Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are manufactured drugs that mimic the effects of the male hormone testosterone. They are prescribed to treat conditions such as delayed puberty and diseases that result in loss of lean muscle mass, such as cancer and AIDS.

Some athletes, bodybuilders, and others abuse these drugs in an attempt to enhance performance and/or improve their physical appearance.

Anabolic steroids are sometimes referred to as steroids, roids, juice, nandrolone, restandol, striant, or sustanon.  They are usually taken orally or injected into the muscles, although some are applied to the skin as a cream or gel. Doses taken by abusers may be 10 to 100 times higher than doses prescribed to treat medical conditions.

It is illegal to buy Anabolic steroids online or to have them without a prescription.

Under the Irish Sports Council’s Anti-Doping Rules, they are banned from use in sports.

Regularly taking anabolic steroids can lead to physical and psychological changes in both men and women, as well as potentially dangerous medical conditions.

Many people who use anabolic steroids believe that by taking the drugs in certain ways (cycling, stacking, pyramiding) they can avoid side effects (dangers).  There is no evidence that any of these methods reduce the side effects.

Physical effects

  • reduced sperm count and infertility
  • shrunken testicles
  • erectile dysfunction
  • baldness
  • breast development
  • increased risk of prostate cancer
  • severe acne
  • stomach pain

 In women, anabolic steroids can cause:

  • facial hair growth and body hair
  • loss of breasts
  • swelling of the clitoris
  • a deepened voice
  • an increased sex drive
  • problems with periods
  • hair loss
  • severe acne

In addition, both men and women who take anabolic steroids can develop any of the following medical conditions:

  • heart attack or stroke
  • liver or kidney problems or failure
  • high blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol
  • blood clots
  • fluid retention 
  • Stunted growth in adolescents

Psychological effects

Misusing anabolic steroids can also cause the following psychological or emotional effects:

  • aggressive behaviour and mood swings
  • paranoia and manic behaviour
  • hallucinations and delusions


Like many other substances, anabolic steroids are addictive. This means you can crave the drug, require more to get the same effect, and have withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking them. A person who is addicted to anabolic steroids will want to keep using them despite experiencing unpleasant physical side effects.

Getting help

  • Come to see the nurse in the Student Health Centre if you think you're addicted to anabolic steroids.
  • Treatment for an addiction to anabolic steroids will be similar to that of other types of addiction.

More information

Anabolic Steroid misuse

Anabolic Steroid facts  

Uses, side effects, and risks of steroids