Anabolic steroids are artificially produced substances that have a muscle-building (anabolic) effect. Their chemical structure is similar to testosterone, a male sex hormone. Like testosterone, anabolic steroids also have an androgenic effect. This describes the maturation of typical male sexual characteristics such as stronger body hair or a deep voice. These substances are therefore also called anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS).
In 1935 Ernst Laqueur succeeded for the first time in isolating testosterone from bull testicles. As a result, great efforts were made to produce steroid hormones artificially in order to obtain a pure anabolic steroid without the androgenic effect. However, this was not successful because every anabolic substance always has an androgenic effect.
In medicine, anabolic steroids are used to treat hypogonadism (see more on anavar review).This disease is associated with a lack of androgen. This means that the body produces too little testosterone. Androgens such as testosterone are not vital, if boys suffer from hypogonadism, but with the beginning of puberty the additional administration of androgens is necessary, because otherwise it can come to developmental disorders. Untreated adolescents suffer from high growth and underdeveloped muscles. In adults, osteoporosis, muscle atrophy and loss of sexual potency and fertility can result.
Anabolic steroids have become known above all for their misuse as doping agents in sports. In high-performance sports, anabolic steroids have been used to gain a competitive advantage. Due to the development and implementation of unannounced doping tests, however, anabolic steroids are rarely found in top-level sports. On the other hand, studies indicate that anabolic steroids are abused in recreational sports, especially among visitors to gyms. Here, the aesthetic aspect of muscle growth is at the forefront.
Anabolic steroids promote protein biosynthesis in muscle cells. To actually increase muscle mass, intensive training is necessary at the same time. The androgenic part of the steroid hormones causes the typical male appearance (deep voice, male hair growth). However, men do not necessarily become more male due to the abuse of anabolic steroids. Testosterone is also converted in the body to the female sex hormone estrogen. In healthy men, estrogen regulates fat metabolism, among other things. If the testosterone level rises as a result of the additional intake of androgens, the oestrogen concentration in the blood also rises. This can lead to the feminization of the man. The most frequent consequence is breast formation in men (gynecomastia).
In both competitive and recreational sports, taking performance-enhancing drugs entails numerous physical and psychological risks. Some athletes underestimate these risks, as most doping substances are also prescribed by a doctor for certain diseases. But unlike drugs that are intended to cure a disease, the same drugs have to be overdosed many times over to have an effect. This is where the great danger lies.
Studies have shown that serious physical changes and damage can occur. The consequences include damage to the cardiovascular system with an increased risk of heart attack, liver damage, virilization (masculinization) in women, gynecomastia (feminization), testicular reduction and reduced sperm production in men. In adolescents, abuse of anabolic steroids can prematurely terminate the growth phase.
The abuse of anabolic steroids can also have consequences for the psyche, such as irritability, mood swings, increased violence, weaker memory and concentration, lower libido in men and increased libido in women. There is also scientific evidence that long-term use of anabolic steroids can also lead to addiction.
In Germany, anabolic steroids are subject to the German Medicines Act (AMG). According to § 6a of the AMG, it is prohibited to market, prescribe or use drugs for doping purposes in sport . Since 2007, it has also been prohibited to possess medicinal products in non-small quantities for doping purposes in sport. This means that anabolic steroids can only be legally acquired by medical prescription.
Athletes can expect additional penalties. In Germany, the use of doping substances – including anabolic steroids – is sanctioned by the sports associations with a two-year ban on competition. In case of recurrence, a ban for life is threatened
12-fold higher risk with heroin
Heroin is found to be associated with the highest risk, both for suicidal thoughts and for suicide attempts. Almost half of all young people who have experience with heroin have tried to end their lives. Compared to non-users, the risk of suicide attempts with heroin use increases 12-fold.
Methamphetamine follows in second place. The risk of suicide attempts with the drug also known as Crystal is 7 times higher than with abstinence. The risk is almost as high when using anabolic steroids. These substances are misused to accelerate muscle growth. Adolescents taking steroids have a 6.8 times higher risk of suicide attempts.
The risk of suicide is lowest, but still significantly increased, when cannabis is used. The risk of attempted suicide is 3 times higher in young people who smoke weed than in students of the same age who do not use drugs.