Steroids abuse is a very common problem among body builders. Used to increase muscle mass by maintaining a permanent swollen appearance through increased levels of testosterone, it’s an unspoken fact that all major competitors have used steroids at some point in their careers. While this stereotype is typically focused on males, females also fall prey to steroid usage, especially female body builders.
Female body builders are under just as much pressure to form their bodies into tight, defined physiques similar to that of their male counterparts. Many who begin lifting in their 20s end up using anabolic steroids because without them, it’s virtually impossible to achieve a goal body that wins competitions. While using for a limited time doesn’t cause too many side effects, those who use for their entire careers undergo changes that cannot be reversed.
Yet another reason women turn to this is to deal with their pasts. During a study, a connection between rape and steroid usage was found. Many victims felt that the only reason they were raped was because they were too weak at the time. They then turned to steroids to become both stronger and less attractive to men, lessening their potential to be raped in the future.
In general, however, not nearly as many women use steroids as men because the feminine physique is more preferred in females, while the muscled male physique is preferred in men. Even still, female users of steroids actually fall victim to more than just acute steroid use. They’re far more likely to also suffer from eating disorders, dangerously compulsive behaviors and following unhealthy diets.
How Do Steroids Affect Individuals Physically and Psychologically?
Anabolic steroids are completely dangerous when abused. Because they cause an increase in testosterone levels, the body undergoes severe mental and physical changes that, after a while, cannot be reversed.
For women, higher testosterone means developing manly features. Vocal chords thicken, resulting in a deeper voice, and hair will begin growing on the face, back and chest. Some women even suffer male pattern baldness. Acne increases and the once soft skin now becomes rough. Infertility and irregular menstrual cycles also plague the female steroid abuser.
For men, higher testosterone shrinks the testes, lowers the sex drive, decreases healthy hormone levels, enlarges breast tissue and causes sterility. For both sexes, steroids abuse leads to high cholesterols levels, fluid retention, liver damage and extremely high blood pressure. There’s also an increased chance of contracting HIV or hepatitis from using dirty needles or syringes. Many athletes suffer a higher risk of tendons rupturing because the muscles grow too quickly, allowing them to lift heavier weights even though the bones and tendons aren’t yet able to.
In regards to the mind, both men and women are affected equally since testosterone’s mental effect on the body is similar across the genders. Including manic behavior and psychosis, steroids abuse is what initially coined the term “roid rage.” This makes sense, given that testosterone is what triggers aggression in humans. Too much of it and the anger can’t be contained, causing many users to feel far more irritable than they would normally.
What Programs Are Available to Address Steroid Abuse?
Fortunately, there are countless programs available for assistance with quitting steroids abuse. If you’re a heavy user, it’s important to find a program that’s medical-based. Physical withdrawals, such as weight loss, nausea, vomiting, fever, fainting and low blood pressure, make it vital for a medical professional to be there supervising as the body eliminates the steroids. There’s also a high likelihood your mood will shift drastically, leading to anxiety or depression. In such cases, medical and psychological help will be provided.
The second part to any program should be entirely focused on your mental state. Once you’re physically healed, nothing will stop you from abusing again unless you have help dealing with the problems that caused the addiction in the first place. Body dysmorphia is typically a root cause of steroids use. When this condition is present, you never see your body as strong enough and keep pushing it harder and harder; yet even when you reach your goal body, you still want more. The best programs offer one-on-one therapy with a psychologist who helps you identify your problem and come up with solutions for dealing with it.
Once these portions of therapy are complete, less intense programs generally offer weekly counseling. This allows you to connect with other steroid abusers to help one another stay strong. There are also many therapy-based community groups you can join to better cope with mental barriers.
If you or someone you love has fallen prey to steroid abuse, get help immediately. Unbalanced hormones wreak havoc on the body that cannot be undone. Call the hotline at 800-447-9081 today. This helpline offers the assistance you need to realize that true strength comes from within.