Ever wondered how those bulky weight lifters got so big? While some may have
gotten their muscles through a strict regimen of weight-lifting and diet,
others may have gotten that way through the illegal use of steroids.
Steroids are synthetic substances similar to the male sex hormone
testosterone. They do have legitimate medical uses. Sometimes doctors prescribe
anabolic steroids to help people with certain kinds of anemia and men who don't
produce enough testosterone on their own. Doctors also prescribe a different
kind of steroid, called corticosteroids, to reduce swelling. Corticosteroids
are not anabolic steroids and do not have the same harmful effects.
If you're looking for quick muscle building, go no further than your local
gym, where doctors say that major strength gains can be had in just a few
Last year, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American
Heart Association updated their recommendations for physical
activity. In addition to regular cardio workouts, Americans are now being encouraged to
perform resistance training at least twice a week, working every major muscle
Spero Karas, MD, assistant professor...
But doctors never prescribe anabolic steroids to young, healthy people to
help them build muscles. Without a prescription from a doctor, steroids are
There are many different kinds of steroids. Here's a list of some of the
most common anabolic steroids taken today: anadrol, oxandrin, dianabol,
winstrol, deca-durabolin, and equipoise.
What Are the Common Street Names?
Slang words for steroids are hard to find. Most people just say steroids. On
the street, steroids may be called roids or juice. The scientific name for this
class of drugs is anabolic-androgenic steroids. Anabolic refers to
muscle-building. Androgenic refers to increased male characteristics. But even
scientists shorten it to anabolic steroids.
How Are They Used?
Some steroid users pop pills. Others use hypodermic needles to inject
steroids directly into muscles. When users take more and more of a drug over
and over again, they are called "abusers." Abusers have been known to
take doses 10 to 100 times higher than the amount prescribed for medical
reasons by a doctor.
Many steroid users take two or more kinds of steroids at once. Called
stacking, this way of taking steroids is supposed to get users bigger faster.
Some abusers pyramid their doses in 6-12-week cycles. At the beginning of the
cycle, the steroid user starts with low doses and slowly increases to higher
doses. In the second half of the cycle, they gradually decrease the amount of
steroids. Neither of these methods has been proven to work.
How Many Teens Use Them?
Most teens are smart and stay away from steroids. As part of a 2002
NIDA-funded study, teens were asked if they ever tried steroids-even once. Only
2.5% of 8th graders ever tried steroids; only 3.5% of 10th graders; and 4% of
What Are the Common Effects?
Steroids can make pimples pop up and hair fall out. They can make guys grow
breasts and girls grow beards. Steroids can cause livers to grow tumors and
hearts to clog up. They can even send users on violent, angry rampages. In
other words, steroids throw a body way out of whack. Steroids do make users
bulk up, but the health risks are high. It's true, on steroids biceps bulge;
abs ripple; and quads balloon. But that's just on the outside. Steroid users
may be very pleased when they flex in the mirror, but they may create problems
on the inside. These problems may hurt them the rest of their lives. As a
matter of fact steroid use can shorten their lives.