Steroid Information

How to Spot a Steroid User

Unfortunately, steroids have a variety of side effects or negative changes experienced by the mind and body of a user.  These negative side effects can be devastating to a person.  They can range from a minor case of oil skin, to major long-term health complications, or potentially death.  The three main categories of these characteristics are listed below:

  1. Internal changes including high blood pressure or liver tumors and/or liver enzymes out of range
  2. Personal changes including testicular atrophy (shrinkage of the testicles) and reduced sperm count or infertility
  3. External changes including severe acne, baldness, development of breasts, and increased aggression

Should you suspect a friend, sibling, spouse, or child of using anabolic steroids, a variety of short-term side effects will appear as symptoms.  Researchers have reported that users can also suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment.  These can include the visible changes mention above in appearance, mood, or behaviors.  The following information can make it easier for you to recognize and identify these specific symptoms, changes and habits of a steroid user. 

Physical changes are typically the most pronounced short-term symptoms and include:

  • Unusually greasy hair or oily skin
  • Small red or purplish acne, including breakouts on the shoulders and back
  • Gynecomastia, the abnormally excessive development of the breast tissue in males
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Thinning hair throughout the head or receding hairline (male pattern baldness)
  • Increased length and thickness in hair (on body parts other than the head)
  • Excessive hair loss in the bed, shower, comb/ brush
  • Jaundice or yellowing of the skin; this signals liver damage
  • Skin eruptions and infections, such as abscesses and cysts
  • Drastic appetite shifts (extreme hunger or lessened/loss of appetite)
  • Joint pain; greater chance of injuring muscles and tendons
  • Disrupted sleep patterns (not sleeping well or sleeping too much)
  • Fluid level changes, bloating (face & body), and night sweating
  • Dizziness, trembling, nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid or progressive weight gain
  • Increased muscle size (sudden or progressive)
  • Hyperactivity or lethargy (too little energy)
  • Trouble urinating; discoloration or blood in urine

Women can also have these same side effects and others can also include:

  • Growth of facial hair
  • Changes in or cessation of the menstrual cycle
  • Deepened voice

Adolescents can also have the following side effects:

  • Growth halted prematurely through premature skeletal maturation
  • Accelerated puberty changes.

Personality and Psychiatric changes often happened suddenly and without visible triggers or reasons and include:

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Increased aggression or irritability
  • Disrespectful or abusive (verbally and/or physically)
  • Poor decision making stemming from feelings of invincibility
  • Secretive of actions and/or starts lying
  • Withdrawals from family members
  • Depression (usually when steroids are discontinued)
  • Hallucinations - seeing or hearing things that aren't there
  • Paranoia - extreme feelings of mistrust or fear

Social changes in adolescents may be mistaken for natural teenage distancing or independence and include:

  • Closes and/or locks bedroom door more often
  • Takes longer showers or baths (this time is often used for injecting)
  • Phone conversations become more private
  • Begins receiving more packages in the mail
  • Asks for money more often, or has more money than usual
  • Is stealing or losing belongings
  • Begins taking naps and/or falls asleep in class
  • Loss of focus or concentration (at work, school or home)
  • Decline in grades
  • Forgets plans, dates and activities
  • Loss of interest in friends, or suddenly gains new friends


Steroid.orge in the form of injectable oils often packaged in vials or ampules (small often single serving glass bottles with pop off glass tops).  However, they can also be taken orally or transdermally (rubbed on and absorbed through the skin).  Some of the following are examples of what you might see.

Orals tablets that are:

  • Often small, but sometimes large and round
  • Come in several bright or soft colors
  • Are numbered (often with the milligram amount)
  • Sometimes lettered (manufacturer’s initials)
  • Can come in various shapes and sizes

Commonly Used Oral Steroids

Anadrol (Oxmetholone) 
Dianabol (Methandrostenolone) 
Andriol (Testosterone Undeconate) 
Primobolan (Methenolone) 
Anavar (Oxandrolone
Turanabol (Chlordehydromethylestesterone) 
Winstrol (Stanozolol)

Transdermals come in a variety of bases:

  • Lotions & Patches 
  • Solutions & Sprays  
  • Ointments, Creams & Gels  


Steroid use is often accompanied by or substituted with other products.  These substances are taken during, directly after, or in place of steroid cycles (continuous steroid use for defined periods of time, typically 8 to 16 weeks or more).

Ancillaries and substitutes

  1. Aromatase inhibitors come in tablet or liquid form, and are taken during cycles to reduce or eliminate many the physical side effects mentioned above.  
  2. Synthetic estrogens work as anti-estrogens within the male body. They also come in tablet or liquid form, and are used after cycles. Post-Cycle Therapy (PCT is used to limit the reception (absorption) of estrogen until the body can produce natural testosterone at normal levels again.  
  3. Testosterone boosters are legal, often all natural, some herbal-based, over-the-counter products.  They stimulate some of the functions associated with the increase in the body’s natural testosterone and lutenizing hormone levels.  Testosterone boosters are often used after cycles to aid in restoring natural testosterone levels.  

NOTE:  Some testosterone boosters can be literally converted to anabolic steroids by the body.  Others actually contain steroids, and are generally removed from the market shortly after component analyses confirms steroid content.

Steroid equipment, or the presence of the specific items listed below is also indicative of steroid use.  These are some of the tools steroid users purchase in order to properly administer and store the drugs.

  • Syringes  
  • Needles (in one or varying sizes)  
  • Vials (small glass storage bottles like the ones pictured below)  
  • Alcohol swabs or cotton balls
  • Plastic or rubber tops and stoppers  
  • Amp openers  
  • Sterile injectable oils, waters, or vitamins (i.e. Cottonseed / Grapeseed / Sesame / Walnut oils, Bacteriostatic Water, Vitamin B-Complex & B12, etc.)  


  • "Anabolic Steroids: Your Child’s Road to the Gold or to the Grave?", 2004.  
  • Drug Enforcement Administration, Drugs of Abuse, 2005 Edition 
  • Drug Enforcement Administration, Steroids Factsheet 
  • Grinnell College, “Doping: Negative Psychological Effects” 
  • Hormone Foundation, The - “Health Effects, Risks and Psychological Symptoms of Hormone Abuse”  
  • Kids Health For Kids,  “Steroids”, June, 2005  
  • Mayo Clinic, ‘Teen athletes and performance-enhancing substances: What parents can do’ Dec 30, 2006 
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse, Infofax: Steroids (Anabolic-Androgenic), March 2005 
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse, Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975–2004. Volume II: College students and adults ages 19–45 (PDF), October 2005 
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse, Research Report: Anabolic Steroid Abuse, September 2006 
  • Office of National Drug Control Policy, Drug Policy Information Clearinghouse, 
  • Saltzberg, Stephanie (2000) “Roid rage and other psychological effects of steroid abuse.”