Despite the many bad effects of using steroids without a proper prescription, a lot of people still turn a blind eye to the dangers. Athletes aiming to perform better in their respective fields, body builders aspiring to sport a better built, or those who are just aiming for bigger muscles are still lured towards getting their share of this seemingly marvelous drug.
A survey of 500 users of anabolic androgenic steroidsconducted in 2006 by the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center shows that 78% of the users were noncompetitive bodybuilders and non-athletes (Parkinson & Evans, 2006). This was further confirmed by the findings of an internet-based survey of about 2,000 male steroid users in the US. The study shows that the steroid use was not motivated by athletics (Cohen, et.al. 2007). It was also found that the typical steroids users are adults with an average age of 31.
In the past, huge concerns were reported on the use of steroids by students. Recent studies however show declining trend. A 2005 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) survey shows that steroids use among Grade 8 and 10 students has declined significantly since 2000. The pattern however goes the opposite way for 12th-graders from 2000 to 2004 although it significantly declined from 2.5 to 1.5% in 2005. Despite this declining trend, the use of steroids is still closely monitored because of the risks associated with it (NIDA, 2005).
In fact, steroids abuse has wide ranging negative effects that can outweigh whatever benefits you can obtain from it. Here are some of the most common dangers of abusing the use of steroids.
Premature Hair Loss
If the main reason you wanted to use steroid in the first place is to look good and feel good about yourself, then you are working against your goals. Steroids can cause pre-mature balding among men, something that is definitely undesirable. According to Dr. Robert Brueggemeier of the Ohio State University, steroids stimulate and raise the level of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a powerful hormone found in the body that can cause baldness to occur (OSU, n.d.). Those who have a familial tendency for early hair loss, or male pattern baldness, are even at greater risk.
Using steroids can suppress the production of natural testosterone, leading to the shrinkage of the testes. The decreased size leads to a lower ability of the testes to produce sperm, which can lead to sterility. Dr. Robert Brueggemeiernoted that excessive use of steroid can cause permanent sterility (OSU, n.d.). In doctoroz.com, Harry Fisch also noted that the person may not realize this because he still has normal erections and orgasms but he may already have very count of sperms (The Dr. Oz Show, n.d.).
Cardiovascular Conditions and Hypertension
Abusing steroids can cause damage to your cardiovascular system. Steroid abuse has been linked to increased risk of heart attacks and coronary diseases. Studies show that anabolic steroids can cause left ventricular hyperthophy or the thickening of left ventricular wall. The thickened wall adversely affects the heart’s ability to pump blood which can cause heart problems.Moreover, abusing the use of steroid can disrupt hormone balance in the body, including those that regulate the blood pressure, thus causing hypertension.
Women who take steroids will have higher level of testosterone which can cause them to develop masculine traits. The effects include deepening of the voice, abnormal hair growth, and breast reduction.
Stunted Growth for Adolescents
The use of steroids among adolescents can lead to stunted growth. With steroids, the bones can exhibit premature maturation. Steroids also accelerate puberty changes. When teens use steroids prior to the growth spurt, they may not be able to reach their potential height.
HIV and Hepatitis
Contrary to popular belief, steroids do not come only as pills. They are also available as injectables. The lack of access to supplies such as sterile needles and lack of proper knowledge on safe injection procedures may increase the risk of contracting highly communicable diseases like HIV and other diseases. Self-administration of injectable steroids is a common practice. In fact, in Parkinson & Evans (2006), 9 out of 10 users included in their survey do self-administer injectables. Meanwhile 13% of the respondent reported to have unsafe injection practices like reusing and sharing needles.
Steroid abuse is said to be associated with unrestrained aggression referred to as “roid rage.” People who have shown tendencies for aggression prior to steroid use are shown to be more likely to exhibit violent behavior when using steroids (UNL, n.d.).
When used as prescribed by the doctor, steroids are effective medication for asthma and allergies. However, when abused, the effects can be irreversible and as bad as cardiovascular diseases or as disappointing as balding or breast reduction. You should therefore seek other means to ensure you get the kind of body built you want. There are highly trained personal trainers who can help you while you work towards your goal. They are equipped with knowledge on how to get you in the right shape without the risks posed by using steroids.
 Cohen, J., Collins, R., Darkes, J. & Gwartney D. (2007).A league of their own: demographics motivations and patterns of use of 1,955 male adult non-medical anabolic steroid users in the United States. Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition,4(12). Retrieved September 4, 2012.
 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). 2005.What is the scope of steroid use in the United States?Retrieved September 4, 2012.
 Ohio State University. (n.d.) Steroids and America’s Youth, Effects on the Body. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
 Parkinson, A.B. & Evans, N.A. (2006). Anabolic androgenic steroids: A survey of 500 users. PubMed, 38(4):644-51. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
 The Dr. Oz Show, (n.d.). Infertility and Steroids. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
 University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), (n.d.). Steroids: Just the Facts.Retrieved September 4, 2012.