Steroid withdrawal is a set of symptoms caused by abruptly ceasing anabolic/androgenic steroids after a prolonged period on them.
Most bodybuilders and athletes who decide to stop using illegal drugs will experience some form of withdrawal, but not all types are created equal. The most common types of steroid withdrawal include:
– Psychological withdrawal from the desired effects of steroids (including changes in mood, energy levels, etc.)
– Physical steroid withdrawal resulting from adverse side effects or low testosterone levels. This can occur if taking anabolic/androgenic steroids without cycling properly, stacking multiple steroids at once, or going off for more than one cycle at a time.
Most cases of withdrawal involve fluctuating hormone levels, significant mood changes, and other physical symptoms that can be very unpleasant. Therefore, it’s essential to stop using all anabolic steroids when you finish a cycle to avoid side effects like low testosterone.
Most people usually experience psychological steroid withdrawal before any physical symptoms since the desired effects keep them coming back for more. Emotional symptoms are not always recognized because they are not always severe or overwhelming at first, but negative thoughts and mood swings caused by steroid abuse will worsen with time if usage continues or is left unchecked. The most common signs of psychological steroid withdrawal include:
- Elevated aggression levels
- Difficulties in controlling anger/temper/frustration
- Mood swings (from depression to irritability)
- Anxiety (often extreme at first, but gradually decreases with time)
- Difficulty focusing/concentrating on tasks or hobbies (sometimes forgetting how to do simple things like brushing teeth or writing one’s name)
Physical steroid withdrawal can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months; this depends mainly on the length of the cycle and the dosage used. For example, if you took high doses for long periods, then it will be harder to switch back to normal hormonal levels than if you’d only taken low doses for short periods. The most common physical symptoms of steroid withdrawal include:
- Inflamed/enlarged breasts in men (gynecomastia); sore nipples in women
- Miserable feelings of fatigue; feeling like you got hit by a truck after taking steroids all your life
- Aches, pains, and muscle cramping (especially in the lower back)
- Severe loss of energy/stamina; increased fatigue with even low levels of activity
- Suicidal thoughts; depression; apathy towards everything; lack of interest in work or hobbies
In some rare cases, people have been known to experience permanent effects from steroid withdrawal. This can vary from person to person but usually depends on how much damage has been done to the body during steroids. In most cases stopping anabolic/androgenic steroids will return hormone levels almost immediately once discontinued usage. However, if the individual takes a powerful steroid with a long half-life, permanent effects can last for months or even years after being stopped.
There are several methods that people use to reduce physical and psychological symptoms of steroid withdrawal; some of which include:
• Prescription drugs (such as benzodiazepines or clonazepam)
• Over the counter medications (such as Advil/Ibuprofen or acetaminophen/paracetamol)
• Vitamins and supplements (usually protein shakes with creatine added)
• Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, exercise, etc.
It is recommended to ride out the withdrawal process without using any medications or supplements in most cases. This can help people avoid becoming dependent on prescription/over-the-counter drugs and reduce the risk of overdosing. In most cases, steroid withdrawal is not life-threatening and will end within a few weeks to months depending on how long one had been on anabolic steroids, what type they were using, and even dosage levels.
It’s important to note that everyone goes through steroid withdrawal differently; a lot of this has to do with how long one has been on anabolic/androgenic steroids, individual genetics (some people are more sensitive to fluctuating hormonal levels), medical conditions that may have affected you before taking steroids, etc. Many medical documents are available online from various steroid message boards of men and women who suffered gynecomastia for months, sometimes years after they stopped taking anabolic/androgenic steroids. This will subside on its own with time; however, there are surgical options available if the individual is feeling particularly distressed due to this symptom.