There are three types of naturally occurring steroids in the body: corticosteroids (cortisone), female hormones (estrogen and progesterone), and testosterone. When people talk about performance enhancing steroids they are referring to synthetic testosterone, which is an “anabolic steroid” or “androgenic steroid.” Anabolic refers to the muscle building qualities and androgenic refers to the qualities that stimulate male sexual characteristics.
Synthetic steroids come in three basic forms: pill, liquid and topical cream. Steroids are typically taken in cycles, which involve using the drug for several weeks, tapering down, stopping for several weeks, and then starting the process over again. Steroids are also usually taken in “stacks,” or with several types of steroids blended together. Sometimes this stacking includes other drugs such as anti-inflammatories, stimulants, and opiates, which make the practice dangerous.
In the past, there was much controversy over whether or not steroids are addictive in the same ways as other drugs. Today, more professionals are now agreeing that steroids do meet the criteria for substance abuse and addiction.
Some patients find themselves addicted after self-administering performance enhancing steroids. However, addiction also can occur through incorrect medical advice. If patients’ hormone levels are not tested and closely monitored throughout treatment, their dosage can be incorrect and cause levels that are too high or low. Unfortunately the effects of improper dosing are usually adverse and may include such problems as heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, infection, depression, cystic acne, painful joints, male baldness, breast shrinkage, fluid retention, non-development in males, and many more dangerous effects.
Addiction takes on many different forms and it is multi-factorial, posing a risk to those that abuse substances and loved ones dependent upon them.
If the addiction continues, men may experience prostate cancer, shrinking or non-functioning of testicles, reduced sperm count and infertility. Through extended use, women may experience eating disorders, infertility, voice changes, enlargement of clitoris, irregular menstrual cycles, and excessive body and facial hair. Addiction may or may not be identical to other types of addiction, but the health risks alone demand that the addiction be corrected and treated.
Dr. Roberts takes a multi-pronged approach to treatment. She gradually weans patients off of unhealthy steroid usage while using natural supplements to mediate any side effects. We create a partnership to ensure doctor and patient are teammates in the process, often using a formal contract where both sides agree to a certain path toward ending addiction. We hope to have the opportunity to help you in your journey toward becoming free of unhealthy steroid usage.