What are Anabolic Steroids?
Anabolic steroids are a synthetic copy of the hormone testosterone. They have been the subject of much debate over the last few decades as well as misinformation. Athletes, especially bodybuilders, may feel lured towards them as these drugs do increase muscle size, strength, and stamina.
Steroid Myth #1. Taking Any Kind of Steroid Will Result In Death
The first thing that we need to understand is that steroids are drugs. Even Tylenol and Aspirin can cause serious problems if you take them in large quantities. All drugs when misused and abused have the potential to kill; its not only steroids. However, since taking steroids is against the law, issues of product purity and authenticity as well as innaccurate information surrounding their usage add serious risks to steroid experimentation.
Steroid Myth #2. Steroids are Easy to Get
Another misconception about steroids is that they are easily obtained. As far as accessibility, the truth is that they are illegal substances without a medical prescription, so your accessibility will be through the black market (good luck as far as quality). In addition, if you get caught in their possession without a prescription you may face up to 5 years in a federal prison.
Steroid Myth #3. All Steroids Are Pills
On the issue of variety, there are many different types of steroid out there. There are injectable steroids and oral steroids. The injectable kind are generally more androgenic (provide male characteristics like hair growth and aggression) in nature and less damaging to organs like the liver. The oral versions are more anabolic in nature and cause more side effects than their injectable brothers as they have to be processed by the liver. Different steroids have different properties so there are some that have more tendencies to build muscle mass while others have a tendency to increase strength. As their properties vary, so do their side effects. Usually the stronger the steroid (especially if oral), the more side effects you can expect.
The Good Side of Steroids?
Steroids do increase size and strength. In fact, they do so very significantly. In addition to gains in strength and muscle mass they also seem to provide you with more energy and aggressiveness, things that are conducive to good workouts (but not so in interpersonal relationships). Depending on the steroid used, you may also get cell voluminizing effects that promote a bigger pump. Aside from even just the legal risks of steroids, the "good side" comes at a high price.
The Psychological Effects of Steroids
Based on the fact that steroids give you all of these good effects that bodybuilders constantly look for, it is no surprise that they cause a psychological dependence. Think about it. If you have been taking them for the past 8 weeks, assuming good diet and training, chances are that you got very big and strong quick. You feel unstoppable after the 8 weeks of use. Suddenly you taper them off, up until you completely stop their use. A week later after cessation of use you notice that you are not getting good pumps, that your strength is diminishing regardless of your best effort and that your muscle mass is shrinking! Add to that the fact that for the first few weeks after cessation of use you will feel depressed due to low testosterone levels and it is no wonder that there are people out there that never get off from them.