Good Health

Spotting the Signs of Anabolic Steroid Abuse

Submitted by Taylor Hooton Foundation

The negative effects anabolic androgenic steroid abuse has on the human body can be devastating. They range from a minor case of acne and oily skin to major health implications like heart damage and potentially death. Anabolic steroids have a range of side effects, or changes experienced by the mind and body of a user.

If you suspect your child, students, or friends are using anabolic steroids, you can look for a variety of short-term side effects that appear as symptoms – like visible changes in appearance, mood and behavior. Educating yourself about the signs of steroid abuse can help you identify symptoms before it’s too late. Below are a few examples of potential side effects of anabolic steroid use that you can be on the lookout for:

Physical Changes may be the most recognizable difference because the novice user cannot easily conceal these short-term symptoms:

  • Unusually fast muscle growth
  • Unusually greasy hair or oily skin (often with stretch marks on the inner joints)
  • Small red or purplish acne, including breakouts on the shoulders and back
  • Gynocomastia, the abnormally excessive development of the breast tissue in males
  • Bad breath
  • Thinning hair throughout the head or receding hairline (male pattern baldness)
  • Jaundice or yellowing of the skin

Personality & Emotional Changes often happen suddenly and without visible triggers or reasons:

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Increased aggression or irritability
  • Becomes secretive and/or starts lying
  • Withdraws from family members
  • Depression (especially when steroids are discontinued)
  • Paranoia – extreme feelings of mistrust or fear

Social Changes witnessed may be mistaken for natural teenage distancing or independence:

  • Sudden urge to work out at the gym
  • Closes and/or locks bedroom door more often
  • Changes in personal relationships with family and friends
  • Phone conversations become more private
  • Is stealing or losing belongings
  • Loss of focus or concentration (at work, school or home)

To see the full list of potential side effects and warning signs of steroid abuse, please visit http://taylorhooton.org/steroid-abuse/signs-of-steroids-abuse/.

If you suspect steroid use is going on, it is very important to intervene and have a conversation. For more information on how to go about that, please visit http://taylorhooton.org/steroid-abuse/talking-to-our-children/.

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