Former bodybuilder, 23, addicted to steroids for THREE YEARS begs others to ...

A former bodybuilder who became addicted to steroids for three years is warning others to kick the habit before they hick rock bottom.

Jack Baldwin, 23, used so-called image and performance-enhancing drugs (IPEDs) from the age of 17, before his family pleaded with him to get medical help. 

At his lowest point, he said he was 'mentally and emotionally addicted' to steroids - which he initially saw as a supplement. 

He lost his sex drive and suffered severe mood swings, obsessed with the promise of 'looking good' and being able to lift heavier weights.

It took a year of counselling for him to leave the drugs behind, and now wants to encourage others to do the same.

Jack Baldwin, 23, of Hull was addicted to so-called image and performance-enhancing drugs (IPEDs) for three years from the age of 17 before his family pleaded with him to get medical help. He now warns others to kick the habit before the reach the mental lows he did

Jack Baldwin, 23, of Hull was addicted to so-called image and performance-enhancing drugs (IPEDs) for three years from the age of 17 before his family pleaded with him to get medical help. He now warns others to kick the habit before the reach the mental lows he did

Mr Baldwin is now a peer mentor at The Juice Bar, a free and confidential advice project run by the Hull-based Alcohol and Drug Service (ADS) where he had counselling for a year

Mr Baldwin is now a peer mentor at The Juice Bar, a free and confidential advice project run by the Hull-based Alcohol and Drug Service (ADS) where he had counselling for a year

Mr Baldwin said: 'There is so much more to enjoy in life - family, friends, work, relationships. 

'All things no young man should forgo because they want to be able to lift the heaviest weights in the gym.'

Once he started going to the gym, Mr Baldwin became hooked on the idea of getting bigger.

He said: 'I started taking steroids when I was age 17. I wanted to get bigger and thought steroids were the answer.

HOW DO STEROIDS WORK? 

Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), also known as image and performance-enhancing drugs (IPEDs), are synthetically produced versions of the naturally occurring male sex hormone testosterone.

The term 'anabolic' refers to muscle-building whilst 'androgenic' refers to increased male sexual characteristics; 'steroids' refer to the class of drug.  

Male hormones such as testosterone and its metabolite di-hydrotestosterone are responsible for the developmental changes that occur within the male body through adolescence such as increased body mass, facial and body hair, oily skin, acne and mood swings.

Whether AAS are injected or taken orally they work by mimicking testosterone. 

When they enter the blood stream they attach to specific receptors at cell level. 

This allows them to enter the nucleus of the cell, which in turn helps the cell to create and retain more protein. 

This process is called protein synthesis. It is this construction of new proteins that is associated with increased muscle size and strength.

Steroids can also support muscle growth by other means i.e. increasing levels of free androgens, increasing human growth hormone production and insulin-like growth factor. 

They may also stop the body entering a catabolic state where muscle would be broken down and size diminishes.

Source: IPED Info, Public Health Wales

'They were easy to get hold of and users around me gave me advice. I just saw steroids as a supplement which would improve my physique.

'At the time, I didn't realise this was feeding my obsession.'

But looking in the mirror, his toned muscles were never enough, and he kept going back to IEPDs.

He said: 'I set goals to achieve a

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