Last Updated on May 8, 2021 by Content
The word Steroid Overdose isn’t a new word, that word and its meaning have been around for many years. Steroids are a group of organic compounds found in fungi, plants, and animals. They are high-energy lipid compounds consisting of four rings. The major biological function of steroids is in cell signaling, and a common example is seen in the sex hormones such as testosterone. However, despite being high-energy compounds, they are not the body’s primary energy source
Steroids can be prescribed for various reasons under close medical supervision. The group of steroids typically prescribed to manage medical conditions such as neurofibromatosis are called corticosteroids. Another group that athletes commonly use is known as anabolic steroids. These steroids make up the bulk of steroid overdose cases.
The anabolic group of steroids has the highest abuse rates and is among some of the most addictive groups of Steroids. They boost the production of protein within cells and hence promote the growth of skeletal muscles. They are prescribed to treat and manage debilitating conditions like AIDS or cancer, which causes significant loss of body mass. However, the growth-promoting properties of anabolic steroids make them addictive and lead to steroid overdose by athletes and bodybuilders.
In 1990, the anabolic steroids control act was signed into law, and it also categorized anabolic steroids into Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as of February 27, 1991.
Under this law, anyone caught possessing, buying, or selling anabolic steroids without a valid prescription or license would be prosecuted. The possession of illegally obtained anabolic steroids translates to a maximum penalty of up to a year in prison and, in minor cases, a fine of up to $1,000. Repeated offenders will face five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.
Sports and Steroid
Steroid use by athletes has also been banned in the international sporting community. First, because of the unfair advantage, they grant users, and second, for the many harmful side effects, they incur in cases of a steroid overdose. Bodies like the IOC, NCAA, and NFL have also gone on a step further to prohibit steroid precursors’ use by athletes. An example of this is androstenedione. Regular drug tests are carried out during and after sporting events to enforce these rules. Athletes submit urine samples to be tested by the officials.
A urinalysis is the most widely used and effective screening process used to perform a drug test. It makes use of an analytical technique known as Gas chromatography and Mass spectrometry or GC-MS for short, which highlights a given substance in a provided sample. Most times, gas chromatography (GC) combined with mass spectrometry (MS) has always been used to confirm the presence of anabolic steroids and their known metabolites in human urine.
With proper prescription and licensing, anabolic steroids are dispensed for legitimate medical reasons and not for it to be abused.
Administration of Steroid
Administration of anabolic steroids varies depending on the form of the individual’s drug and weight. Intramuscular or subcutaneous injections are available for use. Oral administration or pellet implantation beneath the skin are also methods by which the drug can be administered. People with skin conditions use topical applications to the skin, for example, gels or patches. Unfortunately, these administration methods also make it easy for steroid overdose to occur. Injecting and orally ingesting the drug are most the most common routes of administration taken by steroid abusers.
Steroid abusers will overdose up to 100 times the recommended dose of anabolic steroids. A practice called stacking involves taking two doses of different kinds of anabolic steroids to achieve an accelerated effect. Steroid Abusers will also shuffle between periods of high steroid doses with periods of low doses or, in some cases, no drug at all in practice known as “cycling. “These periods can last anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks.
The Doses of anabolic steroids administered usually depend on the specific target of the steroid abuser. Athletes, for example, be it middle or high school, college, professional, and Olympic would rather take steroids for a limited period, usually during sporting seasons, to perform exceptionally while other abusers such as bodybuilders, law enforcement officers, fitness buffs, and bodyguards would take steroids for extended periods to remain a particular size or get bigger. Coupled with steroid overdose, steroids can remain in bodily tissue from 10 days to about 12 months.
The Top Five Most Damaging Symptoms Associated with Steroid Overdose Include:
- Loss of hearing
- Irregular Heartbeat/heart rate
There are also many noticeable side effects of steroid abuse that can impair normal human behavior and compromise the individual’s mental health.
Steroid Overdose Also Affects Women in a Variety of Ways, Such As:
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Development of masculine features such as facial hair, broad shoulders, deep voice, etc.
- Diminishing of feminine characteristics such as shrinking of breast tissue.
It is Vital to Note that the Following Side Effects of Steroid Overdose can be Permanent and Damaging to Individuals Who Experience them:
- Extreme anxiety
- Antagonistic, unfriendly, and violent behavior
- loss of tissue in sex organs- (atrophy)
- Low sperm count
- reduced libido
- Burning, flaky and itchy skin
Get immediate professional help if you experience these symptoms if you abuse steroids because they will not go away on their own and will advance to more permanent damage. We continue to re-iterate that steroids are not to be used unless with the prescription of a licensed medical professional to prevent cases of steroid overdose.
Risks of Steroid Abuse and Overdose
Self-esteem issues are usually the underlying factors that lead individuals to steroid overdose. Athletes and even actors purchase steroids illegally to build muscle mass in short periods. It is also important to note that only a fraction of the more than 100 different types of anabolic steroids is approved for medical use.
Interestingly, despite being highly addictive, steroid overdose does not induce euphoric feelings, which are commonly referred to as “highs.” The self-gratifying results of steroid overdose further establish the feelings of self-inadequacy in the user, prompting them to use more, thus creating a continuous cycle of dependency and ultimately addiction.
There are many unpleasant side effects and health risks that will arise from prolonged and excessive steroid overdose. For instance, prolonged use of steroids will increase blood cholesterol levels as steroids in their very nature belong to the same chemical group. Acne and high blood pressure are also very common side effects of excessive intake of anabolic steroids. The most concerning, however, is liver (in the case of orally administered steroids) and heart damage. More often than not, athletes who use steroids combine them with other drugs, resulting in even more damaging outcomes.
The heart is particularly affected in several ways by steroid overdose. Myocardial infarction, which leads to heart failure, is at the forefront of this. Prolonged steroid usage also leads to plaque accumulation in the heart’s major arteries.
The brain is also compromised by chronic steroid overdose. Hormonal imbalances that arise from steroid abuse lead to impaired cognitive function and memory loss, attention disorders, inability to focus, and in exceptionally severe cases, resulting in mental illnesses such as depression, which lead to suicidal behavior.
Managing Cases of Steroid Overdose
In the event of a possible steroid overdose incident, please endeavor to contact 911 and a poison control center immediately. The toxicity levels of steroids reach their peak in a matter of minutes. A common mistake most people make because the effects of steroid overdoses start as mild, but they quickly build up, and what seems like a non-threatening situation can spiral out of control and become a life-threatening situation. You can also reach out to us if you think you may be experiencing the effects of a steroid overdose. You can also call to report an incident of steroid overdose for a neighbor or loved one.
The foremost strategy to curtailing the prevalence of steroid overdose is education and re-orientation. We must continue to counsel young people on the importance of self-sufficiency and esteem. Body image and dysmorphia are topics that should be highlighted more in schools and educational institutions. The media has a special role in laying as they reflect the values of every society. The promotion of healthy habits in adverts would go a long way to sensitize the public on the benefits of living free from drug influence and also highlight the dangers of steroid overdose and its consequences. Renowned sportsmen and women also need to lend their voices as they are held in high esteem by upcoming athletes.
With the aid of supportive behavioral psychotherapy and patient enlightenment of the various withdrawal signs and symptoms being sufficient plans of care, victims of steroid overdose can effectively be rehabilitated. Psychopharmacological intervention would also go a long way to reintegrate them into society. With the inclusion of prescribed anti-anxiety or anti-depressants in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy, the effects of steroid abuse would be a thing of the past.
Give us a call on our hotline, 615-490-9376. We have a team of competent call center agents who are ever ready to attend to you. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You shall be contacted by professional counselors and medical practitioners who will answer all your questions and advise you on the right steps to take. We also work with non-profit organizations to help plan and organize rehabilitation programs for people who are struggling with Steroid Overdose.
Ben Lesser is one of the most sought-after experts in health, fitness and medicine. His articles impress with unique research work as well as field-tested skills. We are honored to have Ben writing exclusively for Dualdiagnosis.org.