What Are Steroids
So many athletes get in trouble for using steroids, which prompts the question, "What are steroids?". In the broadest sense of the term, steroids are chemical compounds of a specific type. Examples of steroids are testosterone, estrogen and cholesterol. Steroids are naturally occurring in plants and animals and often synthesized by humans.
The anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) that athletes abuse are synthesized compounds that are designed to act like testosterone. In the every day conversational sense of the word, "steroids" refers to this class of drugs. The anabolic aspect of steroids builds up muscles when the steroids are taken regularly. The androgenic aspect increases the user's masculine qualities. Athletes often use steroids to boost performance in sports.
There are different types of steroids that fit into the anabolic-androgenic category. Athletes sometimes use more than one kind of AAS for their combined effects. The user either injects the steroids or he ingests them orally.
In men, steroids bond with the same receptors that testosterone does. In women, they bond with the estrogen receptors. Steroids build muscle and enhance male qualities in both men and women.
Side effects of regular steroid use include aggression, mood swings, manic episodes. paranoia and delusions of grandiosity. Long term side effects of steroids in men include shrinkage of the testicles, infertility and even some female characteristics in men such as bigger breasts. Women develop male physical characteristics such as a deeper voice and an increase of body hair.
Steroids are addictive in humans and some animals, but not euphoric like cocaine and alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms do occur in people who regularly use steroids before suddenly stopping their use.