Anabolic steroids do have legitimate medical uses. They were first synthesized in the 1930s to treat underdeveloped testes and resulting testosterone deficiency. In the 1950s, they were used to treat anemia and muscle-wasting disorders and to bulk up patients whose muscles had atrophied from extended bed rest. In the 1960s, anabolic steroids were used to treat some forms of dwarfism. Today anabolic steroids are being studied for their ability to alleviate the extreme body wasting associated with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Their most common use, however, remains among athletes seeking a quick competitive edge.
Prednisone is a commonly prescribed corticosteroid (steroid, for short). These drugs have also been called "glucocorticoids" because of their effects on glucose metabolism: Increases in blood glucose are common among people taking prednisone and other steroids. Prednisone is a synthetic steroid that is used to treat a wide variety of inflammatory conditions, such as bursitis and arthritis in the joints. It's also prescribed for its immunosuppressive properties: for allergic reactions, acute flare-ups of asthma, autoimmune conditions, anti-rejection treatment after transplant surgery, and cancer chemotherapy, among many other uses.
Even though anabolic steroids do not cause the same high as other drugs, they can lead to addiction. Studies have shown that animals will self-administer steroids when they have the chance, just as they do with other addictive drugs. People may continue to abuse steroids despite physical problems, high costs to buy the drugs, and negative effects on their relationships. These behaviors reflect steroids' addictive potential. Research has further found that some steroid users turn to other drugs, such as opioids, to reduce sleep problems and irritability caused by steroids.