Coming off Anabolic Steroids
Many people are hesitant to consult a physician when dealing with anabolic androgenic steroid (AAS) abuse. Although AAS are illegal, and speaking to a doctor can be daunting, it is the first hurdle on the road to recovery. The biggest mistake one can make when deciding to come off of an AAS cycle is to simply stop taking the drugs altogether. Steroids are powerful hormones, and sometimes simply discontinuing usage can cause as many problems as using them.
The “bridge” is a term used to describe the gap in time from when AAS are eliminated from your system, to when the body again starts the production of natural testosterone.
During this time there is a shift in the hormonal balance between estrogen and testosterone, in which the former is elevated and the latter is very low or nonexistent. Medical assistance and the use of prescribed medications can make this transition more manageable by eliminating or significantly reducing this timeframe, as well as minimizing the number and severity of potential side effects. Frequently, a doctor will requisition blood tests to properly dose medicine and further assess internal damage. After thoroughly evaluating your condition, an effective course of action can be recommended. Such action may involve immediate discontinuation, or a gradual tapering of drugs to permit the body to more slowly normalize.
The first step in speaking to a doctor about coming off steroids is to gather the necessary information regarding your steroid use. It is therefore important to be open and honest regarding every aspect of your steroid history including: all of the drugs taken (steroids & ancillaries); the length of usage; your dosages & scheduling habits; and any experienced physical & mental side effects. Since AAS are sold under many names, in several countries, and on the black market, it is recommended that the patient bring a list of all of the products taken, and if possible the actual purchased containers.
The cessation of physical activity when coming off steroids is a very common mistake. Physical training helps to keep endorphins high, staves off depression, helps to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, and plays an important role in maintaining general health. Be sure to consume an adequate and balanced diet including lots of water. Be certain to follow your physician’s instructions regarding dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.
Similar to mind altering drugs, the potential for addiction to AAS is very real. Such mental and emotional complications should not be confronted alone. Your doctor may be able to recommend a counselor who is qualified to assist in this final and necessary step to ending steroid abuse.