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Dianabol and other androgenic and anabolic steroids are treatment options that patients can take when trying to bulk up and gain muscle mass. There are alternative therapies where anabolic steroids can be considered, for example, in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis but for the majority of users, this is a supplement that patients take for athletic purposes. 

Patients turn to this medication because these steroids hasten the time it takes for users to gain muscle mass, lose body fat and speed-up recovery from injuries.

Although these products are effective in the short-run, there are a number of long-term consequences that a user needs to be aware of. 

To begin with, there is typically an underlying psychological disturbance in the users who turn to anabolic steroids. This condition is called "body dysmorphic syndrome" and it is a psychological response to patients nit-picking small blemishes with their physique and never being satisfied with their body image.  Body dysmorphic syndrome is something that can be seen in both males and females and can lead patients to risky diets and supplements in order to "improve" their body image. In reality, the way a patient views themselves is usually much more critical than how friends and family will observe them. 

Steroids are something that most male patients will turn to, and it can become a dangerous combination when you have a desire to improve your body and the frequency of injections you take in order to achieve this elusive goal. These patients are prone to having a dependence on these steroids so it will be quite difficult for them to stop the medications. 

Another potential consequence of this medication is that it can affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal pathway. Our body is designed to produce steroid hormones like testosterone on its own. When you take any additional medication, our body senses that testosterone levels are higher than they should be and steroid production in the body stops. The most noticeable physical manifestation of this occurring is through hypogonadism: testicles will shrink as muscles bulk up

Theories also postulate that these steroids have hedonic properties, which means that patients will start to crave the effects of these medications making it hard for them stop even if they wanted to. The effect is similar when you look at patients suffering from overt illicit drug dependence like heroin, cocaine or pain-killers. 

When you couple all these risks into one phenomenon, the long-term risk that patients need to be aware of is a major depressive disorder. It will be hard for patients to break their dependence on these medications but when they do, receptors in the brain will not be able to work as efficiently as they had after long-term steroid use. Major depression can manifest as sleep disturbances, mood disorders, problems with concentration and even suicidal thoughts.  

Current studies recommend that patients should try to utilize professional help to get off their dependence on the medication. Rehabilitation facilities are potential avenues for patients to seek help and break their addiction to these drugs before long-term complications become too dangerous. [1]

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