What causes Anabolic Steroids withdrawal?

A withdrawal syndrome or discontinuation syndrome is a set of signs and symptoms occurring in discontinuation or dosage reduction of a drug. It is important to be mentioned that not only the drugs can cause withdrawal syndrome, there are also some types of medications that can cause withdrawal’s signs and symptoms.

Anabolic steroids act differently from other drugs of abuse in the user’s body. Steroids do not have the similar short-term effects on the brain because steroids do not produce rapid increases in the dopamine’s levels (biochemical structure in the brain helping with the neurotransmission). When the dopamine’s levels increase, the addict experiences “the high”. Usually this “high” is the one that drives the addicted to abuse over and over again a substance. However, the long-term steroid abuse can act on some of the same brain pathways and bio-chemicals, including dopamine, serotonin, and opioid systems, biochemical structures that can also be affected by other drugs. This may result in a significant effect on mood and behavior (rapid mood swings and aggressive behavior)

When the addict is not taking the drug, dopamine release will be diminished to levels lower than normal, which could contribute to the symptoms of withdrawal that motivate repeated drug taking.

Symptoms of withdrawal

Anabolic Steroids withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Concentration problems
  • Insomnia
  • A decreased sex drive
  • Headaches
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Anxiety
  • Anorexia
  • Fatigue

Duration of withdrawal

The duration of withdrawal symptoms from steroids may vary from an addict to another. Two factors determine the duration of withdrawal, dosages and frequency of use. A high dosage associated with an extended period of use may result in a long duration of withdrawal.

The type of steroids the addict was taking represent another factor that can influence the length of withdrawal. Like with many other drugs, not all steroids are the same. The withdrawal period is also proportional to the time the steroid stays in the addict’s body. The time which the steroids remain in the user’s body is known as the drug’s half-life. The higher the steroid’s half-life, the longer the withdrawal process is going to be. In conclusion, it takes extended periods of time to withdrawal from anabolic steroids with longer half-lives.

The half-lives of some commonly abused steroids include:

  • Equipoise– 14 days
  • Deca-durabolin– 14 days
  • Durabolin – 4.5 days
  • Winstrol – 24 hours
  • Anavar – 9 hours
  • Anadrol-50 – 9 hours
  • Dianabol – 6 hours

Usually, the withdrawal signs and symptoms from steroids abuse can last anywhere from several days to two weeks.

Withdrawal Timeline

The first signs and symptoms of withdrawal begin in the first 2 to 5 days after the last administered dose (this period depends on the half-life of the steroid). Among the first symptoms of withdrawal, we may include irritability, nausea and headache.

In the following 3 to 5 days the withdrawal symptoms start to grow in intensity. During this period, the addict may experience the first forms of depression and anxiety.

The symptoms of withdrawal usually peak in the second week after the user’s last dose of steroids. Characteristic symptoms for this period are considered the abdominal pains, nausea, weight loss, and an intense form of depression.

After two weeks since the addict stopped using the drug, the signs and symptoms of withdrawal finally start to fade out completely.