Parents of teenagers may be so concerned over their children’s use of alcohol or drugs that they discount the risks of anabolic steroid use and abuse. Yet statistics show that a small but growing number of teenagers are turning to anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs for improved athletic performance or to address issues relating to body image. In some cases, the parents themselves may be seeking human growth hormones for children who are smaller than their peers. When used improperly, steroids are as dangerous and, in many cases, more dangerous than the alcohol or drugs that a teenager’s parents will typically fear.
Effects of Anabolic Steroids
In the short-term, anabolic steroids can cause rapid weight gain and aggression. Teenagers who use anabolic steroids will experience increased muscular bulk, and they will likely have greater strength and ability (both perceived and actual) while participating in athletic endeavors. Those increases and improvements come at a great cost to their health.
Over a longer term, steroids can cause infertility and other sexual and developmental problems. Steroids will increase a user’s cholesterol levels and cause high blood pressure and other circulatory problems. Steroid users put great strains on their livers as that organ tries to rid the body of excess foreign chemicals. At an age when many teenagers suffer from acne and other skin problems, steroids will exacerbate those problems and cause related problems, such as jaundice and skin and scalp oiliness. Teenagers who inject steroids are also exposing themselves to hepatitis and other infectious diseases associated with injection equipment that has not been properly sterilized.
Stopping Teen Steroid Abuse
Parents who are concerned with their teenager’s possible steroid use should look for signs of that use, including mood swings and weight gain, changes in breast size (which affects both boys and girls), increases in acne, needle marks, and excessive aggressiveness. Teenagers who participate in certain athletic activities, such as football, wrestling and other sports that place a premium on strength and bulk,, may feel pressure to use steroids from their friends and teammates. Parents whose children are in these activities should remain particularly vigilant for signs of steroid use.
When used excessively, steroids can become addictive, in that steroid users who suddenly cease that use will experience greater mood swings and withdrawal symptoms that lead to cravings for steroids. Even after a steroid addiction is broken, some long-term psychological effects of that use can remain for many years, including depression and anxiety disorders.
Parents can and should speak with their children’s athletic coaches and mentors about the dangers of steroid use, and to determine if those individuals have implemented programs to prevent steroid within the teams that they lead. Even at an amateur level, some coaches and athletic directors are so focused on victory that they turn a blind eye to teenage steroid use. The parents are often the last and best backstop to prevent that use by their teenage children.
Please call the Last Resort Recovery Center near Austin, Texas, at 512-360-3600 for more information and assistance on how to keep your teenage children away from steroids and other harmful drugs.
The limited short-term benefits that your children will perceive when they use steroids are never worth the long-term health problems that those steroids will inevitably cause.