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How to Help a Steroid Addict

Help for Steroid Addicts

People who are addicted to steroids may need professional help to stop taking the drugs. While the dependency that develops as a result of their use may be different from that of other, more commonly abused substances, anabolic steroids can indeed be addictive—meaning that the body and mind may crave the drugs, even when a person wants to stop taking them.

What Are Steroids Used For?

Steroids are often abused by athletes and bodybuilders who set high goals for themselves. Anabolic steroid use can be difficult to overcome, because many users report feeling good about themselves while on steroids. They may also be receiving recognition for standout athletic performances bolstered by steroid use. Admitting to having a drug abuse problem or agreeing to seek treatment can be a difficult process for people addicted to these substances.

How to Approach a Loved One Who Is Addicted to Steroids

One study found that the best way to support a loved one during treatment is to learn about and understand their drug use. Do your best to learn how the drugs affect the body and what may have led your loved one to abuse steroids. Express understanding and genuine concern for their health. Make it clear that you will support them in getting the help they need, but do not continue enabling behaviors, like providing money for steroids. If you need help talking to your loved one about treatment, Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) can teach you the skills needed to positively persuade your loved one to enter treatment.

In some cases, depression during steroid withdrawal can lead to suicide attempts. With this in mind, it is extremely important that as the user’s family and friends, you remain supportive during their time of need and watch out for any red flags. If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911 immediately.

How Addictive Are Steroids?

Steroids are addictive. The drugs introduce additional hormones to the body, and this can result in the body craving the drugs at specific intervals each day. The signs of addiction to steroids can sometimes be very clear. For example:

  • Steroids result in a quick increase of lean muscle mass, so if someone you know is suddenly incredibly muscular, they may be using steroids.
  • A person taking steroids may have track marks from injections.
  • There may be bottles of pills lying around in their gym bag.
  • You might notice a strange odor from the use of steroid creams.
  • Sudden breakouts of acne can also indicate steroid abuse.

Learn more about the effects of steroid use.

Am I Addicted to Steroids?

If you find yourself craving steroids or needing more of the substances than usual to achieve the same effects, steroid abuse and addiction may be indicated. If you are addicted, you likely need help to stop taking steroids. If you have trouble going without the drugs or if you suffer steroid withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking them, you may have become addicted or developed a dependency on the substances.

Steroids do have some medical applications; however, dependence can develop even if you began taking the drugs for legitimate medical reasons. If you begin taking drugs more often or not as prescribed, you may be addicted.

Steroid Addiction Treatment

If you are facing an addiction to steroids, you are not alone. There are programs designed specifically to help you quit the drugs and get back on your feet. Inpatient steroid addiction treatment programs provide 24-hour care, with access to medical services if needed, so that you receive the best and most professional care possible.


Many inpatient programs will begin with a supervised detox period, during which serious steroid withdrawal symptoms may be managed. The anabolic steroid withdrawal syndrome may vary across individuals, but it might include symptoms such as:

  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Reduced sex drive.
  • Headache.
  • Tiredness.
  • Muscle and joint pain.
  • Anorexia.
  • Mood disorders.

Depression with suicidal ideation is the most immediately life-threatening symptom. If you detox within an inpatient facility, medical professionals will monitor you for changes in mood. Should severe depressive symptoms arise, close supervision, antidepressant medications, and other forms of therapy may be utilized.

Once your initial period of withdrawal has ended, addiction treatment will consist mainly of ongoing therapy—either on an inpatient or outpatient basis—to address the issues fueling the steroid abuse and addiction. You may benefit from therapy aimed at improving your self-esteem and helping you learn to love yourself and your body, as research shows that some people are driven to use steroids as a result of poor body satisfaction and an obsession with muscularity, or a need to get increasingly bigger. If you abuse steroids, you may have experienced these feelings of muscle dysmorphia or “reverse anorexia syndrome.” Feelings of low self-esteem and depression during anabolic steroid withdrawal may also be attributed to temporary hypogonadism—or the failure of the gonads (testes or ovaries) to secrete adequate levels of testosterone or estrogen.

Participating in therapy can help you learn to cope with any triggers that could potentially result in relapse. In addition, adjunct therapy, such as yoga and meditation, may be successful in helping you reduce stress and anxiety during withdrawal.

Support groups—such as 12-step programs—can serve as additional support for continued abstinence from steroids.

Call Our Hotline Today

If you or a loved one has taken anabolic steroids, it’s okay to seek help for a dependency or addiction problem. With help from a medical provider, you may be able to reduce the side effects of anabolic steroid withdrawal and minimize your time on a potentially dangerous drug.

Rehab centers are located throughout the U.S., and many offer specialized treatment that can cater to individual needs. American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading provider of addiction treatment programs and has trusted facilities across the country. Call us for free at and our 24-hour hotline will be happy to provide you with rehab and treatment information over the phone. You can also contact free drug abuse hotline numbers.

American Addiction Centers maintains a strong partnership with a large group of health insurance companies at our addiction treatment facilities. Start the journey to recovery and find out instantly if your insurance provider may be able to cover all or part of the cost of rehab and associated therapies.

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