I have chosen to write my paper on the topic of steroids and performance enhancing substances that are used today in sports. In this paper I hope to focus on the steroids and performance enhancing drugs and how they have become a problem in sports. An anabolic steroid is a substance that is related to male sex hormones, known as testosterone. The word “Anabolic” means muscle building. The word “steroids” is just referred to as a drug name or a class of drug. Some athletes have made the decision that they would like to jump higher, run faster, throw harder and hit 100 home runs.
Well, this can be accomplished through hard work, dedication, and practice can’t it? Some athletes feel the need to take a shortcut to being the best, so they indulge in “shooting up. ” Steroids can be very dangerous and hazardous to your health if you abuse them. Some of these conditions can include, liver tumors and cancer, jaundice, (which is a yellowish pigmentation of the skin, tissues, and body fluids), fluid retention, high blood pressure, increase in LDL (bad cholesterol), and at the same time a decrease in you good cholesterol or HDL. One may also get kidney tumors, severe acne, and suffer from trembling.
These are some of the side effects that one in general can get from the use of steroids. There are also some other side effects that have to do with gender. In males they can suffer from the shrinking of the testicles and reduced sperm count, which lowers their ability to produce children, baldness, they may start developing breasts, and they are increasing their chances of getting prostate cancer. For women they may start to see some facial hair, some male-pattern of baldness, changes in or loss of menstrual cycle, enlargement of the clitoris and deepened voice.
In adolescents they are stunting their growth prematurely through premature skeletal maturation and accelerated puberty changes. This may mean that the adolescent will remain short for the duration of his or her life if they choose to take an Anabolic steroid before the typical adolescent growth spurt. These are some of the physical symptoms that individuals can expect to see while taking anabolic steroids. Some of the psychiatric side effects that may show are the need to be aggressive. Most of the users say that they feel good about themselves while taking steroids but research reports that extreme mood swings occur.
Some of these mood swings can include manic-like symptoms that may lead to violence. As a result of this some users might turn to other drugs to relieve some of the negative effects of anabolic steroids. An example of this is that a study was done at a private treatment center for dependence, 227 men admitted of using heroin or other opioids. (Pope and Katz, 1988). Today, not only athletes but also others abuse anabolic steroids to enhance their performance and for the non-athletes they want to improve their physical appearance.
The majority of steroids are taken through injection by a needle; done so in cycles of weeks or months, this is also called “cycling” these individuals who are engaging in steroid use are putting themselves at risk for HIV/AIDS or hepatitis, which can cause serious damage to the liver. “Cycling” is taking multiple doses of steroids over a certain period of time, which includes stopping and starting again. Users also do a thing called “stacking” which is simply combining several types of steroids to maximize their effectiveness while minimizing negative effects.
An article done by ESPN states that, ” There should be no controversy over anabolic steroid use in athletesnon-medical use of anabolic steroids is illegal and banned by most, if not all, major sports organizations. ” Why don’t we drug test the athletes if steroid use is illegal? Coakley states that, “Drug testing is needed to protect the health of athletes and to relieve athletes of the pressures they feel to take potentially dangerous substances to keep up with competitors. ”
The problem with getting people to take a drug test is that they have the right to say no if the tester has any reason to give them a drug test. Drug tests are expensive and drain resources that could be used for health education programs for athletes. The test administered to athletes in Olympic sports by the recently formed United States Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-doping Agency costs about three hundred dollars per athlete every time it is administered. Testing one hundred thousand potential Olympic athletes around the world once a year would cost about thirty million dollars. ” (Coakley, 2004). This is a pose as a serious problem.
Athletes are going to continue to use steroids, because no matter what people say and how illegal it may be athletes are going to continue to use anabolic steroids for the purpose that it works and it is their jobs to be good at what they do. Most of these athletes are not looking at the fact that this is a drug and it can become addictive and potentially deadly. Long-time steroid users and steroid abusers may experience the classic characteristics of addiction including cravings, difficulty in stopping steroid use and withdrawal symptoms.
Dr. Wadler, a New York University School of Medicine professor and lead author of the book Drugs and the Athlete, said that, “Regardless, there is no question that when regular steroid users stop taking the drug they get withdrawal pains and if they start up again the pain goes away. They have difficulties stopping use even though they know it’s bad for them. ” The use of steroids has been brought to the attention of many Americans and we know now that we have had a problem with steroid use for a long while now. What we are not seeing is the fact that the substances that are legal for athletes to use.
Things such as, Creatine, Ripped Fuel, and many others. Former baseball player Kirk Gibson states in an interview that, ” The focus is on all the wrong things. ” Gibson, now the Detroit Tigers bench coach says that baseball’s current steroid program is already working, and that very few players will be using steroids this upcoming season. He also said that the real problem is the industry that is selling and producing nutritional supplements. Gibson states,” Why don’t they have another meeting on the supplement industry, the stuff that’s sold legally in every mall in America? ” Supplements are not a big topic in today’s society.
The need and demand to look bigger, badder, and bolder is so high today, that athletes will do anything to make it to the top. Mark McGuire said in a congressional interview that, ” I’ve always loved baseball, and seeing this absolutely disgusts me. I cannot believe that these men do not play for the love of the game but rather care more about their performance and winning. ” When I read this statement I laughed to myself. Mark McGuire without a doubt was one of the biggest steroid users in baseball when he was playing. He got so big in so little time that there was no other explanation.
And it all showed when he broke the home run record. He was “juicing. ” For him to say these things is out of line and I have lost a lot of respect for the man. Needless to say that steroids did help him break records, but we all know what they are saying about records broken. That is that every record broken in the last couple of years are in question. Did steroids have anything to do with it? I think so. Steroids are more common among professional athletes but do these athletes know that they are setting a bad example for adolescents who are trying to make it to the professional level.
A major problem in both professional and elite amateur athletics is the misuse of anabolic steroids to increase muscle strength and/or muscle size. ” (Pediatrics, 1989). These steroids are available almost at any age. The use of steroids in widespread among professional and college-level athletes, particularly in football players and weight lifters. The International Olympic Committee banned the use of anabolic steroids in 1976; they also placed severe sanctions on violators. I do not think that steroids should be used in any sport or any situation other than for a certain disease one may have.
Cheating in school is not allowed, so why should cheating in athletic performance be allowed. It was said in a journal that, ” our belief that taking ergogenic drugs is another form of cheating, and because competitors who enhance their athletic performance with anabolic steroids put the other competitors in the difficult position of either not taking them and conceding a perceived advantage to the abusing competitor or taking them as well and accepting the risks of untoward side effects. Young athletes should not be placed in the situation of having to make such a choice. ” (Pediatrics, 1989).