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Steroids: Drug Abuse Signs and Symptoms

Understanding Steroids

Also known as:Arnolds, Gym Candy, Pumpers, Stackers, Weight Trainers, Juice

Know the Signs:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
  • Swelling of feet or ankles
  • Aching joints
  • Bad breath
  • Mood swings
  • Nervousness
  • Trembling
  • In Men: Nervousness, Development of breasts, Impotence
  • In Women: Growth of facial hair, Deepened voice, Breast reduction

Sometimes it's hard to tell if someone has been using steroids. If someone you know has one or more of the following warning signs, he or she may be abusing steroids.

Quick Facts About Steroids
  • Doctors prescribe steroids for specific medical conditions. They are only safe for use when a doctor monitors the person.
  • Illegal steroids are made overseas and smuggled into the United States or made in underground labs in this country. They pose greater health risks because they are not regulated by the government and may not be pure or labeled correctly.
  • Steroids can be addictive. Withdrawal symptoms include mood swings, suicidal thoughts or attempts, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite and sleeplessness.
  • The length of time that steroids stay in the body varies. Injected steroids may be detected in the body for 3 to 4 months while the oral types may remain for 1 to 4 weeks.

Your Heart on Steroids

Steroid abuse has been associated with cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. These heart problems can even happen to athletes under the age of 30.

Your Appearance on Steroids

In both sexes, steroids can cause male-pattern baldness, cysts, acne and oily hair and skin.

Your Mood on Steroids

Steroids can make you angry and hostile for no reason. There are recorded cases of murder attributed to intense anger from steroid use.

Risk of Infections

Sharing needles or using dirty needles to inject steroids puts you at risk for diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

Know the Law

Steroids are illegal to possess without a prescription from a licensed physician. It is illegal for individuals to sell steroids.


Other slang terms associated with steroid use include:

Roid Rage

Uncontrolled outbursts of anger, frustration or combativeness that may result from using anabolic steroids.


Taking steroids on an inconsistent basis.


Using a combination of two or more anabolic steroids.

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