Steroids or anabolic-androgenic steroids are a man-made synthetic substance that increases and enhance the output of mal testosterone. They promote the growth of skeletal muscle but they have many sides effects. Athletes and bodybuilders often use it as a way to quickly build muscle mass although its original purpose was to cure patients with an abnormally low amount of testosterone. Steroids can be taken orally, which is the most common or injected.
Steroids have any major side effects that can cause the body to be severely internally injured. But the effects of steroids are different for the person that is using them. For men, the side effects may include the shrinking of the testicles, a reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, development of breasts, and an increased risk for prostate cancer. For women, the side effects may include growth of facial hair, male-pattern baldness, changes in the menstrual cycle, and a deepened voice. For children who take steroids, their growth may be stunted due to the premature ageing of their skeletal muscles. This may cause the child to be forever short if they take the steroids before their growth spurt.
For everyone, there may be very severe consequences such as liver tumours and cancer, jaundice, fluid retention, high blood pressure, increases in LDL and decreases in HDL. The various studies suggest that using more than one type of anabolic steroid at the same time (“stacking”) causes a stronger inhibition of the functions than using one single anabolic steroid. After abstention from anabolic steroids, these changes in fertility usually reverse within some months. However, several cases have been reported in which the situation of hypogonadism lasted for more than 12 weeks.
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Research also indicates that some users might turn to other drugs to alleviate some of the negative effects of anabolic steroids. For example, a study of 227 men admitted in 1999 to a private treatment centre for dependence on heroin or other opioids found that 9.3 per cent had abused anabolic steroids before trying any other illicit drug. Of these 9.3 per cent, 86 per cent first used opioids to counteract insomnia and irritability resulting from the anabolic steroids.
The use of steroids in teenagers is not predominating but it does occur. In a recent NIDA study, it was found that 3% of 8th graders use steroids, while 3.5% of 10th graders and 2.5% of 12th graders have used steroids in their lifetime.
Scientists that wanted to treat a condition called hypogonadism developed steroids in the late 1930s. Hypogonadism is a condition where males produce a very low amount of testosterone. Soon they found that it also promoted the growth of skeletal muscle and that led to athletes using them for their own purposes of increased strength and muscle mass. There are many different types of steroids including boldenone undecanoate, ethylestrenol, clostebol, dromostanolone, acetate, and many others. But they all have the same purpose: to promote the levels of testosterone.
In the mid-1980s, media reports of the increasing use of anabolic steroids in sports, including a “silent epidemic” of high school steroid use, came to the attention of the U.S. government. A joint Task Force to prosecute dealers was created with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. By the spring of 1990, there had been 125 legal actions on various steroid-related charges in 27 different federal districts. J.E. Wright and V.S. Cowart, Anabolic Steroids: Altered States. Over 175 steroid trafficking convictions had been obtained prior to the classification of steroids as controlled substances.
Although there are some commonly reported positive effects including increased leanness, muscle definition, increased muscle mass weight, increased strength, increased effectiveness of training, improved recovery rate, Euphoria, increased aggressiveness, and increased sex drive. Even though there are a few positive side effects the amount of negative side affects heavily outweighs the positive. It is clinically better to stay away from them.
Most individuals using anabolic steroids do not compete as athletes. They are adult males in health clubs worldwide who use them simply to have more muscular-looking bodies. Anabolic steroids are classified as controlled substances under federal and state laws, making their non-medical possession or sale illegal in the United States. Individuals should not only consider the possible adverse health risks of steroid use, but also the potential criminal consequences of anabolic steroid involvement. Many men who self-administer anabolics have no clue as to what might happen if they were to be caught by law enforcement.
One of the primary effects of our government’s crackdown on legitimate anabolic steroids has been the expansion of a huge black market of counterfeit products. While estimates vary widely, many authorities assert that the majority of anabolics available on the black market are fakes. These counterfeits are manufactured under unsupervised and potentially unsanitary conditions and may contain no real androgens at all. They may also be contaminated with bacteria or other dangerous substances.
The Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990 became law on November 29, 1990, when President Bush signed the Omnibus Crime Control Bill. The law applies in every Federal court across the country. It places steroids in the same legal class – Schedule III — as amphetamines, methamphetamines, opium and morphine. Simple possession of any Schedule III substance is a federal offence punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a minimum fine of $1,000.
Simple possession by a person with a previous conviction for certain offences, including any drug or narcotic crimes, must get imprisonment of at least 15 days and up to two years, and a minimum fine of $2,500. Individuals with two or more such previous convictions face imprisonment of not less than 90 days but not more than three years, and a minimum fine of $5,000, just for simply possessing. Selling steroids, or possessing them with intent to sell, is a federal felony.
An individual who sells steroids, or possesses with intent to sell, is punishable by up to five years in prison (with at least two additional years of supervised release) and/or a $250,000 fine. An individual who commits such a violation after a prior conviction for a drug offence faces up to ten years imprisonment (with at least four additional years of special parole) and/or increased fines. The relevant sections of Title 21 of the U.S. Code are as follows: 21 U.S.C. 801 (authorizes restrictions on controlled substances); 21 U.S.C. 802(41)(A) (defines “anabolic steroids” as any drug or hormonal substance, chemically and pharmacologically related to testosterone that promotes muscle growth.
In general, Steroids are against the law and dangerous to your health. Although they may have some very good side effects that mainly affect your physical appearance what good is looking good if you’re dead? The side effects of steroids can be deadly, dangerous and highly expensive, especially if you have to pay jail bail. The number of teens that use steroids is getting better but they are still out there. The decrease of availability will hopefully continue and soon be gone completely, but until then we must stay away from these potentially dangerous chemicals. Unless you want to end up with a lot of hair places where you don’t want it and none where you do not to mention the inability to “perform.” Steroids are just better off untouched.
1. Alen, M., P. Rahkila. Anabolic-androgenic steroid effects on endocrinology and lipid metabolism in athletes. Sports Med. 6: 327-332, 1988
2. American College of Sports Medicine. Position stand on the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids in sport. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 19(5): 534-539, 1987
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