Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are synthetic variations of the male sex hormone testosterone. The proper term for these compounds is anabolic-androgenic steroids. "Anabolic" refers to muscle building, and "androgenic" refers to increased male sex characteristics. Some common names for anabolic steroids are Gear, Juice, Roids, and Stackers.

Man-made substances used to treat conditions caused by low levels of steroid hormones in the body and abused to enhance athletic and sexual performance and physical appearance. For more information, see the Anabolic Steroid Abuse Research Report.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Juice, Gym Candy, Pumpers, Roids Nandrolone (Oxandrin®), oxandrolone (Anadrol®), oxymetholone (Winstrol®), stanozolol (Durabolin®), testosterone cypionate (Depo-testosterone®) Tablet, capsule, liquid drops, gel, cream, patch, injectable solution Injected, swallowed, applied to skin III**
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Headache, acne, fluid retention (especially in the hands and feet), oily skin, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, infection at the injection site.
Long-term Kidney damage or failure; liver damage; high blood pressure, enlarged heart, or changes in cholesterol leading to increased risk of stroke or heart attack, even in young people; aggression; extreme mood swings; anger (“roid rage”); paranoid jealousy; extreme irritability; delusions; impaired judgment.
Other Health-related Issues Males: shrunken testicles, lowered sperm count, infertility, baldness, development of breasts, increased risk for prostate cancer. 

Females: facial hair, male-pattern baldness, menstrual cycle changes, enlargement of the clitoris, deepened voice.

Adolescents: stunted growth.

Risk of HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases from shared needles.

In Combination with Alcohol Increased risk of violent behavior.
Withdrawal Symptoms Mood swings; tiredness; restlessness; loss of appetite; insomnia; lowered sex drive; depression, sometimes leading to suicide attempts.
Treatment Options
Medications Hormone therapy
Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if behavioral therapies can be used to treat steroid addiction.

How can you tell if a friend is using?

  • Rapid weight gain
  • Nosebleeds
  • Aggressive, combative behaviors
  • Depression
  • Acne
  • Passing out
  • Reduced sexual function
  • Testicular atrophy
  • Heart attack, stroke
  • Increased body hair & deeper voice (females)


National Institute on Drug Abuse