first_imgWith the suicide of WWE wrestler, Chris Benoit, and apparent murder of his wife and seven-year old son in suburban Atlanta over last weekend, there will again be scrutiny about the emotional and mental risks of non-medical anabolic steroid use. Dr. Barbara Krantz, chief medical officer of Hanley Center, West Palm Beach, says that these steroids are easy to get, and they are not only illegal without a doctor’s prescription for medical reasons, they are dangerous drugs, with serious psychological and medical side effects. According to Dr. Krantz, people coming through the center for treatment of alcohol or other chemical dependency are routinely asked if they use steroids. “The majority of clients who say they use steroids tell us they bought them from the Internet,” said Dr. Krantz. “These people are often treated for opiate abuse, because they have taken opiates to ease intense pain caused by the attempt to wean off steroids.” — Suicide — Rage — Pain — Damage to heart, liver, and kidneys. — Hormonal changes Abuse of oral or injectable anabolic steroids is associated with increased risk for heart attacks and strokes. Most oral anabolic steroid abuse can cause severe liver problems including hepatic cancer. People who share needles put themselves at risk of contracting dangerous infections such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and bacterial endocarditis. In addition to illegal steroids, steroidal supplements such as dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione (street name Andro) are available over the counter in drugstores, health stores and even supermarkets. Although they are taken because the users think they have anabolic effects, little is known whether the supplements have any effect on muscle mass or whether there are serious side effects. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! One of the main reasons people say they started using steroids is to improve their performance in sports. Teens and adults hope to boost endurance, strength and muscle mass through the use of steroids, and many people attempt to reduce body fat with steroid use. While little data exist on the extent of adult steroid abuse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it has been estimated that hundreds of thousands of people aged 18 and over abuse anabolic steroids at least once a year. Steroid users, in an attempt to produce a greater effect on muscle mass, “stack” or mix oral and/or injectable types, often in doses as high as 100 times the strength of a medical dose. They may “pyramid” the doses in cycles of 6-12 weeks, starting with a low dose and slowly increase it, then decrease the dose slowly, with the belief that this allows the body to safely adjust. Neither stacking nor pyramiding has any scientifically based benefits. Besides the severe muscle pain experienced when someone goes off steroids, it is well documented in medical literature that particularly in males, testosterone levels are low and severe emotional effects can occur. “When used for a long time, steroids can engender compulsivity in their usage,” says Dr. Krantz. While not yet termed an addictive drug by the medical community, steroids are labeled as behavioral drugs, which cause serious, sometimes irreversible side effects including: — Depression last_img

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