Anabolic Steroid Abuse (cont.)

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Why do people abuse anabolic steroids?

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People abuse steroids for a variety of reasons, but most do it to increase body performance and appearance. There may be peer pressure to use anabolic steroids in some sports because of a fear that normal training will not be enough to succeed. There is also the perception that other athletes are abusing steroids and gaining an unfair advantage.

People who use steroids to enhance their appearance by increasing muscle and decreasing fat may suffer from muscle dysmorphia or abnormal perception of their own body. Males may think that they are perpetually too small and weak, and females may think themselves fat, even though that perception may not be actually true.

Body builders and weight lifters are not the only athletes to think that anabolic steroid use is their road to success. Athletes, from strength sports like football and throwing the discus to speed sports like track sprinters and speed skaters, have attempted to use steroids to enhance performance and increase the efficiency of their training.

How do people abuse anabolic steroids?

Though most anabolic steroids need to be injected into the body to be effective, some may be taken by mouth and others used as a cream or gel and applied to the skin. The user will try to take enough anabolic steroid to increase the ability to exercise and allow muscles to grow while minimizing the risk of side effects and the potential of being caught. Usually steroids are taken in cycles with regular injections followed by periods of rest. Numerous books and web sites discuss the benefits and risks of different techniques to maximize the effect of a variety of steroids on the body. There is a large underground, illegal industry that has grown to meet the demand for anabolic steroids and also includes methods to try to avoid detection.

Cycling, stacking, and pyramiding are three common ways that anabolic steroid abusers take their drugs. Cycling refers to taking a steroid for a period of time, stopping for the body to rest, and then restarting again. If more than one type of steroid is used at a time, this is called stacking. There is the belief that using two or more steroids at a time increases the effectiveness of each. Pyramiding combines the cycling and stacking. One or more steroids are begun in a low dose and the dose gradually increased until halfway through the cycle where the amount is maximized and it is then tapered to zero by the end of the cycle.

Exercise programs are tailored so that more can be done as the effect of the steroid increases. The cycles of steroid use are usually six to 12 weeks long and may be followed by a rest period.

In athletes who use anabolic steroids, a cat and mouse game exists. They try to time their steroid injections, so that the drug is out of their system if and when they are drug tested. Sometimes masking drugs are also taken to try to "beat" the test by making the test negative. Designer steroids are being continually developed to again prevent their use from being detected.


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Steroid Abuse - Reasons for Abuse Question: Why did you use steroids? Were you an athlete or was peer pressure involved? Please share your story.
Steroid Abuse - Side Effects Question: Describe the psychological and physical side effects that you experienced with anabolic steroid use or abuse.
Steroid Abuse - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment, therapy, or medications did you receive for anabolic steroid use or addiction?
Steroid Abuse - Prevention Question: What advice can you give to avoid or prevent steroid use or addiction?

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