Each drug has some “verge”, the top dosage, exceeding which causes significant harm to the body. In this article, you will find the answer to the question: can you overdose on steroids? (By “steroids” we mean corticosteroids and anabolic drugs.)
Overdose of corticosteroids –the main consequences
Over-dosage of corticosteroids (we wrote about these meds in the article about corticosteroids definition) in comparison with undesirable effects that arise after their prolonged use, is relatively rare. It is possible only with the consumption of very high doses of drugs. Cushing’ syndrome (water and sodium retention in the body, edema, increased excretion of potassium and calcium, hypertension, hyperglycemia, osteoporosis, steroid-induced psychosis) can develop. Neuropsychic disorders (euphoria, agitation, epileptic seizures, sleep disorders, moderate increase in arterial pressure), and sometimes epigastric pain, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting can be observed. Sudden discontinuation of glucocorticoids causes an exacerbation of the pathological process.
When using some glucocorticoids (hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisolone, fludrocortisone), electrolyte imbalance (hypokalemia), arrhythmia, and cardiomyopathy are possible. The likelihood of an overdose increases with the use of diuretics, cardiac glycosides, and amphotericin B.
Symptoms of overdose disappear with a decrease in dosage, and the administration of potassium and magnesium-containing drugs. As a rule, glucocorticoids discontinuation is not required.
Is an overdose of anabolics possible?
To begin with, we would like to note that the word “overdose” is conditional in this context. Neither doses of anabolic steroids, nor doses of growth hormone, which could be considered too high for our body, have been established so far, since this issue is not specifically investigated by scientists due to the illegality of anabolic steroids in most countries. Nevertheless, you need to know the limit.
Most PRO bodybuilders are so genetically gifted that it is not necessary for them to use large doses of androgens and anabolic steroids, as well as other hormonal drugs. So, according to Lee Priest’s own admission (and this athlete can be trusted, as he will rather exaggerate than belittle his “merits” in the pharmacological field), his muscle mass increased after taking 500-700 mg of testosterone at per week; he almost did not use anything else.
Many athletes believe that unusually large doses (for example, 1000-2000 mg per week) are unlikely to lead to any changes compared to the generally accepted (average) dosage. Indeed, the volume of muscle mass can be much larger than expected when taking steroids according to the accepted norm, but this amount may not be commensurate with the amount of fat and fluid in the body. Thus, you will encounter more side effects of steroids and waste your money. When in the 1980s steroids were not only widespread, but also relatively cheap, an overdose of steroids was common among athletes. Obviously, it was not difficult for them to decide to spend $20 a week instead of $5. But today, high prices hamper the widespread use of steroids in large amount, since in this case the cost of the cycle will be hundreds of dollars per week.
Moreover, extended steroid abuse may result in a serious set of side effects, such as:
1) Kidney and liver damage.
2) Increased arterial pressure.
3) Enlarged heart.
4) Dangerous changes of cholesterol levels, even in younger users.
5) Significant mood swings.
The most dangerous side effect that can result from an overdose of anabolics is atrophy of the testicles.
Can an overdose of anabolic steroids lead to muscle damage?
Doses of anabolic steroids that are too high (for example, more than two grams of testosterone per week) can, although rarely, lead to muscle damage, the so-called rhabdomyolysis. This damage occurs due to hyperstimulation of androgen receptors by androgen molecules and anabolic steroids.
On the one hand, such damage can be beneficial: damaged fibers are replaced with new ones – the process of hyperplasia is stimulated (although there is no instantaneous increase in muscle volumes or strength indicators). On the other hand, muscle weakness and swelling of muscles may occur. But this is at the very beginning, the process can end with muscle necrosis and, oddly enough, kidneys disorders.
Given the damage to muscle fibers and its possible consequences, it is not worth getting involved in excessively high doses of hormonal drugs.
Measures to be taken in case of overdose
If you suspect a person of having taken too many steroids and now experiencing an overdose effect, make sure he receives medical help as soon as possible. Calling the ambulance immediately will help that person to survive.
If a person has been abusing anabolic steroids for some time and his health condition is characterized as chronic overdose medical emergency may not be required. However, given the severity of possible physical and mental consequences, professional drug abuse treatment should be provided.