Anabolic steroids – the kind used by athletes all over the world to help build lean muscle mass – are so easily available and their side effects so deadly that they have become a widespread threat to health. Their proven addictive properties only add to the argument that legal controls should be more stringent. And because withdrawal can lead to unpredictable violence, treatment should involve the best, most modern drug detox and drug rehab procedures available.
When pro wrestler Chris Benoit killed his wife and young son and then hanged himself recently, he had more than 10 times the normal level of testosterone – one of the anabolic steroids – in his system, and it was injected shortly before the murder-suicide, according to Dr. Kris Sperry, Georgia’s top medical examiner. Sperry said there was no evidence of any other steroids in Benoit’s system, and that there is no consensus that the use of testosterone can contribute to the paranoia, depression and violent outbursts known as ‘roid rage commonly associated with anabolic steroids.
Whether or not testosterone played a role in Benoit’s tragic actions, there’s little doubt that prolonged use of anabolic steroids can cause terrible side effects, and that they can be addictive. Yale University researchers found that high-dose, long-term steroid use can cause all the classic signs of drug addiction, including craving the substance, inability to stop using it and withdrawal symptoms. Drug detox and drug rehab programs would certainly be indicated to help long-term steroid users and abusers kick their habits.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) points to aggression, paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, impaired judgment and feelings of invincibility as steroid abuse side effects. Others include liver tumors, cancer, acne, shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count and infertility, male development of breasts, increased risk of prostate cancer, and stunted growth in teenagers not yet fully grown. To avoid these problems, people abusing anabolic steroids should consider drug detox.
The government placed anabolic steroids in Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act back in 1991, but I’d like to see the FDA and even the DEA take a closer look at how these drugs are being abused, and how incredibly easy they are for anyone to obtain, especially over the internet. Someone needs to make it clear to thousands of muscle-hungry young men and women across America that long-term anabolic steroid abuse can lead to dangerously violent or suicidal behavior – and real addictions that require real drug detox and drug rehab to regain their health.