Steroids are organic compounds found in animals, plants and fungi. They are normally associated with the anabolic steroids used as performance enhancing drugs by athletes and body-builders. Nowadays steroids are increasingly available and school children are increasingly using steroids, wanting the ‘bulging body builder’ look. Use of steroids has been tackled in the athletics and sports circles with the banning of performance enhancing drugs and random drug tests amongst athletes. Those whom abuse steroids may become addicted; withdrawal symptoms from steroids include:
- Mood Swings
- Loss of appetite
- Reduced sex drive
- Nausea and Vomiting
Addiction can occur as the body becomes more dependent on the steroid whilst building a tolerance requiring more to get the same ‘rush/effect’. Steroid addiction and abuse is prominent in men with low self-esteem and the feeling of being small or weak. Steroids can cause some adverse health risks including but not limited to:
- Liver and/or kidney tumors
- High blood pressure
- Infertility in men
- Growth of facial hair in females
If one feels they are addicted to steroids one should seek medical assistance immediately. There are a variety of different options for one seeking treatment for steroid addiction. Detoxification is the first part to treatment and can be achieved through an in-patient detox center. Checking into a facility is recommended if only just for detox due to the withdrawal symptoms such as cravings and nausea. Steroid withdrawals often lead addicts to relapse before finishing the detoxification process. A facility can monitor the addict closely to both prevent relapse and prescribe medications to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
Some individuals may find it beneficial to check into an in-patient treatment center. Specifically steroid addiction treatment centers are still rare however a general drug addiction facility is viable. A rehab will help with detoxification, as does a detox facility. The rehab will offer the next step of treatment in its program also; a combination of therapy and psycho-education:
- Psycho-education involves different uses such as teaching the patient on addiction and the dangers of steroid addiction in particular. Pyscho-education will also teach the patient relapse prevention skills for consistent recovery after treatment.
- Therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, is a useful and necessary part of rehabilitation and treatment; often addicts, including steroid addicts, have underlying issues such as depression, anxiety, self-esteem and/or trauma. Therapy helps to deal with and resolve the underlying issues that triggered or fueled drug use and, in so doing, creates a better base for recovery.
Instead of checking into a drug rehab, or after inpatient treatment, it is recommended to attend out-patient treatment. Outpatient is highly recommended for someone who went through a detoxification facility but not a rehabilitation facility. Outpatient therapy included the same therapy as one would attend in a rehabilitation facility with the draw-back that therapists and staff only see the patient for a few hours of each day leaving large gaps of unstructured time otherwise. Someone attending outpatient must make sure they have both a treatment plan and structure continually throughout their day. This helps to reduce chances of relapse soon after detox.
Someone recovering from steroid addiction may often find it useful to attend 12 Step Meetings such as Narcotics Anonymous. These fellowships meetings include members all recovering from addiction and help to form a network of those in recovery.