When you think of drug testing, most people’s minds immediately jump to illegal, highly addictive substances like heroin or cocaine.  A fairly popular but often overlooked category of drugs that people abuse is anabolic steroids.  The only field you really hear about employees failing drug tests for steroids is professional sports, but the substances are gaining popularity outside of that world.

Steroids aren’t just problematic for athletes.  Taking this drug without a prescription is just as illegal as any other approved medication like opioids.  While there is some debate on whether anabolic steroids can be classified as addictive, they can definitely be abused.  Read on for more information about steroids and how to test for them.

What are anabolic steroids?

An anabolic steroid is a man-made drug that imitates the hormone testosterone.  Because of this, steroids can cause muscle growth.  People who take anabolic steroids both look more muscular and have less muscle damage from workouts, allowing them to work harder and longer than they would otherwise be able to.  This is often why people begin to take them in the first place.  Taking steroids as a professional athlete is considered a way of cheating.  It is illegal in the United States and most other countries.

What are some side effects of steroids?

While anabolic steroids do build muscle, they also have other serious effects on the body.  These include

  •         Severe acne
  •         Increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture
  •         Liver problems and tumors
  •         Decrease in good cholesterol and increased bad cholesterol in the body
  •         High blood pressure
  •         Heart trouble and other blood circulation problems
  •         Aggressive behavior
  •         Mental illnesses including depression
  •         Dependence or addiction
  •         Infections or diseases such as HIV or hepatitis if you are injecting the drugs
  •         Hindered growth and development in teenagers

Steroids also have different physical effects on women and men.  Men who abuse anabolic steroids may develop

  •         Prominent breasts
  •         Shrunken testicles
  •         Infertility
  •         Prostate gland enlargement

Women who misuse steroids are at risk of developing

  •         A deeper voice
  •         An enlarged clitoris
  •         Increased body hair
  •         Baldness
  •         Infrequent or absent periods

How do you test for steroids?

Anabolic steroids stay in the body for anywhere from 14 to 28 days after taking them.  They can be detected through a blood, hair, or urine test.  Steroid drug test results are usually available within 24 hours if no drugs were found in the sample.  If a non-negative result occurs, the lab will run additional tests over the next one to three days to determine if the test is accurately finding steroids.

How accurate is a steroid drug test?

Steroids artificially increase the amount of testosterone in the body.  Since the body already produces testosterone naturally, some people wonder about the prevalence of false positives.  A steroid screening compares the amount of testosterone to the amount of epitestosterone.  These hormones naturally occur in a one to one ratio.  Because of variations among people, a test must come back with a four to one ratio in order to be deemed positive.  Any positive results undergo further tests in order to determine their legitimacy.  This makes sure that the results are as accurate as possible. 

Need drug testing for your business?

Soteria Screening provides fast and accurate drug tests to all kinds of businesses.  We pride ourselves on our professional, confidential services.  Soteria offers hair, urine, saliva, and breath alcohol tests.  They also provide random drug testing services to companies in many different fields.  Call (202) 679-6670 or visit them online to order a drug screening or get more information. 

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