Testosterone Withdrawal Symptoms

by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert

Ben Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert Sports and Exercise Nutrition Level 2 Strength and Conditioning CoachWritten by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.

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Quick Bite:

The initial sign of testosterone withdrawal usually appears within one to two weeks after discontinuing supplements, depending on factors like your body composition at the time of starting treatment, age and length of use of the supplements.

They can vary significantly in intensity based on these variables.

Testosterone withdrawal symptoms typically begin five days after taking your last dose and may become increasingly intense over two weeks, peaking during week two before eventually subsiding over time.

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The withdrawal symptoms of androgenic anabolic steroids (AAS) are similar to those of other addictive substances.

These include headaches and muscle pain. Depression is the most dangerous steroid withdrawal symptom since it can lead you to suicidal feelings and actions.

Testosterone Withdrawal Symptoms

Testosterone withdrawal is a side effect of long-term use of anabolic steroids and can manifest itself through different symptoms, including breast tissue enlargement known as gynecomastia or gyno, infertility and changes to menstrual cycles in females.

Anabolic steroids are frequently misused to increase muscle mass, enhance athletic performance or alter the physical appearance of users.

Unfortunately, taking high doses for prolonged periods can lead to addiction and testosterone withdrawal symptoms.

What is withdrawal?

If they abruptly stop using anabolic steroids (AS) or reduce their dosage, people who are addicted may experience withdrawal symptoms.

The hormonal imbalance that is caused by steroid use can cause this. Steroids mimic testosterone, the hormone that is associated with male sexuality.

Steroid users' bodies become accustomed to a higher level of testosterone. Steroids can cause an unnatural rise in testosterone, which reduces the ability of the body to produce testosterone.

Low levels of testosterone are the cause of withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms will persist until the body is able to produce testosterone normally.

Many users experience major depression and suicidal feelings, even though the withdrawal symptoms are not particularly dangerous themselves.

Anabolic steroids may produce positive effects like increased energy, libido and concentration, as well as a feeling of confidence. 

The withdrawal symptoms are the exact opposite of what steroids do.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Problems concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of appetite
  • Reduced sexual drive
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Blood pressure decrease
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Addiction to drugs

Although the symptoms of anabolic steroids withdrawal can be uncomfortable, stopping their use or abuse is unlikely to cause serious injury or death.

Some of the most serious side effects can be avoided by stopping use.

The most common symptoms of testosterone withdrawl

Most studies do not objectively validate self-reported drug discontinuation by using toxicology screening.

This study, however, classified withdrawal from AAS into two distinct phases: acute and chronic.

In the acute phase, there are somatic symptoms such as headaches, tremors and palpitations.

The acute phase is manifested within 1-2 days after AAS withdrawal.

Following this, the chronic phase appears, which includes symptomologies such as hypogonadism, fatigue, myalgia and lower libido due to testosterone deficiency.

Additionally, mental symptoms such as intense fear, depression disorder, cravings and dysmorphia can develop.

Five out of 41 subjects who were interviewed in structured interview format after the cessation of AAS developed major depression within 3 months.

The withdrawal symptoms of AAS are the core of AAS dependence in users.

An anonymous survey of male weightlifters found that depression, anorexia and akathisia were all reported as withdrawal symptoms.

Also, there was insomnia, reduced sex desire, suicidal thoughts, body dissatisfaction and abuse liability. The same authors conducted a second study that confirmed these findings.

It is also important to note that AAS discontinuation can alleviate some of the distressing psychiatric effects associated with AAS use.

It is shown by the fact that mood disorders are more prevalent in AAS users who have recently stopped using AAS (within three months of cessation).

It will take more studies to determine the factors that predict withdrawal symptoms.

However, prior psychiatric illnesses, the potency of androgens, the duration of AAS and AAS doses are likely risk factors. 

Acute symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Palpitations

Chronic symptoms 

  • Low mood
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Body image dissatisfaction
  • Hypogonadism
  • Low libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Fatigue

Withdrawal Period

The severity of withdrawal symptoms from steroids can vary from one user to another. The severity and timeline of withdrawal symptoms can be affected by many factors, including the user's age.

  • How long has a person been using anabolic steroid
  • The average dose of anabolic steroids they take regularly
  • How often do they take anabolic steroids?
  • They may have combined alcohol with anabolic steroids or other drugs
  • The person's medical and mental history (i.e. Gender and body weight)
  • How to administer anabolic steroids

The withdrawal symptoms can last from a few days to up to two weeks.

The type of steroid the user took can also affect the withdrawal period. Some steroids stay in the system of users longer than others. Steroids that stay in the system longer are harder to remove.

Half-life is the time a drug stays in an individual's system. The longer the half-life of steroids, the longer it takes to stop using them. Some of the most commonly abused steroids have half-lives that include:

  • Equipoise - veterinary steroid - 14 Days
  • Deca-durabolin 14 day
  • Durabolin – 4.5 Days
  • Winstrol – 24 Hours
  • Anavar – 9 hours
  • Anadrol – 5 - 9 Hours
  • Dianabol - 4.5 to 6 hours

Withdrawal Timeline

Days 1-2

Depending on the half-life, the first withdrawal symptoms may begin within 5 days after the last dose. The symptoms begin slowly and include headaches, irritability and nausea.

Days 3-5

Former steroid users will experience a decrease in energy and alertness during the third week of withdrawal. During this period, psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety begin to worsen.

Days 6-7

The withdrawal symptoms usually peak in the second week following the last dose of steroid. Common withdrawal symptoms include nausea, abdominal pains and weight loss. Steroid users can also experience a severe depressive episode or struggle with insomnia.

Week 2

Although minor withdrawal symptoms may continue after the second week, they are usually much less severe than the symptoms experienced in the first week. Withdrawal symptoms will soon disappear.

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Conclusion

People taking anabolic steroids recreationally or to treat an underlying psychological issue may become addicted, leading them to withdraw when they stop using.

Symptoms of steroid withdrawal depend on factors like how frequently, for how long, and at what dosage the drugs were abused.

Acute features of sympathetic overactivation (headache, tremors, palpitations, and nausea) are followed by chronic symptoms which may be broadly classified into neuropsychiatric and reproductive-endocrine.

During AAS withdrawal, low moods, suicidal ideas and dissatisfaction with body image are common.

Hypogonadism is also associated with erectile dysfunction and fatigue during AAS withdrawal.

They can also vary based on an individual's age, health status and body weight; typically however, symptoms start surfacing several days post-save uptake and often peak within two weeks of stopping use - fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite and depression being some of the more commonly experienced withdrawal effects. 

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