Anabolic Steroids: The Truth

By , Laurel, MD
This year I decided to take a class at my high school called Independent Research. This course allows students to choose a topic in which they have an interest in to study for the entire school year. My choice was steroids. My primary reason for studying steroids was to see if they were actually as bad as the media had portrayed them to be. I also wanted to know if it would be safe for me to take them now, or at some point in the future. Truthfully, I did not get a clear answer to either of my questions, but I did learn a lot of fascinating information pertaining to anabolic steroids.

The first aspect of the field of steroids that peeked my interest was the physical effects that steroids would have on users. After many hours of research, I concluded that there were different effects on users depending on age and gender. Yet, there were quite a few effects that happened to people regardless of age or gender. The first of which is an exponential increase in muscle mass. This is because steroids allow users to work out longer and harder than they could have possibly imagined. Then, the steroids rebuild muscle very quickly. Huge gains in skeletal muscle mass is the primary reason for individuals to take steroids, yet steroids were also shown to increase the levels of dopamine within the brain. Dopamine is responsible for making people happy. Some of the other common side effects of steroid use included increased acne, hair growth on the face and body, cranial hair loss, damage to sexual organs, and deepened voice. Steroids had some unique effects on teens and women that men would not experience.

Women that take steroids start to exhibit many masculine characteristics, while losing feminine aspects of their anatomy. Increases levels of testosterone cause women to lose cranial hair, grow facial hair, decreases breast size, and deepen their voice. Also, they grow large muscle that under no circumstances would be possible to grow without steroids. Although steroids have many effects on men and women, these effects are not all that dangerous or life threatening. Yet, if a teen were to take steroids, he or she would experience a much more serious and life altering effect. Even though I was not able to find an actual study documenting the effects of steroids on teens, it is fairly well versed that steroids cause teens to experience closing of their growth plates. As a result, their entire skeleton would presumably stop growth completely. Depending on how old you are, this could be more or less serious.

Although anabolic steroids are used by a wide variety of individuals, they were first created to help people suffering from severe muscular diseases. Anabolic steroids are still used today in the medical field to help people with diseases causing a loss of muscle fiber. For these people, anabolic steroids are a necessity. Yet, many other people are using anabolic steroids as a tool used for muscular and athletic enhancement. Experts in the field of anabolic steroids, including Dr. Norman Fost and Dr. Robert Beamish, believe that this is not such a bad thing. They feel that, if taken in safe dosages and under medical supervision, anabolic steroids are quite safe for adult men. Although they both stated that anabolic steroids would definitely not be safe for teens.

There is no doubt that anabolic steroids are amazing drugs. But, there is far too little quality, documented, and scientifically proven information about anabolic steroids to take them safely. All teens should avoid taking anabolic steroids.





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