Steroids are a group of drugs that are used to treat a wide array of medical conditions. They serve a variety of medical purposes, such as regulating the sexual characteristics of men after a surgery that causes imbalance in hormone levels, such as testes removal after being diagnosed with testicular cancer. Steroids are also used for regenerating muscle tissues in adolescents that are lost either due to cancer, or problems with the pituitary gland.
Steroids are also used to improve reproductive performance, regulation of metabolism, and inflammation, among other medical conditions. Their role in the improvement of muscle mass is extremely well known, thanks to sports scandals that reveal sportsmen taking steroids in order to bulk up and improve their performance. However, like all medical inventions, steroids have many beneficial uses, which are sadly used for underhand purposes.
Positive effects of steroids 👍
First of all, let us discuss the positive effects of steroid use.
Sportsmen are prescribed small amounts of steroids when they are injured. This is because steroids slow down and control the release of a hormone called cortisol, which slows down the recuperation of an individual by damaging the muscle tissues. Steroids regulate the production of cortisol, which helps the body to deal with injuries better and provides it with more stamina during a rigorous exercise regimen. As a result, the recovery time of an individual is decreased phenomenally.
A well known usage of steroids is based on its function of increasing the muscle size of an individual. Steroids increase the supply of nitrogen to the body, which in turn aids in the production of protein in the human body. The more the production of protein, the easier it is to build muscles. The effect is so dramatic that a steroid user will experience the development of muscles even if they do not exercise enough. However, coupled with exercise, the results can be outstanding.
Steroids are extremely useful in weight loss programs. Although ample research is underway regarding this phenomenon, it is not yet clearly known what causes the body to lose fat while on steroids. It is possible that this phenomenon is linked with the increased metabolism that steroids prompt. It has also been suggested that the continued usage of steroids makes the mitochondria or powerhouses of the cells to work at an increased speed, and that leads to fat loss since mitochondria are known to oxidize fat cells.
Negative effects of steroids 👎
However, all said and done, the adverse effects of steroids can also not be denied.
Steroids have been seen to have a highly negative impact on the brain of the regular user. First of all, they can lead to addiction as the regular user may become dependent on them. This is a natural progression from the feelings of euphoria that steroids inject the user with. Since these are basically hormone drugs, they lead to the natural effects of all hormone therapy; in this case, they lead to extremely increased levels of testosterone, which in turn leads to highly aggressive behavior; as a result, users are often seen engaging in highly destructive activities.
Psychotic tendencies, such as extreme anxiety, paranoia, depression, insomnia, violent mood swings, and unfounded suspicion have also been reported in regular and extreme users of steroids. In the most extreme cases, spilt personalities have been formed in users who have abused steroids regularly and in high doses.
Steroids may have dramatic effects on the physical features of the regular user. It leads to a lot of water retention, so the regular user will develop puffy cheeks and a rounded face. Increased testosterone levels will lead to increased body and facial hair with thinning scalp hair, in both males and females, thanks to the fact that steroids increase the production of DTH, a hormone that weakens the hair follicles and leads to hair loss and drastically slows down regeneration of hair. Users will also report having bad breath, and developing a husky voice, especially among women. There is also an increased incidence of the formation of acne, both on the face and the rest of the body.
Another very serious side effect of steroids is the damage that they cause to the eye of the user. Certain groups of steroids, known as corticosteroids, are known to lead to permanent eye damage in users of both the sexes. This is because steroids affect the ocular muscles and nerves. As a result, people who use steroids regularly but in small amounts will initially only repot recurring eye infections that are difficult to treat, while people who use them for longer run the risk of losing their vision completely. Eye diseases such as glaucoma and cataract are very common among habitual steroid users.
Also read: Positive and negative effects of vaccines
Steroids were invented for the purpose of improving the health, and to help treat and cure a number of illnesses. With time, however, we humans have found a variety of other uses for this highly potent drug, and likely anything that is abused, steroids have also revealed their potential of turning against the user when taken in immoderate quantities.