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Stop using steroids and get back on track with a healthy and realistic workout

Mark Myers LCSW, CADC Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor Myers Counseling Group

The use of aids to enhance performance in sports is not a new phenomenon. Athletes of Ancient Greece were said to have used performance enhancers. The first documented drug related death was a cyclist in 1886 who died from taking a mixture of heroin and cocaine (speedball). Today, due to advancements in chemistry and a better understanding of the human body, performance enhancement aids have become more potent. Although anabolic steroids do not provide an immediate high from use, they are addictive and deadly. Users could suffer psychological, physical and social consequences as a result of their addiction to steroids. Here is some advice in quitting steroid use.


Do understand the psychological impact of steroid use

The use of steroid produced increased aggression. This aggression leads to what is known as roid rage. When a person experiences roid rage, they are putting themselves and others around them in danger of harm. The use of steroids also increases paranoia and in some cases delusional episodes. Withdrawing from steroid use can lead to depression, irritability, sleep difficulties, and anxiety.

Do understand the difference between anabolic and corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are used to treat numerous disorders including asthma, arthritis, and to reduce inflammation from injuries. Anabolic steroids are synthesized to act in a manner similar to testosterone. They increase the testosterone level in the user, thereby increasing the growth of skeletal muscle. For athletes, this could significantly increase their performance in athletic competitions.Corticosteroids are not used for performance enhancing nor are anabolic steroids used for muscle injuries. To use anabolic steroids to compensate for an injury is wrong. In fact, anabolic steroid use increases the chance of injury due to a disproportionate growth of muscle and bone and ligaments when using.

Do be patient in your efforts in reaching your athletic goals

Steroid use is a shortcut that involves great health risks as well as sanctions from sports jurisdictions. A steroid free approach may not get you the results you seek as fast as steroids do. This approach will however be safer, legal, and not have the consequences associated with steroid use.

Do use realistic role models during your training

For most people involved in sports, the individuals who use steroids may stand out. Athletic accomplishments and goals should not be measured by these individuals. Hopefully, your own reward will be recognizing that you are accomplishing your goals without cheating.

Do understand what happens when you stop

Once you stop use, there will be a drop off in size and/or performance. Steroid users retain more water will using. Most of the weight you will lose is due to water loss. Workouts may become less intense but over time, a lot of the losses from stopping steroids can be regained. The losses could be recouped by good diet, realistic workout plan, and patience. Again, you may not be able to achieve quite the same results as you did on steroids, but keep in mind you are putting yourself less at risk.


Do not believe it is okay to use steroids because everyone does

In reality, a small population of athletes actually use steroids. The media coverage lends the general public to believe it is more than it actually is. According to the The National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), steroid use reached it’s peak use among 9th through 12th graders in 2003 (4.7–7.8%), with the current estimate to be (3.2–4.1%). Use is actually on decline. If you use steroids because you feel you have no choice, you are only deceiving yourself.

Do not believe that what are getting is guaranteed to be steroids

Since steroid use as a performance enhancer is illegal, there is no certainty that what you are buying is actually steroids. There is also no assurances that the steroids were manufactured in a safe environment. Contaminants could be mixed in with the steroids. This is important to keep in mind in your early recovery. Each time you use, you are playing Russian Roulette with your body.

Do not underestimate the need to develop a recovery plan

Making a decision to stop is the first step. Maintaining abstinence is another. Surrounding yourself with nonsteroid using workout partners, realistic workouts, good diet, and creating a support system is crucial to maintain abstinence. In some cases, it is advisable to seek out professional help to assist in your recovery plan.

Do not forget the costs that were involved in use

The initial stages of abstinence will be difficult. There may be temptation to return to use. Understanding the costs involved in use (physical, emotional, and social) are always waiting for you should you return to using.

Do not underestimate the physical health risks

Steroid could lead to enlargement of your prostate gland, liver, kidney, and stomach cancer, irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney failure, and secondary risks usually associated with using of needles (a method commonly used with users to inject steroids into their system). Muscle and skeletal injuries are also common. This is due to putting more stress on the body that it is able to handle. Furthermore, since a person is usually obtaining steroids through illegal means, it is not always certain what you are getting or how safe it will be.

Jumping cartoon

The temptation to use steroids is present for a lot athletes. Although nationwide, steroid use has leveled off since reaching it’s peak in 2005, it still surfaces in newspaper headlines. There are individuals that believe this is a magic pill. They read about some athletes who reached great fame by using steroids. Just like with other addictive drugs, there are benefits. That is what gets people to use. Athletes using or contemplating use need to realize there are great consequences associated with steroid use. These consequences include physical, psychological, legal and social problems. There is not a luxury of separating these risks from the perceive gains, they are a package deal.

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Photo Credits: Syringe by Flickr: Andres Rueda; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas -

Mark Myers LCSW, CADCLicensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor

Mark Myers received his Master of Social Work Degree from Loyola University. He has been practicing in the helping profession for over 20 years. He is an Illinois Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor. ...

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