By definition, anabolic steroids are essentially synthetics of the male hormone testosterone. There are two main effects: anabolic and androgenic. By anabolic effect, it means that the drug promotes muscle building. Androgenic effects, on the other hand, are more on the development and maintenance of male characteristics. A more proper name for this type of drug is anabolic-androgenic steroid. This is different from corticosteroids (i.e. cortisone and prednisolone) which are medically prescribed to treat asthma and skin disorders or as anti-inflammatories. Corticosteroids have no muscle building or masculinising effects.
Anabolic steroid was originally contrived in the 1930s after discovering androgen. It was developed as a treatment for hypogonadism, a disorder where the testes are unable to produce enough testosterone and therefore causing abnormal growth, development and sexual functions. Today, it is primarily used to treat delayed puberty, some types of infertility, and wasting of the body caused by HIV infection, cancer or other diseases.
When it was found that anabolic-androgenic steroids increase weight and enhance strength, it became the wonder drug of athletes. When steroids were banned in sports and athletics, the public’s curious half embarked into knowing more about its use. However, since it was considered an illegal substance, only the side effects were made available. The banning and withholding of the proper usage of anabolic-androgenic steroids on the other hand brought a double-edged sword: misuse and abuse from users who use them for aesthetics purposes, and stingy counterfeit and underground production of steroids.
As a banned substance, we were only made aware of the negative effects and most of them were masked as half-truths, and some were myths and fancies.
Clinically, there is no denying that steroids greatly boost stamina, endurance, and muscle growth. Some supplements derive steroidal properties to essentially give the body needed nutrients and strength. However, with the much publicized antagonistic view on steroids, many still believe that taking steroids would eventually lead to death. In a way, it does. But only to the extent of being misused and abused, just like any other over-the-counter and readily available drug or medicine in the market.
Another deceiving information about steroids is that it is only available through illicit means. The rave somehow has heightened unregulated and flaky versions of the drug as opposed to what is available in the market through prescription and guided supervision. However, since steroids is considered an illegal substance and possession entails a felony offense, it becomes not readily available to serve a bodybuilder’s crave to further pursue aesthetic goals. Thus, the burgeoning of the black market.
Yet the most widespread myth about steroids is also the most dangerous: if you want great results, take more steroids. This could be the ruse propagated by the black market which supplies almost 90% of the demand for steroids. Although this may be true in some types of steroids, overdose can wreck havoc to natural bodily functions and this may lead to death. Contrary to this belief, steroids should be taken in regulated dosage at a given period of time. Otherwise, it is like a silent enemy waiting for the perfect moment to claim an unknowing foolish and ignorant user’s life, body and all.