Are anabolic steroids addictive? This is a common question asked among many people who browse the growing library of steroids for sale online and on the street. The social stigma surrounding steroids leads many to believe that a single dose will have them hooked for life, much like heroin or crack cocaine. Fortunately, the answer to the question, “Are steroids addictive?” is positive.
The Truth about Steroid Addiction
If you ask most physicians “Are steroids addictive?”, you’ll be met with a wide variety of answers. Some believe that when steroids are used according to recommended guidelines, they are no more addictive than any other type of medication.
Still others compare steroids to opioids, claiming that they have addictive tendencies and may do more harm than good.
Studies have indicated that anabolic steroids can be addictive when used irresponsibly, and surveys have found that many of the people who become addicted to these products have underlying conditions that fuel their addictions. For example, some of the people who use steroids in large doses over long periods of time often suffer from a condition known as body dysmorphia.
This simply means that when they look in the mirror, they do not see themselves as others do. They can never seem to gain enough muscle, no matter how much they diet, exercise, and use performance enhancing supplements.
Are steroids addictive? For individuals who have addictive personalities, for those who don’t use steroids according to guidelines, and for those who have conditions like body dysmorphia – the answer is maybe. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent addiction.
Steroid Addiction Prevention
There are three ways to avoid steroid addiction: using the proper dose, paying careful attention to cycle lengths, and paying close attention to your body.
- Using the Proper Dosage – Anabolic steroids are a bit unusual in that they can be used safely in a wide range of doses. When answering the question, “Are steroids addictive?” it is important to consider your education on the compounds you want to use. Knowing and understanding the proper dose based on your goals – then sticking to that dose – is by far the best stack to prevent addiction and reap the benefits.
- Being Mindful of Cycle Lengths – Next, most experts will agree that anabolic steroids provide the greatest benefit when used in relatively short cycles. Using steroids for longer than recommended can create a physical dependence to them, making it difficult to stop using without experiencing withdrawal symptoms or severe side effects. For this reason, you should always be mindful of your cycle lengths and follow the guidelines.
- Paying Attention to Your Body – Finally, you should pay very close attention to your body’s signals and take them seriously should they occur. Things like gynecomastia and testicular atrophy are very real concerns. Are anabolic steroids addictive? One of the most prevalent signs of an addiction involves ignoring side effects or shrugging them off as minor.
Are Steroids Addictive Psychologically?
For the most part, steroid addiction is physical, which means the human body becomes acclimated to the high amount of free hormones in the bloodstream, and when those hormones are no longer present, withdrawal occurs.
There is some speculation that anabolic steroids may also be addictive psychologically, as well. These drugs can and often do provide a sense of power and strength, something most athletes and bodybuilders crave.
They want to be bigger, but they also want to be stronger and more athletic – and steroids often provide that.
Those who buy anabolic steroids over long periods of time may feel as if they don’t feel as strong between cycles, and they may rely on the steroids to give them that sense of comfort they need. This is likely the worst form of steroid addiction, and by far the most difficult to treat.
Studies have shown that long-term use can inhibit the body’s natural production of hormones like serotonin and dopamine. This causes feelings of depression and despair off-cycle, leading many people to go back to steroids, even when it is unsafe to do so, just to feel like themselves. Again, using steroids per recommendations can prevent this.
The Signs of Addiction
Remember that addiction comes in many different forms. People may become addicted to drugs, food, sex, gambling, and anything else that brings them a surge of happiness. Are steroids addictive in the same way as these things? They can be in many cases, so keep an eye out for the following signs, which may indicate a problem.
- Spending too much money on steroids. Those who find themselves spending their mortgage payment or grocery money on steroids may have an addiction.
- Ignoring physical side effects. In some cases, men and women alike may ignore physical symptoms of steroid abuse. These can become permanent over time.
- Deviating from usage guidelines. Pushing the boundaries when it comes to dosage and cycle lengths is a surefire sign of steroid addiction. Information regarding appropriate doses and cycle lengths can be found across the internet, and ignoring this advice can have potentially dangerous consequences.
- Feeling increasingly displeased with one’s appearance. Another sign of addiction is feeling a sense of disapproval when it comes to appearance, even when the steroids are working. These individuals may feel a deep sense of dissatisfaction, which drives them to use more and more to achieve unattainable and unrealistic goals.
- Hiding steroid use from close friends. Despite the social stigma surrounding steroids, they are safe when used according to guidelines. People who find themselves hiding their steroid use from their closest friends or spouses may have an addiction.
Seeking Treatment for Steroid Addiction
If you think you may be addicted to steroids, or if you think someone you know has a problem, there are some ways to get help discreetly. Individuals who have used steroids for long periods of time may need to seek medical help so they can detox (come off steroids) safely, and in some cases, they may be able to do this in an outpatient setting.
Physicians will often prescribe drugs as hormone replacement to help gently ease patients’ doses downward. They may also prescribe antidepressants and antianxiety medications to help with emotional distress. The chart below shows some of your options and how to take advantage of them.
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*Many people mistakenly believe that Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is reserved for those addicted to opioids, but this is not the case. An increasing number of individuals addicted to anabolic steroids have found this program useful. It is free, and meetings can be found in locations across North America.
Are steroids addictive? Unfortunately, they can be, but those who use the products responsibly have a very low risk of developing an addiction. If you or someone you know may be dealing with steroid addiction, there are resources available to you.