Image can be a big issue during adolescence, especially as puberty changes the ways young adults feel, look, and act. The process of transitioning from a child to an adult can be extremely overwhelming and is often be full of awkward growth spurts, acne, and other uncomfortable shifts to appearance.
While many teens manage to weather the storm of puberty well enough, some young men find themselves wrought with anxiety about an appearance they believe will not attract friends or romantic relationships. Tragically, this insecurity and desire for larger muscles and a more toned figure can lead to the use of anabolic steroids.
Although steroids are most popular among professional athletes, the 2000s saw a rise in popularity among teen boys. Instead of accepting the tides of puberty, many young men take anabolic steroids to achieve a desired body style, putting themselves at risk for addiction and numerous negative health effects. With use estimated at approximately 5% of U.S. high school males, nearly 375,000 men and 125,000 women have fallen victim to these dangerous substances.
If you have seen rapid development in your teen, including muscle growth and aggression, steroid use may be at fault. Please contact Teen Treatment Center at (844) 319-5239 today to ensure your child gets the help he needs to overcome the devastating consequences of steroids.
What Are Steroids?
Steroids are lab-created chemical substances that are used to mimic the effects of natural hormones within the body. The most popular steroids offer synthetic versions of testosterone, a male hormone that prompts sexual development and muscle growth. Steroids are often used to treat medical conditions that cause muscle deterioration or to correct hormone imbalances, but their most common use is of an illegal variety. Available in both pill and injection forms, steroids are fairly easy to obtain and use for teens and adults alike.
Unlicensed use has long been popular among athletes, who often use anabolic steroids to promote fast muscle growth and physical strength. Seen in numerous sports, especially in cases of extreme performance, like the 1998 home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, steroids seem to promise all of the benefits of weight lifting in only a fraction of the time.
After observing the awesome feats and bulging muscles acquired by sports idols, many young men find themselves wanting the same thing. As such, younger and younger teens are partaking in illegal steroid use, leading to thousands of preteen and teenage users. With the social and societal pressures that affect teens today, the use of steroids provides a way to feel normal, especially for teens who develop at a slower pace than their peers.
Many teens try steroids just to see how they work, but their addictive nature can be gripping. A few weeks or months of use can be all it takes to develop a habit, creating an extremely dangerous dependency that can be very hard to break.
Effects of Steroids
Steroids are frequently desired for their positive effects, but many teens who try doping don't realize the consequences of long-term use, some of which are permanent and highly problematic.
On a short-term basis, steroids can seem like a great idea. Regular doses can trigger muscle growth, a more built physique, and increased strength and stamina. This can often be extremely enticing for young adults seeking a more adult, attractive figure, but in reality, these positive effects are the only light point in a highly damaging drug habit.
When used over a longer period of time, steroids can cause significant harm to the body, including:
- High blood pressure
- Increase in bad cholesterol in the body
- An enlarged heart and risk of heart attack, even in young people
- Liver disease and increased risk of liver cancer
- Kidney problems and increased risk of failure
- Severe acne
In men, steroid use can have other side effects, like breast tissue growth, shrinking of the testes, low sperm count and infertility, and an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Although steroid use is more prevalent in males, teen girls do use steroids, too. When used by women, anabolic steroids can cause a deeper voice, facial hair growth, the onset of male pattern baldness, and changes to the menstrual cycle and sex organs.
Steroid abuse generally doesn't cause traditional overdose symptoms, but the long-term effects of abuse can indeed cause permanent organ failure or even death.
Ease of Access
Steroids are extremely simple to access for many teens. While predominantly available by a doctor's prescription, steroids are sold on the street with increasing ease. Marketed under names like juice, roids, Arnolds, and weight trainers, teens seeking access to these drugs can often find dealers in close proximity to athletic teams and trainers. Like other prescription drugs, steroids can also be purchased from online pharmacies, making them easier than ever to acquire.
In addition to the negative effects of steroid use on health, using drugs to build muscle can also lead to an increased likelihood of other drug use in teens. With prolonged access to a drug that appears harmless on the surface, some teens will begin to believe that all drug use is beneficial without recognizing risks of addiction or health problems.
Signs of Steroid Use
If your teen is using steroids, there may be numerous warning signs. Regular steroid users may offer symptoms like:
- Change in weight and muscle mass
- An increase in time spent exercising
- Increased appetite
- More acne
- Lack of interest in school and hobbies
- Aggression, irritability, and hostility
- Violent behavior in response to everyday events
- Unhealthy competitiveness and jealousy
Parents who suspect steroid use in teens may find paraphernalia in a child's room, car, or backpack, including needles and empty pill packages. If your teen seems to be lying, sneaking around, or stealing money and valuables, this may also be a sign.
For regular users, withdrawal symptoms may appear when access to a supply is cut off. While these signs will vary from one patient to another, common indicators of withdrawal include:
- Mood swings
- Fatigue and trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Restlessness and fidgeting
- Food cravings
- Decrease in sex drive
- Depression and sullen behavior
While not life-threatening, these symptoms can be highly unpleasant and may indicate a problem with addiction.
Treatment for Steroid Abuse
If your teen needs a better way to confront steroid abuse, Teen Treatment Center is here to help. We are a licensed, certified rehabilitation facility dedicated to helping teens with a wide range of substance issues to overcome addiction, break the bonds of reliance, and promote a healthy lifestyle free of illicit substances.
Detoxification, or detox, is the first step in controlling steroid addiction. As a doctor-prescribed substance with distinct health risks, handling the physical signs of addiction takes professional interference to ensure safe, comfortable rehabilitation.
Recovering from steroid addiction can be a challenging road, especially for teens who have made regular doses a habit. In order to manage symptoms, Teen Treatment Center provides access to expert medical assistance around the clock, ensuring medication and clinical support that can minimize any side effects. Our doctors and nurses can provide resources as necessary, like therapy and prescriptions to control symptoms nausea and fatigue, helping your child to recover as quickly as possible.
Counseling and Therapy
In addition to medical detox, Teen Treatment Center also offers counseling services to help teens get to the root of an addiction problem. In both group and individual settings, our specialized therapists will work with your teen, helping him to explore what issues lead to steroid use, the feelings brought about through steroids, and the personal issues that necessitated changing physical appearance with drugs. During these conversations, we can help your teen build self-confidence, explore other ways to improve self-esteem, and implement new coping mechanisms, ensuring a healthy, sober lifestyle.
Our services are extensive, with opportunities including:
- Individual counseling
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Academic support
- Court liaison services
- Recreational therapy
- Basic living skills
- Spiritual care
Gender Separate Inpatient Rehab
Life as a teen can be hard, with or without drug use. In order to make recovery as easy and effective as possible, Teen Treatment Center favors a gender separate approach to therapy. This process helps minimize distractions, helping teens to focus on recovery without risk of judgment or threat of romantic relationships. It can also improve performance in therapy sessions, providing even insecure or anxious teens a safe and comfortable environment in which to share.
Let Us Help!
Discovering steroid abuse and addiction in your teen can be very frightening, but help is here when you are ready. Teen Treatment Center provides a comprehensive option for addiction rehabilitation, offering a chance to overcome a reliance on steroids once and for all.
Ready to see what we have to offer? Contact us today at (844) 319-5239 to speak to an admissions counselor for a confidential consultation. Our intake team is standing by day and night to offer you the support you deserve.
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