Use and Abuse of a Prescription Supplement
Anabolic steroids, unlike most addictive substances, are used not for a high or a rush, but to promote a set of desired physical changes. Anabolic steroids, related in type to male testosterone and other androgens, promote many changes associated with male growth in adolescence, raising skeletal density and promoting muscle growth and efficiency. In many cases, users want to enhance their athletic abilities, or want to look like people with athletic abilities. Over time, as the substance is abused, physical problems often arise. Men can develop secondary female sexual characteristics, including breasts. Heart attacks and circulatory problems aren’t uncommon. A portion of users will become clinically addicted.
The nature of steroid addiction:
- Anabolic steroids have been established to trigger addictive behaviors
- Detoxification from steroids
- Counseling and a new life
Addictive Behavior and Steroids
For many years, it was held that there was no addictive aspect to steroid use. After study, though, it has been determined that the change in body system, urge to continue using, and withdrawal symptoms are present. Withdrawal can include insomnia, restlessness, anger, emotional swings, and suicidal depression. Because of this last symptom, it’s strongly recommended that detox be handled through a serious medical program, with close observation, rather than attempted individually.
Because the symptoms of steroid abuse remain subtle, in many cases, the physical aspects of detox are less severe than some drugs. Detox is slow, and the affects as the body adjusts to the sudden reduction in sex hormones can be deeply disturbing, altering body-awareness, challenging sexual identity, and shaking the confidence of men and women used to achieving unnaturally high levels of physical perfection. Severe depression is a source of concern in anabolic steroid detox.
After detox, the focus is on counseling, and education in the effects of the abuse of anabolic steroids. Addicts are taught new habits, new ways of working and playing, and effort is put into helping them form reasonable body images and physical expectations. Personal counseling plays a larger role in anabolic steroid treatment, for much of the motivation for using the supplements had less to do with habit or pleasure or addictive personality, and had much to do with the demands the user placed on him or herself. A drug for overachievers, time must be spent teaching the user to accept the body they’ve been given, rather than destroy that body over time through use of an ultimately damaging hormone.
Finding Help and Counseling
Because of the sensitivity of personal counseling, it’s important to find a good professional who’s a match for the addict. The best progress will be made if the addict and counselor can work together as a confident and trusting team, working to reorganize entire ways of dealing with life and identity.
To find that perfect match is no small task. With many styles and schools of counseling and therapy and hundreds of thousands of practitioners, a personal search could take forever. Few laymen know how to fairly evaluate a professional counselor’s background and training. Few know how to evaluate the general appropriateness of a counseling approach for a given person dealing with particular issues.
In this instance, one of the most powerful tools available is the professional referral service. These services have already screened their clients. They know their abilities, are familiar with the schools of practice they trained within. As a result, a professional referral agency can often provide a well-filtered short list, allowing the addict time to meet and mutually evaluate each other.