There are two types of steroids: corticosteroids and anabolic steroids. Corticosteroids are used to treat an injury at a fast pace. Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances that build muscle and increase masculine features and characteristics. They can be prescribed by doctors to treat medical conditions such as delayed puberty or cancer. Although both types of steroids are abused, anabolic steroids (the focus of this page) are more often abused. They are sold illegally, and used by athletes for their performance enhancing effects (CODA) (RCMP).
- Although it was allowed in the past, steroid use is now illegal in sports. Using steroids is considered cheating, as it gives one athlete an advantage over another (RCMP);
- Research demonstrates that approximately 5% of teenage boys and 2.5 % of teenage girls have used anabolic steroids. Young men and women may be tempted to use steroids because they make you feel stronger and more athletic; it gives an edge to athletes of both genders (kidshealth.org).
Roids, juice, doping, Arnolds
How it works
Anabolic steroids act like testosterone. They promote the growth of muscles as well as the development of male sexual features. They can be either ingested (with pills) or injected. Some creams also contain anabolic steroids (CODA).
For people that are not aware of the side effects of steroids, it might be an attractive substance to reach a certain body type. However, the use of steroids can actually cause many unwanted side effects such as: aggression, reduced sex drive, depression, infertility, breast development, shrinking of testicles, growth of body hair, acne and in some cases, it could even cause a heart attack (RCMP).
Tolerance and dependence
Anabolic steroids aren’t addictive in the same ways as other drugs, but users often develop an obsession with achieving a larger and stronger body. When someone is addicted to steroids, they often continue taking the drug despite negative health consequences or emotional effects. They are usually willing to spend a lot of money acquiring the drug and/ or they experience some withdrawal symptoms such as: fatigue, restlessness, depression, etc. when they stop taking the drug (CAMH).
Although some steroids are prescribed legally by medical professionals to treat a variety of medical problems, they can also be bought and sold illegally. Steroids are regulated by the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Most sporting associations have strict rules governing the use of steroids by athletes. Often, athletes can be disqualified if they are found to have steroids in their system.
What you can do
Prescription medication should never be taken when unsupervised by a doctor. For more information on steroids, please talk to your family doctor. You can also check out the links below.