I hate when people use the term “addicted to steroids.” This no doubt stems from a 2013 phone call with Endo #4 yelling at me claiming that I was “just some depressed girl addicted to steroids.”
Let us dissect the Merriam-Webster definition of addiction.
The simple definition is given as
a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble).
The medical definition of addiction is given as
: compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful—compare habituation
Now listen up y’all.
Do not dare tell me that my steroids are an addiction.
Addictions carry a negative connotation in our society. Did you notice how each variation of the definition for addiction included the word harmful?
This type of label is not helpful when associated with our life-saving, life-sustaining, life-giving medicine.
After my nightmare crisis of 2013, I was referred to eight different specialists. I had the “pleasure” of meeting an incredibly ignorant and arrogant rheumatologist who repeatedly told me that all of my medical problems were a result of the steroids. Throughout the initial consultation appointment, he continuously stated that he would never prescribe steroids to someone my age for arthritis.
“I’m not on steroids for arthritis. I am on steroids for my Primary Adrenal Insufficiency.”
“Well I still would not give you steroids. They are causing all of your problems.”
“Ok. You would not lecture a diabetic on how the insulin they are required to take to live due to the fact that their pancreas shut down is causing all of their problems. Stop telling me that steroids are causing all of my problems when I have Primary Adrenal Insufficiency. Besides, I did not come to you for arthritis treatment. I came here so that you could check me for Lupus.”
He and I did not get along.
“Oh she’s on ‘roids?!”
I wore my “Steroid Dependent” shirt to an indoor soccer game once. The other team felt the need to instantly harass me.
Oh, she’s on ‘roids?! Watch out! She’ll run faster! Where are your ‘roids? We want some!”
They thought they were being so funny. Newsflash: They were not.
Myths vs Facts
Please allow me to dispel some myths right now.
- These steroids are not anabolic steroids, aka “performance enhancing” steroids.
- We take corticosteroids, which influence almost every part of the body.
- This is not to “run faster.” Our medication is to live.
We have to fight enough battles day to day to remain Clearly Alive. Attempting to defend an improperly labeled “addiction” should not be one of those battles. Let us raise awareness to eliminate this dangerous phrase.
I am only addicted to steroids if you are addicted to oxygen.
Addicted to oxygen? Does that sound ridiculous? Comparing our life-saving medicine to a harmful addiction is just as ridiculous. Let us work together to change the discussion. Instead of telling us that we are “addicted to steroids,” please ask us about life-saving steroids?
I am no addict.
I am Clearly Alive.