As part of Sierra Tucson’s treatment for Addictions/Co-occurring Disorders, staff address Anabolic Steroid Abuse.
Sierra Tucson believes that the use and abuse of anabolic steroids can lead to addiction. This is demonstrated by continued use despite health risks and negative consequences, such as relationship problems, loss of control, and secretiveness. Cessation of anabolic steroid use is associated with withdrawal symptoms, including severe depression.
Recent studies have also linked anabolic steroid abuse to an increased risk of opioid addiction in men. As with cocaine addiction, sexual compulsivity, compulsive gambling, or other addictive behaviors, anabolic steroid abuse is serious and can lead to catastrophic consequences if left untreated.
Anabolic steroid abuse can result in permanent damage to the heart, liver, and kidneys. In males, steroid abuse can decrease sperm production, shrink the testicles, cause impotence, and produce irreversible breast enlargement (gynecomastia). Females can develop more masculine characteristics such as deepening of the voice and excessive body hair. In adolescents, abuse of anabolic steroids can stunt bone growth, reducing maximum height potential. Other side effects include acne, cysts, and oily hair and skin. Additionally, individuals who inject anabolic steroids with nonsterile needles risk developing HIV and other blood-borne infections.*
Secondary effects of using steroids may be aggression, irritability, rage, mania, depression, family issues, and even suicide.
Treatment for steroid abuse at Sierra Tucson focuses on the individual and treats the whole person for underlying issues that have prompted the steroid abuse. Whether steroids are used to increase performance, enhance physical appearance, or as a way of participating in high-risk behaviors, Sierra Tucson addresses the unique circumstances that led the individual to abuse steroids and then develops a plan for ongoing abstinence.
Although there is no acute detox phase prior to steroid abuse treatment, Sierra Tucson’s medical staff may use specific tests to help identify and monitor substance levels in the blood.
Sierra Tucson’s treatment for steroid abuse is a full spectrum steroid abuse treatment program including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT); Therapeutic and Recreational Activities; grief, loss and anger therapy; Twelve-Step work, nutrition and fitness consultations, healthy exercise; spirituality; psychopharmacology; Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR); family therapy; relapse prevention; and more.
The individualized, integrated steroid treatment programs at Sierra Tucson are highly effective for treatment of steroid abuse and any coexisting addictive or mental/behavioral disorders. Treatment for steroid abuse will help patients acquire a healthy body image, positive fitness strategies for optimum physical performance, and a balanced approach to life. With new, effective communication skills, individuals can build healthy relationships and enjoy a deeper connection with others.
*From National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – www.steroidabuse.org.