Steroids are chemicals usually hormones that are naturally manufactured in the body by different organs such as adrenal glands etc. Steroids has vital role to play in our body. It assists all activities that organ or tissue has to perform in our body. This natural substance helps overall growth of the body.
Steroids are of two types, corticosteroids and anabolic steroids. Corticosteroids fights inflammation in the body. The laboratory made version is similar to cortisone that is produced by adrenal glands naturally in the body. On the other hand anabolic steroids are synthetic version of testosterone hormone. It is a dominant male hormone involved in building of muscles. It is therapeutically used in cases of delayed puberty in boys, and among people having muscle wasting from cancer or AIDS etc.
Steroids and their biological synthetic derivatives are used in physiological doses as a replacement therapy when its production inside the body is impaired.
Anabolic steroids build muscles and hence they are often abused and overused by people who want to build their muscles. This may lead to side effects such as low sperm count, infertility, breast enlargement in males, and females may have male pattern baldness, mood swings, anger and stunt growth etc.
If steroids are taken for long time, patient becomes addicted to them. They get addicted physically, mentally and emotionally. Steroid addiction is a major problem of use of steroids, especially for long term use. There are several steroid rehab programs that help the person to recover from its dependence. This includes methods such as detoxification, cognitive behavioral therapy, medications and counseling.
- Detoxification: Steroids cannot be abruptly stopped as there will be severe form of aggravation of the disease for which it is used. Hence the best way to reduce its dependence is to gradually taper its dose. During this period the physician monitors the withdrawal symptoms. Most common symptoms of withdrawal are depression, decreased appetite, fatigue, decrease libido, craving for steroid etc.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: Many patients who are dependent of steroids may feel depressed and sad as the steroid drug is stopped. In such cases motivational therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are useful.
- Medications: Some patients may need antidepressants and analgesics.
- Exercise: Exercise is beneficial to reduce the risk of steroid side effects. It also increases the hormones that make the person feel happy. Regular exercise after the recovery period is extremely useful to a person who has abandoned its use.