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If you are addicted to steroids, you are in the right place. Steroids can be addictive, whether they be legal steroids available on prescription, or illicit steroids such as anabolic steroids.

Addiction can impact all areas of your life – not only can it take its toll on your physical health and mental health, but impact your relationships, finances, career, and general well-being.

If left untreated, steroid addiction can ruin your life. That’s why it’s so important that you seek treatment for your addiction. This is something we can help with at Help4Addiction – we can find the right treatment plan for you to recover from steroid addiction.

But what exactly are steroids, and why are they addictive? And how is steroid addiction treated? That’s what we’re going to explore on this page.

Read more to learn about the two main types of steroids, the effects of steroids, steroid addiction, and more importantly, how steroid addiction is treated.

What Are Steroids?

There are two forms of steroids – corticosteroids and anabolic-androgenic steroids. Corticosteroids are legal and available on prescription from a doctor whereas anabolic steroids are illegal in the UK, but are frequently used as performance-enhancing drugs to boost muscle growth.

Steroids are often used in the medical field for a range of purposes, from endocrine therapies/ hormone therapy to treating asthma attacks and allergies.

Steroid misuse can include both anabolic steroids and corticosteroids. Read on to learn more about corticosteroids and anabolic steroids, and the key differences between the two.

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Corticosteroids can come in a range of forms. For example, you can find oral steroids that you take in tablet or syrup form (e.g prednisolone). You can also find steroid inhalers and nasal sprays.

Some doctors will prescribe medications to soothe the skin and promote healing – for example, in the form of topical gels, steroid creams and lotions. This can include hydrocortisone cream.

You can also find steroids that you inject into the muscles, blood vessels, or joints (e.g methylprednisolone). Most steroids are only available via prescription, although a select few are available over the counter.

Be sure to consult your doctor before steroid use. It’s possible to develop a physical dependence and addiction to prescription drugs, including corticosteroids such as prednisolone.

Prednisolone can be dangerous when abused and has been linked to high blood pressure, which can impact your heart functioning.

If you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking corticosteroids or you lower your dose, we can help. We can find the right prescription drug rehab for you and your circumstances.

Likewise, prescription drugs are often considered gateway drugs, so seek help as soon as possible if you display signs of addiction.

Anabolic Steroids/ Anabolic Androgenic Steroids

Anabolic steroids, although available on prescription, are often taken illegally without medical instruction. People abuse anabolic steroids to increase muscle mass, improve athletic performance, and improve their physical appearance.

Anabolic steroid abuse can include taking too much of the drug, taking it without medical advice, or taking it for purposes other than what is prescribed.

Abusing steroids can cause serious side effects, and lead to steroid addiction. See ‘Steroid Addiction Explained’ to learn more about steroid addiction.

Some types of anabolic steroids include:

You may be wondering how anabolic steroids work in your brain. They essentially act as androgen receptors to affect gene expression as well as cellular functioning. Anabolic steroids affect the pathways associated with the development of male characteristics and produce increases in calcium in your brain cells, heart, and skeletal muscle.

Anabolic Androgenic Steroids and Muscle Dysmorphia

Anabolic androgenic steroids are the same as anabolic steroids – however, the androgenic component refers to the fact that this type of steroid stimulates male characteristics.

Although anabolic steroid misuse is more common in bodybuilders and athletes, people of all ages can take anabolic androgenic steroids.

For example, people with body dysmorphia or muscle dysmorphia may take them to look stronger or bigger, as they can result in rapid weight gain.

Muscle dysmorphia, also known as MDM, refers to dissatisfaction with your muscles as opposed to your entire body. You may see yourself as smaller or less muscular than you actually are in reality.

It’s important to note that anabolic steroid misuse is not the answer – a healthy diet and regular exercise are key to building muscle.

If you believe you have muscle dysmorphia, it’s important to speak to a doctor or mental health professional instead of taking anabolic steroids for a ‘quick fix’. Abusing anabolic steroids is a dangerous habit that can lead to addiction.

Steroid Addiction Explained

The National Institute of Drug Abuse states that around 32% of anabolic steroid users develop a dependency to the drug. Steroid dependency is known as steroid use disorder, with increased tolerance and lack of control over taking the substance being key symptoms.

Frequent use of steroids can lead to you developing a tolerance – meaning you’ll need to take more steroids to feel the same effects. Increased tolerance is a leading cause of addiction, as you’re taking more of the drug for less of the effect.

Over time, excessive and frequent anabolic steroid use can have a range of negative effects on your health. For example, it can negatively impact your cardiovascular system – increasing the risk of blood clots, heart attacks, artery damage, and stroke.

The drug can affect men and women differently – males may experience male-pattern baldness, testicle shrinkage, decreased sperm production, and enlarged breasts. Anabolic steroid abuse can also increase the risk of testicular cancer.

Women, on the other hand, may experience excessive hair growth, breast shrinkage, deeper voice, amongst other effects.

Anabolic steroids can also impact your mental health and behaviour. You may experience mania, aggression, as well as delusions.

Drug abuse is widely recognised as a chronic and relapsing brain disorder, characterised by the lack of control over taking a substance.

People with steroid use disorder may be aware of the negative impact it’s having on their lives, but will continue to take it regardless. They may also try to stop taking the drug, but struggle to and end up relapsing.

Steroid Withdrawal Symptoms

If you are dependent on steroids, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop taking them, or when you drastically lower the dose your body is used to.

Different steroids will have different effects, but here are some common physical steroid withdrawal symptoms:

Steroid withdrawal can also impact your mental health. When you withdraw from steroids, you may feel anxiety, depression, and/ or apathy. You may also experience insomnia.

Remember that withdrawal symptoms don’t last forever, and they will pass with time. Effective steroid treatment can help to manage the withdrawal process, and prevent relapse. Read on to learn more.

Anabolic Steroid Addiction Treatment

There are various methods used to treat steroid addiction. Generally, drug abuse and substance use disorder is best treated with a course of rehab, consisting of detoxification, therapy, and secondary treatment.

Some rehab clinics implement the Matrix model of treatment, which was developed to treat cocaine addiction back in the 1980s. This treatment model forms the foundation for many rehab programs today.

You may be wondering how long rehab takes. There is no single answer for this, as it varies depending on your personal circumstances and your addiction. Ultimately, rehab can last as long as you like it to, as most rehab centres allow you to extend your stay.

Because there is a range of steroid addiction treatment options out there, it can be tough to know what’s best for you and your situation. This is something we can help with at Help4Addiction.

We will listen to your story and find the right treatment plan for you, at the right rehab facility. Whether you’re looking for inpatient rehab, private rehab, NHS-operated rehab, or outpatient rehab, we can help.

Inpatient vs Outpatient Treatment for Steroid Addiction

Many steroid users choose outpatient treatment as it allows them to go about their day-to-day life, attending work as normal.

However, more severe addictions often call for inpatient treatment. Inpatient rehab involves residing in a rehab facility, with meals and accommodation provided for you. To learn more about inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab, explore this page.

Steroid Detox

The first stage of steroid addiction treatment involves steroid detoxification. Detoxification refers to the time it takes for the steroids to leave your system – so during this stage, all access to drugs and alcohol will be cut off.

The length of time it takes to detox depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of your addiction, the length of time you’ve been using steroids, and your medical history. If you’re a long-term steroid user, then it can take over a month for the substance to leave your system completely.

Although withdrawal from steroids isn’t generally considered severe, you may wish to undergo a medically-assisted detox with medical professionals.

Detoxification alone doesn’t address the behavioural, social and psychological aspects of addiction – instead, it focuses on physical dependence.

Addiction Therapy

Once you have successfully detoxed from steroids, you may undergo addiction therapy. Therapy in rehab aims at building your confidence, improving your well-being, and teaching you effective coping mechanisms and management techniques that can ultimately help to prevent relapse.

Most rehab facilities will offer both group therapy and one-to-one therapy. Some common therapies used in rehab include CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), counselling, family therapy, and many more.

Therapy can also be effective for people with dual diagnosis – people with existing mental health disorders and addiction.


Leaving rehab and returning to your everyday life can be daunting, especially without a solid support system in place. This is why so many recovering steroid addicts receive secondary treatment.

Secondary addiction treatment can ease the transition from rehab to your day-to-day life, providing you support along your recovery journey. Whether you receive telephone support, online support, or ongoing treatment, aftercare can streamline your recovery.

About Author

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.

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