Signs of Steroid Abuse

Anabolic steroid abuse can have devastating effects on the human body. These effects may range from minor symptoms like oily skin to major health complications, and even death. Steroids have a variety of side effects or changes experienced by the mind and body of a user.

Physical Changes

  • Fast muscle growth
  • Rapid or progressive weight gain
  • Hyperactivity or lethargy (too little energy)
  • Unusually greasy hair or oily skin
  • Small red or purplish acne, including breakouts on the shoulders and back
  • Gynocomastia
  • Hair loss
  • Jaundice
  • Skin eruptions and infections
  • Drastic appetite shifts (extreme hunger or lessened/loss of appetite)
  • Joint pains and a greater chance of injuring muscles and tendons
  • Altered sleep patterns (not sleeping well or sleeping too much)
  • Dizziness, nausea or vomiting

Behavioral Changes

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Tendency of isolation from the family members
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia

Social Changes 

  • Sudden urge to work out at the gym
  • Changes in personal relationships with family and friends
  • Takes longer showers or baths (Extra time is needed for injecting)
  • Asks for money more often, or has more money than usual
  • Is stealing or losing belongings
  • Loss of focus or concentration

Dangers of Steroid Abuse

Anabolic steroids are known to have severe and sometimes irreversible adverse effects on multiple body systems, some of which can be fatal. In men, elevated levels of testosterone can cause testicular atrophy, infertility, erectile dysfunction, male-pattern baldness, and gynecomastia (breast development); the latter is a result of the anabolic steroids converting into estradiol, a female sex hormone. In women, high doses of testosterone cause masculinization, including a deepened voice, increased body hair, smaller breasts, coarser skin, balding, and enlargement of the clitoris.

Furthermore, anabolic steroids lead to a simultaneous increase in levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol and a decrease in levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol, which raises the risk of experiencing a range of cardiovascular problems. Indeed, high doses of anabolic steroids have been associated with blood clots, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and death, even among young, otherwise healthy individuals.

Among adolescents, sex hormones including testosterone play a role in regulating skeletal growth during puberty. Excessively high levels of testosterone can permanently stunt growth by prematurely signaling a halt to bone growth. As with all intravenous drug use, there is a risk of contracting an infection such as HIV or hepatitis through needle sharing or by using unsterilized needles or contaminated drugs.

Anabolic steroids are also associated with liver disease, including cancer, tumors, cysts, and jaundice. Other physical side effects include severe face and body acne and oily skin. Clearly, overdoses of anabolic steroids are highly destructive to the body.

Beyond the physical consequences, the use of anabolic steroids is associated with adverse psychological effects, including irritability and aggression. Also, there have been many anecdotal reports of violent episodes of rage, during which one is seemingly unable to control explosions of anger.

It is also important to mention that the contraindications to the therapeutic use of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids include the risk factors. The contraindications may include disorders like migraines, androgen-sensitive epilepsy, sleep apnea, polycythemia and congestive heart failure.

Specifically, research in this area has tended to exclude individuals with pre-existing psychiatric conditions, but it is reasonable to assume that underlying mental illness may make one particularly vulnerable to experiencing more severe psychological side effects. Also, the dose and type of anabolic steroids given to study participants, as well as the method of administration, may not be representative of real-world usage and therefore may limit the applicability of the results.


Psychological Addiction

It is scientifically proven that anabolic steroids have a potential to develop a psychological addiction in the user’s body. Currently, the percentage of steroid abusers that can become psychologically addicted to these drugs is unknown. Steroid abuse is usually associated with an increase in a person’s aggressiveness, a state that promotes a violent behavior. This violent behavior is commonly known as the “roid rage”. This state is defined as a maniac rage where the addict shows episodes of aggression or violent feelings and actions.

Many users report feeling good about themselves while on anabolic steroids, but researchers report that rapid mood swings can also occur.  The most dangerous of the psychological withdrawal symptoms is the depression. Depression sometimes leads to suicide attempts. If left untreated, the depressive syndrome associated with anabolic steroid withdrawal can persist for a year or even more after the abuser stops taking these drugs. The physicians also report that users may suffer from paranoid jealousy, irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment due to the feelings of invincibility.

Physical Addiction

In the case of anabolic steroids, the physical addiction can be easily observed through the withdrawal symptoms.

Individuals who abuse steroids can experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drugs, such as mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive, and steroid cravings.

Recognizing abuse of Steroids

Common signs of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids abuse:

Both Men and Women:
• Acne
• Baldness
• Susceptibility to infections (HIV or Hepatitis)
• Frequently mood changes
• Vascular, Cardiac, and Hematologic disorders
• Increased penis size if used before the puberty
• Frequent erections
• Erectile dysfunction
• Atrophied testicles
• Infertility
• Gynecomastia (enlarged breasts)
• Prostatic hypertrophy (enlarged prostate)
• Oily skin

• Coarser skin
• Decreased breast size
• Clitoral hypertrophy (enlarged clitoris)
• Increased facial and body hair
• Fluid retention
• Deepened voice
• Menstrual irregularities
• Hirsutism
• Enlarged larynx


Signs of Steroid Overdose

The most common uses for the anabolic steroids are:

  • stimulating the appetite
  • simulating the skeletal growth
  • treating some forms of cancer
  • inducing male puberty

People usually use and abuse anabolic steroids to enhance athletic performance and strength. Steroids consist of several chemicals, such as sex hormones, anti-inflammatory drugs and cholesterol These drugs have a high potential for abuse, and, while death by overdose is pretty uncommon, abusing steroids can cause overdose, as well as several other adverse reactions.

Taking a lot of steroids can cause an overdose. This happens when the body is overloaded with too many toxic chemicals. The symptoms of steroid overdose are not fatal, but certain side effects of an overdose can dramatically threaten the life. Five serious symptoms of steroid overdose include the following issues:

  • Coma
  • Trembling muscles and convulsions
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke