The Dangers of Mixing Steroids and Alcohol
When it comes to using and abusing substances, there are dangerous interactions that can occur. Many different types of medication can not be mixed with alcohol. This is due to the way that alcohol can change how the body metabolizes and breaks down substances. When it comes to steroids and alcohol, the same is true.
Steroids are already dangerous on their own, especially if taken improperly or outside of a doctor’s orders. They can cause many different side effects, including liver damage, high blood pressure, and aggression. Mixing steroids and alcohol can magnify these effects and lead to serious health consequences.
What Are Steroids?
Steroids are synthetic versions of hormone-like substances that the body naturally produces, that are made to operate similarly to lessen inflammation, which is the body’s natural response to an infection or bacteria.
To combat infections or bacteria, your immune system creates more fluid, which results in swelling, redness, and heat in the affected area. For example, when you’ve suffered from persistent pain or a skin injury such as a cut or wound.
These types of drugs are excellent at lowering inflammation and will help with symptoms like swelling, pain, and stiffness but they won’t heal your ailment long-term. This is a common misconception people make. They work quickly and effectively, which is why they’re easy to become dependent on and addicted to.
Types Of Steroids
Steroids are a type of drug that is primarily split into two groups: corticosteroids and anabolic steroids. They go by the name corticosteroids and are distinct from the anabolic steroids used by athletes and bodybuilders.
In some cases, including rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system unintentionally causes inflammation in the joints or other regions of the body, which if unchecked can result in lasting damage. To lessen this immunological response, steroids are commonly given. Here is an overview of the most common types of steroids:
Anabolic steroids are a class of synthetic drugs that are designed to mimic the effects of the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is a naturally occurring hormone that plays an important role in muscle growth, bone density, and sex drive. While these steroids can be used for legitimate medical purposes, such as to treat certain hormone deficiencies or muscle-wasting diseases, they are most commonly abused in an attempt to improve athletic performance or physical appearance.
Corticosteroids, on the other hand, are a class of synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a naturally occurring hormone that helps the body respond to stress. These steroids are typically used for legitimate medical purposes, such as to treat inflammation caused by allergies or autoimmune conditions.
Are Steroids Addictive?
Compared to other drugs, steroids are not commonly abused. Anabolic steroids, in particular, are classified as schedule III drugs meaning they have the potential for physical or psychological dependence. However, When steroid abuse occurs, it generally happens with anabolic steroids. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that up to 32% of people who misuse these steroids become dependent on them.
While the chance of becoming addicted to anabolic steroids is low, it may still occur. Addiction means that the user continues to seek out a drug despite the social, financial, physical, and psychological problems it may cause them. Generally, people become addicted to a substance after periods of misuse, with many people choosing to use substances to self-medicate. When it comes to anabolic steroids, the reasons why someone abuses them are a little different.
Often, young men and women will start using steroids to improve their physical appearance or athletic performance. Some people may feel pressure to use steroids from peers, coaches, or loved ones. Others may have body dysmorphic disorder, which is a mental health condition that causes someone to obsess over their physical appearance. Regardless of the reason, steroids are powerful drugs that can have a significant impact on someone’s health, both physically and mentally.
The Dangers of Anabolic Steroid Use
As we have determined, mixing anabolic steroids and alcohol is highly dangerous. However, abusing anabolic steroids on their own is also a dangerous practice. Anabolic steroids are synthetic hormones that mimic testosterone in the body. While it may sound like these drugs appeal more to men, women also abuse steroids.
They can be taken orally, injected, or applied topically. Anabolic steroids are used to build muscle mass and increase strength. However, they also have many serious side effects, which include effects to the:
- Cardiovascular system: Anabolic steroids can increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and decrease high-density lipoprotein (HDL). This can lead to an increased risk of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.
- Central nervous system: Anabolic steroids can have several neurological effects, including mood swings, irritability, aggression, and depression.
- Skin: Anabolic steroids can cause many skin problems, including acne, oily skin, and excessive hair growth.
- Reproductive system: In men, anabolic steroids can cause shrinking of the testicles, decreased sperm count, and infertile sperm. Steroid effects in women lead to a deeper voice, smaller breasts, boldness, coarse skin, and excess body hair.
- Musculoskeletal system: Anabolic steroids can cause bone and joint problems, including joint pain.
The effects of anabolic steroids alone should deter improper use. When mixed with alcohol, these effects can be amplified. Keep reading to learn why you should never mix steroids and alcohol.
Can I Mix Steroids and Alcohol?
The short answer to this question is: no. Mixing steroids with alcohol can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening. This is often the case with mixing alcohol and other substances. When steroids are taken in pill form, they are processed by the liver. The liver is responsible for breaking down both steroids and alcohol. Mixing these two substances puts a great deal of stress on the liver, which can lead to liver damage. In some cases, this damage can be irreversible.
Steroids can also cause dehydration. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a diuretic, which means it causes the body to lose fluids. When steroids and alcohol are combined, the risk of dehydration increases. Dehydration can lead to serious health problems, including kidney damage. Further, steroids can cause electrolyte imbalances, which can be exacerbated by alcohol consumption. These imbalances can lead to heart problems.
There are also psychological risks associated with mixing steroids and alcohol. Steroids can increase aggression, while alcohol impairs judgment. This combination can lead to dangerous and even violent behavior.
Treatment for Steroid and Alcohol Abuse
The harmful effects of mixing steroids and alcohol can be avoided if an individual avoids mixing these substances. At times, though, this is easier said than done. Especially when an individual is struggling with addiction or a co-occurring mental health disorder.
Treatment for alcoholism—also known as alcohol use disorder—generally includes detox, counseling, and therapy. Often, the treatment also includes medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Additionally, through treatment, the risk of liver damage, high blood pressure, and other problems that mixing steroids and alcohol causes can be mitigated.
If you’re struggling with addiction to steroids and alcohol, call Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center today. We offer evidence-based treatment for substance abuse and mental health disorders. Our goal is to help you heal so that you can lead a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Recovering from Addiction with Sana Lake BWC
Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center specializes in treating addiction and mental health disorders. Our evidence-based approach can help you or your loved one recover from steroids and alcohol abuse. Contact us today to learn more about our program and how we can help you heal.
Our caring and knowledgeable staff can provide the resources and support necessary to get on the road to recovery. Call us today to learn about our recovery programs and how we can help you.