Each drug has some “verge”, the top dosage, exceeding of which causes significant harm to the body. We’ll help you find the answer to the question: can you overdose on steroids? (By “steroids” we mean corticosteroids and anabolic drugs.)
Overdose of Corticosteroids — Main Consequences
Overdosage of corticosteroids (we wrote about them here: corticosteroids definition) isn’t a frequent phenomenon, compared to arising of undesirable effects, triggered by their prolonged use. Only if you consume extremely excessive amount of a pharmaceutical, Cushing’s syndrome, which implies water and sodium retention, edema, increased excretion of potassium and calcium, high blood pressure, hyperglycemia, serious bone weakness (osteoporosis), steroid-induced psychosis) can develop. Neuropsychic disfunctions (euphoria, irritation, anxiety, agitation, epileptic seizures, sleep disorders, moderate augmentation in arterial pressure), rarely epigastric pain, heartburn, stomachache, nausea, and vomiting can be observed. If a patient terminates glucocorticoids therapy suddenly, an exacerbation of the symptoms described above can be induced.
Some glucocorticoids (hydrocortisone, fludrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisolone) can lead to electrolyte imbalance (hypokalemia), arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), and cardiomyopathy. Diuretics, amphotericin B, cardiac glycosides elevate the possibility of overdose.
Symptoms of such a condition will disappear if you decrease the amount of the medicine and cease the administration of potassium and magnesium-containing drugs. Usually, treatment discontinuation is not required.
Can You Overdose on Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids?
The term “overdose” is conditional in this context, since doses of anabolic steroids and growth hormone, which are superfluous for the organism, aren’t established yet. Scientists are reluctant to investigate this particular issue because of the illegality of the substance in most countries. Caveat: it doesn’t mean that limits don’t exist.
Vast majority of pro bodybuilders are genetically gifted and they don’t have to resort to large doses of performance-enhancing remedies. Lee Priest (“The Blond Myth”) admitted that his musculature had grown after taking 500-700 mg of testosterone per week. He can be trusted, as he will rather exaggerate than belittle his “merits” in the pharmacological field.
Many athletes are sure that unusually gigantic doses (for instance, 1000-2000 mg weekly) are not characterized by boosted effectiveness. The same outcome is gained with adequate (average) dosage. Indeed, you may gain larger muscle volume than that attained with accepted norms of taking. But such an amount cannot commensurate with fat and fluid in the organism. The verdict is lamentable: encountering more side effects of steroids and money wasting. The period of the 1980s is associated with a multitude of overdose cases, since anabolics were widespread and relatively cheap. Nowadays, unaffordable prices hamper abundance of steroids, athletes aren’t willing to spend hundreds of dollars every week for this purpose. They can resort to Indian or Chinese meds, but there is a high risk of purchasing a fake product.
Moreover, extended steroid abuse may cause severe adverse events, such as:
- Kidney and liver damage.
- Elevated arterial pressure.
- Enlarged heart.
- Critical changes of cholesterol levels, even in younger users.
- Significant mood swings.
A dangerous side effect is atrophy of the testicles. The saddest thing: anabolics can cause an inevitable outcome – death. According to Australian scientists Darke S, Torok M, Duflou J. (University of New South Wales, 2014), victims of the fatal toxic effects of steroids are typically polydrug users in their thirties.
Can an Overdose of Anabolic Steroids Lead to Muscle Damage?
Surplus amount of anabolic steroids (over two grams of testosterone weekly) can be a detriment for muscles and induce the so-called rhabdomyolysis. It happens because androgen receptors are hyperstimulated by androgen molecules and anabolics.
Some imaginary beneficial aspects of such labefaction exist. The replacement of affected fibers occurs — hyperplasia is activated (although you won’t face instantaneous muscle volume enlargement or strength indicator growth). But negative aftereffects, namely weakness and swelling of muscles, their necrosis and, oddly enough, kidneys diseases, are life-threatening.
To avoid muscle fiber damaging, don’t use excessively high doses of hormonal medicines.
Measures to be Taken in Case of Overdosage
If you suspect an individual (your relative or your amigo) of having taken too much medication, make sure he/she receives medical help as soon as possible. Calling the ambulance immediately will contribute to the person’s survival.
If an athlete has been abusing anabolic steroids for some time and experiences chronic overdose, medical emergency may not be needed. However, given the severity of potential physical and mental consequences, professional consultation and abuse treatment should be provided. The value of a patient’s health shouldn’t be neglected.