8 Questions From Adolescents About Steroid Use

Addiction researchers answer teens' questions about performance-enhancing drugs.

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The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently offered adolescents the first ever "Drug Facts Chat Day." Students from high schools and middle schools across the country submitted anonymous questions online—about alcohol, the brain, addiction and everything in between—to NIDA scientists, including some of the nation's top experts in substance abuse. The scientists then responded with personalized, nonjudgmental answers. Below is a sample of the inquiries that relate specifically to steroids. All the questions and answers below are unedited.

Among the scientists were Nora Volkow, director of NIDA; Barry Hoffer, a neuropharmacologist and director of NIDA's Intramural Research Program; Larry Stanford, deputy director of NIDA's Division of Clinical Neuroscience and Behavioral Research; David Shurtleff, director of NIDA's Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research; and Kevin Conway, deputy director of NIDA's Division of Division of Epidemiology, Services, and Prevention Research. —Compiled by Sarah Baldauf

8 Questions Teens have about Steroids:

Micheal - Westland ms - I heard that men grow women parts when they take anabolic steroids, is that true?
Nora Volkow - their breasts can grow and that has to do with the fact that steroids will decrease the production of testosterone

polly - martin middle school - do drugs have anything to do with acne?
Barry Hoffer - Acne is one the unintended consequences of anabolic steroid abuse. For more information on the long list of steroids side effects you can visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/PDF/RRSteroi.pdf

bleach - grc - are steroids really bad for your body
Barry Hoffer - Yes, they are. In fact, many professional athletes who have taken steroids to enhance their performance have died from heart failure, liver failure and cancers like lymphomas. Teenagers who abuse anabolic steroids might never grow as tall as they would have, and may experience emotional problems and suicidal thoughts. if you want to learn more about steroid abuse please visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Steroids.html

crazy clown - lundahl - wouldn't steroids as a doctor prescription give you the same effects as using it illegaly?
Larry Stanford - This is actually a very complex question. The effects of anabolic steroids is going to depend not only on the exact type and amount of drug that is used, but, very importantly, on the person that is taking them. Steroids are usually prescribed to treat conditions that occur when the body produces abnormally low amounts of testosterone, such as delayed puberty and some types of impotence. In other words, they are prescribed to correct low levels of the hormone. Steroid effects will be different in someone in which the levels of hormone are not abnormally low and, in this case,their use can affect the normal production of hormones in the body. This disruption will have different effects in males and females. You can find a lot of information on the effects of steroids at http://www.steroidabuse.gov

CH2080 - BULLARD MIDDLESCHOOL - if you took steroids what are the affects on woman
Barry Hoffer - They can include bigger muscles, enlargement of the clitoris, acne, excessive body hair, male-pattern baldness, stunted growth, and emotional problems. If you want to learn more about steroid abuse, please visit: http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Steroids.html

XoLEXiSXo - Westhill - What makes a steroid help someone's performance?
David Shurtleff - Steroids are human-made substances related to male sex hormones. As you probably know, some athletes abuse anabolic steroids to enhance performance by boosting muscle size and reducing body fat. But the down side is steroids disrupt the normal production of hormones in the body,and can lead to reduced sperm production and shrinking of the testicles. Other changes include male-pattern baldness and breast development in men-(Yuck!).In the female body, anabolic steroids cause masculinization. This means that females will experience decreases in body fat, coarsening of the skin,and deepening of the voice. Women may also experience excessive growth of body hair(chest, chin, back, etc.) and lose the hair on their head. Examples of other effects are increase of the risk of blood clots and damage to heart muscle. Steroid abuse has also been associated with liver tumors and a rare condition called peliosis hepatis, in which blood-filled cysts form in the liver. Both the tumors and the cysts can rupture, causing internal bleeding.Most important, with continued steroid use, some of these effects become irreversible. If you want to know more about steroid abuse, go to: http://www.steroidabuse.gov.