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Anabolic-androgenic steroids (referred to as ‘anabolic steroids’ or simply ‘steroids’) are typically derivatives of testosterone. Testosterone is the natural male hormone that is responsible for the primary and secondary sex characteristics such as body hair, deepening of the voice, development of the male sex organs and sex drive. Steroids can assist in the growth and repair of tissues, mainly skeletal muscles and bones (anabolic effects). They also have an effect on the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics (androgenic effects).
Steroids were developed to treat medical conditions and have been prescribed to restore hormone levels in hypogonadal men (a condition in which the body does not produce enough testosterone), improve bone density, and to increase body weight and muscle mass in wasting syndromes associated with HIV. They are a member of a class of drugs referred to as ‘performance and image-enhancing drugs’, which are substances used to enhance sporting or athletic performance or physical appearance. Although groups like bodybuilders, weightlifters and athletes may use steroids for competitive advantage, some men use them to achieve a muscular physique.
Use the following websites to find information about specific drugs, including their long and short term effects, how they are used, legal status and information on mixing drugs.
Journal articles are a good source of explanations and discussions of drug and alcohol issues. There are several eresources with links to journal articles available in the State Library.