Steroids are types of drugs used to treat medical conditions (i.e. cortisone, prednisone, hydrocortisone). Anabolic steroids are drugs that replicate human sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen, which are taken illegally — and often abused — to alter one’s physical appearance.
Anabolic steroids can be authorized by a doctor in the case of delayed puberty, cancer, or AIDs, but should never be self-prescribed.
Often times, drug abusers of steroids take 10 to 100 times more than would be prescribed by a physician to treat a condition or illness.
Common side effects of steroids are mood swings, manic behavior, insomnia, irritability, and lack of good judgement.
For men in particular, steroids often cause shrinking of testicles, breast growth, hair loss, infertility, and a higher risk of testicular cancer.
Steroid use among teens has declined in the last decade. In 2005, 4 percent of high school seniors admitted to trying steroids. However, only 1.8 percent had experimented with them in 2012.
Anabolic steroids are commonly used among teenage athletes to bulk up. Unfortunately, the improper use of steroids (even at a young age) causes stunted growth, kidney impairment or failure, liver damage, and increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
Teenage girls use steroids as a way to improve or change their body shape. The side effects include male pattern baldness, a permanently deepened voice, breast shrinking, and detrimental changes to the menstrual cycle.
Steroids are serious drugs and drugs are addictive. Discontinuing use often leads to withdrawal and depression, which creates a lack of physical drive or social interaction among users.
One way steroids are taken is through injection directly into the muscles. Because drug injection equipment is not always sterile, users are vulnerable to life-threatening diseases like HIV/AIDs or hepatitis.
A program has been developed for both male and female high school sport teams (ATLAS for guys, ATHENA for girls) for coaches and leaders to enforce the danger in using these drugs. So far, new steroid use has decreased by 50 percent amongst these teens.