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Steroid Addiction

Steroid Addiction


Steroid abuse is common in today’s society, and not just with bodybuilders and other athletes. Unfortunately, there are health consequences of taking steroids, even if they have been prescribed to you. This in-depth guide is meant to help you better understand steroids, their addictive tendencies and treatment for steroid addiction.

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Steroid Facts, Side Effects and History

What Are Steroids?

Anabolic steroids are often abused by people who are looking to be fit and have a better physical appearance. These prescription medications, which are also referred to as anabolic-androgenic steroids, are synthetic drugs that mimic the male sex hormone known as testosterone.

“Anabolic” is what defines the muscle-building effects of the drug, and “androgenic” refers to its masculinizing effects. Despite the fact that these drugs do not produce euphoric effects like the more commonly used opiates, when you abuse them regularly, you increase your risk of becoming addicted.

The History of Steroids

Anabolic steroids, also known as PEDs or performance-enhancing drugs, have been in use for hundreds of years. The first scientific isolation of androstenone, however, didn’t occur until 1931 in Germany. Three years later it was synthesized by a Swiss scientist.

Attempts to replicate natural human growth hormone were unsuccessful until 1981, when the company Genentech developed the first recombinant HGH for use in humans. It came on the market in 1985 following Food and Drug Administration approval. Physicians prescribe it to spur muscle growth, bone growth and to regulate certain body fluids and body composition. It also helps treat kidney insufficiency, Turner’s syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome and other genetic issues.

Numerous pharmaceutical companies funded groups whose task was to isolate a hormone even more powerful than androstenone, and a German group eventually succeeded. Although the Nobel Prize committee awarded the scientists with the Prize in Chemistry, the ruling Nazi government forced them to decline — they accepted the prize after World War II ended.

Testing began immediately, and the first mention of anabolic steroids occurred in the magazine Strength and Health in 1938. Testosterone played a role during World War II on both the Axis and Allied sides, with Allied powers using the hormone to treat sickly concentration camp detainees.

After the war, testosterone became popular in Eastern Europe as a training tool used by Olympic athletes. The practice spread to the U.S., where further research resulted in the development of another steroid. Physicians used this chemical in the treatment of older people and burn victims.

Steroids banned in Professional Sports Leagues

As time passed the adverse effects of steroids became apparent. The International Olympic Committee banned steroids during training and competition in 1978. Professional sports leagues such as Major League Baseball have also banned performance-enhancing drugs.

Those who continue to abuse steroids suffer serious health and career consequences. Today it is still used by amateur bodybuilders and professional athletes to achieve greater muscle mass and strength. From local gyms in towns across America to famous athletes such as Mark McGwire, steroid abuse causes damage.

What Are Steroids Usually Prescribed For?

Steroid Uses- short-term treatment

Doctors typically prescribe anabolic steroids as a treatment for certain medical conditions you might have, such as:

  • Loss of muscle due to a disease
  • Delayed puberty
  • Specific forms of anemia
  • Hormone imbalances in men
  • As a growth hormone steroid

These drugs come in the form of topical creams and gels, pills, and injectable liquids. In addition to anabolic steroids, there is another class of the drug called corticosteroids. These types of steroids are used to treat various problems and mimic the hormones produced by your adrenal glands for fighting stress associated with injuries and illnesses. They affect your immune system and reduce inflammation.

Corticosteroids are prescribed to treat certain conditions such as:

  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Different forms of cancer
  • Rashes, eczema and other skin conditions
  • Multiple sclerosis, lupus and other autoimmune diseases
Difference between Corticosteroids and Anabolic Androgenic Steroids

Steroids do come with side effects, like cataracts and weakened bones, since they are strong medications. Therefore, they are usually prescribed as a short-term treatment.

Common Types of Steroids

Two of the most common types of steroids are corticosteroids and anabolic/androgenic steroids.

Corticosteroids

Above your kidney is your adrenal gland, which produces corticosteroids. Aldosterone is one hormone that regulates the sodium concentration within your body. Another hormone, known as cortisol, has several jobs in your body, including decreasing inflammation as part of the stress response system. Corticosteroid medicines are anti-inflammatory drugs that control swelling and are used to treat a number of conditions, including arthritis.

Commonly prescribed corticosteroid medications include:

  • Prednisone
  • Dexamethasone
  • Prednisolone
  • Cortisone
  • Ethamethasoneb (Celestone)
  • Hydrocortisone (Cortef)
  • Triamcinolone (Aristospan Intralesional, Aristospan Intra-Articular, Kenalog)
  • Methylprednisolone (Depo-Medrol, Medrol, Solu-Medrol)

You take these by mouth, intramuscular injection or intravenously.

Anabolic/Androgenic Steroids

The second steroids group is the anabolic/androgenic steroids, which are hormones your body makes for regulating the production of testosterone in your ovaries or testicles. The anabolic part helps to increase how much body tissue you have through a protein production increase. The androgenic part helps develop your male sex characteristics.

Commonly prescribed anabolic steroids include:

  • Anavar
  • Anadrol
  • Cytomel
  • Clenbuterol
  • Clomid
  • Dianabol
  • Deca Durabolin
  • Equipoise
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Halotestin
  • Lasix
  • Insulin
  • Nolvadex
  • Propionate
  • Testosterone
  • Winstrol

Your health-care provider will prescribe these types of steroids. However, this group of drugs is often obtained illegally to improve body appearance and increase athletic performance.

Common Drugs Paired With Steroids

Uses of steroids-paired with antibiotics to reduce inflammation

There are various drugs that steroid users take, including:

  • MDMA (ecstasy)
  • Cocaine
  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Adderall
  • Opiates

Reasons for combining drugs with steroids are as follows:

Stimulants

In some cases, steroid abusers will turn to stimulant drugs like Adderall and cocaine to decrease their appetite and boost their energy. What you might not realize, however, is that combining steroids and stimulants can put stress on your heart and heighten your aggression.

Opiates

Steroids can cause aggression and insomnia, which often causes people to turn to opiates like heroin in order to self-medicate to combat these symptoms.

Combination Medications

Doctors will occasionally use combination medications to treat certain conditions. For instance, for the treatment of asthma, they may combine steroids with different anti-inflammatory medications, which helps to prevent asthma attacks and control an attack if you have one.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers often combine two controller drugs into a single inhaler. These medications contain both an inhaled corticosteroid and long-acting bronchodilator (LABA). This treats two areas of asthma simultaneously and effectively. The inhaled steroid prevents and reduces inflammation of your airways and the bronchodilator widens your airways.

Anti-Infectives

Anti-infectives, combined with ophthalmic steroids, are used to treat your eyes. The anti-infectives that are put in eye drops are a type of antibiotic that inhibits or kills bacterial growth, and the steroids treat the inflammation and pain.

Antibiotics

A combination of antibiotics and steroids are used for treating eye infections to reduce inflammation and pain, or to treat inflammation and prevent infections post-surgery. If you have pneumonia, your doctor might prescribe a combination of antimicrobial therapy and corticosteroids to help you recover more quickly than you would with antibiotics alone.

In fact, a study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases showed data by UT Southwestern researchers to this effect. Mice that had a form of severe bacterial pneumonia and had been treated with antibiotics and steroids had far less lung inflammation and recovered more quickly than mice being treated with antibiotics only.

You might think that steroids would actually counteract the antibiotic effects, but in reality, the antibiotic kills the infection and the steroid makes the lung inflammation from the infection get better. Although the steroids don't get rid of the infection, they do help to restore your health.

How Do Steroids Interact With Other Drugs?

There are various drugs that can reduce your liver's ability to break down or metabolize corticosteroids. These drugs include erythromycin, troleandomycin, ketoconazole and clarithromycin, and have been known to result in higher side effects and levels of corticosteroids in your body.

However, there are other drugs that actually reduce corticosteroid blood levels by increasing your liver's metabolization of corticosteroids. These include rifampin, phenytoin, phenobarbital and ephedrine. You might need a higher dose of corticosteroids when you use it in combination with these drugs.

When you take anabolic steroids and cyclosporine, it can increase the effects and blood levels of the cyclosporine. The breakdown of Coumadin (warfarin) is reduced as well, which increases warfarin levels and increases the chances bleeding.

Steroids and Liver Damage

Effects of Steroid abuse- liver damage

You are at a high risk of cholestatic liver injury by using synthetic androgenic steroids, and when you use androgens long-term, there is the possibility of developing liver tumors, including hepatic adenoma and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Anabolic and androgenic steroids are suspected to be involved in four specific types of liver injury:

  • Acute cholestatic syndrome
  • Transient serum enzyme elevations
  • Hepatic tumors (hepatocellular carcinoma, adenomas)
  • Chronic vascular liver injury (peliosis hepatis)

It is the C-17 alkylated testosterones that have been closely linked to these types of liver injury. However, tumors have also been linked to esterified and unmodified testosterone preparations.

How Addictive Are Steroids?

Dangers of Steroid Abuse- addiction

Are anabolic steroids addictive? Although you don't get the “buzz” or “high” with anabolic steroids like you would with other addictive drugs, you can still form a steroid addiction. They don't have the same addictive characteristics as the other drugs, but you can become addicted both physically and psychologically to them.

Physical Addiction

There are many types of steroids in the anabolic and glucocorticoid class that have been shown to lead to a physical dependence. People with an anabolic steroid addiction could experience physical effects of steroids, such as withdrawal, when they abruptly stop using the steroids, since their bodies have become adapted to them.

Psychological Addiction

If you are psychologically addicted, you suffer from a behavioral condition known as muscle dysmorphia, where your view of yourself is distorted. For example, men who have this condition, even if they are muscular and big, believe they look small and weak, and women believe they are fat, even though they are muscular and lean.

Typically, if you have an anabolic steroid addiction, you either inject them into your muscles or take them orally. Your dose may be up to 100 times higher than prescribed doses for treating medical conditions.

Who Is Typically Abusing Steroids?

Muscle Magazines alter teens perception of need for steroids

If you are abusing steroids, it might be because you’re trying to change your physical abilities and appearance. Athletes are trying to gain a competitive edge. Football players use them to feel more aggressive in a game. Baseball players are looking for more batting power and bodybuilders are trying to feel stronger, get bigger and increase their confidence.

This competitiveness is often the reason you might begin using anabolic steroids. Generally, it is thought that men are the primary group who abuse steroids. However, females looking for a better physique or women athletes often turn to them as well.

This problem doesn't stop with bodybuilders and athletes. It is widespread and includes business professionals, fitness buffs and school-age children. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), over half a million students in grades eight through 10 are now using steroids, and even more high school seniors don't think they are risky. Around 0.5 percent or 1,084,000 American adults, claimed they used anabolic steroids, according to another study. Among athletes, it’s estimated that up to six percent abuse steroids.

How Do People Become Addicted to Steroids?

There are many reasons why you might start using steroids and become addicted. Athletes, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts claim they improve their physical performance and give them that competitive advantage. Steroids are claimed to increase strength, lean body mass and aggressiveness, and decrease recovery time after a workout, allowing individuals to train harder, furthering their endurance and strength.

Certain occupations call for increased physical strength, and construction workers, bodyguards and police officers are known to use steroids to achieve that. If you are a non-athlete, you might take them to increase muscle size and endurance, reduce body fat or increase strength.

The problem, however, is that you begin taking steroids because you think they are harmless and will boost performance, but then you quickly spiral out of control and eventually become addicted, with problems like joint pain, liver damage, depression and hallucinations. Even when corticosteroids are prescribed for conditions like arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease or others, it can still lead to the abuse of these drugs and addiction.

Key Statistics About the Abuse and Addiction of Steroids

Steroid Usage Statistic- Over 1 million American Adults use Steroids

Steroid abuse and addiction is a widespread problem in the United States. Whether obtained by prescription or illegally, the problem is only growing — especially in our youth athletes. In fact, 44 percent of teenagers state it’s pretty simple to get steroids without a prescription.

  • Around 57 percent of teens who use steroids say that muscle magazine photographs made them feel like they had to use.
  • Adults between the ages of 18 and 34, when compared with the general population, are twice as likely to use steroids.
  • Another 57 percent of users said they would continue using steroids even if it shortened their lives.
  • Around 30 percent of anabolic steroid users have developed dependence to them despite their negative effect on their occupational functioning and their psychosocial and physical effects.
  • Athletes who take steroids are 56 percent more likely to show irritability and aggression than those who don't take steroids.

What Do Steroids Do to the Brain, and How Do They Work?

Anabolic steroid abuse is different from other drug addictions in that the short-term effects from them are not the same on your brain. The most significant difference is that they don't rapidly increase the dopamine chemical in your brain that leads to that “high” feeling you get from the other drugs that drives you to abuse them.

But, when you use them regularly for a long time, the same brain chemicals and pathways, such as serotonin, dopamine and opioid systems, can be affected like other drugs, resulting in a substantial effect on your behavior and mood.

Dangers of Steroid Abuse- Roid Rage

The effects of steroid abuse can lead to mental problems, including:

  • Extreme irritability
  • Paranoia and unreasonable or extreme jealousy
  • Impaired judgment
  • False ideas/beliefs and delusions

Steroids can also cause “’roid rage,” which is when you act aggressively after taking unusual doses of anabolic steroids regularly. They can also lead to extreme mood swings and angry behavior and feelings that could result in violence.

What Are the Signs of a Steroids Addiction?

Signs of Steroid Abuse

Like street drugs and alcohol, common signs of steroid abuse can develop. These steroid signs can include you craving the drug, needing more of the drug to achieve the same effect, and symptoms of withdrawal when you stop using the drug.

The most common red flag of long-term steroid abuse is “'roid rage.” This abuse can also lead to an eventual drastic personality change, as well.

Other common signs of using steroids may include:

  • Rapid weight/muscle gain
  • Paranoia
  • Acne
  • Enlarged breasts in men
  • Women's facial hair growth
  • Hyperactivity

These are only some of the abuse signs of steroids. There are others. An undetermined percentage of steroid users becoming addicted to these drugs is evident in their continued use, despite the negative effects on social relations and physical problems.

What Are the Symptoms of a Steroid Addiction?

What is steroid abuse? What does it look like? If you or your loved one is experiencing a minimum of three of the symptoms of steroids below, it is an indication of a possible steroid addiction:

  1. Tolerance: You either can't maintain the same muscle mass level or can’t achieve your desired appearance without taking more of the drugs.
  2. Withdrawal symptoms: You are experiencing fatigue, insomnia, a depressive mood, loss of libido or reduced appetite, and you need to use steroids to prevent or alleviate these withdrawal symptoms.
  3. Off periods: You are decreasing the number or duration of “off periods,” or have removed them entirely.
  4. Can't quit: You are unable to reduce or quit steroids because you fear you will lose muscle size.
  5. Time-consuming: You spend a great deal of your time trying to obtain and use steroids, as well as participating in muscle-related activities like planning a diet and lifting.
  6. Disinterest in pleasurable activities: You favor steroid use and muscle-related activities over pleasurable hobbies.
  7. Continued use: You keep using steroids despite physical and mental health issues like shrunken testicles, sexual dysfunction, acne, heart problems, hypertension, breast enlargement, mood swings and aggression.
  8. Depression: Depression is the withdrawal symptom that’s the most dangerous, since it can lead to suicide attempts. These depressive symptoms can last for years even after you stop taking steroids.

What Is a Steroid Addiction Like?

If you have an addiction to steroids, you might require treatment from 12 Keys Rehab in order to stop using. Even though your dependency might be different from other drug addictions, anabolic steroids are addictive and can lead to your mind and body craving the drug, even after you stop taking it.

It can be very difficult to overcome steroid addiction, since you might feel pretty good about yourself while you take them. Perhaps you are receiving a lot of recognition about your athletic performances. No matter what started your abuse, 12 Keys Rehab can help you get through the difficult process of stopping steroid use and staying off them for good. The first step is to admit you have a problem abusing these drugs, and to agree to come in for treatment for steroids.

Steroid addiction can leave you or a loved one spending a lot of time trying to obtain the drug, and can bring on withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • Steroid cravings
  • Reduced sex drive

These drugs have also been linked to numerous mental and physical health problems. Some of the consequences of steroids can be reversed once you stop taking them, and some may be permanent.

How Do Steroids Impact a Pregnancy?

Some studies have shown that corticosteroids are linked with stillbirth, low birth weight and physical distortions like cleft palate.

Taking certain steroids like prednisolone or prednisone in your first trimester could lead to birth defects. There is less than a one percent (1 in 1,000) chance that a baby is born with an oral cleft in the general population. However, if you take an oral corticosteroid during your first trimester, the chance is increased to six in 1,000 (still less than 1 percent).

Prednisolone, prednisone and other oral corticosteroids have also been linked to an increased risk of delivering a premature baby (born before 37 weeks of being pregnant) and a lower birth weight.

Some women, during their pregnancy, require prednisolone or prednisone in order to control a disease, such as asthma or rheumatoid arthritis. You should speak with your doctor about your risks before you begin a treatment plan.

Does a Steroid Addiction Cause Any Permanent Damage?

Dangers of Steroid Abuse- Heart attacks in Young Athletes

A lot of the data on the long-term effects of steroids is obtained through case reports instead of conducting studies. Through these case reports, there appears to be a low incidence of steroid abuse symptoms that are life-threatening.

However, severe adverse effects could be underreported and under-recognized, particularly since some effects don't show up until years later. Animal study data seems to support this theory. In fact, a study which involved male mice being exposed to human athlete steroid doses for one-fifth of their lifespan showed a large number of early deaths.

Other permanent damage may include:

Hormonal System

Steroid abuse can cause irreversible changes in men, like breast development (gynecomastia) and male-pattern baldness. In fact, a study showed that over half of male bodybuilders had gynecomastia and/or testicular atrophy.

Anabolic steroid abuse causes masculinization in female bodies. If you are a woman who is abusing anabolic steroids, you may experience your body fat and breast size decreasing, your clitoris enlarging, your skin becoming coarser and your voice deepening. Although you may lose hair on you scalp, you could experience body hair growth as well. When you continue to use these steroids, these effects can become permanent.

Musculoskeletal System

The rising levels of sex hormones and testosterone typically trigger a growth spurt when teenagers hit puberty. These also trigger signals to stop this growth, too. However, when a child uses anabolic steroids, it results in high levels of artificial sex hormones, which signal their bones prematurely to stop growing.

Cardiovascular System

Abusing steroids can also lead to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) like strokes and heart attacks, even in young athletes who are under the age of 30. These drugs contribute to CVD development because they change lipoprotein levels that carry cholesterol to your blood.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels are increased from oral steroids and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels are decreased. Both low HDL and high LDL levels enhance your risk of atherosclerosis, which is where fatty substances disrupt your blood flow as they are deposited inside your arteries. When your blood flow can't reach your heart, it leads to a heart attack. You can experience a stroke when your blood is not able to reach your brain.

Steroids also raise the chances of forming blood clots in your blood vessels, which can potentially disrupt your blood flow and damage your heart muscle. This results in your heart not pumping blood as it should.

Liver

Steroid abuse may lead to peliosis hepatis, a rare condition where blood-filled cysts start forming on your liver, along with liver tumors. Both these cysts and tumors can rupture and lead to internal bleeding.

Skin

When you abuse steroids, it can lead to cysts, acne and oily skin and hair.

Infections

In many cases, steroid users share contaminated needles while injecting steroids or use nonsterile injection techniques. In addition, illegal steroid preparation manufacturing under nonsterile conditions can lead to infection. All these can increase your risk of acquiring viral infections that are life-threatening, like hepatitis B and C and HIV.

You can also develop endocarditis, which is a type of bacterial infection that causes your heart's inner lining to inflame, and ultimately may lead to death. Injection sites can abscess and become painful because of bacterial infections.

Do Steroids Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, corticosteroids have been known to increase your risk of erectile dysfunction. However, the majority of men and boys experience side effects such as:

  • Erections that are frequent, prolonged and painful
  • Testicular atrophy (shrinking of the testicles)
  • Reduced sperm count
  • Infertility
  • Prostate growth

Excessive and prolonged steroid use suppresses a man's normal testosterone production in his body.

What Types of Co-Occurring Disorders Exist With Steroids?

Addiction to steroids can really affect your psyche. Steroid abuse and mental illness are common co-occurring disorders where you need professional help immediately. There are other co-occurring mood disorders with addiction to steroids, including:

Depression

Steroids’ emotional effects can include depression. You can have partial or full depression. Steroids interfere with the biochemical health of your body, which causes unnatural endorphin production. Depression sometimes results in suicidal thoughts or actions.

Bipolar Disorder

When you are addicted to steroids, it can dramatically affect your temperament and mood, causing you to have extreme mood changes. Since this temperament change can be so intense, it’s often compared to the schizophrenia disorder.

Mania

This disorder is the opposite side of depression. The steroids have altered your biochemical health so much that it leads to euphoric, elevated, expansive and irritable moods. Mania symptoms include talkativeness, hyperactivity, distractibility and sleeplessness.

Eating Disorders With Anabolic Steroids Addiction

Your persistent need to engage in destructive eating habits and abusing steroids is often linked to environmental stressors, maladaptive changes in your brain and social triggers.

There are various dangerous risks with overlapping steroid abuse and eating disorder behaviors, including:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart failure
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Sleep disorders
  • Seizures/strokes

It's important to intervene these types of behaviors with professional treatment for anabolic steroids at 12 Keys Rehab to prevent emotional, psychological, and physical destruction.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and Steroid Addiction

If you suffer from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), you might view the image in the mirror as being flawed, lacking, and unassimilated to the normal societal forms of beauty. Of course, while these norms are entirely illusory, they can still possess your mind and bully you into practicing unhealthy regimens in order to achieve beauty.

This disorder is so good at convincing you that you have to take dramatic measures to improve how you look, that you might turn to steroids.

Substance Abuse

When you abuse steroids, you are at a higher risk of abusing other drugs, too, like opiates, cocaine and alcohol, to counteract the negative effects that steroids present.

How Long Does It Take to Withdraw From Steroids?

If you have an anabolic steroid addiction and you stop taking these drugs, you most likely will experience withdrawal symptoms. This is because steroid abuse causes a hormonal imbalance.

How long you experience these withdrawal symptoms will depend on the size of the doses you were taking and how frequently you were taking them. If you have been abusing these drugs for a long period of time, the duration of your withdrawal will be longer.

The same goes for the doses you were taking. The higher the dose, the longer you will experience withdrawal. In most cases (though not all), withdrawal symptoms can last from a few days to a couple weeks.

Complications of Steroids Withdrawal

Signs of Withdrawal from Steroid Addiction

There can be complications of steroid withdrawal, which is why it’s important that you don't attempt to withdraw on your own, but instead seek professional treatment at 12 Keys Rehab. You can't just stop steroid use abruptly. You must taper off these drugs to allow your adrenal glands to get back to their normal secretion patterns. Tapering off steroids won't eliminate your unpleasant withdrawal symptoms completely, and your withdrawal could involve other factors, including having a real physiological dependence on the steroids.

There are many withdrawal symptoms that actually mimic various other medical issues. These symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea

Some of these medical issues can be life-threatening. Therefore, it's important that any underlying conditions are diagnosed and treated as well.

Steroid abuse treatment needs to be tailored to your specific withdrawal needs. Treatment for steroid abuse at 12 Keys Rehab typically involves continuing steroid administration, but decreasing the doses gradually over a period of a few weeks to a few months.

What Are the Stages of Steroid Withdrawal?

There is a general withdrawal timeline that everyone goes through.

  • Days 1 and 2: You begin your withdrawal symptoms within the first two days following your last dose. However, it does depend on the half-life of the steroids you’ve been taking. It’s likely you’ll begin experiencing subtle headaches, irritability and nausea.
  • Days 3 to 5: During this time period, your withdrawal symptoms of steroid abuse really ramp up. You may experience a decrease in alertness and energy. You might experience the emotional effects of steroids, such as psychological symptoms like anxiety and depression, which begin to get worse around this time.
  • Days 6 and 7: This is where your withdrawal symptoms usually peak. You’ll likely begin feeling abdominal pains, experiencing weight loss and having nausea. You could struggle with insomnia and reach the point of a depressive episode. You might experience vomiting, as well.
  • Week 2: During this week, you will still have withdrawal symptoms, but they are starting to taper down a bit. After this week is over, they will begin to fade completely.

How Do You Safely Detox From Steroids?

Sunset Scene

The good news is, you can obtain recovery that is successful and lasting. But you aren’t likely to achieve this by yourself when you’re in the midst of the addiction. Before you can even start to address the psychological issues that got you abusing steroids in the first place, you have to get through your withdrawal symptoms with supervision after you stop taking the drugs. Detox is the first phase of beating your addiction to steroids, which will involve tapering you off the drugs in a gradual manner.

During your medical detox here at 12 Keys Rehab, we help you get accustomed to our care by helping you to sleep and relax. We have a chef on-site that will prepare healthy and delicious meals for you that will help supplement the detox process.

The detox process will not be easy, which is why you need 24/7 support by your side to help you get through it. Once you go through your detox stage, we will design a recovery plan specifically for you that involves the most successful and progressive evidence-based therapies available today. During your recovery, you will learn why you thought it was a good idea to start using steroids in the first place, ways to stay away from them in the future and how you can finally live a drug-free lifestyle.

Dangers for Severe Abusers Quitting Without Assistance

Recovery form Steroid Addiction- Small Steps

As mentioned above, it's almost impossible for you to recover from steroid addiction by yourself. You will be going through some exhausting withdrawals for the first couple of weeks after stopping the drugs, which means you’ll need assistance from experts in detoxification. This is the detox stage, and it sometimes calls for certain medication.

At 12 Keys Rehab, we monitor you closely as you go through the withdrawal process. We watch for any potential health issues that can come on due to withdrawing from the drugs too rapidly, or which could lead to crisis or endocrine collapse. In some cases, you might require medications like analgesics to relieve joint and muscle pain or antidepressants, which need to be administered by us to help manage your withdrawal symptoms. You will likely be given medications to help reduce your cravings and restore hormonal balance.

If you have a co-occurring drug addiction with your steroid addiction, it can really complicate things. Therefore, it’s even more crucial that you come into treatment so we can address dual diagnosis.

How Can I Help My Loved One Recover From Steroid Addiction?

People riding horses on beach

If you have a loved one who is struggling with a steroid addiction, the best way you can support them is to first learn about their addiction and understand why they use these drugs. You should learn the reason why your loved one started abusing steroids and what it’s doing to their body.

Of course, you want to show them you are genuinely concerned, but that you understand and are there to support them in getting help. Make it clear, however, that you will no longer enable their behavior by giving them money for steroids, or by practicing other enabling activities.

Talk with your loved one and try to positively persuade them to enter treatment at 12 Keys Rehab. They may be reluctant at first to go into the treatment program. At this point, you might have to set up an intervention, which can inspire a moment of clarity and lead them to seek professional help.

Since violent behavior is common with steroid abuse, you might want to consider hiring a skilled and professional interventionist. They are able to maintain order during the intervention and can prepare you for any possible problems. Planning ahead before you enter intervention is crucial.

The one thing you really have to look out for when your loved one is withdrawing from steroid addiction is depression — particularly if they haven't gone into treatment yet. This depressive state can often lead to suicide attempts. You have to stay supportive during this time and continue to keep an eye out for red flags. If you notice any attempt, or your loved one mentions any suicidal thoughts, contact 911 immediately.

It won't be easy coming off steroids. You will experience several symptoms of withdrawal and might even experience intense depression. Just remember: full recovery is possible.

You need experienced and qualified help from 12 Keys Rehab to pull you through this dramatic time. We will get you on track to a healthier, steroid-free life. If you or your loved one is in the throes of steroid addiction, contact 12 Keys Rehab for help.

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