Anabolic steroids might not be as popular among teenagers as alcohol, cigarettes, or marijuana, but they are certainly still a threat to teens. These steroids work by mimicking the effects of androgens (certain hormones, most notably testosterone) in the body, and many teens, especially young males, use the drugs in order to gain muscle mass, improve their strength, and increase their athletic ability (although research does not indicate that steroids are even effective to this end).
Steroids are incredibly dangerous and are almost certainly not part of the normal “experimental phase” that causes many parents to expect (to some degree) the use of alcohol and other “lesser” drugs. Rather, steroids present a host of both short term and long term side effects that could ruin your teen’s life.
Risks for both sexes
Unfortunately, in many cases, the negative side effects of steroids are irreversible, even if your teen stops using the drugs as soon as the effects appear. These effects can include:
- Delusional tendencies
- Hair loss and baldness
- Anger, depression, aggression, and mood swings
- Extreme paranoia
- Nausea and vomiting
- Jaundice and liver damage
- Increased risk of heart disease and cancer
- Stopping of growth
- Aching joints
- High blood pressure
Negative side effects for females
Steroids affect both sexes adversely, but there some separate risks for males and females. Because steroids mimic the effects of sex hormones (specifically, male sex hormones), girls can expect to experience side effects that make them seem more masculine. These effects can include:
- A deeper voice
- Changes in the menstrual cycle
- Facial hair growth
- Shrinking breasts
- Body hair growth
Negative side effects for males
Because steroids’ effects mimic those of the male sex hormone, it could seem logical to think that steroids don’t have the same negative effects on men as they do on women. The truth is, however, that steroids can harm men just as much as women. Unintended side effects for men can include:
- Pain when urinating
- Breast development
- Shrinkage of the testicles
- Inability to get an erection
- Sterility (inability to father children)
The effects of steroids far outweigh their supposed benefits. Many athletes have admitted to using steroids, and those athletes recant their past use of this drug with near unanimity. The drug’s negative side effects are severe and can be lifelong, so for teens to risk using this drug for short term benefits would be a very terrible decision.
If you suspect that your teen could be abusing steroids or could be considering starting the drug, it is important for you to take action immediately. Many parents find that professional help from a counselor or treatment center is a necessity because steroids, like many other drugs, can be very difficult to stop. Steroids have the potential to ruin a person’s life. Don’t let that life be your teen’s.