Medical professionals agree that any form of performance-enhancing steroid use should be categorized as steroid abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that more than half a million high school students use anabolic steroids, causing damage to their developing bodies.
Steroid use is the abuse of anabolic steroids, which are synthetic variations of the male sex hormone testosterone. The full medical term for anabolic steroids is anabolic-androgenic steroids. While “anabolic” refers to muscle building, “androgenic” describes the increased male sex characteristics that go hand in hand with steroid use.
Rather than being medically prescribed, most anabolic steroids are sold illicitly, often in gyms or at health clubs, by prescription drug dealers. In this illegal context, common slang terms for anabolic steroids are Gear, Juice, Roids, and Stackers. In general, steroid use slang reflects the abuse of steroids to put on muscle while boosting performance and changing one’s physical appearance.
Although anabolic steroids can treat diseases that cause muscle loss, such as cancer and AIDS, steroid abuse by healthy people is dangerous. Side effects of steroids include kidney and liver damage, shrinking testicles, loss of hair, and heart enlargement. In teenagers, steroid abuse can lead to stunted growth, paranoia, violent outbursts, and depressive episodes.