Anabolic Steroid Abuse (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Anabolic steroid abuse facts
- What are anabolic steroids?
- Why do people abuse anabolic steroids?
- How do people abuse anabolic steroids?
- Are anabolic steroids addictive?
- What are the psychological and physical side effects of anabolic steroid abuse?
- How are anabolic steroid abuse and addiction diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for anabolic steroid abuse and addiction?
- Can anabolic steroid abuse and addiction be prevented?
- Where can I get more information on anabolic steroid abuse?
How are anabolic steroid abuse and addiction diagnosed?
The diagnosis of anabolic steroid abuse in high school, college, and professional athletes may occur when they fail a drug test, but many people who abuse these drugs are never randomly tested. The diagnosis is often made when they present with one of the side effects of steroid use.
Once the potential diagnosis of drug abuse is considered, it is important that the care provide opportunity for the patient to consider drug treatment options, just like any other addictive drug. However, the first step in diagnosis and treatment must be taken by the patient to admit there is a potential for abuse and their willingness to consider intervention and treatment.
What is the treatment for anabolic steroid abuse and addiction?
Counseling is the mainstay of therapy for anabolic steroid abuse. The patient and their support group, family and friends, need to appreciate that the approach to this addiction may be similar to addiction to other drugs and alcohol.
Depression and suicidal thoughts may occur when the steroids are stopped, and this potential must be monitored closely.
Withdrawal symptoms vary with each patient and the health care professional may need to prescribe short courses of medications to help with headaches, muscle aches, and insomnia.
Can anabolic steroid abuse and addiction be prevented?
Prevention of steroid abuse begins at a young age. There is pressure even at middle school to take drugs to increase performance on the playing field and in the gym. As well, personal appearance and perception begin early on. Unrealistic expectations can drive adolescent boys and girls to look like models on fashion magazines and athletes in the gym.
Counseling and guidance that continues through high school and beyond has been shown to be effective in decreasing steroid use in the younger population.
It seems that the use of anabolic steroids in school-aged children may be decreasing, perhaps due to the education efforts and perhaps because of the negative publicity of high profile professional athletes who have been caught.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, in 2011, the number of kids using steroids had decreased from a decade before.
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