Healthy sleep is a crucial element of health. Inconsistent sleep slows us all down, can harm emotional health, work performance, appetite, memory and immune systems. We cannot function without good sleep.
The ability to fall and stay asleep and wake up is primarily controlled by chemical systems in the brain, but steroids disrupt this balance. Steroid users commonly experience sleep disorders, which may exacerbate other underlying emotional issues and problems.
Other side effects of systemic steroids include:
• Increased appetite
• Changes in mood.
• Muscle weakness.
• Blurred vision.
• Weight gain
• Increased growth of body hair.
• Easy bruising.
• Lower resistance to infection and so on.
Steroids can show up in a urine test for up to 14 days if taken orally, but If injected, steroids can show up for up to 1 month. So how long a drug can be detected depends on how much is taken and which testing kit is used.
How Steroids Impact Sleep
The most common side effects of steroid abuse are the inability to fall or to stay asleep for adequate rest. Sleep denial increases psychological stress, but it will also decrease your ability to think, achieve goals, or control your emotions. Additionally, many people also recount terrible nightmares if they sleep, so rest is often disturbed. Steroids may impair your ability to fall asleep, especially when taken in the evening, so if you are on prescription, your physician should know if it's possible to be brought only in the morning hours.
Our bodies create natural steroids within our endocrine system. You may have learned some of them: testosterone, estrogen, cortisol, and cholesterol. Our natural steroids perform several functions. They reduce small amounts of inflammation, control our metabolism, balance the body's salt content, help in immunity, and help regulate our energy and sleep. Any disruption in this natural pattern will significantly impact rest.
Steroids are natural chemicals produced in the endocrine system, which manages the following functions:
• Muscle growth
• Healing after an injury
• Sexual development and response
• Emotional management
• Fighting inflammation
Medical professionals often utilize concentrated doses of prescription steroids to treat inflammation due to injuries, muscle atrophy, and inflammation of the skin or organs. Unfortunately, people like bodybuilders and athletes often abuse concentrated or illegal doses to improve muscle mass and physical appearance. When this is the case, the drug can create a strong psychological or physical addiction.
Once hooked, it can be difficult and even dangerous to quit the drugs at once, especially without medical supervision.
If you have become dependent on steroids or find yourself in a dangerous cycle of steroid abuse, a quality addiction rehab program can help you end the cycle and live a cleaner, healthier life, often while still achieving fitness goals. Rehab and detox programs can protect you from dangerous withdrawal symptoms and relapse.
Risks of Steroid Abuse
In addition to disrupting sleep habits, steroids have numerous behavioural and emotional side effects. Anabolic steroids and even natural steroids introduced to the body without a clear medical need will tamper with all aspects of your life. One may experience:
• Mood swings
• Increased anxiety and paranoia
• Increased arguments and family conflict
• Financial strain due to illegal purchase of steroids
• Legal ramifications including fines and jail sentences
• Punishment, penalties, and disqualifications from athletic events and organizations
In addition to social, financial, and psychological damage, ongoing steroid abuse complicates physical health. It significantly reduces the body's ability to fight off infections and cancer. On top of that, steroids may cause uncomfortable yet straightforward issues, like increased acne, body and facial hair growth, and sexual dysfunction.
Although some of these more minor discomforts seem benign, they can be dangerous as they exacerbate any underlying issues.
Untreated health issues and untreated mental health issues only worsen when steroids are used. People who abuse steroids have underlying body image issues struggles with perfectionism, anxiety, or depression. Like most people in distress, people who misuse steroids will also frequently turn to other drugs or alcohol to self-medicate their increasing mental health concerns. This substance abuse may further destroy any chance at a good night's rest.
Prednisone, one of the chemically prepared steroids, has serious adverse effects like :
severe allergic reactions (skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of your lips/face/tongue),
• mood changes or depression,
• eye pain or vision changes,
• sore throat,
• difficulty urinating, or.
• high blood sugar (increased thirst, increased urination, confusion, or swelling of the ankles and feet).
Other Side Effects of steroids abuse might include :
• heartburn and indigestion
• increased appetite, which could lead to weight gains
• changes in mood and behaviour, such as feeling irritable or anxious
• an increased risk of infections – especially skin infections,
• Weakening of the bones
• High blood pressures
• causes symptoms such as thin-skin that bruises easily, a build-up of fat on the neck and shoulders and a red, puffy, rounded face
• eye conditions, such as glaucoma and cataracts
• mental health problems like depressions and suicidal thoughts
Most side effects will stop once treatment elapse. Tell your doctor if they bother you.
Coping with the side effects of steroid tablets
The following ideas may help reduce the side effects of steroid tablets:
• take your tablets in the morning with breakfast (although some specially coated tablets can be taken without food) – this may help prevent indigestion, heartburn and sleeping difficulties
• eat healthily and exercise regularly – this may help prevent weight gain and osteoporosis
• avoid close contact with people who are ill; especially people who have measles, chickenpox or shingles – get medical advice as soon as possible if you think you may have been exposed to someone with an infection
• ensure your vaccines are up-to-date – but do not have any live vaccines such as the shingles vaccines
Your doctor may reduce your dose or suggest taking your tablets less frequently (for example, every other day) if you're experiencing side effects.
They may also sometimes recommend other medicines to take alongside steroids to protect you from some of the side effects, such as medicines to help prevent indigestion or heartburn or drugs that help strengthen the bones.
You may, most times, be given a special steroid treatment card that explains how you can reduce the risk of side effects.
How to Stop the Steroid Use Cycle
Steroid abuse is often a tricky cycle. It can be challenging to ween yourself off steroids, even if you know it is the best thing for your health. Without treatment, you may relapse and increase your risk of illness or overdose. The dangers of steroid use to the rest of your life simply aren't worth it.
To cope with insomnia induced by steroid abuse:
1 Stick to a sleep schedule. Keep your bedtime and wake time consistent from day to day, including on weekends.
2 Stay active.
- Check your medications.
4 Avoid or limit naps. …
5 Avoid or limit caffeine and alcohol and don't use nicotine.
6 Don't put up with pain.
7 Avoid large meals and beverages before bed.
8 Yoga and meditation, a healthy sleep environment, and more can further help you make sleep a relaxing, therapeutic practice.
• Maintain a regular sleep schedule, as earlier pointed out, is vital. Predictability promotes calmness. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help you feel more reassured at night.
• Create a regular bedtime habit. Like a regular sleep schedule, maintaining a normal bedtime routine is an excellent way to wind down and relax before bed. It tells your brain and body that it's almost time to sleep and trigger sleepiness feelings. What you do during your routine doesn't matter as much as simply going through the same way each night, but you can add relaxing activities, including taking a warm bath, reading a book, or stretching your muscles.
• Maintain a healthy sleep environment. Your bedroom can promote anxiety if you're not careful. Bold, loud walls, clutter, itchy or dirty sheets, or an uncomfortable mattress can incite feelings of anxiety and make it more difficult for you to sleep. Make your bedroom a calming space with muted colours, clean surfaces, and bedding that's comfortable. Be sure to choose a mattress appropriate for your needs and alleviate aches and pains while offering good support.
• Practice yoga and meditation. Yoga or meditation (or both) before bed can help you wind down and get into a relaxing state of mind that may help you sleep. Yoga can help span your muscles and clear your mind, while meditation can help you push anxious thoughts out. A beneficial practise is mindful breathing. One way to practice conscious breathing is by inhaling through your nose for a count of four, holding for a count of six, then exhaling through your mouth for a count of eight. You'll focus on your breathing and counting, which can help realign your focus away from anxious thoughts so you can drift off to sleep.
• Keep a worry journal next to your bed. If your you're anxious thoughts plague you as you're trying to go to sleep, a worry journal can help you put them to rest. Writing anxious thoughts down into a journal makes it easy to remember what you were worried about, so you don't have to keep it on your mind as you're trying to sleep. You can let anxious thoughts go and deal with your concerns in the morning.
• Avoid common sleep pitfalls. Caffeine, exercise, screen time, and other stimulating activities can give rise to difficult relaxing when it's time to go to sleep. Avoid caffeine for several hours before bed. Similarly, don't engage in a heavy exercise in the hours just before bed, as increasing your heart rate and adrenaline can make it difficult to sleep. Restrict screen time, turning off screens at least an hour before bed, and never bring your phone to bed with you.
We can connect you with recovery resources and even help with insurance confirmation and logistical support. Please don't risk your mental and physical health any longer; call 844-899-1532 now and let us help you take your first steps to freedom from steroid addiction.
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. He is a freelance medical writer specializing in creating content to improve public awareness of health topics. We are honored to have Ben writing exclusively for Dualdiagnosis.org.