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Steroids Facts | side effects history & prevention
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Commercial and Street names

Juice, Roids, Gym Candy, Pumpers, Stackers, Balls or Bulls, Weight Trainers, Arnies, A’s or Anabolics. ACDE.

Description of Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are a group of powerful compounds closely related to the male sex hormone testosterone. Current legitimate medical uses include treatment of certain kinds of anaemia. Body builders and many competitive athletes in a variety of sports claim that steroids give them a competitive advantage and/or improve their physical appearance. Steroid use can gradually progress to abuse as body builders and other athletes may start with protein powders then, if not satisfied with their rate or level of muscle development, progress first to oral steroids (pills) then to injectable steroids. Users frequently combine several different types of steroids to maximize their effectiveness while minimizing negative effects, a process known as “stacking.”

Steroids 1
Source: DEA

Steroids 2
Testosterone Cypionate 200mg/ml. Source: DEA

Effects of Anabolic Steroids

Produces increases in lean muscle mass, strength, and ability to train longer and harder. Facial swelling and disfiguring acne are two common effects of steroids. Both facial acne and acne on other areas like the back is common but reversible when individuals stop using steroids

The major effects of anabolic steroid use include liver tumours, jaundice, fluid retention, and high blood pressure. Additional side effects include the following for men:  (1) shrinking of the testicles, (2) reduced sperm count, (3) infertility, (4) male-pattern balding, and (5) development of breasts; and for women: (1) growth of facial hair, (2) changes in or cessation of the menstrual cycle, (3) deepened voice. Adolescents abusing steroids risk a stunting of growth due to  premature skeletal maturation and accelerated puberty changes.

Psychologically, researchers report that users may suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability (“rhoid rage”), delusions, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility.

Long-term effects or high-dose effects of steroid use are largely unknown.

Sources: DEA; NIDA InfoFacts, Steroids, March 2005

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General Information on Steroid Abuse

Anabolic Steroids: Altered States (1990) discusses the uses and effects of anabolic steroids. James E. Wright and Virginia S. Cowart

Anabolic Steroids and the Athlete (2002) discusses the controversy of steroids in competitive sports, the chemical makeup of steroids, effects of steroids, types of steroids, etc. William N. Taylor

Anabolic Steroids – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References (2003) Icon Health Publications

Anabolic Steroids and Sports (1982) James E. Wright

Anabolics 2007: Anabolic Steroids Reference Manual (2007) William Llewellyn

At Issue Series – Performance-Enhancing Drugs (paperback edition) (2003) James Haley

At Issue Series – Steroids (At Issue Series) (2006) Laura K. Egendorf

Drug Education Library – Steroids (Drug Education Library) (2006) Jacqueline Adams

Dunks, Doubles, Doping: How Steroids are Killing American Athletics (2006) asserts that steroids are killing sports, not because of the side effects of their abuse, but because of their impact on the public perception of competitive sport as a world of liars, cheats and greedy businessmen. Nathan Jendrick

The Facts About Steroids (Drugs) (2004) Suzanne Levert

Performance Enhancing Drugs (2007) explores the fairness, dangers, and prevention of steroid abuse. Laura K. Egendorf

Performance Enhancing Drugs  (2007) Louise I. Gerdes

Performance-Enhancing Drugs  (2002) explores performance-enhancing drugs from both sides of the debate and includes personal testimonial and expert opinion. Intended for an adolescent audience. Tamara L. Roleff and James Haley.

Performance Enhancing Medications and Drugs of Abuse  (2007) explores various medications being abused for physical and cosmetic effect as well as drugs used for competitive advantage in high school and colleges. Mark S. Gold.

Performance-Enhancing Substances in Sport and Exercise (2002) Bahrke and Yesalis (2002) features 29 chapters covering dozens of substances, thousands of references, and chapters devoted to the history and future of performance-enhancing substances in sport and exercise, the determination of the efficacy of substances, drug testing and legal issues. Michael S. Bahrke and Charles E. Yesalis.

The Steroid Caper (2002) is an in-depth look at the tragic effects of steroid abuse among adolescents. Doctor “G”

Steroids (2007) Stefan Kiesbye

Steroids  (2005) presents pros and cons of steroid use with case studies. Karla Fitzhugh

Steroids 101 (2003) Jeff Summers

Steroids = Busted! (2006) Richard Mintzer

The Steroids Game (1998) Charles E. Yesalis and Virginia S. Cowart

Steroids Kill! (2004) warns of the dangers of steroid abuse. Tom Ciola

Steroids and Other Performance-Enhancing Drugs (2005) discusses the history of steroids, the effects of steroid use, and the difficulty in fighting steroid abuse. David Aretha

Steroids: Pumped Up and Dangerous (Illicit Drugs) (2007) Ida Walker

Steroids, Sports, and Body Image: The Risks of Performance-Enhancing Drugs (Issues in Focus) (2004) describes what steroids are, how they work, and why people misuse them. The negative effects of steroid use are highlighted and what steps are being taken to curb steroid abuse. Alternative drug-free training tips are also provided for those striving for athletic success. Judy Monroe

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Competitive Sports and Anabolic Steroids

See also the History and Testimonial sections

Bulk, Biceps and Brutality (A Study of Steroids) (1990) Winifred L. Kissling

Coaches’ Guide to Performance-Enhancing Supplements (2006) is a reference guide for coaches on the use of steroids, recreational drugs, ergogenic drugs, and other supplements. Also covers the consequences of using performance-enhancing products including drug testing. Nicholas A., Ph.D. Ratamess

Drugs, Steroids, and Sports (Understanding Drugs) (1988) Janet Mohun

When Winning Costs Too Much: Steroids, Supplements, and Scandal in Today’s Sports World (2005) encourages coaches and administrators to encourage drug-free performance in youth athletes. John McCloskey and Julian Bailes

History of Anabolic Steroids

See also the Competitive Sports section

Breaking the Chain: Drugs and Cycling – The True Story (2002) documents the scandal surrounding anabolic steroid abuse and competitive cycling in the 1998 Tour de France. Willy Voet

Faust’s Gold: Inside The East German Doping Machine (2001) researches the East German government policy of anabolic steroid use for its competitive athletes. Includes personal testimonial from the athletes. Steven Ungerleider

From Lance to Landis: Inside the American Doping Controversy at the Tour de France (2007) documents the use of anabolic steroids in the Tour de France during the time of Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis. David Walsh

Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports (2007) profiles the scandal of steroid abuse in Major League Baseball from Barry Bonds to as far back as the home run derby in 1998. Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams

The Juice: The Real Story of Baseball’s Drug Problems (2005) looks at the steroid scandal from the perspective of athletic conditioning and injuries and advocates for a revised approach to the use of steroids in competitive sport. Will Carroll

Macho Medicine: A History of the Anabolic Steroid Epidemic (1991) William N. Taylor

Speed Trap: Inside the Biggest Scandal in Olympic History (1991) is a first-hand account of the Ben Johnson steroid scandal written by his coach. Charlie Francis and Jeff Coplon

Steroid Nation: Juiced Home Run Totals, Anti-Aging Miracles, and a Hercules in Every School: The Secret History of America’s True Drug Addiction (2007) traces steroid use in America back to the bodybuilders of Venice Beach in the 1970s, the Oakland Raiders of the 1980s, and the baseball scandals of today. Shaun Assael.

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Legal Aspects of Anabolic Steroids

Legal Muscle: Anabolics in America (2002) considers the legal aspects of anabolic steroid use written by a legal expert on anabolic steroids and muscle-building dietary supplements. Rick Collins

Prevention and Anabolic Steroid Abuse

Most books written for educators and adolescent audience are listed in this section:

Altered States: The Use and Abuse of Anabolic Steroids (1995) is written for high school students to educate them on the short-term and long-term effects of steroid use. James E. Wright and Virginia S. Cowart

The Anabolic Steroid Handbook (2003) is a manual designed for bodybuilders that details steroid practices. R. C. Daniels

Focus on Steroids (A Drug-Alert Book) (1991) is designed for educators and students. Katherine S. Talmadge and David Neuhaus

The Steroid Bible (1997) is a manual that details practices of steroid abuse by body builders. Steve Gallaway

Steroid Drug Dangers  (2000) focuses on the dangers of steroid abuse and is written for the adolescent reader. Judy Monroe

Steroids  (1998) written for adolescents. Lawrence Clayton

Steroids (Just the Facts) (2000) details the effects of steroid abuse complete with case studies. Intended for an adolescent readership. Sean Connolly

What to Teach Kids About Steroids: For Parents, Teachers, and Other Caregivers (The Parenting for Prevention Information Series) (1998) Johnson Institute

Understanding the Causes of a Negative Body Image (1999) is a teen eating disorder prevention book. Barbara Moe.

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Research and Anabolic Steroid Abuse

Anabolic Steroid Abuse (1996) represents a “state-of-the-art” information resource concerning anabolic steroid abuse and suggests future directions for research. Geraline C. Lin and Lynda Erinoff

Anabolic Steroids in Sport and Exercise (2000) presents research findings on the use and abuse of steroids in sports and exercise, from competitive athletes to adolescents. Charles E. Yesalis

Anabolic Steroids and Sports and Drug Testing: 1991-1997: An Annotated Bibliography (1998) is a bibliography of articles that discuss the physical, emotional, and behavioral aspects of steroid use. Ellen R. Paterson

Anabolic Steroids and Sports, Testing, Creatine, Androstenedione, And Other Ergogenic AIDS: Spring 1998-spring 2005: An Annotated Bibliography (2006) is a bibliography of articles on anabolic steroids. Ellen R. Paterson

Anabolic Steroids: Ultimate Research Guide (2006) Anthony Roberts and Brian Clapp

Metabolism of Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids (1991) is a translation of a chemical research paper on steroid metabolism. Victor A. Rogozkin

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Atomic Fitness: The Alternative to Drugs, Steroids, Wacky Diets, And Everything Else That’s Failed (2006) is a manual for individuals who want to bodybuild without drugs. Written by a former competitive bodybuilder. Steve Michalik

Better Than Steroids (2007) is a manual for bodybuilders who wish to grow muscle mass through diet instead of steroids. Dr. Warren Willey

Beyond Brawn: The Insider’s Encyclopedia on How to Build Muscle & Might (1999) is a manual for bodybuilders that will assist them in designing a personal training program, setting up a home gym, and avoiding injuries. Stuart McRobert

Cheating Nature Without Steroids: Basic Training and Heavy Eating (2006) provides an alternative to steroids for those who wish to develop muscle mass and strength. Pygod
For more self-help see the Self-Help section.

Testimonial and Anabolic Steroid Abuse

Anabolic Outlaw : “I was a drug dealing, pot smoking, cocaine snorting, pill popping, acid dropping, whiskey drinking, steroid shooting bodybuilder!” (2001) profiles the dark side of competitive bodybuilding. Dennis L. Bates

Falling Off The Thin Blue Line: A Badge, a Syringe, and a Struggle with Steroid Addiction (2007) is the personal story of a policeman who used anabolic steroids. David Johnson

False Glory: Steelers and Steroids : The Steve Courson Story (1991) former Pittsburgh Steeler talks about using steroids during his NFL career and how they impacted his life and health. Steve Courson and Lee R. Schreiber

No Body’s Perfect: Stories by Teens About Body Image, Self-Acceptance, and the Search for Identity (2002) is a collection of short stories, memoirs and poems designed to send a positive message to teens, especially girls. Written by the co-author of Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. Kimberly Kirberger

The Steroid Deceit: A Body Worth Dying For? (2006) is a first-hand account of steroid abuse written by a former bodybuilder who warns of the dangers of steroids. Recommended for athletes and their coaches. Jeff Rutstein

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Treatment and Anabolic Steroid Abuse

Body Image: Understanding Body Dissatisfaction in Men, Women, and Children (2007) assesses what we know about social construction of body image based on psychology, sociology, women’s studies and media studies. Sarah Grogan

The Body Image Workbook: An 8-Step Program for Learning to Like Your Looks (1997) is a program that tells the reader how to transform a negative body image into a more pleasurable, affirming relationship with your appearance. Thomas F. Cash, Ph.D.

The Official Patient’s Source book on Anabolic Steroid Dependence: A Revised and Updated Directory for the Internet Age (2002) is a handbook of Internet resources for clients who are being treated for steroid abuse. Can also be utilized by health professionals. Icon Health Publications

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Websites Specific to Anabolic Steroids

Association Against Steroid Abuse
Steroid Abuse
Steroid Law

General Information on Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic Steroids (August 2013) is a fact sheet. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Anabolic Steroids: Hidden Dangers (March 2004) Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The Basics: Drugs and Sports (February 2005) provides basic information on the effect of anabolic steroids. Addiction Foundation of Manitoba (AFM).

Steroid Abuse in Today’s Society (March 2004) is a guide for understanding steroids and related substances. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).


Clenbuterol also goes by the street name Clen. Clenbuterol is abused due to its ability to increase lean muscle mass and reduce body fat. Not approved for human use in the United States but is used in horses to clear airway obstructions. Outside of the US, Clenbuterol is prescribed for treatment of bronchial asthma in humans. Not considered an anabolic steroid.

Clenbuterol (August 2011) Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Human Growth Hormones

Human Growth Hormone (August 2013) is a fact sheet. Trade names include Genotropin®, Humatrope®, Norditropin®, Nutropin®, Saizen®, Serostim®. Not considered anabolic steroids. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Law Enforcement Personnel and Anabolic Steroids

Steroid Abuse by Law Enforcement Personnel (March 2004) addresses the illicit use of steroids among law enforcement professionals. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

School Drug Abuse and Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic Steroids NIDA for Teens: Facts on Drugs

Research on Anabolic Steroid Abuse

NIDA Research Report: Anabolic Steroid Abuse (September 2006) highlights research on the scope of steroid abuse in the US, how they are abused, the health consequences of steroid abuse, and effective treatment. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). NIH Publication 00-3721.

Testimonials about Anabolic Steroid Abuse

Craig’s story. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

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General Information and Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic Steroids is considered a dangerous drug in the UK. BBC News.

Drug Policy and Anabolic Steroids

The Dangerous Health Effects of Steroids is an educational video. Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), Mulitijurisdictional Counterdrug Task Force Training (MCTFT).

Medical Consequences and Anabolic Steroids

Squeezing Out the Juice: Tackling the Steroid Issue (March 2006) talks about the health effects of steroids and how the pressure to win influences choices people make. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). DVD261.

National Geographic – Science of Steroids

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