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Fact Sheet - Steroids
Anabolic steroids are taken in cyclic dosage regimens, a practice called "pyramiding." At the beginning of a cycle, the person starts with low doses of the stacked substances and then gradually increases the doses for 6 to 12 weeks. In the second half of the cycle, the doses are slowly decreased to zero. This is sometimes followed by a second cycle during which the person continues to train, but without drugs. Abusers believe that pyramiding allows the body time to adjust to the high doses, and the drug-free cycle allows time for the body's hormonal system to recuperate. As with stacking, the perceived benefits of pyramiding have not been substantiated scientifically.
Anabolic steroids are taken in cyclic dosage regimens, a practice called "pyramiding." At the beginning of a cycle, the person starts with low doses of the stacked substances and then gradually increases the doses for 6 to 12 weeks. In the second half of the cycle, the doses are slowly decreased to zero. The perceived benefits of pyramiding have not been substantiated scientifically.
Medical complications associated with anabolic steroid abuse among males and females of all ages include: potentially fatal liver cysts and liver cancer, blood clot formation, cholesterol changes, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and acne.
Although not all scientists agree, some interpret available evidence to show that anabolic steroid abuse, particularly in high doses, promotes aggression that can manifest itself with fighting, physical and sexual abuse, armed robbery, and property crimes such as burglary and vandalism.
Upon stopping anabolic steroids, some abusers experience symptoms of depressed mood, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive, headache, muscle and joint pain, and the desire to take more anabolic steroids.
Injection of anabolic steroids may cause infections resulting from the use of shared needles or nonsterile equipment. These infections include HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and infective endocarditis, a potentially fatal inflammation of the inner lining of the heart. Bacterial infections can also develop at the injection site, causing pain and abscess.
Depression often develops when anabolic steroids are stopped which may contribute to a sense of dependency. Researchers also report that users may suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility.
According to the 1999 Tennessee Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 5.6% of high school students in Tennessee reported using orally-ingested or injected steroids without a doctor's prescription (abuse) at least once during their lives, with little change in 1999 from the 1997 (6%) and 1995 (5%) rates. Significantly more males (8.1%) than females (3%) illegally used steroids.
According to the Tennessee 2001 Youth Risk Behavior System, 6.6% of high school students in Tennessee reported using steroid pills or shots without a doctor's prescription (abuse) at least once during their lives. More males (7.6%) than females (5.7%) illegally used steroids.
According to the 1995 Alaska Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 3.9% of Alaska high school students reported use of illegal steroids at least once in their lives.
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