What Are the Risks of Taking Steroids?

There are a couple of different types of steroids but the ones we are looking at, anabolic steroids, are often used to improve sports performance, or to change appearance by increasing muscle mass. 

You can be put under a lot of pressure if you are involved in sports to get a better performance. You can feel like you have to look a certain way thanks to magazines and celebrities. These, and other reasons, can make steroids seem like a good way to get what they want.

How do people take them?

Steroids are usually injected into the muscle, but some are available in tablet form, or as creams or gels that are applied to the skin.

The side effects of steroids

Steroids can make you feel paranoid, aggressive and violent. You could find yourself snapping at friends and family quite a lot,  as well as experiencing dramatic mood swings. And it makes changes to your body too:

  • They can stop you from growing properly
  • You can find it hard to sleep
  • For males, regular use can lead to you growing breasts, losing your hair, getting acne and having trouble with erections. It can also make your testicles shrink
  • Women can develop more masculine characteristics including extra facial hair, a deeper voice and shrinking breasts, as well as acne
  • Steroids can also give you high blood pressure and increase your risk of liver failure, stroke or heart attack

Can you get addicted to steroids?

You can easily become psychologically dependent on steroids. This means you are more likely to keep taking it despite the harmful effects.

When you stop taking them you can get headaches, depression and feel like you have no energy to do anything. 

Steroids and the law

Anabolic steroids are Class C drugs to be sold only by pharmacists with a doctor's prescription.

  • Possession or importing with intent to supply (which includes giving them to friends) is illegal and could lead to 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine.
  • Many sporting organisations have banned the use of certain steroids, carrying out tests to make sure you aren’t using them. If someone tests positive they can be disqualified from competing for certain periods of time, or even banned for life.

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