The purpose of this paper is to educate the reader on the harmful side effects of steroid use and the toll they take on the body of the user. I also discuss the legal consequences of steroid possession/use and describe the false claims made by steroid marketers. Steroids are defined as artificial versions of the hormone testosterone made by four joined carbon rings with attached hydrogen molecules. When the dangerous consequences of steroid use are overlooked, steroids can be promoted as a useful muscle-building drug. And many people around the United States take anabolic (anabolic means growing or building) steroid pills or inject themselves with this drug to try to achieve the perfect body shape. The reality is that the perfect body doesn’t exist and the side effects of steroid use are very harmful on the body and the brain. The resulting problems may be irreversible and can even cause death! Steroids, when taken orally, go through the digestive tract and on to the liver where they are processed and put in to the blood. However steroids taken through injection go directly in to the blood. Either way, steroids end up in the blood stream. Blood, as you know, goes everywhere in the body and has two main areas where effects of steroids are most strongly felt: In the Limbic system The part of your brain that controls your moods, memory and learning is called the limbic system. This is the part of your brain where anabolic steroids primarily act. People who use anabolic steroids usually see a drop in their grades and a loss of previous memory. However, the most noticeable change in a steroid user is their moods. The so-called “Roid rages” are aggressive behavior towards family, friends or even strangers. The symptoms can include severe and violent outbursts. Users also may feel feelings of depression and irritability. Within the Endocrine system The testosterone production control center in your brain is called the hypothalamus. Besides testosterone production, the hypothalamus controls appetite, blood pressure, moods, and reproductive ability. When anabolic steroids are present in the blood, they are detected as extra testosterone and the hypothalamus gets “confused” and can disrupt the normal hormone production and use! In men, the resulting missing testosterone can cause the testes to shrink causing lower sperm count, reducing reproductive ability and triggering a permanent loss of scalp hair. In women, the results of the testosterone imbalance can include stoppage of the menstrual cycle, deepening of the voice, shrinking of the breasts, and growth of body and facial hair. All of these results can be permanent. All of these problems can result form this one dangerous drug. Besides these most frequent effects of anabolic steroid use, there are additional harmful effects such as higher blood pressure. A steroid user is more likely to have a fatal heart attack than a non-user. Importantly, we should remember that many of these changes in the body’s balance are irreversible. So the steroid user may never return to normal. And finally, many people don’t realize just how serious the consequences are. Many people have died from the use of steroids and steroid alternatives. Even after only one use, steroids take a toll on the body so… STAY CLEAR! Anabolic steroids are classified as controlled drug and possession or sale by a non-medical person is illegal under federal law. People caught with anabolic steroids and with intentions to sell may face many years in prison since the Anabolic Steroids Act of 1990 has outlawed steroids in non-prescribed settings. Many people don’t realize is that steroids are an ILLEGAL drug for most people. Even simple possession is a crime that can result in going to the federal courts. The reason why some people do use steroids is because of false claims by marketers. They may claim that their brand of steroids isn’t harmful and it only builds muscle. The only fault with that logic is that such a non-harmful steroid has not yet been developed by scientists. You may have heard of medical use of steroids, but those steroids are catabolic. This means that they break down tissue instead of build it up. That’s why people don’t use medical steroids to try to build muscle. Besides, catabolic steroid side effects aren’t as serious as those for anabolic steroids. Based on the current evidence, anabolic steroids are a bad trade-off between desired muscle building and the often permanent and harmful side effects. It is even questionable whether they build good muscle. Word Count: 749

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