Steroid Abuse in the Scholastic Environment

Steroids are very popular in high school, collegiate, and professional sports. Bodybuilders have long been associated with steroid abuse.

What are steroids?

Anabolic-androgenic steroids are synthetic medications derived from the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is the hormone associated with male traits such as increased muscle and bone mass and hair growth, but is found in both males and females (although up to 10 times more in men than women.)

Street nicknames for steroids:

  • roids
  • gear
  • arnolds
  • gym candy
  • pumpers
  • stackers
  • juice

Who uses steroids?

Steroids are prescribed to treat numerous medical conditions, including naturally low testosterone levels, certain causes of male impotency, and as a method of combating the wasting syndrome commonly found in AIDs patients, to name a few. However, they are also illegally obtained, and abused by athletes (professional and recreational), body builders and an ever-increasing number of young males looking to improve their physical appearance.

How are steroids used?

Steroids can be taken either orally or injected. Often they are taken in “cycle” pattern in order to maximize the benefits and minimize the dangerous side-effects. However, many of the patterns and management schedules are spread by word of mouth or the internet and their reliability is obviously questionable. A simple search of the internet can produce a large variety of possible and often conflicting cycling schedules.

What are the side effects?

The main and desired effect of steroid use is rapid muscle gain, a decrease in recovery time between workouts, and a loss of fat tissue. The dangerous side effects include possible liver tumors, jaundice, high blood pressure, and emotional disturbances. These emotional disturbances are often referred to as “Roid Rage” as the user may show uncontrollable paranoia, jealousy, delusions and a hair trigger level of irritability. Additional side effects include the following:

  • shrinking of the testicles
  • infertility
  • hair loss
  • development of breasts
  • acne

Young people who use steroids still in their growth period may have their height permanently stunted.

Are steroids addictive?

Since the main purpose of steroids is not to get a traditional “high”, but instead to build muscle, they are not often thought of as addictive drugs. However, a recent study conducted by the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine showed that steroids may show some of the same addictive qualities found in other, conventional addictive drugs, like cocaine and heroin. In the study, isolated hamsters were given two delivery mechanisms. One produced a strong steroid and the other was a non-steroid used as a control. During the experiment, the hamsters chose the steroid delivery system twice as often as the control, which appears to demonstrate an addictive quality to the steroids.

Although they don’t produce a drastic “high” like many other addictive drugs, many steroid users describe a general feeling of well being while on the steroids which they often describe as a subtle high. They also report withdrawal symptoms and will continue to use the steroids even in the face of increasing health risks.

Getting Help for Steroid Addiction

Sunrise Recovery Ranch has been treating addiction to all kinds of substances for many years. For more information, please call us today.