The reasons why athletes voluntarily or willy-nilly discontinue steroids are various - One of the main reasons which speak for an interruption of the steroid regime are, as the above example has shown, certain possible health risks. Some discontinue steroids simply out of habit because one has heard that after a maximum of 12 weeks a suspension of the same period is suggested. Some discontinue because of limited financial resources or in view of a championship with doping tests. Often, also, the decreasing effect of the administered steroids and the smaller gains which manifest themselves after several weeks are a determining factor. Something almost all athletes have in common with this scenario: One is looking forward to the following weeks with mixed feelings since one does not know what to expect and those who already have some experience (mostly negative) know only too well what lies ahead. Possible apprehensions are, by all means, justified since most athletes experience the classic interruption symptoms such as weight loss, less body strength, muscular atrophy (loss of muscle tissue) and increased fat deposits. Some experience depressions, aversion to training, lethargy, and a lack of discipline. How is this possible- Very simply, the athlete experiences a catabolic phase. The athlete now has to deal with two major problems which will burden him during the following weeks and which make several athletes go "back to the stuff " after interrupting their steroid regime for only a very short time. First, it is very likely that the body's own testosterone production will be reduced since most steroids have an inhibiting effect on the hypothalamohypophysial testicular axis, resulting in a reduced testosterone production in the, testes by the Leydig's cells. The extent of the reduction depends on the duration of the steroid intake and especially on the strength of the steroids taken. The more androgenic a steroid the more distinct its inhibiting effect on the endogenous testosterone production. In first place are certainly the various testosterone compounds Dianabol and Anadrol, exactly what works so well. When taking the more moderate steroids including Deca Durabolin, Primobolan, Winstrol, the extent of a possible endogenous testosterone -suppression is not only lower but also much slower and more even. Studies of Dianabol, for example, have shown that a conservative dosage of 20 mg/day after only 10 days leads to a 30% to 40% suppression. Since the body's own hormone production cannot be elevated from one day to the next, the athlete experiences a critical over bridging phase. The effect of the exogenous hormones is nonexistent and the body's own testosterone level helps only little to improve the situation. Thus it is important to increase the endogenous testosterone production as quickly as possible. How this is possible we will describe in the following section.
The second problem is the clearly more relevant and probably the more decisive factor for the potentially considerable performance loss of the athletes. As we know, steroids have a highly anticatabolic effect by reducing the catabolic effect of the body's own hormone, cortisone. When taking steroids, the steroid molecules block the cortisone receptors so that the cortisone produced by the adrenal gland cannot attach to the receptors, thus remaining for the most part deactivated. The body reacts by producing additional cortisone receptors so that, in the meantime, the unusually high amount of cortisone receptors in the blood can finally do their job. This again is not very serious as long as the athlete continues to take the steroids as planned. However, when the steroid regime is terminated the cortisone receptors are suddenly freed and the large quantity of free cortisone molecules in the blood now know exactly what to do. They rush to the cortisone receptors to form a molecule/receptor complex and transmit to the muscle cell the following message which is so unpleasant for the athlete: break down amino acids. These leave the muscle cell and enter the blood where they are transformed into glucose or blood sugar. The consequence of this process has already been described in another chapter. The athlete's second problem, in addition to increasing the endogenous testosterone production, is to lower the cortisone level to an acceptable level. As the reader knows, this goal is achievable to a high extent. In the following we will describe a sensible, step-by-step approach to interrupt the steroid regime, and the time after. Particular attention will be paid to the two problematic factors described in detail. We want to, however, explicitly emphasize that this information is no guarantee to protect the athlete from a loss of performance.