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*This page was medically reviewed by Dr Robert Lefever 9/4/21
Originally invented for medical purposes, anabolic steroids have become the weightlifter’s drug. Each steroid has a different effect on the body, with most increasing hormones such as testosterone, thereby helping the user to bulk up on muscle.
If you have a steroid addiction, then you are in the right place. From this page, you can get in touch with the Help4Addiction team, start your journey to recovery from addiction, and enlighten yourself as to your options for treatment… even if you’re not quite ready to start yet.
What are Steroids?
Steroids are often described as image enhancing drugs. They are commonly used by bodybuilders to gain mass, cut down to increase muscle definition, or otherwise to improve the body’s appearance. There are several different types of steroids. However, “anabolic steroids” is the term that is extensively used to describe these sorts of drugs.
Anabolic steroids or Normal Steroids?
There are two types of steroids. There are corticosteroids, which are usually prescribed by a doctor, then there are anabolic-androgenic steroids, which are not usually prescribed. In fact, this latter group is illegal in the UK for human consumption.
The anabolic characteristics of a drug mean that it works to boost muscle growth[i]. You may also hear steroids referred to as anabolic-androgenic steroids. The androgenic component is a reference to the ability of the drug to stimulate male characteristics.
Names of Individual Steroids
There are many different types of anabolic steroid, but some of the most common include:
How are Steroids Used?
A steroid is used as prescribed by the doctor. An anabolic steroid may be crushed and snorted, may be taken orally, or could be injected. Steroids prescribed by a doctor sometimes come in cream form (hydrocortisone[iii], for example) intended for application to the point of pain. This is due to a steroid’s unique ability to soothe inflammations.
Can I Buy Steroids in the UK?
You can buy some steroid creams over the counter. When it comes to anabolic steroids, they are defined as a Class C drug on British soil. Though there are no penalties for possession, you will be put in jail if they find you are dealing them.
It is important to stress that you are only permitted to take anabolic steroids in the UK if you have been given a prescription to do so. This is because anabolic steroids are considered a class C drug. It is legal to have steroids for personal use. Moreover, most sporting organisations have prohibited the use of anabolic steroids and they regularly test competitors for this banned substance
What will the Common Anabolic Steroids do to me?
To work out what the steroid will do to you, we must look at the individual types.
Anadrol is a synthetic steroid which was designed for use to increase red blood cell count in certain types of anaemia. Building new red blood cells is essential for gaining muscle mass. Misusing Anadrol can lead to heart disease, strokes, liver diseases and mental health problems[iv].
Also known as Nandrolone, deca-durabolin is an anabolic steroid which is usually injected. It, too, was developed to help in the treatment of anaemias, but also helped bulk muscle during wasting syndrome, or when the patient had gone through cancer treatments. It is used to enhance performance in weightlifting and is said to add to natural gains[v].
Also known as D-bol, Dianabol is commonly used as an appearance improving drug. It adds to both strength and muscle mass gains and is better known by the chemical name of methandienone. It is taken orally and increases the testosterone in the body. This can lead to masculinisation, i.e., excess hair growth, pimples, and fluid retention[vi].
Sold under the brand names Parenabol or equipoise, this anabolic steroid is better known as Boldenone. This steroid is injected directly into the muscles and can boost muscle mass. It gives you acne and unwanted hair growth (everywhere except on your head). Boldenone has medical uses but is too often abused[vii].
Oxandrin is a steroid drug that increases weight gain. If you are looking to bulk up your appearance, this anabolic is the one you choose. It was initially developed to reduce bone pain in osteoarthritis patients. This medicine comes with life-threatening side-effects if you abuse it. Heart attacks and deaths are not uncommon[viii].
Originally devised to be a prophylactic to help treat hereditary diseases. It can cause changes in skin colour, ankle swelling, hair growth in women, changes to menstrual cycles, frequent, persistent, and painful erections in men, and acne. It can make you vomit, send you to the toilet, and supposedly helps you bulk up at the gym. You must ask if it is worth it.
How Anabolic Steroids are Bad for your Brain
Anabolic steroid use confuses the brain chemistry. They act as androgen receptors and interact with the GABAA receptors, both of which add to aggression and anxiety. Animal studies have shown that anabolic steroids influence your dopamine and serotonin levels, with extended use showing to distort those levels[ix].
How Anabolic Steroids are Addictive?
According to the National Institute of Health[x], only around 32% of people who use anabolic steroids will develop a dependency. They name the dependency as Steroid Use Disorder. Tolerance is named as one of the symptoms of anabolic steroids. Tolerance building is what often leads the addiction to grow, since you are taking more of the drug for less of the effect.
What are the signs of Anabolic Steroid Use?
If you are worried that somebody that you know is suffering from addiction to steroids, there are several signs of steroids addiction that you should look out for.
- Do they complain about pains in their joints a lot?
- Have they been experiencing hair loss?
- Do they have bad breath?
- What about sudden outbreaks of purplish or reddish acne that is unusual for them?
- Have you noticed drastic appetite changes?
- What about unusually fast muscle mass growth?
- Can you see any track marks on the skin from injecting steroids?
- Does your loved one have unusually greasy or oily skin and hair?
- Have you noticed emotional and personality changes? If you have noticed that they are irritable and aggressive, this could indicate that they are abusing steroids.
- What about poor decision-making and extreme mood swings?
Long Term Risks of Anabolic Steroid Use
There are several different symptoms that are associated with taking steroids.
In men, some of the different physical steroids addiction symptoms of taking anabolic steroids include stomach pain, severe acne, increased risk of prostate cancer, breast development, baldness, erectile dysfunction, and shrunken testicles, infertility, and reduced sperm count.
For women, the use of anabolic steroids can result in severe acne, hair loss, problems with periods, and increased sex drive, swelling of the clitoris, loss of breasts, body hair, and facial hair growth.
Not only this, but both men and women who take anabolic steroids are at and much greater risk of suffering from high cholesterol, fluid retention, out blood clots, high blood pressure, kidney or liver failure or problems, stroke, or heart attack.
The impacts of taking steroids cannot only be felt in a physical way but most people will suffer emotional and psychological effects as well. This includes delusions, hallucinations, manic behaviour, paranoia, mood swings, and aggressive behaviour.
How do you treat steroid addiction?
Treatment for Steroid addiction usually takes the detox-rehab-secondary treatment format. You’re rehab clinic may employ the Matrix model of treatment. This treatment type was developed to treat cocaine users in the 80s[xi], but forms the foundation for many a rehab program today.
Detox from Steroids
The detox process refers to the time it takes for the drugs to finally leave your system, once and for all. Long term users of anabolic steroids will find it takes over a month for the substance to vacate their system completely. Therefore, athletes suspected of using performance enhancing drugs are usually caught with a urine test[xii].
You should allow a full week for detoxing from anabolic steroids, but they may not leave your system entirely for up to three months.
Rehab from Steroids
When coming off steroids, you can experience withdrawal symptoms and this is why it is always advisable to be in a rehab facility where these withdrawal symptoms can be managed.
It is these withdrawal symptoms that can make the addiction so difficult to overcome because addicts do not want to experience the symptoms that have been mentioned. In rehab, these can be effectively managed.
However, if you are treated in a rehab facility, you will be surrounded by professionals who have helped people who did not know how to overcome steroids addiction for many years and are prepared for all the potential symptoms.
This means that they will know exactly how to reduce these symptoms and how to deal with them effectively. This is a key part of any steroids rehab programs.
Secondary Care for Steroid Addiction
Secondary care as a treatment for anabolic steroid addiction, simply means that you are given assistance while you transition from rehab back to your old life. It usually talks the form of phone support and group therapy sessions, although online therapy sessions have become popular in light of Covid-19.
Withdrawal Symptoms when Detoxing from Steroids
When you do decide to go through detox for anabolic steroid use, you should expect to endure the withdrawal symptoms for a while. Remember, these will go away in time. Remember, too, that different steroids will have different effects.
Some withdrawal symptoms include:
- Nausea, loss of appetite and light-headedness.
- Joint pain, weakness, and extreme fatigue[xiii].
- A decreased sex drives
- Depression, apathy, anxiety, and insomnia[xiv].
You can read more about common drug withdrawal symptoms and how to avoid them on our website.
How Much does Rehab from Steroids Cost?
If you want the most basic, budget rehab clinic, the prices start from £1,400 per week. This might be a quasi residential rehab program, where you stay away from home but travel daily to your clinic. It may also be largely based on NHS services with plenty of outpatient care.
If you want a mid-range rehab clinic, you will likely stay their full time as a private resident. If you have private health insurance, this is the best option for you. It should cost between $4,000 and $6,000.
If you would like to stay in a luxury rehab clinic, expect to pay upwards of £7,000 per week. The higher the price, the better the holistic and hobby side of your treatment will be.
Learn more about the Price of Rehab.
Can I Detox from Steroids at Home?
Absolutely not. You should always do it in the care of a medical professional. The only possible drug we would perhaps suggest you try coming off at home, is alcohol. Even then, an alcohol home detox is subject to strict criteria.
Anabolic Steroid Addiction Treatment Timeline
The length of time it takes to come off anabolic steroids depends on the drug used. As a rule of thumb, leave at least one week for the full detox process, and a further 3 weeks for rehab treatments. You should also consider secondary treatment plans for addiction, which should help you transition back into normal life easier.
Free Consultation on Anabolic Steroid Addiction
You can receive a free, no risk consultation today, if you click our consultation link. We could call you back and discuss all your options for quitting steroid use in one easy phone call. There’s no obligation to go ahead with our recommendations, and you don’t need to quit until you are ready to do so. We just want you to be prepared for when you do.
Get Help for your Addiction
There are many steroids rehab centres across the UK and the world. Here at Help4Addiction, our goal is to help you find a rehab centre that is right for your circumstances and is going to give you the best possible chance of fighting your addiction. We have years of experience in the industry, and we have relationships with many quality clinics and rehab centres. This not only includes centres in the UK but it also includes facilities in Thailand, Scotland, and parts of Europe. This means that we can easily provide you with a bespoke treatment that is right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions