Side Effects of Steroid Abuse
Steroid abuse can have numerous side effects, from hormonal changes to cardiovascular, liver, and musculoskeletal problems. While some steroid side effects are reversible if you stop using drugs, some others are permanent.
The overuse of steroids disrupts the normal production of hormones in the body, resulting in reversible and irreversible changes. While reversible changes, such as testicular atrophy and reduced sperm production, can be reversed when you stop using steroids, irreversible changes, such as breast development in males and male-pattern baldness, cannot be reversed.
Excessive growth of body hair but loss of scalp hair in women is a common side effect of steroid use. Other effects of anabolic steroids use are in the form of masculinization, resulting in reduction in body fat and breast size, deepening of voice, coarse skin becomes coarse, and enlargement of clitoris.
The use of oral steroids is often associated with cardiovascular problems, such as strokes and heart disease, as it may affect the level of lipoproteins in the body, raising the level of low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol (LDL) while reducing good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL), further increasing the risk of deposition of fatty substances in arteries and disruption to blood flow. When blood flow to the heart is affected, it could cause a heart attack.
Further, steroids are known to raise the risk of formation of clots in blood vessels, which can disrupt blood flow in the body and damage heart muscle.
Overuse of steroid is also linked to a rise in testosterone and sex hormonal levels, which further causes growth spurt during puberty and signals the brain to prematurely stop growth as well. Tendon rupture and stunted growth are the common side effects of steroid abuse in adolescents.
Some of the common steroid side effects include liver tumors and blood-filled cysts in the liver, which can rupture and cause internal bleeding.
Steroid abuse can cause all sorts of skin problems, from acne to cysts, thinning skin, poor healing after injuries, and easy bruising.
Injecting anabolic steroids using nonsterile injection techniques raises the risk of life-threatening viral infections, including hepatitis, HIV, and bacterial infections, such as endocarditis, causing swelling of the inner lining of the heart.
Mood and Behavioral Changes
Steroids may aggravate psychological problems and depression. Higher dose of steroids often has an effect on the mental health, making people confused and irritable. Abuse of steroids may cause delusion and the person may start experiencing suicidal thoughts. Often these mental effects are associated with the withdrawal of steroid treatment.