Effect of steroids on the human body
Steroids can have various effects on the human body, both positive and negative. The effects depend on the type of steroid used, the dose, the duration of use, and the individual’s health and physiology.
Some of the positive effects of steroids include:
- Increased muscle mass and strength: Anabolic steroids can stimulate muscle growth and enhance physical performance, making them popular among athletes and bodybuilders.
- Reduced inflammation: Some steroids, such as corticosteroids, can be used to reduce inflammation and treat conditions like asthma, arthritis, and autoimmune disorders.
- Improved recovery: Steroids can help the body recover faster from injuries and intense workouts, by reducing inflammation and promoting muscle growth.
Some of the negative effects of steroids include:
- Liver damage: Steroids can cause liver damage, especially when taken at high doses or for long periods.
- Cardiovascular problems: Steroids can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and blood clots, especially when combined with other risk factors like smoking and high blood pressure.
- Hormonal imbalances: Steroids can disrupt the body’s hormonal balance, leading to side effects like acne, hair loss, and reduced fertility.
- Mood changes: Steroids can cause mood changes, including aggression, irritability, and depression.
- Addiction: Steroids can be addictive, especially when used for non-medical purposes, leading to withdrawal symptoms when stopped.
It is important to note that the effects of steroids can vary widely depending on the individual and the circumstances of use. It is also important to use steroids only under medical supervision and to follow the prescribed dosage and duration of use to minimize the risk of side effects.
Overall, drug use at a population level remains stable in the UK. Cannabis remains the UK’s favourite illegal drug, with more than 2 million people using it in the past year, but while this may seem like a large number, it’s worth noting that more than 29 million people drink alcohol every single week, with 9 million still smoking cigarettes.
But when it comes to the use of anabolic steroids, usage is on a fast incline. We’ve seen upwards of a 600% increase in steroid use over the past decade in the UK. These steroids mimic the effects of testosterone, stimulating muscle growth, therefore enabling users to train harder and recover quicker.
But these drugs can have some serious side effects, from high blood pressure, heart problems, testicle shrinkage, erectile dysfunction, sterility, low libido, aggression and, unfortunately, there have even been a number of fatalities linked to the use of steroids. For those that are young and still developing, there is an even longer list of risks.
So what’s causing this fast increase in the want to look bigger and lift heavier? Well, the term ‘muscle dysmorphia’ often arises when addressing the topic. The term refers to the fear of being too small and seeing oneself as weak. According to the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation, the condition affects one in ten men who go to the gym in the UK.
Steroid specialist Dave Crossland suggest that steroid use can go hand in hand with muscle dysmorphia. “Steroid usage can increase body image problems,” he says. “If you improve the way you look and you’ve used chemical enhancements to do that, it’s then difficult to go back to a physique that you’re not happy with.”
Crossland believes that today’s media representation has a role to play in the rapid increase of steroid use in the UK. “There’s a massive social pressure to look a certain way. I think males are struggling with it harder because it’s new for them. Add that to a society that looks for a pill for every ill, and you can understand why people are turning to steroids,” he argues.
“But why have we got to the point where 17 or 18-year-olds are willing to take massive risks just to look good in a t-shirt? This isn’t to achieve a world record. This isn’t to be number one in their sport. This is just an average kid who wants social acceptance.”
Steroids are Class C drugs herein the UK, but they are legal to possess as long as they’re for personal use. Selling the drugs remains illegal, with those caught dealing the drugs possibly facing years in prison.