Anabolic steroids are a synthetic testosterone compound to increase muscle mass by increasing protein cell production, and to reduce the recovery time by blocking cortisol, a stress hormone, from attacking muscular tissue. Additional side effects include enhancement of masculine characteristics, such as a deeper voice, increased appetite, increased growth of bodily and facial hair, and increased libido. Anabolic steroids are available only as a prescription medication from a health care provider for treatment of a variety of conditions. However, as with any controlled substance, the black market is flourishing, particularly among amateur athletes and body builders. There are three methods of administering anabolic steroids; injection, orally, or a patch.
The adhesive anabolic steroid patch is placed on the skin. This is a transdermal patch, similar to those sold to aid in quitting smoking, or the hormone patch for birth control. It allows for a much slower release of the drug, with a steady dose.
Administering anabolic steroids orally involves taking a pill or capsule by mouth. It is the a method allowing the drug to be rapidly absorbed, however the compound needs to be fortified to prevent the liver breaking down the compound too effectively, so it's passed through before absorbed into the muscle tissue cells. Depending on the form of the oral anabolic steroids, they may need to be taken in multiple doses throughout the day, to counteract the quick absorption rate. It is also possible to take a liquid form of anabolic steroids orally, which puts less stress on the liver. This is a method sometimes chosen by amateur athletes who do not want to risk the tell-tale pin cushion look.
Injectable anabolic steroids are most commonly chosen by users without a prescription. This has a more prolonged release of the compound into the blood stream. When anabolic steroids are delivered via an injection, the shot should be given intramuscularly as opposed to inter-veinously. Safe areas to inject include the thigh, the shoulder, and the gluteal muscles. Only trained professionals should administer any medication with needles. Anabolic steroids are usually injected once or twice a week. When anabolic steroids are given by injection, there is a sudden alteration in the levels of the hormone in the bloodstream, which can enhance some of the negative side effects of the drug.
Non-prescription takers of anabolic steroids may use a method known as "stacking", whereby two or more different types of the compound are taken at the same time, or within a particular cycle. Each formulation of the drug supposedly has differing benefits, and these users want to maximize the benefits that may be available to them. They believe your body will become unresponsive if you continually take the same form too regularly. There is a lot of, not necessarily false, but misled information available on the internet regarding the use of steroids available to wannabe body builders and prime athletes. Often, the goal of these people is not necessarily to gain an unfair edge over competitors, but taking the drug for their own bragging rights and to make their bodies look good.