The Complete Guide to Anadrol Abuse, Addiction, & Recovery

Anabolic steroids are synthetic (manmade) derivatives of testosterone, and Anadrol is one of the more popular options available.

andadrol addiction information

Also known as “oxymetholone,” it was originally designed as a way to help people who suffered from anemia, and excess weight loss due to certain medical conditions. However, it brings on several serious side effects that make it appealing as a substance of abuse. One of the most notable is the fact that it can greatly increase muscle mass, making it a go-to choice for athletes, bodybuilders, and even casual lifters. 

It is very dangerous to consume Anadrol for a long period of time. And yet, that’s precisely what many athletes and bodybuilders do when they want to increase their muscle tone.

Anadrol abuse has been prevalent in the United States since the 1990s. And because it promotes the loss of fat and the growth of muscle, it’s become a drug that’s often chosen by athletes in various sports. Even so, it’s important to note that athletes are not the only ones at risk.

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Using andadrol

How Does Anadrol Affect The Body?

Steroids like Anadrol are more technically known as anabolic-androgenic steroids. The “anabolic” part refers to how these drugs help the body build muscle. The “androgenic” label involves the drug’s ability to increase male secondary sex characteristics (deeper voice, facial hair, etc.).

Both of these effects directly relate to the fact that steroids are synthetic versions of testosterone. 

When testosterone or anabolic-androgenic steroids are released in the body, they bind with specialized cells called androgen receptors. And depending on which types of larger cells these receptors are attached to, there can be two different effects. 

  • Stimulate Anabolism – This is where muscle mass grows. During anabolism, certain cells begin increasing their production of proteins (cell building blocks). And with more of these proteins around, the cells in muscles attached to your bones begin to replicate much faster than normal. The result – increased strength and muscle mass. 
  • Inhibit Glucocorticoids – When androgen receptors are activated on other cells, it can also lead to lower production of hormones called glucocorticoids. These hormones directly affect the "recovery" phase called catabolism. And when there are fewer glucocorticoids around (an effect of taking Anadrol), muscles need less time to recover – thus improving athletic performance. 

With both of these effects combined, it’s easy to see why steroids like Anadrol can so dramatically increase the strength and athleticism of people who abuse it. 


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How Does Anadrol Affect The Mind?

Steroids like Anadrol don’t directly stimulate the reward center in the brain like other illicit drugs. And as a result, they don’t create any sort of “high” from using them. 

However, research has shown that using steroids can also cause serious malfunctions in the brain. 

For example, taking these drugs can affect a specific type of brain chemical called GABA, causing an increase in anxiety

Other research has shown that abusing Anadrol can lead to improper levels of dopamine and serotonin, two other important brain chemicals. And over time, that can make it harder for the brain to produce pleasure feelings on its own. 

As a result, using and abusing Anadrol can lead to a host of unpleasant mental states such as: 

  • Paranoid (extreme, unreasonable) jealousy
  • Extreme irritability and aggression (“roid rage”)
  • Delusions—false beliefs or ideas
  • Impaired judgment
  • Mania

What Is “Roid Rage” & Is It Real?

If you’ve heard about steroids, chances are you’ve heard about “roid rage” as well. There have been countless stories and anecdotes about individuals on steroids being uncharacteristically aggressive, angry, and irrational – even with friends or loved ones. 

It’s been portrayed as a kind of psychosis in television and in movies. And these ideas have seeped into the collective consciousness as a hard and fast fact of abusing steroids like Anadrol. If you take them, people think, you may undergo a sort of uncontrollable and erratic Hulk-like transformation

And while there certainly have been some verified accounts of steroid users acting irrationally aggressive, science is actually still split on whether or not “roid rage” really exists. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there have been quite a few studies that show steroid users are more prone to feeling aggression and irritability than the rest of the population. However, these results may actually be due to two different factors: 

  1. Overlapping substance abuse with different drugs a.k.a. polydrug abuse (especially common in steroid abusers)
  2. Negative personality traits that are generally more common in steroid abusers than the rest of the population (antisocial personality, borderline personality, and histrionic personality disorders)

Other studies have been conducted that tested high doses of steroids versus placebo in volunteer subjects. Some showed that those administered steroids were more prone to aggression. However, the effects across the test subjects were dramatically inconsistent. And on top of that, other studies haven’t been able to recreate the same effect either. 

In the end, much more study needs to be done on whether “roid rage” is a real phenomenon or simply a myth. 

Who Abuses Anadrol?

While it’s tough to find hard numbers on how often Anadrol itself is abused, there is quite a bit out there about anabolic steroid abuse and who is more prone to using them. 

According to NIDA, steroid abuse is actually falling among younger people after peaking in 2000. And in contrast to what many people believe, most active steroid users didn’t begin abusing these drugs in their teenage years. In fact, only about 1 in 5 active users started before the age of 20. 

The most common abusers are young men in their 20s and 30s. Women are less likely to use Anadrol and other steroids since there’s often far less social emphasis on extreme muscularity among women. 

One interesting takeaway is that the vast majority of users are non-athlete weightlifters. That means that most people who abuse it are not actual sports professionals. 

Among males who are more likely to abuse steroids, there are a few characteristics that tend to appear. They are:

  • Poor self-esteem
  • Higher rates of depression
  • More suicide attempts
  • Poor knowledge and attitudes about health
  • Greater participation in sports emphasizing weight and shape
  • Greater parental concern about weight
  • And higher rates of eating disorders and substance abuse

Steroid abuse is also associated with muscle dysmorphia – when an individual thinks they look "small and weak" when in reality, they are large and muscular.

A history of physical or sexual abuse is also common among steroid abusers both among men and women. 

It’s worth mentioning, however, that anyone can develop a steroid abuse problem – not just individuals who have these characteristics.

The Difference Between Anadrol Abuse and Addiction

It can be difficult to determine whether or not Anadrol use is considered abuse, or it's a full-blown addiction.

Part of what makes it so hard is that Anadrol does in fact have legitimate medical uses like treating anemia or weight loss from conditions like aids. However, when Anadrol is used in any way other than these medical purposes, it’s considered abuse

As such, using Anadrol to increase muscle mass without a doctor’s prescription is abuse. And in fact, Anadrol is actually a Schedule III drug and is therefore illegal without a valid prescription. 

Just because someone is abusing Anadrol doesn’t mean they are addicted though. 

While abuse is using the drug without a legitimate prescription, addiction is defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) as: 

a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain. It is considered both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness.

Addiction, then, is more a pattern of drug-seeking behaviors. And these behaviors are uncontrollable and continue even though things are falling apart around you. Bank accounts run dry, relationships crumble, physical and mental health deteriorate – and yet, the substance abuse continues. 

It's also important to recognize that while abuse isn't always a sign of addiction, if abuse continues, it increases the odds of getting addicted at some point. And if addiction does develop, it’s critical to get qualified help. Because addiction is a disease, not a choice.

There are three main ways that people abuse anabolic steroids. They’re either taken orally, injected, or applied to the skin through gels or creams. 

Anadrol is only taken orally as a pill or as a liquid. This makes it especially easy to abuse the drug. However, when steroids like Anadrol are taken orally rather than through injection, the drugs can be especially damaging to the liver. As a result, many Anadrol abusers may also take the drug alongside compounds meant to improve the health of the liver. 

According to NIDA, there are four patterns that many people commonly use while abusing Anadrol: 

  • Cycling – This pattern involves taking multiple doses of Anadrol for a period, stopping, and then taking them again. This can help cut down on serious side effects and drug tolerance
  • Stacking – Stacking is when multiple steroids are used at the same time. For instance, Anadrol might be mixed with Trenbolone and Equipoise, two other anabolic-androgenic steroids. This is used to facilitate even more muscle gains.
  • Pyramiding – As the name implies, pyramiding is when an abuser increases their dose or frequency of use over time. And once the effects reach a “peak” level, they then gradually taper off to zero. 
  • Plateauing – The final pattern is plateauing. This is when abusers alternate between using other steroids, overlap with other kinds, or substitute them altogether. This helps cut down on the development of a tolerance, making the Anadrol more effective. 

It’s important to note, however, that there is no scientific research showing that any of these patterns actually reduces the negative effects of using Anadrol.

Yes, steroids like Anadrol can certainly be addictive

But like other anabolic steroids, Anadrol is different than other illicit drugs. 

That’s because unlike other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, or crystal meth, Anadrol doesn’t actually affect the “pleasure center” of the brain. There is no high, no flooding of dopamine, and no rush of pleasurable feelings that usually causes other types of addicts to keep on using. 

But even so, many Anadrol abusers still feel an intense drive to keep on using it. There are a few main reasons behind this drive.

  1. Anadrol abusers tend to be especially concerned with their physical appearance and strength. After all, it’s why most people start taking the drug in the first place. And when it comes to anabolic steroids, the muscle gains achieved while on the drug tend to disappear especially quickly. Within just a few weeks of coming off of the drug, abusers may notice a dramatic decrease in their muscle mass and strength. And the fear of that alone can often be enough to keep on using. 
  2. Withdrawal is the second reason abusers feel a drive to keep on abusing Anadrol. And it can be just as powerful as the first. This is the process where the body gets used to functioning normally without the addictive drug. While this transition period is necessary for getting clean, it can often involve a host of uncomfortable symptoms including cravings, paranoia, and even nausea. And the discomfort alone caused here can sometimes be enough to drive users back to abusing Anadrol, just to get some relief.

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Consequences of Abusing Anadrol

Anadrol is a powerful drug that should only be used under the guidance of a qualified medical practitioner. This is especially true because Anadrol and other anabolic steroids come with a long list of physical and mental side effects, some of which can be quite dangerous. 

And when you combine those effects with the debilitating consequences of addiction as a whole, abusing Anadrol can quickly lead to a host of serious changes that can wreak havoc on an abuser’s life. 

Below are just some of the most common consequences of Anadrol abuse to be aware of. 

The physical side effects of abusing steroids like Anadrol are extensive.

Since Anadrol is essentially a manmade version of testosterone, it tends to cause a range of physical side effects related to male sex characteristics. 

In men:

  • shrinking testicles
  • decreased sperm count
  • baldness
  • development of breasts
  • increased risk for prostate cancer

In women:

  • growth of facial hair or excess body hair
  • decreased breast size
  • male-pattern baldness
  • changes in or stop in the menstrual cycle
  • enlarged clitoris
  • deepened voice

In teens:

  • stunted growth (when high hormone levels from steroids signal to the body to stop bone growth too early)
  • stunted height (if teens use steroids before their growth spurt)

Many users also tend to experience a variety of uncomfortable side effects related to the skin, including: 

  • Severe acne and cysts
  • Oily scalp and skin
  • Jaundice (an indicator of liver damage)

But there are also serious side effects of abusing Anadrol that impact internal organs as well. These include: 

  • Kidney problems or failure
  • Serious Liver damage and tumors (since Anadrol is taken orally, it is processed by the liver unlike other steroids that are injected)
  • Enlarged heart, high blood pressure, and changes in blood cholesterol, all of which increase the risk of stroke and heart attack, even in young people
  • Increased risk of blood clots

Steroids like Anadrol can also have a drastic effect on the way someone thinks and feels about the world around them. While the effects can be quite different among individuals, steroid abuse has been associated with: 

  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Mania
  • Aggression (“roid rage”)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

As a result, these mental side effects can lead to:

  • Alienation from friends
  • Emotional or physical abuse of family members or spouses
  • Getting into fights
  • Divorce
  • Losing one’s job
  • Dropping out of school
  • Bad run-ins with the law

On top of that, the mood disorders above can also lead to serious disturbances that may increase the risk of suicide as well. 

As a controlled substance, using Anadrol without a legitimate prescription is illegal. And being caught with unprescribed Anadrol can carry some pretty hefty legal punishments. 

According to the DEA, both using and selling Anadrol without a prescription is illegal. Simple possession comes with a maximum federal penalty of one year in prison and a minimum $1,000 fine. The maximum penalty for trafficking (or selling) it is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000

Both of these punishments are only for first offenders. If this is a second offense, both of these punishments are doubled

It’s also worth mentioning that these punishments are only federal in nature. Individual states may also have their own laws regarding fines and punishments as well. 

And when it comes to sports organizations like the NFL, MLB, or NBA, there are a host of other punishments for professional athletes caught using. These punishments can be monetary in nature and/or result in a career-ending permanent expulsion from the league. 

One effect of abusing Anadrol that many people don’t know about is the fact that steroid abusers tend to be far more likely to take other illicit drugs than the rest of the population. Using two or more illicit drugs is called “polydrug abuse.”

One study found that among young men being treated for opioid use disorders, an astounding 25% reported using anabolic steroids before. Some of these individuals even reported that they got their illicit opioids from the same people who sold them illicit steroids in the first place. 

Some users report that they take opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone to help them deal with pain from weightlifting injuries. 

And given the connection between sports injuries and opioid addiction, it isn’t that surprising. 

Others stated that they turned to drugs like opioids to help counteract negative effects of using steroids – namely insomnia, irritability, depression, and withdrawal symptoms. 

In addition to increasing the risk of dangerous interactions, polydrug abuse is also associated with a higher risk of developing a full-blown addiction as well. 

Anadrol can also cause serious problems when taken with other legal medications. 

What makes the threat of these interactions even more serious is the fact that most people taking Anadrol do so without a legitimate prescription from a doctor. And as a result, many doctors won’t be able to spot a dangerous interaction before prescribing other medications because they don’t know their patient is taking an illegal drug. 

This is especially true because the vast majority of users just don’t inform their doctors about whether they are taking Anadrol. One study even found that as many as 56% of anabolic steroid users simply don’t tell their doctors at all. 

And that can create particularly dangerous situations when taking other prescription drugs at the same time. 

It’s just one more reason not to take the drug in the first place. 

Below are some of the most serious medical interactions with Anadrol to be aware of. 

Spotting Anadrol Abuse & Addiction

Whether you’re a parent, close relative, concerned friend, or even a questioning user, it’s important to know how to spot the signs and symptoms of Anadrol addiction and abuse. 

After all, identifying a problem is the very first step in fixing it. 

It can be hard to identify an Anadrol problem in friends, family members, and/or spouses. But there are quite a few signs to look for if you suspect abuse or an addiction problem. The most common ones are listed below. 

Physical Changes:  

  • Rapid weight gain and increased muscle mass
  • Fluid retention (swollen hands and feet)
  • Development of severe acne
  • Especially oily skin and hair
  • Swelling of breasts in men, shrinking of breasts in women
  • Male pattern baldness
  • Bowel problems or frequent nausea/vomiting
  • Development of facial hair in women
  • Shrunken testicles in men
  • Enlarged clitoris in women
  • Impotence in men
  • Deepened voice in women

Mental Changes: 

  • Unprompted aggression or violence
  • Dramatic shifts in energy levels
  • Paranoia and delusions
  • Onset of depression or anxiety
  • Loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities
  • Insomnia or persistent fatigue
  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Increased or decreased sex drive/interest
  • Becoming unusually forgetful

Behavioral Changes:  

  • Becoming secretive about behaviors or whereabouts
  • Stealing money or objects to fund their drug habit
  • Inability to fulfill old obligations anymore (school, work, chores, family requests)
  • Hanging around with a new crowd of friends
  • Trouble with the law (assaults, arrests, being caught with drugs, etc.)
  • Drug paraphernalia (Anadrol is taken orally so this would include pill or liquid bottles. But steroid abusers also tend to abuse other drugs as well. Have a look at this drug paraphernalia guide for more information)

You can also take a short online family member addiction quiz or reach out to a qualified addiction specialist for an expert’s opinion as well.

While it’s easy to know whether or not you’re abusing Anadrol (if you’re taking it without a prescription, it’s abuse), admitting you are struggling with an addiction is much harder

That’s because denial and addiction often go hand in hand. And the overwhelming majority of addicts simply won’t or can’t admit that they have a very real problem. 

In fact, a 2017 national survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that of the 17.7 million Americans that met the clinical criteria for having a substance use disorder, a whopping 95.5% (16.9 million) didn’t get help because they didn’t think they had a problem!

It helps, then, to get a more objective opinion on what constitutes an addiction. Below are just a few places to start looking to see if your Anadrol abuse has gotten to the point of becoming a full-blown addiction. 

  • Take a Short Online QuizThis may be the quickest and easiest way of getting a better idea of how bad the problem has gotten. It usually only takes a few minutes to complete, and it can go a long way towards putting you on the path to recovery. 
  • Use NIDA’s Self-Assessment ToolsThese tools are used by one of the country’s most trusted authorities on addiction (NIDA). And there are plenty of different ones to choose from – whether you only have a few minutes to spare or you’d like to take a much deeper dive.
  • Have a Look At the DSM-V GuidelinesThe Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.) is the official book used by practicing physicians and psychiatrists all over the world. It provides 11 scenarios that may indicate a substance use disorder (addiction). And if you have experienced more than two in the last year, chances are it means addiction has set in. 
  • Talk to An Addiction ProfessionalFinally, talking to a qualified addiction professional is often the absolute best way of determining whether or not addiction is present. And on top of that, these phone calls require no obligation, are 100% free, and typically last less than 20 minutes. It also offers callers the chance to ask questions, get clarification, and understand what options are best suited for their particular situation. 

Anadrol Withdrawal Symptoms

The first stage of getting clean from an Anadrol use disorder is stopping use of the drug. For many, this can be an incredibly difficult process because over time, the body has become accustomed to having Anadrol in the blood. And consequently, when it’s abruptly removed from habitual use, the body has to readjust to functioning normally without it. 

This period of readjustment (called withdrawal) can often be quite uncomfortable. And for some drugs, it can even be deadly

Some anabolic steroids don’t really produce many physical withdrawal symptoms, but this is not the case with Anadrol. Withdrawal symptoms from this drug can become quite severe, which is why it is never recommended for anyone to stop taking it abruptly. Some of the most common Anadrol withdrawal symptoms might include:

  • Feelings intense fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle aches and joint pain
  • High or low grade fever
  • Abrupt drop in blood pressure

While these physical withdrawal symptoms are unsettling, probably the most concerning symptom of all is the depression that often sets in. If left untreated, it can become severe enough to lead to suicidal thoughts and actions.

Given the severity of depression that can occur and the risk of suicide, it’s especially important to partner with a professional addiction treatment program after quitting steroids. No one should have to go through recovery alone. And that goes double when the stakes are as high as life and death. 

Getting Professional Help for Anadrol Addiction

When you’ve been taking a drug like Anadrol for a long period of time, it can be difficult to come to the conclusion that you need to stop it. Too many people try to stop it on their own, and most of them end up relapsing. That does not have to be the case for you or your loved one.

But what’s involved in professional Anadrol addiction treatment? And how do you know where to find help?

There are two stages to professional treatment in particular: detoxification and rehabilitation

Detoxification is the first step of most programs. And it deals primarily with the withdrawal phase of treatment. And like other substances of abuse, Anadrol has some very serious withdrawal symptoms that can be hard to get through without professional help. 

These symptoms can be so hard to bear that many Anadrol addicts will turn back to using just to get some relief from them. 

A professional detox program helps treat these troublesome symptoms to make getting through withdrawal far easier. And on top of that, a detox program will also protect the patient from a number of dangerous complications – some of which can be life-threatening.

Anadrol rehabilitation is the next step after detoxification. And it’s concerned more with the mental side of addiction. 

Using strategies like one-on-one counseling, group talk sessions, and behavioral therapies, rehabilitation programs help patients get to the root of their Anadrol addiction and give them science-based tools to overcome it. 

There are a variety of different rehabilitation programs, but the three most common are inpatient, outpatient, and intensive outpatient programs (IOPs)

Finding the right treatment program is tough. But there are a few things you can do to make your search even easier. 

Have a look at the video below to learn how to find the best Anadrol treatment program to meet your unique needs. 

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Northpoint Recovery: The Premier Option for Professional Anadrol Addiction Treatment

While addiction to anabolic steroids like Anadrol isn’t perceived as being as dangerous as other illicit drugs, the truth is that this substance can still easily ruin a person’s life. And in the end, this type of addiction needs professional help just as much as any other. 

That’s where Northpoint Recovery comes in. 

Northpoint Recovery provides the absolute best treatment services in the Pacific Northwest. Programs are catered to meet the unique needs of each of our patients. We also have one of the highest staff-to-patient ratios in the region. 

On top of that, our programs are nationally accredited by the Joint Commission – a testament to our commitment to quality service. 

But we also know that there’s no single program that’s perfect for everyone. And only a short chat with a professional addiction specialist will help determine if Northpoint Recovery is right for you. 

We are passionate about recovery from any kind of addiction. So reach out to us today to start your journey to sobriety right now. 

Recovery is possible. And we can help.