’Roids, stackers, the juice

Anabolic steroids are concoctions of testosterone and / or synthetic testosterone. They can be taken orally, injected directly into your muscles using a hypodermic needle or rubbed into the skin in the form of a cream or gel. They work by increasing protein synthesis in the body and enhancing androgenic activity. Essentially, they make the body more masculine.

There are some instances when the use of anabolic steroids is legal and medically advisable. Steroids can be legally prescribed to individuals who suffer from a hormone deficiency, a chronic nutritional deficiency, anemia or osteoporosis. However, their use as an illegal performance-enhancing drug is widespread and well-documented, even among non-athletes.

Ten Things You Need to Know About Steroids

  • They’ve been around for a while. Steroids were developed in the 1930s. They were first abused by Olympic athletes in the 1950s. Steroids spread to the general population in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • There are two forms of injectable steroid: “oils” and “waters.” Oils are longer-lasting and need only be injected once or twice a week. Waters are used up by the body much faster and require more frequent doses to get the full effect.
  • They are unnatural. The body naturally secretes between 2.5 and 10 mg of testosterone every day. Steroid users artificially boost this number by as many as 100 mg.
  • Pills are more dangerous than needles. Orally ingested steroids are more potent and toxic than their injected counterparts.
  • They can mess with your mood. Steroid users typically experience a number of psychological changes, including an increased tendency toward jealousy, aggression and violence(“’roid rage”) and depression.
  • They can make you break out. Steroid users tend to display several physical changes that are caused by the drugs, including oily, yellowish skin, bruising, acne, hair loss, puffy cheeks, bad breath and stiff joints.
  • They can shrink your balls. Steroids alter your sex characteristics. Males may experience shrinking testicles and the growth of breasts. Females may notice a deepening voice, the growth of facial hair, shrinking breasts and an enlarged clitoris.
  • They can kill you. The long-term health risks associated with steroid use include a greater chance of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and stroke, as well as cancer (particularly of the liver and prostate).
  • There’s evidence that they’re a gateway drug. When users stop taking steroids, they experience withdrawal symptoms such as sluggishness, insomnia, nausea, depression and thoughts of suicide. A significant number of users move on to abusing heroin, morphine and other opiates as a means of coping with withdrawal (even if they had never used any other drugs prior to using steroids).
  • They stay in your body for a long time. Oral steroids remain in your system (and can be detected by most drug tests) for weeks. Injected steroids remain for months.

Muscle and Attractiveness

Unfortunately, we all see steroid use portrayed by the media in a positive light on an almost constant basis. We see high-profile athletes who take steroids, break records, make millions of dollars and never seem to face any real consequences. We see movie stars who are able to “bulk up” for roles over what seems like only a few weeks.

These images have led many college students to develop distorted conceptions of what bodies should look like. Studies show that most male college students consider the ideal male body (in terms of attractiveness) to be one that has 30 pounds more muscle than their own body.

Conversely, most females consider the most attractive male body to be one that has between 15 and 30 pounds less muscle than what males consider to be ideal. In fact, many women rate images of professional bodybuilders as “repulsive.”

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