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.