Tablets or injected liquid that some people take to build muscles or improve sports performance
Can you get addicted?
You can easily become psychologically dependent on anabolic steroid use (meaning you develop an increased tendency to keep taking the drug even in spite of possible harmful effects). Withdrawal symptoms have been reported soon after stopping, including headaches, lethargy and depression.
Physical health risks
Taking anabolic steroids does involve risks to your body and health. Here’s what steroids can do to you:
If you're young, anabolic steroids can mess up how your body develops, stopping you from growing properly.
If you're male, regular use can lead to erection problems, growing of breasts, becoming sterile, loss of hair and development of acne. It can also make your testicles shrink.
If you're female, you can develop more masculine characteristics – with extra facial hair, loss of hair on the head, a deeper voice, shrinking breasts, and an enlarged clitoris; as well as risking acne, an increased risk of menstrual problems and changes in sex drive.
Steroids can also give you high blood pressure and increase your risk of illness and death due to liver failure, stroke or heart attack.
Injecting any drug, even steroids, can damage your veins and cause ulcers and gangrene, particularly with dirty needles or poor injecting technique. Sharing needles, syringes and other injecting works can help spread HIV, hepatitis C and other infections.
Mental health risks
Because anabolic steroids can make you feel paranoid, aggressive and violent for no reason, it’s not that unusual for anabolic steroid users to lash out or attack family and friends. Regular users may find that they start having trouble sleeping. They may get paranoid, or may experience dramatic mood swings; and even violence can occur alongside strong feelings of aggression.
What is anabolic steroids cut with?
There are worries about the quality and safety of anabolic steroids that are sold on the black market, with falsified, substandard and counterfeit anabolic steroids not being uncommon. Some of these counterfeit anabolic steroids may not have the effect that the buyer wanted. Some have no active ingredient at all.
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