There are different kinds of steroids that are medically prescribed for helpful medicinal benefits, however, Anabolic steroids tend to be used by men in their 20s for bodybuilding purposes and for muscle gain. Steroids can come in a pill form as well as be injected.

People who misuse anabolic steroids usually take them orally, inject them into muscles, or apply them to the skin as a gel or cream. These doses may be 10 to 100 times higher than doses prescribed to treat medical conditions.

Commons patterns for misusing steroids include:

  • cycling — taking multiple doses for a period of time, stopping for a time, and then restarting
  • stacking — combining two or more different steroids and mixing oral and/or injectable types
  • pyramiding — slowly increasing the dose or frequency of steroid misuse, reaching a peak amount, and then gradually tapering off to zero
  • plateauing — alternating, overlapping, or substituting with another steroid to avoid developing a tolerance


There is no scientific evidence that any of these practices reduce the harmful medical consequences of these drugs.

Commonly Used For: Bodybuilding.

Side Effects

Ongoing use of steroids can cause major physical changes to both men and women. The most noticeable side effects of anabolic steroids are the growth of breast tissue in men due to the conversion of the steroid into estradiol. In men, it can also lead to the shrinking of the testicles and lead to infertility.

In women, the drug is converted into testosterone, which can lead to the growth of body hair, a deepening of the voice, menstrual changes.

Long-term use can lead to increased cholesterol, the onset of diabetes and elevated blood pressure, outbreaks of acne and baldness, heart attack and stroke. Users may also experience rapid mood swings, mania or what is known as “roid rage.”

In adolescents, steroid use can cause stunted growth, weak bones, and serious formative problems, later life.

Misuse of anabolic steroids might lead to negative mental effects, such as:
  • paranoid (extreme, unreasonable) jealousy
  • extreme irritability and aggression (“roid rage”)
  • delusions—false beliefs or ideas
  • impaired judgment
  • mania

Long-term effects of Steroids

Anabolic steroid misuse might lead to serious, even permanent, health problems such as:
  • kidney problems or failure
  • liver damage and tumors
  • enlarged heart, high blood pressure, and changes in blood cholesterol, all of which increase the risk of stroke and heart attack, even in young people
  • increased risk of blood clots

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