Anabolic steroids, technically known anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), drugs that structurally related to the cyclicsteroid ring system. Similar effects to testosterone in the body. They increase protein within cells, especially in skeletal muscles. Anabolic steroids also androgenic – like and virilizing properties. Including the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics like growth of the vocal cords. Also testicles (primary sexual characteristics) and body hair (secondary sexual characteristics). The word anabolic comes from the Greek ἀναβολή anabole, “that which is thrown up, mound”, and the word androgenic from the Greek ἀνδρός andros, “of a man” + -γενής -genes, “born”.
Anabolic steroids first made in the 1930s, and now used therapeutically in medicine to stimulate muscle growth and appetite. Inducing male puberty and treat chronic wasting conditions. Like cancer and AIDS. The American College of Sports Medicine acknowledges that AAS, in the presence of adequate diet, can contribute to increases in body weight, often lean mass increases. Gains in muscular strength achieved through high-intensity exercise and proper diet additionally increased by the use of AAS in some individuals.
Health risks produced by long-term use or excessive doses of anabolic steroids. These effects include harmful changes incholesterol levels (increased low-density lipoprotein and decreased high-density lipoprotein), acne, high blood pressure, liver damage(mainly with oral steroids), and dangerous changes in the structure of the left ventricle of the heart. Conditions pertaining to hormonal imbalances such as gynecomastia and testicular atrophy may also be caused by anabolic steroids.
Ergogenic uses for anabolic steroids in sports, racing, and bodybuilding as performance-enhancing drugs are controversial because of their adverse effects and the potential to gain unfair advantage is considered cheating. Their use is referred to as doping and banned by all major sporting bodies. For many years, AAS have been by far the most detected doping substances in IOC-accredited laboratories. In countries where AAS are controlled substances, there is often a black market in which smuggled, clandestinely manufactured or evencounterfeit drugs are sold to users.
Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are synthetically produced variants of the naturally occurring male sex hormone testosterone. “Anabolic” refers to muscle-building, and “androgenic” refers to increased male sexual characteristics. “Steroids” refers to the class of drugs. These drugs can be legally prescribed to treat conditions resulting from steroid hormone deficiency, such as delayed puberty, as well as diseases that result in loss of lean muscle mass, such as cancer and AIDS.
How Do AAS Affect the Brain?
The immediate effects of AAS in the brain are mediated by their binding to androgen (male sex hormone) and estrogen (female sex hormone) receptors on the surface of a cell. This AAS–receptor complex can then shuttle into the cell nucleus to influence patterns of gene expression. Because of this, the acute effects of AAS in the brain are substantially different from those of other drugs of abuse. The most important difference is that AAS are not euphorigenic, meaning they do not trigger rapid increases in the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for the “high” that often drives substance abuse behaviors.
However, long-term use of AAS can eventually have an impact on some of the same brain pathways and chemicals—such as dopamine, serotonin, and opioid systems—that are affected by other drugs of abuse. Considering the combined effect of their complex direct and indirect actions, it is not surprising that AAS can affect mood and behavior in significant ways.
AAS and Mental Health
Preclinical, clinical, and anecdotal reports suggest that steroids may contribute to psychiatric dysfunction. Research shows that abuse of anabolic steroids may lead to aggression and other adverse effects.1 For example, although many users report feeling good about themselves while on anabolic steroids, extreme mood swings can also occur, including manic-like symptoms that could lead to violence.2 Researchers have also observed that users may suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility.
Animal studies have shown that AAS are reinforcing—that is, animals will self-administer AAS when given the opportunity, just as they do with other addictive drugs. More difficult to demonstrate in humans, but the potential for AAS abusers to become addicted is consistent with their continued abuse despite physical problems and negative effects on social relations.5 Also, steroid abusers typically spend large amounts of time and money obtaining the drug: this is another indication of addiction. Individuals who abuse steroids can experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking AAS—these include mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive, and steroid cravings, all of which may contribute to continued abuse. One of the most dangerous withdrawal symptoms is depression— when persistent, it can sometimes lead to suicide attempts.
Research also indicates that some users might turn to other drugs to alleviate some of the negative effects of AAS. For example, a study of 227 men admitted in 1999 to a private treatment center for dependence on heroin or other opioids found that 9.3 percent had abused AAS before trying any other illicit drug. Of these, 86 percent first used opioids to counteract insomnia and irritability resulting from the steroids.
Most serious athletes will tell you that the competitive drive to win can be fierce. Besides the satisfaction of personal accomplishment, athletes often pursue dreams of winning a medal for their country or securing a spot on a professional team. In such an environment, the use of performance-enhancing drugs has become increasingly common.
But using performance-enhancing drugs — aka, doping — isn’t without risks. Take the time to learn about the potential benefits, the health risks and the many unknowns regarding so-called performance-enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids, androstenedione, human growth hormone, erythropoietin, diuretics, creatine and stimulants. You may decide that the benefits aren’t worth the risks.
What are they?
Some athletes take a form of steroids — known as anabolic-androgen steroids or just anabolic steroids — to increase their muscle mass and strength. The main anabolic steroid hormone produced by your body is testosterone.
Testosterone has two main effects on your body:
- Anabolic effects promote muscle building.
- Androgenic effects are responsible for male traits, such as facial hair and a deeper voice.
Some athletes take straight testosterone to boost their performance. Frequently, the anabolic steroids that athletes use are synthetic modifications of testosterone. These hormones have approved medical uses, though improving athletic performance is not one of them. Taken as pills, injections or topical treatments.
Why so appealing to athletes? Besides making muscles bigger, anabolic steroids help athletes recover from a hard workout more quickly by reducing the muscle damage that occurs during the session. This enables athletes to work out harder and more frequently without over training. In addition, some athletes like the aggressive feelings they get when they take the drugs.
A particularly dangerous class of anabolic steroids, the so-called designer drugs — synthetic steroids, illicitly created to be undetectable by current drug tests. Made specifically for athletes and not for approved medical use. Because of this, not tested or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and represent a particular health threat to athletes.
Many athletes take anabolic steroids at doses that are much higher than those prescribed for medical reasons. Most known about the drugs’ effects on athletes comes from observing users. It is impossible for researchers to study the effects of large doses of steroids on athletes. Because giving participants such high doses would be unethical. This means that the effects of taking anabolic steroids at very high doses haven’t been well studied.
Anabolic steroids come with serious physical side effects as well.
Men may develop:
- Prominent breasts
- Shrunken testicles
Women may develop:
- A deeper voice
- An enlarged clitoris
- Increased body hair
- Infrequent or absent periods
Both men and women might experience:
- Severe acne
- Increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture
- Liver abnormalities and tumors
- Increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
- Decreased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Heart and circulatory problems
- Prostate gland enlargement
- Aggressive behaviors, rage or violence
- Psychiatric disorders, such as depression
- Drug dependence
- Infections or diseases such as HIV or hepatitis if you’re injecting the drugs
- Inhibited growth and development, and risk of future health problems in teenagers
Taking anabolic-androgenic steroids to enhance athletic performance, while being prohibited in most sports organizations, also illegal. In the past 20 years, more effective law enforcement in the United States. Due to this, pushed much of the illegal steroid industry into the black market. This poses additional health risks because the drugs. Because made in other countries and smuggled in or made in clandestine labs in the United States. Either way, they aren’t subject to government safety standards and could be impure or mislabeled.