When discussing the various drugs and substances of abuse, anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs rarely are brought up.
While this may be the case, one only needs to take an honest look at steroid abuse to realize it is every bit an addictive drug as any other. Here we break down steroid addiction and abuse.
Anabolic steroid addiction model
The idea of anabolic steroids potentially being highly addictive is far from a new notion. As early as the late 1980’s, studies began to note the parallels between drug addiction to a conventional substance (such as heroin) and anabolic steroids.
A number of factors determine the addictive potential of a substance. First, the substance’s ability to cause physical and/or physiological changes in the user’s body is considered. The ability of a substance to cause dependence and/or withdrawal in a user is also an important factor in its addictive potential.
Finally, a user’s desire to keep using a substance despite physical and/or social consequences is a significant factor in determining a substance’s abuse potential.
So how do steroids compare to other drugs of abuse?
Studies show that steroids cause many of the same exact addictive properties as other popular drugs of abuse.
First, steroid use causes physical and physiological problems, including breast growth in men, hormone imbalances, sexual dysfunction, and many other health issues. Much like other drugs, chronic users of steroids develop a physical dependence on the drug as the body stops producing its own hormones in response to chronic use.
This dependence even leads to a steroid withdrawal syndrome in users. This withdrawal syndrome produces symptoms such as restlessness, fatigue, changes in sex drive, sleep disturbances, appetite loss, and even drug craving.
So what does this mean?
The ability of anabolic steroids to cause physical and physiological dependence and even withdrawal highlights the abuse potential of them. Therefore, anabolic steroid abuse needs to be treated similarly to more conventional drugs of abuse.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.