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Is Your Teen Using Steroids?


teen taking steroids

The National Institute on Drug Abuse explain that “Anabolic steroids are synthetic, or human-made, variations of the male sex hormone testosterone.” Testosterone is naturally produced in both male and females: females in the ovaries and other tissues, and males in the testes. When used properly, healthcare providers can prescribe steroids as a means to treat hormonal issues (e.g., delayed puberty) as well as to treat diseases that cause muscle loss (e.g., cancer, AIDS, etc.). Individuals that misuse steroids often do so in attempt to enhance athletic performance and/ or to improve physical appearance. Both men and women abuse steroids. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded study in 2018 found that about 0.5% of high school senior females reported having used anabolic steroids in the last 12 months, which was nearly one-third the rate of use by their male counterparts. Anabolic steroids are never prescribed to healthy teenagers.

How Are They Used?

Anabolic steroids can come in different forms. According to the U. S. Department of Justice Diversion Control Division “anabolic steroids dispensed for legitimate medical purposes are administered in several ways including intramuscular or subcutaneous injection, by mouth, pellet implantation under the skin and by application to the skin (e.g. gels or patches).” When teenagers misuse steroids they lack proper medical supervision, and have been known to take doses 10 to 100 times higher than the amount prescribed for medical reasons. The abuse of anabolic steroids can result in severe short and long-term consequences. 

Signs and Symptoms

In order to be able to tell if your teenager is using steroids, it is essential to become aware of common signs and symptoms associated with its use. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) provides examples of signs and symptoms that a teenager using steroid could exhibit, some of which include the following:

  • Excessive body and facial hair
  • Severe acne
  • Stunted growth
  • Accelerated puberty
  • Shrinking of the testicles
  • Bruising or marks from the injection site (e.g., thighs, buttocks, shoulders, etc.) 

It can be challenging to detect if your teen is using steroids, as some of the signs of steroid use mimic typical adolescent behaviors. Not all teenagers that exhibit one or more of the above examples are undoubtedly using steroids. When in doubt it is best to err on the side of caution and have your teen evaluated by a medical professional. 

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

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