Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of the naturally occurdng male hormone testosterone. Commonly called roids, sauce or juice, anabolic steroids are available in tablet form that is taken beneath the tongue or in an oil-based liquid that is usually injected in the buttocks or thighs. The effects are anabolic (muscle building) and androgenic (masculine, i.e., aggressiveness, deep voice). Steroids are most often used by athletes seeking an edge over the competition. Others may use it for cosmetic reasons: to gain the "perfect" look. National survey results indicate that many adolescents and young adults illegally use or have used anabolic steroids.

Developed in the 1930s, anabolic steroids are used to treat rare diseases in males whose bodies do not produce enough testosterone, as well as for conditions such as rare types of anemia and kidney disease or inoperable breast cancer. Because of their serious side effects, anabolic steroids are prescribed by responsible doctors at the minimum dosage required to help their patients. Controlled by the Federal Food and Drug Administration, these drugs are legally available only by a doctor's prescription. However, a black market network of dealers accounts for an estimated 80% of the anabolic steroids used. The black market is supplied by illegally diverted pharmaceutical products, secret laboratories producing counterfeits of those products, or steroids smuggled in from other countries. These black market steroids are often sold in gyms, locker rooms, or through magazines.

The oral anabolic steroids continue to be the most popular with athletes because of their greater anabolic or muscle building effects. Primarily water-based, oral anabolic steroids pose an even greater danger to the liver than the oil-based liquid forms. The oral anabolic steroids include Anvar, Dianabol, Winstrol, Maxibolin, Halotestin and Androyd, and stay in the body up to 40 days. The liquid forms commonly called oils, which are intended for intramuscular injection, include Bolasterone, Deca Durabolin, Durabolin, Parabolan, Winstrol V and others. Because they are fat-soluble, they have a longer reaction time than the orals and remain in the body for months.

Anabolic steroids are extremely unpredictable. Different dosages of different types of anabolic steroids interacting with an individual's unique biochemistry cause widely different and unpredictable results. If your teenager is using anabolic steroids, he or she may experience a sudden increase in body weight and muscular development, insomnia, irritability, aggressive combative behavior, puffy face, severe acne, bad breath, a yellowing of the eyes and skin, premature hair loss, hyperactivity, and exaggerated mood swings that include uncontrollable outbursts of anger.

Males may also experience testicular shrinkage and can develop female breast tissue on the pectoral muscles. Females may also experience a deeper voice and decreased breast size. Continued use can result in life-threatening situations involving the liver, cardiovascular system, and brain.
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