THE USE OF STEROIDS BY ATHLETES



THE USE OF STEROIDS BY ATHLETES



Steroids are drugs that many athletes use to enhance their abilities in sports. The use of
steroids can be dangerous to both your body and mind. The drug also can give athletes unfair
advantages which could propel them to victory. The use of steroids should not be permitted
in any type of sporting event.
What is a steroid? Steroids are a synthetic version of the human hormone testosterone.
Testosterone stimulates and maintains the male sexual organs. It also stimulates the
development of bones and muscle, promotes skin and hair growth, and can influence emotions.
In males, testosterone is produced by the testes and the adrenal gland. In the 1930\'s, researchers
first developed steroids to rebuild and prevent the breakdown of body tissues from disease. The
first use of steroids in sports was recorded in 1954 at the world championships in Vienna,
Austria (Snyder 72). Russian weight lifters were using steroids and were merely invincible in
their competition against other countries (Snyder 72). The U.S. coach asked the Russians how
they were accomplishing this, and they told him they were given steroids (Snyder 72). This
started the craze for steroids around the world especially in the United States (Snyder 72).
Many scientists believe it can increase strength and body size, but others believe that using the
drug makes you hostile and aggressive which makes you train harder therefore resulting in
gained body size and strength (Snyder 74). Many people that take them are athletes and people
with body image issues (Steroids). Others such as police officers and bouncers use them because they work in physical fighting environments (Steroids).
The use of steroids may cause many serious mental side effects. The drug produces a
change in the electroencephalogram, an image of the brain activity (Macmillan 94) . Mood swings are common which are caused by increased hostility and aggressiveness (Steroidsinfo). Some steroid users even go through violent, uncontrollable rages called " Roid Rage " (Snyder 69). Many steroid users feel depressed and do things they would never think of doing (Snyder 67). The most greatly affected emotions are agitation, euphoria, insomnia, and psychosis (Macmillan 95). Steroids may also cause maniac-like symptoms leading violent, even homicidal episodes. Depression often is seen when the drugs are stopped and may contribute to steroid dependence (Steroid Abuse). Users may suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irrability, delusions, and impaired judgement stemming form feelings of invincibility (Steroid Abuse). Some of these effects are not present at first, but after abusing this drug these symptoms may be irreversible.
Steroids may also cause many serious physical side effects that can be long or short term.
There are many short term effects from the use of steroids such as the development of acne,
deepened voice, and abnormal hair growth. Metabolism is weakened and levels of blood sugar increase, which worsens diabetes. The incidence of cataracts occurs in eyes. Thinning of the skin occurs and blood vessels near surface of skin become visible. Skin bruises more easily and wounds heal slowly (Mayo Clinic). Changes in the elevation of blood pressure are common. Steroids may be linked to the increased risk of gallstones (Macmillan 98). The short term effects are less serious than the long term effects. Steroids cause the formation of new bones to be inhibited and osteoporosis and joint damage occurs. The body produces fewer disease fighting antibodies, making you more susceptible to get sick (Mayo Clinic). If taken at an early age, steroids may stunt the growth in young people (Steroidsinfo). The three main problems that occur are adverse effects in the liver, cardio-vascular system, and reproductive system (Snyder 69). The effects on the liver are peliosis hepatitis blood filled cysts can weaken and eventually shut down the liver (Snyder 69). The effects on the cardio-vascular system are changes in cholesterol level, blood pressure level, and blood clotting problems occur which can cause heart attacks or strokes (Snyder 69). The final main problem that can occur with the use of steroids is in the reproductive system. The sperm count in males lowers, testes decrease in size, and natural testosterone decreases which can cause infertility (Snyder 70). Men also develop breasts, or called gynecomastia, as a counter action to the raised estrogen levels to try and balance out the outrageous testosterone