Each user experiences their own unique feelings when using steroids and coming off the drug. When someone chooses to stop using they can experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms linked to addiction. Symptoms can include mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive, the desire to take more steroids, and depression. Evidence for steroid addiction is certainly not as strong as it is for other drugs like cocaine or heroin. Though it is clear that people develop a tolerance and dependence on them and willingly experience negative consequences when using steroids - both of which are signs for drug dependence.
Steroid abuse can also affect the heart (cardiovascular system) and cholesterol (lipid profile). Generally, in studies where steroids are abused, HDL-cholesterol (the good stuff) declines, and LDL-cholesterol tends to go up. Yeah, the good cholesterol goes down and the bad cholesterol goes up. In a related area, the heart often has to work harder because of this, and there also seems to be a steroid-related mild hypertrophy of the left ventricle which is accompanied by a decreased diastolic relaxation. This is very unclear, as regards steroid use, with regards to potential for reversibility and what portion is due to steroid use and what portion is due to training, which also increases ventricle size. Also in a related vein (ha ha) are increases in diastolic blood pressure. All of this increases risk for cardiovascular disease.
Awareness and educational efforts are working to help prevent anabolic steroid abuse in schools and communities. The Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids (ATLAS) and the Athletes Targeting Healthy Exercise and Nutrition Alternatives (ATHENA) programs, funded by the NIDA, and supported by the Oregon Health & Science University programs is teaching athletes that they do not need steroids to build powerful muscles and improve athletic performance. These programs provide weight-training and nutrition alternatives, increase healthy behaviors, less likelihood to try steroids, and less likelihood to engage in other dangerous behaviors such as drinking and driving, use of marijuana and alcohol , and and improved body image. Bother Congress and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration endorsed these model prevention programs. 4