Spencer Matthews, from Made in Chelsea, was forced to leave the I’m a Celebrity Jungle after just three days after admitting to reliance on steroids. He’s now seeking treatment in rehab. However he’s not the only man to have had issues surrounding steroid abuse.
According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, around 60,000 Brits take steroids, which mimic the effects of testosterone and promote muscle growth. The Sun spoke to three blokes to find out how their lives were nearly ruined through Steroid abuse.
ED, a retired rugby player, loved the attention and lifestyle that steroids gave him, but suffered a near fatal heart attack.
I was always a gifted athlete at school, winning at almost every sport I competed in. When I was 16, a friend introduced me to steroids.
He became hooked on the effects, girls flocked around him, he could exercise for longer and packed on huge amounts of muscle.
I could see no downsides and when I started playing professional rugby in South Africa, I carried on using them religiously, either injecting or popping oral steroids every day.
Ed didn’t become aggressive but he did grow man boobs because of the excess oestrogen in his body and they had to be surgically removed. He also became covered in acne and his testicles shrank to the size of peanuts.
He claims though that the physical effects were a “small price to pay for the attention, money and glamour I received for being so ripped. “ After retiring from rugby, he travelled to the US where he began a career as a model and stuntman. Ed claims “I was loving life.”
But everything changed for Ed one evening in 1997 when while cooking dinner for his wife and his heart literally exploded. The aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body, had split in half from his heart all the way to his legs.
All the organs in Ed’s body were failing and he faced the prospect of having both legs amputated.
I was in a coma for a month and in intensive care for two more. I had a series of operations to replace my aorta with a plastic one. In eight weeks, I went from 18st 1lb of solid muscle to 7st 7lb of skin and bone.
When he came round he found his wife had left him and his life had hit an all-time low. He then spent two years in bed healing ad needing round-the-clock care. After that he spent five years in a wheelchair learning to walk again. The damage the steroids did to his testicles meant he’d never be a father.
Ed’s now off the steroids and has turned his life around. He remarried and against all odds, is now a dad to Angelyna, who’s nine. But it’s not been easy, Ed’s had two heart operations in the last three years.
Ed cautions others not make the same mistakes he made:
All I want to do now is share my story so other people don’t do what I did – nobody needs steroids.
The day I had that first heart attack, when I was 34, I’d done over five hours of intensive training and I thought I was in the best shape of my life.
But nothing could have been further from the truth. I know tens of thousands of men out there are ticking bombs, waiting for their hearts to give in and leave their lives in ruins.
Calvin, a joiner from Scotland, is a former steroid user who found the drugs had a severe impact on his mental health.
Talking about Spencer Matthew, Calvin says:
I feel really sorry for Spencer Matthews – but frankly, to bulk up that quickly, you would have to be taking steroids.
I’ve seen pictures of him where he’s looked nothing like as muscular. Steroids have a dramatic effect on your muscle gain – but it comes at such a price.
Calvin says like Ed he never suffered “roid rage”, but in his case, taking steroids just made him feel very depressed.
Calvin started body building around a year and a half ago, after feeling self-conscious about his weight and wanting to get in shape.
While in the gym Calvin became worried that he wasn’t putting on enough muscle compared to other blokes in the gym.
I was spending two hours a day lifting weights and doing cardio. I decided to start taking steroids so I could bulk up more quickly. I bought tablets called Anavar on the internet, and I took them for about four months.
Calvin says they cost more than £30 for a month’s supply but they had a dramatic effect on him he began to feel seriously depressed, and even more obsessed with working out at the gym.
His family began to worry about his behaviour but luckily he realised that taking steroids was a dangerous game, and stopped. He still works out but says he tries to keep it in proportion.
Adam Trice, a charity worker, says he took steroids to become “a hard man” but ended up becoming increasingly violent with a number of criminal convictions.
I took steroids on and off for ten years, starting at 19. I wanted huge muscles and was obsessed with being a hard man
He ended up with 16 convictions for violence, mostly fighting. Trice worked as a bouncer security was so aggressive that he got sacked several times.
Steroids also had a dramatic effect on Adam’s sexual appetite and he cheated on all of his girlfriends and couldn’t maintain stable relationship while on steroids.
He also became more vulnerable to other substances, so when he was 21 he began taking cocaine.
He explained the moment that he realised he had a problem:
Everything came to a head when I was 26 and I tried to kill myself. I just could not take it any more.
When you are happy you are euphoric, but when you are sad you are plunged into the depths of depression. No one can live like that. Basically, taking steroids gives you the mental age of a teenage boy, fuelled by adrenaline and aggression.
People who take steroids often find their emotions heightened and experience violent mood swings.
Adam claimed it’s exhausting and you become almost totally self-obsessed, “All I cared about was pumping iron in the gym for hours every day.”
After surviving his suicide attempt, Adam began therapy which he credits with saving his life but his drug abuse left him with heart problems.
He’s now in a stable relationship and off the drugs and works with other young people with similar problems.
One expert has said that the number of men taking steroids has to do with the same body image problems that women suffer from. Natasha Devon the founder of Self Esteem Team says:
The gym exposes young men to a culture where success is measured in reps and muscle tone, distorted body image is commonplace and steroids are rife. There’s a very fine line between healthy exercise and a dangerous obsession.
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.