids in combination with other drugs, a phenomenon known as stacking. Users often take steroids in cycles where they use steroids for six to 12 weeks at a time punctuated by periods where they do not take steroids. Steroid users do this to avoid building up a tolerance.