How does people abuse anabolic steroids?
Anabolic steroids are a group of natural and synthetic steroid hormones that promote muscle growth and strength. Testosterone is a natural anabolic steroids. The common use of the term refers to synthetic anabolic-androgenic steroids that mimic the actions of testosterone, the natural male sex hormone. They stimulate both muscle-building and male sexual characteristics.
Though most anabolic steroids need to be injected into the body to be effective, some may be taken by mouth and others used as a cream or gel and applied to the skin. The user will try to take enough anabolic steroid to increase the ability to exercise and allow muscles to grow while minimizing the risk of side effects and the potential of being caught. Usually steroids are taken in cycles with regular injections followed by periods of rest. Numerous books and web sites discuss the benefits and risks of different techniques to maximize the effect of a variety of steroids on the body. There is a large underground illegal industry that has grown to meet the demand for anabolic steroids and also provides methods to try to avoid detection.
Cycling, stacking, and pyramiding are three common ways that anabolic steroid abusers take their drugs. Cycling refers to taking a steroid for a period of time, stopping for the body to rest, and then restarting again. If more than one type of steroid is used at a time, this is called stacking. There is the belief that using two or more steroids at a time increases the effectiveness of each. Pyramiding combines the cycling and stacking. One or more steroids are begun in a low dose and the dose gradually increased until halfway through the cycle where the amount is maximized and it is then tapered to zero by the end of the cycle.
Exercise programs are tailored so that more can be done as the effect of the steroid increases. The cycles of steroid use are usually six to 12 weeks long and may be followed by a rest period.
In athletes who use anabolic steroids, a cat and mouse game exists. They try to time their steroid injections so that the drug is out of their system if and when they are drug tested. Sometimes masking drugs are also taken to try to “beat” the test by making the test negative. Designer steroids are being continually developed to again prevent their use from being detected.