T Nation

Steroids vs. Alcohol Discussion.


Hey everyone,

Was having an interesting convo with friends the other day.
Basically, I do not drink, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs or anything. I'm planning to use steroids in the future.

Whereas my mates, drink regularly throughout the week, they get smashed every weekend, a few of them smoke, some even do the occasional recreational drug.

So what is worse, using steroids, safely, I'm talking proper dosages over safe periods relative to the compound (so a longer period for test, but a shorter time period for say winny or dbol) and only, say, 2 cycles a year, as compared to having a regular drink say (3-4 drinks a weeks, or having many drinks on the weekend only.) Surely their livers will be a lot worse off than mine?


I'm not sure this is the best way to look at it. Steroids do have some risks, as you know, which can of course be minimised if you know what you're doing.

Just because they may or may not be less harmful at a given dose than say; alcohol, weed, heroin, anal rape, whatever - this isn't justification to take them. You need to decide if you should be taking them, not whether or not it is a better lifestyle choice than your friends'.

By this logic I can feel justified stabbing a couple of people out on the street, because there was a mass shooting somewhere else recently - and surely that's much worse?


No No.

I am not trying to develop a logic to support using steroids. I plan to use steroids to get maximum results, I know the risks involved and how to minimize these risks.

I'm simply "wondering" if taking steroids is AS BAD as drinking regularly, because, the public makes steroids out to be very very harmful (which when used safely, they are not) but drinking heaps is considered OK.

So I'm not trying to justify using the gear, I'm just trying to quantify their real impact on health, taking into account other lifestyle factors.


I agree, there are some huge double standards out there - but it's very hard to quantify "damage" from all of these different things, there are too many factors to take into account. Drinking sensibly is fine, steroids taken sensibly are fine. If your friends abuse alcohol etc, and you use roids sensibly, then you'll be "winning" I guess.


You really can't compare the two. Using steroids is kinda like playing with fire. There is a massive potential to harm yourself but if your careful you may be able to get out unscathed.

To begin with AAS are illegal almost everywhere in the world and that alone makes them dangerous. On top of that you are manipulating many things in your body when you take AAS, even physicians don't full understand the effects of combineing many of the compounds used by steroid users. They have never been tested in a clinical setting for the use they are put to. Who the hell knows what the long term effects of shooting 1000mg a week of test along with Growth hormone, insulin, etc. will be.

As for just taking a few cycles, that too can be very dangerous if you don't know what your doing. Knowing safe/sterile injections techniques is paramount, something nursing students devote weeks to learning. Yet many users will read an article or two online and just "go for it". Then you have the issue of self medicating yourself. Just look at some of the questions you get on this site regarding usage. The dosages are all out of whack, wrong compounds, too long a cycle, too short a cycle, poor pct, etc. I mean this is in many ways similar to haveing a medical condition and treating it yourself. You need to learn and understand an incredible amount of medical information with no formal training (for most of us anyway). As you can see there are a lot of issues involved with AAS that make it potentially very dangerous.

Alcohol on the other hand is a legal drug, generally mild on your system if used responsibly that even has some health benefits if used in moderation. Not quite the same thing.


Actually, a lot of people know the long-term effects. In case people have forgotten, AAS wasn't just recently developed. It's been around for damn near a century.


As far as health risks involving for both drugs with possible death as an outcome there is pretty much only liver damage to worry about. Obviously you can get drunk and puke on yourself and die, and with injectable AAS you can get a systemic infection and die, however both of these are highly unlikely in most cases (especially since you don't drink much), and the latter can be treated with antibiotics and takes quite some time to develop. So as said, liver damage is the only worry.

Alcohol and steroids cause liver damage along similar mechanisms. The liver is a highly regenerative organ, so slight damage is done each time you drink alcohol or use AAS (predominantly orals), and each time your liver repairs itself with no impact to health. When you binge drink excessively or use AAS (again predominantly orals) in too high of doses and/or for too long of a period of time, your liver will not be able to repair itself to the same extend that it will be damaged, leading to permanent liver dysfunction. With enough permanent liver damage you can compromise health, and eventually lead to liver failure and death.

However, each of these situations take a long time to occur. There are many more cases of alcoholic liver cirrhosis than there is liver failure from AAS, but there are also many more people who consume absurd quantities of alcohol. This being said, it depends upon your lifestyle. We have had discussions trying to determine the comparability between alcohol and AAS liver stress, but it is virtually impossible, even with a proper scientific study, to determine this, especially since there are so many forms of AAS available. One of the worst things you can do is use oral AAS and consume alcohol at the same time, which sadly many of the less intelligent users do.

Provided you keep the oral AAS dosing to recommended guidelines and keep the cycles short you should be absolutely fine, provided you don't have any preexisting liver dysfunction. It is very hard to cause liver dysfunction with most available injectable AAS as these are not metabolized by the liver as orals are. There is no overdose established for injectable AAS, and even prolonged use at high doses is very safe when comparing the effects to most OTC pain killers or prescription drugs.

Conclusion: if you stick to what is tried and true you will 99.99% be fine. Most horror stores come from people who abuse oral steroids, especially the designer steroids or pro-hormones like M1T, which are highly liver toxic. To be completely safe you could have your liver function tested by simple blood tests through your doctor to monitor health.

There are many dangers associated with AAS that don't regard liver function, such as thyroid function, cholesterol and lipid profiles, blood pressure, mental stability, etc. While AAS don't directly cause immediate health risks with these, and these likely will not lead to death provided you are in good health to begin with, they can cause long-term degradation of quality of life. However, provided you did not abuse AAS these effects are temporary and do not cause an immediate danger to life.

Other drugs such as diuretics, peptides, stimulants, etc. do have other health risks, but that is a different post altogether. It is the combination of these various drugs and the absurd levels of dosing (typically found in professional bodybuilding and the more uneducated users) that cause permanent or serious health risks, and sometimes death.

There is no documented case (that I am aware of) of an individual dying or experiencing life-threatening or permanent side effects due to a normal cycle (moderate dosing and cycle length).


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In clinical amounts yes, but I have never been able to find a long term study where the participants used 750-1000mg of test per week off and on for years at a time. Nor have I ever seen long term studies of veterinary steroid in humans such as Tren. Again too this isn't including the use of many different drugs on top of AAS such as thyroid, insulin, GH, clen, etc.


I assume you meant (potentially) dangerous to your freedom, and not general health.


Also they are not illegal almost everywhere in the world. On top of this blanket statement, there is the blurring of the term "illegal." In the US they are on par with heroin and cocaine. In many European and Asian countries you need a prescription, and the punishment for possession is negligible. In a lot of other countries the govs could give a shit less what you do.

Too many assumptions in the above argument in general.


I tend to forget how lucky some people out there are since I have been living in the states for so long.

It is just an added risk you take in the US and countries like it when using AAS. When you add up all the potential risk on the side of careful AAS use vs the risk of moderate drinking I don't see how AAS could not be the most potentially harmful of the two.


i think the anti-steriod crap is largely "reefer-madness" type BS/hysteria.


Yes, there are certainly other risks with AAS as you mentioned, such as sterility, legality etc.

But I'm talking effects of use, in a medical sense, and I can see how it can be potentially more dangerous, I just can't see how safe, intelligent AAS use can be any worse than drinking regularly.


Excellent post, as usual Schwarzenegger.
That is exactly what sort of comparison I was after.

You mentioned stimulants, what if we digress a bit and factor in T3 or Clen?


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You're right. I guess the difference is that any dumbass can drink a shitload of alcohol and not screw himself up worse physically than he is already screwing up his life in general; it takes nearly a lifetime for liver cirrhosis to finally do someone in. But someone can get the wrong ideas about AAS and completely screw up his body, when he actually had better intentions, in a much shorter time.

I do not agree with its legal status, but it seems it is a lot easier for dumbasses to fuck themselves up using AAS.


Most alcoholics build up a tolerance over a lifetime. I'd imagine that if you took one dbol tab per day, and in a couple months started taking 2/day, couple more months 3/day, and so on that you would build up a tolerance much like alcoholics do. Under normal, non-adapted conditions alcohol can still be quite deadly short-term.

I knew a guy who after graduating high school (same year as me, so I hung out with him and witnessed this firsthand) he decided to get drunk every day over summer break before college. Mind you he was the party type and certainly binge drank one or two days per week already for a couple of years. After getting pretty drunk for three weeks straight he went to the hospital and wasn't released for three days. Before he went looked like shit, was shaking, pale, actually was ill, but being a trooper he still drank.

Moral of story: both alcohol and AAS in the short term can equally deadly, but only with extreme overdose. In the long term (say 10 years) general abuse of either alcohol or AAS (oral cycles too long or using too high of doses when on) will lead to eventual liver dysfunction. But over a lifetime of proper and safe (moderate) use, both alcohol and AAS can be quite safe.


Comparing the actual body harming side effects of alcohol and steroids really isn't a valid comparison to try and make, if only for all of the possible variations everyone has already been alluding to ( dosage/ duration/ frequency ). I do think a more valid comparison would be addiction and withdrawal, inability to function ( drunk driving ), and lack of judgement while using ( fighting/ arguing/ showing your tits on girls gone wild ).

Although steroids are not problem free in this regard, I think alcohol posses a more serious issue. I personally cannot drink because I have absolutely no inhibitions towards violence or defiance of authority when I'm drunk. Yet running 500mg test and 100mg adrol gives me absolutely no aggressive tendencies whatsoever outside of the weight room. On top of that, when Im on cycle, I usually center myself around training and a healthy lifestyle, which has a positive effect on the other aspects of my life. I doubt somebody teetering on the fence could go on a week long bender and sort there life out in the meantime. Its probably going to push them the wrong way.


Very good points. I agree.