The Psychological Effects of Using Steriods

Anabolic Steriods. What are they? Where do they come from? Why are they

From amateurs to pros, from body builders to football players and every sport in

between, Steriods, or "roids" as they are referred to, have been in the circle of athletes

since the 1950\'s. Is it vanity that drives athletes to use steriods? Do they understand the

end results from the abuse of "roids"? What psychological effects do steriods have on


In order to understand the psychological effects of steriods, you must first

understand what steriods are and where they come from.

The natural form of steriods is the hormone testosterone, which is produced in

males by the testes and adrenal glands and by the adrenal glands in females. The body

uses these hormones to combat inflammation, stimulate development of bones and

muscles, contributes to the growth of skin and hair and can also influnece emotions.

Anabolic Steriods, also known as "juice", are a synthetic version of the hormone

testosterone. When taken, either orally or injected, these synthetic steriods fool the body

into thinking that testosterone is being produced and therefore the body shuts down

functions involving testosterone(Mishra 2). Given the right training stimulus and diet,

these steriods enables the user to process protien into muscle fibers at astonishing rates,

creating increased muscle size and strength with a drop in body fat (due to an increase in

metabolic rate) (Silver 1). They are, in effect, the chemical essence of manliness, pysical

power and masculine aggression (Nichols 38).

Synthetic steriods were developed in the 1930\'s to rebuild and prevent the

breakdown of body tissue from disease. In the 1950\'s, synthetic steriods became popular

with athletes because they helped produce this greater-than-normal muscle size and

strength, but the abuse of these synthetic steriods has many dangerous physical and

psychological effects.

Steriods are fast catching up with antibiotics as the most abused class of drugs

prescribed by doctors even though they cannot cure one single condition. All steriods can

do is supress the bodies ability to express a normal response. Sometimes suppression will

give the body a chance to heal itself, but more often causes permanent damage. Doctors,

by law, cannot prescribe anabolic steriods for the purpose of athletic enhancement, and

possession of these steriods without a prescription is a felony, but today there are an

estimated one million current or former illegal-steriod users in the United States (Nichols

1). So why would an individual choose to break the law and ignor the consequesces, both

physical and legal, of using steriods?

From the time children are old enough to join a little league team, parents,

coaches, and society in general, thrust the talented young athletes into early sports

development programs, glorify the youngsters for willing to risk their bodies in order to

win, demand that they aspire to greatness at any cost, and pass on the vision that winning

isn\'t everything, it\'s the only thing! Thus, by the time these youngsters become teenagers

"juicing" is a frequent topic of discussion. They are now subjected to peer pressure and

self justification for using steriods. They fear their performance will not be as good as it

could be and therefore will diminish their self-esteem. Some student athletes can feel so

pressured to succeed in their sports because they are constantly told that taking risks in

sports is essential to success, that if you are really good the pros will draft you and you

will make millions. Just pick up any sports magazine or watch commercials. Do you see

skinny, wimpy looking athletes promoting a product? No. You see good looking,

muscular and well built athletes leading you to believe that if you buy this product you can

play as well, and look as good as they do.

Society demands and rewards great athletic ability and success, so young people

do not concern themselves with the long term effects of using steriods. They know that

"roids" can give them what nature hadn\'t: strength, muscle size and that lean, hungry look

and they can have all these things now! The desire to make the team or to impress their

peers is much more immediate than the future prospect of possible damage to the liver,

heart, or other vital organs and the long term consequences.

The social pressure of appearance is the