Anabolic androgenic steroids are testosterone derivatives that are mainly used for muscle and performance enhancement. These drugs are frequently used by competitive athletes in order to achieve an edge or better control of their physical strength and performance during professional sports games. Retrospective surveys indicated that anabolic steroids have been used since the 1960s to date, with current national user rates ranging from 3% to 9% among high school students alone. The exact effect of anabolic steroids in the developing human body has not been fully studied, and the increase in number of reports of teenage athletes committing suicide has called the attention of the legislation to assess and review drug enforcement laws covering this specific drug. It has been reported that the prolonged use of anabolic steroids have may cause a number of adverse effects to the human body, including liver damage, gynecomastia, atherogenesis, psychiatric disorders such as aggression and violence, and even death (Balbigian, 2001). Investigations on the nationwide use of anabolic steroids have prompted Congress to establish the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990, which mainly indicates that the non-medical employment of anabolic steroids is punishable by law.
A list of possible physical and psychological side-effects of anabolic steroid use has been reported. These include coronary heart disease, which specifically increases the thickness and enlargement of the left ventricle. Another side-effect is the decreased size of the user’s testicles, as well as the experience of immunodeficiencies. The athlete who has taken anabolic steroids will also feel invincible and will actually show an aggressive behavior. Anabolic steroids destroy the liver as well as transform connective tissues to a condition that these are easily injured or torn. Adolescents taking anabolic steroids have been reported to show stunted growth and suffer from blood clots and insomnia or unusual sleep patterns. In terms of the effects of anabolic steroid on an individual’s blood chemistry, there are reported that a user will experience an elevated LDL cholesterol level as well as a lowering of HDL cholesterol level.
Interestingly, adults taking anabolic steroids experience moderate to severe acne because anabolic steroids influence changes in his endocrine system. An anabolic steroid user also faces the chance of acquiring prostate cancer at an earlier age. Certain male anabolic steroid users observe that their breasts start developing and some users experience temporary to permanent infertility. Other users have stimulated appetites, psychoses and mood swings. Increasing the dosage and combining steroids also increases risks of possible side effects. Some side effects can be reversed after stoppage of steroid use and other effects cannot be reversed. It should be noted that the results of side effects may take months or years before they are apparent — even after the individual has stopped using them. Recent evidence indicates withdrawal symptoms occur in long-term users who stop using anabolic steroids.