The potential benefits for an athlete, whether professional or amateur, are well known. Of course, these users have to consider the negative aspects of this usage; the damaging health effects, the illegality, the immorality, and if caught, the loss of prestige, of reputation, and possibly also a decent sized paycheck. Another common group of users of anabolic steroids are those taking them to achieve the effects for vanity reasons.
In our modern society, there is increasing pressure to the meet that high standards the media present to us with regard to physique, and the ideality of sexual attractiveness, the need for perfection. This compels us to meet this requirement, another version of the sports world mantra to win at any cost. Here, the door opens for anabolic steroid usage.
In 2006, researchers conducted an anonymous study through steroid use forums, whereupon they discovered that 78.4% of users were non-competitive athletes or body builders. This shocking figure leads to the question of why these users feel the need to push so hard. They want to bulk up, to become more attractive. Many users of steroids that do so for vanity purposes are reported to have a poor image of themselves. In fact, many vanity driven anabolic steroid users share the same acute misconceptions with regard to their bodies as those who suffer from anorexia or bulimia; it is in fact a symptom of a mental disorder. These users are also likely to have an addiction to anabolic steroids.
There are many myths and rumors surrounding addiction in association with anabolic steroids. It is widely accepted that there are two forms of addicition: mental, whereby the mind tells the body of the need, and physical, where the body becomes reliant on a chemical compound. Addiction can also be affected by the concepts of nature, an innate (perhaps hereditary) requirement, or nurture, a learned need. Herein lies the problem in anabolic steroid abuse. An individual commences use of the performance enhancer for one reason, yet continually uses the drug for a unknowing different reason. First time users, particularly those taking the substance for vanity purposes, insist to themselves that they will only do one cycle of steroids to kick start their routine of continuous physical improvement. An addictive high may result from the increased self-esteem, the commendation from others, the interest from the opposite sex, and so forth. The changes, both physically and in self-image, are gratifying, and lead to the want of more.
Users who take steroids for vanity are headed for just as much trouble as the pro footballer, but likely in a different way. As far as the law in concerned, you are just as much at fault. You are still taking the very serious risks with your health. And you are cheating yourself to that idealistic (and likely disproportionate) image of how you want your body to look. It is not only men who can fall prey to the appeal of improving physical aesthetics in this way. In the same way that men aim to increase their masculinity (an obvious effect of taking a testosterone based substance), women have been known to take it to increase their femininity by defining their curves and muscle lines.