How to Stop Your Teen from Abusing Steroids

Three Methods:Confronting Your Teen and Seeking HelpRecognizing Signs of Steroid AbuseUnderstanding Why Steroid Use Is a Problem

Steroid abuse has become an increasingly serious problem amongst teens in recent years.[1]. If you think your teen is abusing steroids, it's important to pay close attention to any changes in your teen's physical appearance and behavior before talking to them about it. Steroid abuse is a dangerous health concern and should be approached with care. If you think your teen may be abusing steroids but you are not sure, scroll down to Method 2 to learn about what symptoms to look out for.

Method 1
Confronting Your Teen and Seeking Help

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    Talk to your teen about the situation. One of the most important aspects of your teen's recovery is open and effective communication. However you find out about your teen's steroid abuse, be it through spotting symptoms or hearing about it from someone else, you need to confront them. Although your child may not want to speak about your concerns, you must be persistent regarding their health.[2]
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    Ask your teen about the problem if they are willing to talk to your about it. Open up a discussion but do not get angry with them. Be there for them, allowing them to feel that they are safe and can express themselves fully. Ask your child about why they are abusing steroids and where they have been gaining access to them. You should try to obtain this information to help your child, not to punish them. Some things you may want to discuss include:
    • Your teen’s stress level. Talk to your child about their stress levels and even their self-esteem. Are they feeling pressured by others? Get to the root of the problem. Once you find out the reasoning, you have already achieved the first vital step.
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    Consider purchasing a home drug testing kit if your child is unwilling to talk. It is common for teens to deny their steroid abuse. If this is the case and your teen absolutely refuses to talk to you, you can purchase a home drug testing kit. Once the results are positive, there is no more room for discussion on the matter. At this point you will know for a fact, and will need to take the necessary steps to help them succeed in their recovery.
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    Create a plan. You need to make a plan based on your child’s specific case. What does your teen need? How will you provide it? You need to make a plan of action. This will not only address what will be done but how you'll pay for it.
    • The cost may be covered through public or private insurance plans. If you do not know where to turn, consider contacting a program like the Anabolic Steroid Prevention for Teen Athletes, which is better known as ATLAS. This program, and others like it, provides high school athletes with information, counseling, and healthy alternatives.
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    Set up a doctor’s appointment for your child. Once you have this discussion with your child, you need to seek some medical attention. It's important to see if your teen has experienced any damage to their health. Some side-effects are reversible, so it's important to see what damage has been caused. Set up an appointment for a physical with your family doctor.[3]
    • Medications that target symptoms of withdrawal and antidepressants are commonly prescribed to kids who have been abusing steroids. Talk to your doctor about medications and whether or not they are a good choice for your child.
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    Consider setting up an appointment with a psychologist. There are many different types of therapy available to help kids with abuse problems. These can be individual meetings with a therapist, or you can schedule family therapy sessions. There are also in-home counselors available through substance abuse programs. Some of the issues that may be discussed in the therapy sessions include[4]:
    • Your child’s feelings regarding their athletic performance.
    • Feeling of perfectionism and your child’s self-esteem.
    • Major life transitions and their ability to cope.
    • Anxiety related to personal relationships and situations.
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    Consider setting up a group therapy session for your child. Group therapy is also an option as it allows others to share their experiences. When your child discusses the situation they are experiencing with others, they may gain valuable insights.
    • Talk to your doctor about group therapy sessions in your area. You can also run an online search.

Method 2
Recognizing Signs of Steroid Abuse

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    Observe your teen to check for signs of steroid abuse. If your teen is abusing steroids, there will most likely be signs. Side-effects are common, so it's important to pick up on these symptoms so that you can properly intervene. If you notice several of the following symptoms, please approach your teenage son or daughter but do not assume that the symptoms you notice are definitely caused by steroid abuse.
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    Check to see if your teen has a puffier face than normal. Steroids cause water retention which can create swollen faces. This round face is sometimes known as 'moon' face and may be a sign that steroid abuse is occurring.
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    Take note of severe acne that develops. Teenagers commonly have acne, so please do not assume that your child is abusing steroids if they have acne. With that being said, steroids cause acne that is highly severe. It is most commonly seen on kids’ faces, upper back, arms, and shoulders.
    • If your teen already suffered from acne, you may notice that their acne has gotten even worse.
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    Keep track of intense weight gain that your teen experiences. When teens first start using steroids, weight gain is a clear sign. Within the first 6 to 12 weeks, it's not uncommon for an individual to gain between 11 and 22 pounds.[5]
    • Of course, keep in mind that weight gain is a common occurrence when kids are growing up and maturing. However rapid and unexplained weight gain may be a sign of steroid abuse.
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    Look out for extreme changes in personality. Steroids can cause extreme changes in mood. The bursts of anger that one may experience has been named, “roid rage.” Your teen may be extremely angry and then all of a sudden be extremely happy. While this may be caused by something else, there is also a chance that it is caused by steroid abuse.
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    Look for signs of jaundice. Liver disease is possible when steroids are excessively abused for extended periods of time. The skin and eyes of those individuals that abuse steroids can become yellow. This is a sign of jaundice, which may indicate severe liver damage. Seek help for your child if you notice signs of jaundice. Other symptoms of jaundice include[6]:
    • Yellow skin and eyeballs.
    • Yellow mucous membrane in the nose and mouth.
    • Darkly colored urine and pale stool.
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    Monitor hair loss your teen experiences. You may have noticed that your teenager's hair has begun thinning out. Some steroids may cause balding.
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    Do not jump to conclusions. As mentioned, do not assume that steroids are a factor if you notice one symptom (e.g. acne). Pay close attention to your child and the ways in which they change, both physically and psychologically. Certain symptoms are extremely serious, such as jaundice. At this point in time, there's already damage done to the liver and other organs.

Method 3
Understanding Why Steroid Use Is a Problem

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    Be aware that steroids can cause both temporary and permanent side effects. Many students abuse steroids in order to maximize their performance or bulk up. When abusing steroids, chronic and severe side effects can occur. Some side-effects can be reversed while others can cause permanent damage. In terms of adolescents and teens, permanent stunting of growth is one of the major causes for concern.[7]
    • Some side-effects affect girls while others affect boys. For instance, girls can experiencing deepening in their voices. It is also common to see girls with facial hair when they abuse steroids. Boys, on the other hand, may experience breast growth, as well as shrunken testicles.
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    Know that some side effects can appear in both boys and girls. Both girls and boys may experience more generic effects such as:
    • Acne is common due to an illness called acne fulminants. This is directly related to steroid use. This acne is very painful, creating holes in the skin.
    • Joint aches and pain which is highly common in the hips and knees of those abusing steroids. This is known as aseptic necrosis.
    • Insomnia.
    • Increased blood pressure caused by fluid retention.
    • Liver damage.
    • Mood swings.
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    Know the street names for steroids. If you think your child may be abusing steroids, see if your child every uses the slang or street names for steroids. The street names for steroids include[8]:
    • Steroids.
    • Arnolds.
    • Gym candy.
    • Pumpers.
    • Stackers.
    • Weight trainers.
    • Juice.


  • Has your teen began to obsess over the food they eat? Do they seem consistently preoccupied with their body and overall image? This may be a sign that there is something wrong.
  • Seek legal advice if your teen has been charged with possession. If your teen's case goes to court, they may offer specific services that can help re-build your teen's health.

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Categories: Raising Teens | Drug Addictions