Most people have heard of anabolic steroids, which are basically synthesized hormones that are used to treat several different medical conditions. In the UK, it is actually illegal to take anabolic steroids in any form unless they are prescribed by a medical professional, though many people take then anyway as a means to build muscle and ‘bulk up’. Anabolic steroids basically flood the body with testosterone, which is the hormone mostly responsible for muscle building and workout recovery.
This causes the muscles to rebuild faster and stronger after workouts. It also blocks cortisol from cell receptors, which helps to cut down on muscle stress and fatigue – thereby allowing the user to workout harder and for longer periods of time than they would otherwise be able to.
Of course, steroid use can be dangerous – and in this article we are going to talk about two very important aspects of the illegal use of anabolic steroids – stacking and addiction.
What is steroid cycling, stacking, and pyramiding?
People who abuse illegal steroids to ‘bulk up’ generally do so using one of these practices.
Steroid ‘cycling’ is a process in which anabolic steroid users take steroids in patterns. These patterns usually consist of taking several doses over the course of a specific period of time, and then taking a break before starting back up again – though when cycling, most steroid users only use one type of steroid.
Stacking a process where steroid users use several different types of anabolic steroids at the same time. They might inject different steroids, apply steroid cream, and even take pills in any combination – or sometimes even all at once. Many people who use steroids say that stacking helps to maximize the benefits beyond what would normally be possible with each steroid individually – though there is little scientific evidence to verify that this is factual.
Both cycling and stacking are considered dangerous because taking part in either activity generally exposes users to doses of anabolic steroids 10 to 100 times stronger than what they would normally get if they were being treated with steroids for an illness. This increases their risk of side effects and makes them more likely to suffer from problems as a result.
This is another method sometimes employed by users in an attempt to derive the maximum benefit from their steroid consumption. This method involves taking small doses of anabolic steroids at first, but then increasing this dosage slowly over time until mid-cycle, where the dosage will peak. Then, in the second half of the ‘pyramid’, the user will slowly reduce the amounts being taken until the levels used return to zero.
Most users who pyramid with anabolic steroids take some time off after the pyramid is complete. They believe that escalating and then de-escalating slowly will ease their body into the higher doses, and that taking a break after reaching the end of the pyramid will allow the body’s natural hormone balance to recuperate.
Many people wonder if anabolic steroids are addictive – and the answer to this question seems to be a yes in most cases. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse, “An undetermined percentage of steroid abusers may become addicted to the drugs, as evidenced by their continued abuse despite physical problems and negative effects on social relations.”
Steroid abusers also often spend large amounts of money and time obtaining and utilizing them – which is another indication that they are at least somewhat addictive. When people try to quit steroids, they also tend to experience some negative symptoms. These can include fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, mood swings, a reduced sex drive, depression, and steroid cravings. Sometimes, these negative withdrawal symptoms can last a year or more.
Are ‘Legal Steroids’ the same as anabolic steroids?
There are many products nowadays being advertised as ‘legal steroids’, which might cause some confusion among people who are interested in using them. Of course, nobody really wants to deal with the negative side effects of steroids – so are legal steroids truly ‘safe and effective’ as advertised?
It really depends upon the product, though in most cases these ‘legal steroids’ are actually not the same as anabolic steroids. They generally utilize an ingredient that mimics anabolic steroids on a lesser scale – though these ingredients are nowhere near as dangerous and are present in such low doses within the products that side effects don’t really seem to be much of an issue.
Legal steroids are actually supplements that include ingredients that cause an ‘anabolic-like state’ inside of the muscles – though these ingredients are, for all intents and purposes, deemed ‘safe’ and are not illegal to use.