Ex-user Elijah Staugas tells how hard it is to come off steroids after it emerged Spencer Matthews has been taking them

Spencer Matthews was all set to be one of the big stars of I’m A Celebrity – until the announcement that he’d left the show after just a few days due to ‘health reasons’.

But it quickly became clear that actually meant a previously secret addiction to steroid-based medication.

The Made In Chelsea star had hidden his steroid use from the show’s producers but soon reached breaking point and asked for pills.

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The producers had to refuse as steroid use is illegal in Australia and the UK without a prescription – with a maximum sentence in the UK of 14 years for ‘dealing’, which includes giving them to others.

We spoke to Elijah Staugas, 30, a former steroid user, who explained how Spencer would have felt when he went into withdrawal.

‘When you take steroids you feel like a superhero,’ says Elijah. ‘The side effect is your body gets lazy and stops producing hormones properly. It starts to shut down. When you come off them you feel tired, weak and depressed.

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‘When the producers told him he couldn’t take the steroids, Spencer would’ve felt desperate and inadequate as his testosterone levels crashed. Some former users put on weight, too, as they no longer have the motivation to train as they were before.’

Side effects of taking steroids can include heart problems, liver disease, depression and altered moods, including aggression and irritability.

In a statement after his exit, Spencer, 26, revealed why he’d been taking the drugs, saying: ‘Vanity, I suppose, had been the reason for wanting to bulk up a bit for [a box match]. I had intended to come off the pills gradually, but there was no time to do this before I reached the jungle.

‘My admission to the production team that I was still taking these pills led to the conclusion it would be unsafe for me to stay. Taking these pills was a serious error of judgement, which I hugely regret.’

He’s now reported to be heading to rehab.

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