Healthy sleep is a critical element of health. Poor sleep or inconsistent sleep slows us all down, can damage emotional health, work performance, appetite, memory and immune systems. We simply cannot function without good sleep.
The ability to fall and stay asleep and to wake up are largely controlled by chemical systems in the brain, but steroids disrupt this balance. Steroid users commonly experience sleep disturbances, which may worsen other underlying emotional issues and problems.
How Steroids Impact Sleep
One of the most common side effects of steroid abuse is the inability to fall or to stay asleep for adequate rest. Sleep deprivation increases psychological stress, but it will also decrease your ability to think clearly, achieve goals, or control your emotions. Additionally, many people also report terrible nightmares if they do sleep, so rest is often disturbed.
Our bodies actually create natural steroids within our endocrine system. You may have heard of some of them: testosterone, estrogen, cortisol, and cholesterol. Our natural steroids perform a number of functions. They reduce small amounts of inflammation, control our metabolism, balance the body’s salt content, aid in immunity, and help regulate our energy and sleep. Any disruption in this natural pattern will impact sleep.
Steroids are natural chemicals produced in the endocrine system, which manages the following functions:
- Muscle growth
- Healing after injury
- Sexual development and response
- Emotional management
- Fighting inflammation
Medical professionals often use concentrated doses of prescription steroids to treat inflammation due to injuries, muscle atrophy, and inflammation of the skin or organs. Unfortunately, all too often, people like body builders and athletes abuse concentrated or illegal doses to improve muscle mass and physical appearance. When this happens, the drug can create a strong psychological or physical addiction.
Once hooked, it can be difficult and even dangerous to quit the drugs at once, especially without medical supervision.
If you have become dependent on steroids or find yourself in a dangerous cycle of steroid abuse, a quality addiction rehab program can help you end the cycle and live a cleaner, healthier life, often while still achieving fitness goals. Rehab and detox programs can protect you from dangerous withdrawal symptoms and relapse.
Life-Altering Risks of Steroid Abuse
In addition to disrupting sleep patterns, steroids have numerous behavioral and emotional side effects. Anabolic steroids and even natural steroids that are introduced to the body without a clear medical need will tamper with all aspects of your life. You may experience:
- Mood swings
- Increased anxiety and paranoia
- Increased arguments and family conflict
- Financial strain due to illegal purchase of steroids
- Legal ramifications including fines and jail sentences
- Punishment, fines, and disqualifications from athletic events and organizations
In addition to social, financial, and psychological damage, ongoing steroid abuse complicates physical health. It significantly reduces the body’s ability to fight off infections and cancer. On top of that, steroids also cause some simple, yet uncomfortable issues, like increased acne, body and facial hair growth, and sexual dysfunction.
Although some of these smaller discomforts seem benign, they can be dangerous, as they exacerbate any underlying issues.
Untreated health issues and untreated mental health issues only become worse when steroids are used. People who abuse steroids often have underlying body image issues, struggles with perfectionism, anxiety, or depression. Like most people in distress, people who misuse steroids will also often turn to other drugs or alcohol to self-medicate their increasing mental health concerns. This substance abuse may further destroy any chance at a good night’s rest.
How to Stop the Steroid Use Cycle
Steroid abuse is often a tricky cycle. It can be difficult to ween yourself off of steroids, even if you know it is the best thing for your health. Without treatment, you may relapse, and increase your risk of illness or overdose. The risks of steroid use to the rest of your life simply aren’t worth it.
We can connect you with recovery resources and can even help with insurance confirmation and logistical support. Don’t risk your mental and physical health any longer; call 844-496-9429 now and let us help you take your first steps to freedom from steroid addiction.
David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.
Reviewed by: Kim Chin and Marian Newton