Back in 2014, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration discovered that about 7 million Americans had a drug use disorder. This population has grown since then, but thankfully, so has the number of resources available for struggling addicts.
If someone you know has become addicted to steroids, it’s time to step in and get them the professional help they need. As valuable as your compassion and understanding are, it’s trained medical attention that is going to guide your loved one in overcoming their addiction – and the first step is to take on the steroids withdrawal and detox process.
What Causes Steriods Withdrawal?
Some types of steroids mimic the hormones that the body naturally produces. They support all kinds of functions including stress maintenance, muscle growth, and sexual performance.
When a person starts taking steroids, the body attempts to balance out these doses by producing fewer steroids on its own. This creates a dependency on the steroids that are being taken orally or injected.
If the steroids aren’t administered on a regular basis, the body can go into withdrawal because it is no longer producing the substances it needs to function on its own. A withdrawal can also occur if a person cuts back on the doses they use. This happens to people who have been addicted to steroids for a long time and their body has built up a tolerance.
Steroid Withdrawal Symptoms
The most important thing to note about steroid withdrawal symptoms is that they don’t appear all at once. Your loved one may only show a few signs of withdrawal, but that alone should be enough of a reason to seek medical attention for their withdrawal and detox process.
Some withdrawal symptoms to look for are:
- extreme fatigue
- decreased appetite
- nausea and vomiting
- dizziness or fainting
- abdominal pain
- joint pain
- low blood pressure
- mood swings
Don’t just accept an excuse that the addict in your life is “tired” or “not hungry.” These could be signs that they’re dealing with something much more serious than what meets the eye.
Duration of Steroid Withdrawal
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee for how long a person will undergo the withdrawal stage of their recovery process. The extent at which they will experience withdrawal symptoms depends on how long they’ve been using steroids and how suddenly they stopped taking the drug.
Steroid Withdrawal Timeline
Although it’s hard to determine an exact timeline for steroid withdrawal, the steps that this process follows are always the same. The timeline will look a little like this:
- A person stops taking steroids all at once or begins to cut back on doses
- Withdrawal symptoms begin to arise
- Symptoms continue. At this point, a person may choose to seek medical attention or they may attempt to soothe their symptoms on their own.
- Symptoms fade, and the next stage of recovery begins.
If you want to speed the process along, the best thing to do is consult a medical professional. They can pinpoint exactly what’s causing the symptoms that your loved one is experiencing and help them feel better.
Detoxing from Steroids Alone
What if your friend/family member refuses to see a doctor?
There’s still hope. Detoxing from steroids alone does require a lot more work than doing so with medical attention, but it’s definitely not impossible.
The first step is to start with simple lifestyle changes like getting more sleep and lowering the amount of stress in the addict’s life. Additional changes to make include cutting out caffeine and alcohol (and any other drugs) and creating a nutritious diet.
Some addicts may choose to slowly lower their steroid intake until they’re not using the drug at all, while others may opt to quit cold turkey. Either way, an addict has to take special care of their mind and body as withdrawal symptoms come and go.
Medical Detox for Steroids
The thing about detoxing from steroids alone is that it’s kind of hard to treat your joint pain or constant vomiting when you feel your absolute worst. This is why most recovering addicts often end up seeking medical attention.
Things get much easier once they decide to ask for help from professionals who have seen this process time and time again.
How Medical Detoxing Works and What to Expect
Medical detoxing from steroids can happen a few different ways. A person may check themselves into a detox center or they may make a house call for a doctor to come treat the symptoms they’re experiencing in their own home.
For less severe cases, a recovering addict may make regular appointments with their doctor and go on a tapering plan to slowly ease their body off steroids. Cases on the other end of the spectrum may require ’round the clock medical attention until withdrawal symptoms have subsided.
Medications Available for Steroid Detoxes
Generally, steroid detoxes don’t require the use of prescription medication. It’s mostly a waiting game of letting symptoms come and go, which smart lifestyle adjustments can speed along.
In the most severe cases, though, an addict may be given hormone replacement therapy to help bring their body’s production of natural steroids back to normal. This also helps curb the withdrawals they’re experiencing.
Due to the relation between steroid abuse and bodybuilding/physical performance, physical therapy may be included in a person’s detox plan. This helps the body regain its strength following the withdrawal stage. It also allows a person recovering from steroid addiction to get back into their daily routine, which will likely include some form of strength training or intense physical performance.
What Follows Steroids Withdrawal and Detox
Undergoing withdrawal symptoms and completing the detox stage is just one part of recovery. The next step is to get mental and physical help. Such medical attention guides a recovering addict in making the changes they need in their life to walk away from steroids once and for all.
For help finding the right treatment program to use after a loved one’s steroids withdrawal and detox, click here.