With so many voices and opinions out there, it’s important to understand the facts.
Fact is that while you’re a teen (and even into your early 20’s!), you’re still growing and developing, and drug abuse during these years in particular can have a lasting impact. Another fact to consider: the brain is much more vulnerable to addiction as it continues to develop as well. 90% of Americans with a substance abuse problem starting smoking, drinking or using other drugs before age 18.
When it comes to drug use, individual reactions and experiences vary, so it’s important to understand the usual risks and effects, both short- and long-term. Knowledge can be the key to making your own best decisions.
Keep reading to the get the facts on the most frequently abused substances.
When prescribed by a doctor and used according to instructions, steroids can help treat some medical conditions. But abusing steroids as a short-cut to building muscle or improving athletic performance, has dangerous side effects.
Steroids are a class of drugs used to treat a wide variety of medical conditions. Estrogen and cortisone are some of the hormones in this class. Anabolic steroids are designed to imitate the hormone testosterone. Anabolic steroids are designed for medical use only, and to treat conditions like hypogonadism, delayed puberty and impotence. Anabolic steroids have a high potential for abuse, and only a very small number are approved for human and animal use in the U.S.
When you’re young and your body is still developing, the effects of steroids can be dangerous and unattractive, and they can also be permanent. Males can get shrunken testicles, develop breasts and lose hair. For females, it can stop your menstrual cycle, may cause excessive body and facial hair, leave you with male-pattern baldness and decrease your breast size.1
Steroids can also make you irritable, hostile and aggressive, and cause you to develop severe acne.
Abusing steroids while you’re still growing can cause a range of physical changes, including stunting your height permanently. But the long—term effects are not just superficial. Steroid use can lead to high blood pressure, an increased risk of blood clotting and increases in LDL (bad cholesterol)—all three combined are a recipe for heart failure.2
The Bottom Line
In addition to the more unattractive risks of steroid use – opposite-sex characteristics, hair loss, excessive body hair – you’re also risking your long-term health.
Drug Enforcement Administration. Anabolic Steroids: Hidden Dangers Steroid Abuse.
Published March 2008. Retrieved October 2011. View Source
National Institute on Drug Abuse. DrugFacts: Anabolic Steroids.
Revised July 2012. Retrieved May 2013. View Source