The Growing Use of Steroids Among Teens

Attention to all parents of teenagers out there; you are probably already aware of the many risks that your teen faces on the march to adulthood. From drugs and eating disorders to driving way too fast, you have plenty of things to worry about.

Unfortunately, there is something else that should be on your radar that you might not know much about: steroids. I sat down with NewsRadio 1080 KRLD to talk more about a new study regarding teens and steroid use.

Q:  What should you know about this new, alarming study on teens and steroid use?

A large study of was conducted with 2,700 by researchers at the University of Minnesota and published in the journal, Pediatrics. 

The results of the study found that about six percent of boys and 4.5 percent of girls had used steroids in the past. It also revealed that 5 to 10 percent of teens said they had used creatine or other non-steroid protein products before.

One of the scariest aspects of the study was that the teens participating were around the age of 14-years old, so it is is likely that the percentages would be much higher if focused on older teens.

Also, the study revealed that Asian students were 3 to 4 times more likely to have used steroids.

Q:  What does the research attribute to this rise of steroid use among teens?

Researchers believe that older teenagers (17 to 18-years old) are a big influence in the decisions made among younger teens. It’s assumed that the media may contribute also.

The increase in steroid use among youth can be linked to the mind-set that steroids will help improve performance in athletics.

Q:  What are some risks associated with steroids?

First off, steroids are illegal without a prescription so there can be potential legal problems if a youth is caught with them.

There are also health risks including: liver damage, skin infections, weight gain, problems urinating, as well as aggression and hallucinations.

Q:  What are the signs that parents should look for in teens that may indicate that they are taking steroids?

Steroid use can be easily detected by identifying these changes in appearance, appetite and sleep:

  • Increase in muscle mass
  • Hair loss or unusually greasy hair
  • Increase in length and thickness of hair on other body parts
  • Extreme shifts in appetite
  • Too much or too little energy
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Oily skin and stretch marks on inner parts of joints
  • Constant bad breath
  • Red or purple acne

Above all, doctors and parents should talk to their teens about the dangers of steroid use.

About the author

David Winter, MD
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David Winter, MD, is an internal medicine physician on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Signature Medicine – Tom Landry.

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The Growing Use of Steroids Among Teens