Is my teenager using steroids?
Anabolic steroids (also known as roids, juice, hype, or pump) are man-made substances used to build muscle. They are legally available only by prescription and would be prescribed for low testerone production or loss of lean muscle mass. People are abusing steroids to enhance performance, especially for sports, and to improve physique and appearance. Recent headlines about steroid abuse have focused on professional and Olympic athletes. But the most vulnerable abusers are probably our high school teens, trying to achieve the ‘look’ of their favorite athlete or actor. Americans are obsessed with body image, which leads teens to eating disorders, steroid abuse, and a lifelong struggle with low self-esteem. The side effects are numerous, including acne, depression, aggressive behavior (‘roid rage’), stunted growth, liver damage or cancer, cardiovascular damage, and reproductive system damage. Boys who abuse steroids may also experience baldness, shrinking testicles, impotence, and irreversible breast enlargement. Girls abusing steroids is a growing problem. Female abusers develop more masculine characteristics including decreased breast size, deepened voice, excessive body hair growth, and loss of scalp hair. Anabolic steroids may be taken orally or injected, usually in on/off cycles of week or months. Steroids are easily found on the internet and, unfortunately, in some gyms. Your kids may get them from friends or even an obsessive coach. As if the dangers of anabolic steroid use are not enough, the danger is increased when many substances sold as anabolic steroids are contaminated, diluted, or simply fake. Answer these few questions to learn more about the signs of steroid abuse and help you determine if your teenager may be using steroids.
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