Teenage boys are taking anabolic steroids to attract girls, win friends and even to intimidate bullies. For decades athletes and professional bodybuilders primarily used the drug, and now we are seeing a rise in its use among skinny teenagers who imagine that a chiseled six-pack will lead girls to want them more.
One third of doctors report having treated a patient that used anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids can damage the user’s liver, immune system and reproductive system. Users also suffer psychological effects such as increased aggressiveness, sexual desire and a drift into other types of drugs. Hair loss can also be traced back to anabolic steroids.
Researchers at the University of Glamorgan visited three local gyms and found that nearly 60% of the males were taking steroids. Some of the males were teenage boys of age 15. One teacher told the Guardian newspaper that he monitors his students and can usually identify when someone gains muscle too fast, in a way that is not possible from regular gym exercise.
“We see physical changes where boys suddenly bulk up around the chest and shoulders and increase their muscle definition,” he said. “This is often over a short spell of time and we know it is not possible to get results like these simply from working out in the gym.”
Over time, it becomes easy to identify people who take steroids, but you need to get used to seeing examples. Start by looking at the coloring of the skin, and then start to look at the structure of the muscle. You should also look out for acne, which can be a sign that someone is taking the drug.
“Supersized muscles surrounding the shoulders–trapezius, lats, pectorals, deltoids, biceps, and triceps–are a good clue that Mr. Needle has been introduced to Mr. Buttock. Even if the lower body is normal size, upper-body muscles tend to be inflated,” writes Lou Schuler. “Bodybuilders’ skin sometimes takes on a reddish glow, since steroids cause water retention, which raises blood pressure.”
If one of your friends or family members is taking steroids, try to encourage them to get professional help, say the recovery specialists at Valley Hope Association. It is normal for them to be initially reluctant, but professionals will be able to increase their chances of getting better.
Steroids use naturally occurring chemicals that are already inside your body. But the problem comes when you increase the amount and remove the perfect balance from the way your body was designed to work. The drug can also be used to treat medical conditions, like delayed puberty and diseases that eat away at muscle.
Steroids are different from most illegal drugs in that they don’t give any direct high to the user. In the long term, the chemical balance within the brain can be affected, and the effects can lead to anxiety, depression and violent behavior. Users have been known to become irritable and to become very jealous and protective of their partners, often expressed through bouts of paranoia and aggression.