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Steroids In Teen Sports


teen using steroids

It is no secret that famous athletes have admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. Similarly, teenagers that abuse steroids, more specifically anabolic steroids, do so in attempt to enhance athletic performance. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explain that “Anabolic steroids are synthetic, or human-made, variations of the male sex hormone testosterone.” 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.). 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).” Anabolic steroids are never prescribed to healthy teenagers. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded a study in 2018 that 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. 

Signs and Symptoms

It can be challenging to detect teenage steroid use, as some of the signs and symptoms mimic typical adolescent behaviors. However, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) provides examples of signs and symptoms that could be indicative of teen steroid use, some of which include the following:

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

The abuse of anabolic steroids can result in severe short and long-term consequences. 


Anabolic steroids are classified as a Schedule III controlled substance, which according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are defined as “drugs, substances, or chemicals with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.” According to the Mayo Clinic, possible side effects can include: 

  • Liver problems
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Blood-clotting problems
  • Reduced sperm production
  • Shrinking testicles
  • Enlarged breasts in males, decreased breast size in women
  • Irreversible hair loss
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Acne
  • Mood swings
  • High blood pressure

The Mayo Clinic further asserts, “In growing adolescents one of the major risks of using anabolic steroid precursors is the permanent stunting of height.” 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.

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs 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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