Are steroids addictive?
The verdict is out, and has been for a while. Steroids can be addictive. Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances related to the testosterone and are illegal in the U.S. Steroids promote the growth of skeletal muscle and are so widespread in sports contests that international agencies fight against their use. And the possible health consequences of steroid abuse (listed below) are numerous.
So how do you know someone is addicted to steroids?
Steroid abusers spend time and (lots of) money obtaining the drugs, which is major indication of the addictive properties of steroids. Despite physical problems or negative effects on social relations, people who use steroids will not stop using steroids. People who abuse steroids can experience withdrawal symptoms including mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive, steroid cravings and depression that can last for a year or more.
A year or more.
Despite the numerous drawbacks of using anabolic steroids, kids (especially adolescent boys) continue to take steroids or steroid supplements. My theory is that boys use steroids due to low self-esteem. And I’m not buying the line that they need to buff up to be respected.
I think that young men who experience a deep dissatisfaction with their inner lives end up relying on their appearance as the only way to feel good about themselves. Sure, the “buff = tough” concept might be a product of the films, television shows and media images fed to our culture. But each of us are responsible for our own actions regardless of cultural standards. What these boys need to do is change the way they see their bodies and how they think about themselves.
How can teens find help?
Teens who chronically use anabolic steroids can talk to a parent, coach, religious leader, guidance counselor, therapist, or an adult friend about their use. A trusted adult – someone who supports- can help young men and women put their body image in perspective and give positive feedback about skills and abilities. Teens addicted to steroids can also find treatment by using the U.S. government’s addiction treatment locator or by calling a teen crisis hotline (under social services in the yellow pages).
What do you think? Should teens be held responsible for steroid use? Are the pressures adolescent boys endure justification enough for use? How can teens turn self-image around?