Steroid Abuse Signs and Symptoms
Side Effects of Prolonged Steroid Abuse
Initial signs that anabolic steroids are being abused may include rapid
weight gain and unusual mood swings. Emotions may include increased
aggressiveness. Acne is almost always seen.
The side effects of steroids can be explained by the excess androgen and
anabolic drug levels present in the body.
The use of steroids suppresses the naturally occurring testosterone in the
body and, in males, may lead to a decrease in testicle size (atrophy), decreased
sperm production, infertility, and baldness. As well, the excess steroid can be
converted to estrogen in males and may lead to enlarged breasts (known as gynecomastia). In females, the excess testosterone production may lead to a
deeper voice, changes in the menstrual cycle, and increased hair production.
Baldness may also be seen in women.
These steroids also have direct effects on numerous organs:
- An increased
number of sebaceous glands in the skin routinely leads to acne.
- Liver damage
may often occur, and liver cancer is a risk.
- The heart is at risk for damage
in a various ways. In response to excess steroid in the body, the heart muscle
may enlarge just like any other muscle in the body. This enlargement, or
hypertrophy, can lead to decreased pumping ability (cardiomyopathy)
as well as changes in
the electrical conduction system in the heart causing rhythm changes
(arrhythmias), palpitations, and potentially sudden cardiac death. As well,
steroids may cause high blood pressure, increased cholesterol levels, and
blood sugars, all of which are risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
effects of steroids include excitation and depression. Aggression is
common. Manic episodes of aggressive behavior are known as "roid rage," and
violence may be the outcome. Depression and suicide may also occur.
In adolescents who have yet to complete growing, the use of steroids may stunt
growth and stop bones, joints, and muscles from reaching full maturity. As well,
premature sexual development may occur.
Must Read Articles Related to Steroids
Cushing's syndrome is a disorder caused by prolonged exposure to high levels of corticosteroids. Causes include prolonged use of steroid medications, adrenal tu...learn more >>
Drug Dependence & Abuse
Drug abuse and drug dependence represent different ends of the same disease process.
Drug abuse is an intense desire to obtain increasing amounts of a parti...learn more >>
High Blood Sugar (Hyperglycemia)
High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) is when the body's blood sugar rises. Blood sugar levels can be measured using a blood glucose meter. Diabetes mellitus is a co...learn more >>