What are Steroids' Effects?

Matthew F.

The effect of steroids on a person, like the effect they have had on the sports world, can be huge. Both positive and negative, these effects have been studied since the 1970s. Steroids have been known to increase body and muscle size of users dramatically in very short periods as a workout supplement. Adversely, they have also been known to create in users significant psychiatric symptoms, such as aggression and violence.

Anabolic steroids.
Anabolic steroids.

The steroids that are associated with different sports and muscle gain are known as anabolic steroids. Including human growth hormone and other performance enhancing drugs, they have produced steroids effects in men and women throughout the world. Among these effects are the development of masculine features, in both males and females, such as the growth of hair and the vocal cords.

Large doses of steroids might cause more acne outbreaks.
Large doses of steroids might cause more acne outbreaks.

Other steroids effects include increased appetite, increased bone growth, and the formation of muscles cells, which leads to increased strength. These positive effects are coveted and utilized by body builders and athletes across the world, amid much controversy. Other effects of steroids effects that can be seen as positive include short term muscle weight gain, reduction of fat mass, and strength increases from as much as 5-20%. Lean muscles mass is the area most positively affected, especially when combined with the workouts common to so many anabolic steroid users.

Steroids may be used to help build muscle.
Steroids may be used to help build muscle.

Some negative effects noticed in humans through the development of anabolic steroids have included an increased sexual desire, but a suppression of sexual hormones and a decrease of sperm production. In large doses, steroids effects have include increased cholesterol, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and artery disease, and the increased presence of acne. Sex-specific effects include infertility in men, an enlarged clitoris in women, and adverse fetal development in pregnant women. In both sexes, steroids have been known to stunt growth.

Steroid use can lead to increased sexual function; however, it also causes testicle shrinking and low sperm count.
Steroid use can lead to increased sexual function; however, it also causes testicle shrinking and low sperm count.

Among the most controversial and dangerous adverse effects of steroids have been psychiatric, and have been documented heavily on news programs. Known as “roid rage,” the steroids effects on a person’s mental state have been studied significantly. These include tendencies toward aggression, violence, mania, and, in some cases, even psychosis. Mood disorders and depression have been reported often, and suicide has been the result in at least one very public case in 2008. Though some claim that abuse is the main factor of these effects, the causes have been linked to steroids in general since their introduction into popular medicine and drugs.

Some women have clitoral enlargement because of steroid use.
Some women have clitoral enlargement because of steroid use.
Mood disorders and depression are common psychological effects of steroid use.
Mood disorders and depression are common psychological effects of steroid use.

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Discussion Comments


@john57: There are two types of steroids. Anabolic leads to muscle growth. The steroid you were taking was not an anabolic steroid.


I have only been on steroids once for a few days and that was long enough for me. I had an allergic reaction to a bee sting, and was sent home from the hospital with a prescription to take Prednisone for a few days.

Even after taking this for just a couple of days, I began to have side effects from these steroids. I gained 5 pounds in 3 days, but what really bothered me was that I was unable to sleep.

My doctor warned me of this, and he was right. After three days I couldn't stand it any longer because I was absolutely exhausted.

It gave me a much better understanding of what people who have to take something like this on a long term basis go through.

These steroids did have positive effects and the biggest one was that none of my joints hurt when I was taking it, but I still do not want to take them if I don't absolutely have to.


A lot of people don't realize the difference between different kinds of steroids. Anabolic steroids have the effects of sex hormones, which they mimic. (They do have legitimate medical uses, however.)

There are also corticosteroids, which can be inhaled. These do not have to be "tapered off" like other kinds of steroids (including prednisone) and don't have as many side effects. I don't know how I ever got by without the inhaled nasal steroids for my allergies!

And if you have asthma and you're not on an inhaled steroid like Flovent, you are *not* receiving the best treatment. Talk to your doctor, or fire him/her and get one who know what they're doing!


I know this article mentioned that steroids can cause infertility in men. However, I would like to bring up another one of steroids physical effects on men: testicular atrophy.

In addition to all of the other unpleasant physical side effects steroids can cause, they can cause a mans testicles to shrink. I would think that even if a man didn't care about his liver, or the possibility of depression or any of the other negative effects, they might at least think twice about taking steroids after hearing about this side effect.

After all, no one wants their sex organs to atrophy.


@Azuza - I don't think those side effects sound too pleasant either. However, I understand why some athletes and body builders turn to anabolic steroids.

If you think about, there are some positive effects of steroids if you're a serious athlete. They help you build muscle and perform more successfully. If you perform better, you make more money and have access to a lot more opportunities. I can see why some athletes might see the appeal in taking steroids.

I don't think I would ever take anabolic steroids, but I can see how someone who is under a lot of pressure and desperate to succeed might ignore the risks.


I can't imagine anyone being so obsessed with gaining muscle that they would risk the psychological effects of steroids! Steroid induced psychosis? No thank you!

Even if you don't experience psychosis, I think the other psychological effects could change your life in a bad way. First of all, depression is no joke.

And second of all, I imagine being depressed and in a state of rage could adversely effect your personal relationships. Most people aren't interested in being around a sad, angry person all the time.

In my opinion, simply getting bigger muscles isn't worth that risk.

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