When it comes to building strength, there is a wide range of approaches that can be taken in order to achieve the goals you want. Protein powders and bars are certainly among the more practical, while specific training programs and regimes are too. Then there’s the use of anabolic steroids.

It’s believed that at its height, up to a million people across the UK were using steroids, predominantly in order to look good rather than to increase performance, and it’s a trend that can have catastrophic consequences if misused.

Taking anabolic steroids for building strength and muscle mass is never a recommended practice unless prescribed by a professional, and there are a huge number of reasons as to why they should be avoided.

Firstly, like any drug, they can become addictive, which can have a drastic impact on your life, health, and those around you. In fact, over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in people checking into drug rehab centers with an addiction to steroids, many of whom have seen the drug take its toll on the body. But what are the main dangers and effects anabolic steroid use can have on you?

Physical Effects

From a physical point of view, there are some significant side effects for both men and women that can have a real impact on lifestyle and appearance.

For men, erectile dysfunction, shrunken testicles, and a reduced sperm count, or even infertility, are among the main side effects, while there’s also a higher chance of developing prostate cancer.

In the case of women, the growth of body hair and facial hair is much more prominent, while some women may also see the clitoris swell. Problems may also develop with periods, as well as a reduction in breast size may also occur.

The likes of hair loss, stomach pains, and severe acne can occur across both genders, with acne one of the most common side effects.

However, there are some much more severe dangers that can impact both sexes too, that can ultimately be life-threatening, or at the very least life-changing. Among these incredibly damaging side effects include:

  • Fluid Retention
  • Blood Clots
  • High cholesterol levels
  • High blood pressure levels
  • Liver and kidney problems
  • Increased chance of a heart attack
  • Increased chance of a stroke

Psychological Effects

If the physical side effects aren’t enough to make you think twice about using anabolic steroids as part of your strength training routine, then there are also effects that can really take their toll on the inside too.

Misusing these steroids, just as is the case with drugs such as cannabis and cocaine, can really have an impact on your mental state, which is then not only affecting you, but those around you too, whether it be at home with your family, in the workplace, or indeed anyone else you encounter on a day-to-day basis.

Among the most common psychological effects seen in steroid users are:

  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressive and manic behavior
  • Hallucinations

Other Risks

Alongside these risks, there are many other risks that come into play. For example, if you’re sharing needles there’s a huge risk of damaging veins and even the likes of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV, just as is the case with using a needle to share any kind of drug, while younger people taking steroids could be at risk from stunted growth.

That’s on top of all the side effects that come with addiction, making it an incredibly slippery slope that can have real-life consequences on your life and other people. And for what? Cheating your way to a little more muscle mass?