If you are interested in using anabolic steroids for performance enhancement, then you should first understand all of the ways in which these chemical compounds can affect your body.
Steroids and alcohol are not a good mix, and combining the two can have serious – and sometimes fatal – consequences.
Increased Risk of Liver Damage
Many of today’s most popular steroids are incredibly hepatotoxic. Because of this, you need to limit their use in order to prevent serious liver problems.
Just as you should avoid other liver-toxic substances while using anabolic steroids, including over-the-counter medications as seemingly benign as acetaminophen, you should also avoid alcohol.
Your liver works hard to filter alcohol from your system, and when it must filter not only alcohol, but also anabolic steroids, it is a recipe for disaster. Although some liver conditions are treatable in their early stages, others can be fatal. It is not worth the risk to your liver to combine alcohol and steroids.
Many steroids, and particularly the “dry” steroids used for cutting, leave athletes and bodybuilders dehydrated.
Without adequate moisture in your body, your muscles will actually begin to atrophy over time. Water is necessary for increasing your red blood cell count, and these red blood cells carry oxygen and other nutrients to muscle cells.
Deficiencies in any of these things can halt muscle growth, thereby defeating the purpose of using the steroids in the first place. Remember that alcohol dehydrates the body very quickly, amplifying the drying effects of certain steroids.
Alcohol and Protein
Athletes and bodybuilders who utilize anabolic steroids do so to put their bodies in an “anabolic” state that is conducive to the growth and maintenance of muscle tissue.
According to studies from the Notre Dame Office of Alcohol and Drug Education, alcohol can actually send your body into a catabolic state, which causes the muscles to deteriorate over time. Alcohol contains a great many calories, and it disrupts many of the processes needed to build muscle, including protein synthesis.
For this reason, consuming alcohol while using anabolic steroids is much like eating a dozen Twinkies per day and expecting to lose weight. It just does not work.
People who prefer oral steroids like Dianabol, Winstrol, Anavar, and Primobolan may not realize the effects that these tablets can have on their stomachs.
Although you can safely prevent things like ulcers and stomach upset by taking your steroids with food and milk, adding alcohol to the mix is never a good idea. Alcohol alone can cause stomach ulcers, esophageal erosion, and other gastrointestinal problems. When you pair it with a potent chemical like an anabolic steroid, the potential risk grows exponentially.
Anabolic steroids are known for being tough on the heart and cardiovascular system in general. They increase blood pressure and negatively affect lipids, and this can cause everything from heart attack to stroke.
Alcohol can cause some of the very same problems; people who drink more than three alcoholic beverages daily are at an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, as well. When steroids and alcohol combine, the risk skyrockets. It is best to avoid drinking alcohol while using anabolic steroids; doing so may cause irreparable heart damage.
Frequent Mood Swings
The physical symptoms associated with combining alcohol and steroids may seem obvious, but some of the worst symptoms are those that others can’t see.
The overconsumption of alcohol itself can cause some significant mood swings, particularly for individuals who rely on alcohol to help “loosen them up” before social gatherings.
Some people may become happier and more nonchalant, some may become withdrawn and introspective, and still others may become quite angry or irritable.
With steroids and alcohol combined, these mood swings can become even more frequent and pronounced. Steroids can wreak havoc on your body’s hormonal balance, which in turn affects your moods.
If you feel particularly down, there’s a chance that using either alcohol or steroids will enhance that feeling – and using both may make it unbearable.
The same can be said for anger, and for some people, even euphoria. Simply put, combining steroids and alcohol can make moods unpredictable, and if the individual becomes intoxicated, these moods can become dangerous, as well.
General Feelings of Malaise
A “hangover” is a collection of symptoms caused by the overconsumption of alcohol, and it usually affects people the day after they were intoxicated. It includes things like stomach upset, headaches, extreme thirst, irritability, and heartburn, to name a few.
Over time, people who drink regularly may feel ill much of the time, and this feeling can be exacerbated by using anabolic steroids. Combining the two on a regular basis can make you feel downright unhealthy, and it can have a tremendous impact on your energy levels or ability to work out effectively.
It’s true that drinking too much alcohol can lead to impaired judgment, as can taking high doses of anabolic steroids over long periods of time. Just as these two substances can intensify one another’s physical side effects, they can do the same for the psyche.
People who use steroids and alcohol at the same time have shown an impaired ability to perform basic critical thinking tasks, including the ability to make potentially lifesaving decisions. This is one of the primary reasons to avoid using steroids and alcohol at the same time.
Treatment for Abuse of Steroids and Alcohol
It’s possible to use anabolic steroids without abusing them, and it’s certainly possible to use alcohol without abusing it.
Nonetheless, there is evidence to suggest that people who use the two substances concurrently have a higher risk of abusing either one.
If you are concerned about your use of steroids and alcohol, or if you have worries about someone else’s use of these substances, there is treatment available.
Often, a combination of medications and inpatient or outpatient therapy can provide relief from withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse.
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Although alcohol in moderation is not dangerous, and some studies suggest that a little bit of alcohol each day might actually be good for your body, you should always avoid it during anabolic steroid cycles for the reasons listed here. In fact, if you want to build muscle and maintain your physique, you might want to avoid it altogether due to its catabolic properties.