Steroid abuse in sports by professional athletes sends out a damaging message in our society. Many of these athletes are looked upon as role models by young people who think being the best is more important than anything else. Young people today see the image of bigger is better but are unaware of what steroid abuse in sports does to the human body and mind.
Before we go on it is very important to know the difference between corticosteroids and anabolic steroids. Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs. They are synthetic forms of cortisone which is a hormone produced naturally in your adrenal glands. Corticosteroids are used to decrease inflammation in bone joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and skin. Anabolic steroids are used to treat a deficiency of sex hormones in men but are often used and abused for muscle build up and enhancement.
From the definitions above steroid abuse in sports is related to anabolic steroid use.
Another fact to understand is that anabolic steroid abuse is desired by an athlete to change the way they look and perform. This results in a spike in confidence, increased strength and endurance. Anabolic steroid abuse has nothing to do with the immediate euphoria associated with social drugs such as alcohol, marijuana or cocaine.
What is definitely overlooked by the steroid abuser in sports is the long term damage these substances have on the body. Anabolic steroids absolutely enhance performance and appearance but there are very dangerous side affects. In some cases where these drugs are used inappropriately there are irreversible negative health consequences.
It has been studied and documented that anabolic steroid abuse is known to cause early heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, liver cancer and serious psychiatric issues. Since these drugs are often injected and needles shared there is a definite risk for HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
There is a certain percentage that become addicted based on evidence that there is continued use despite medical issues and negative social interaction. Steroid abusers spend large amounts of money to obtain the drugs. There is evidence that when the drugs are stopped withdrawal symptoms are seen such as mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, poor appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive and the urge for more steroids. Depression is the major concern when steroids are stopped and may last for a long period of time.
Most of the focus today in the United States is in professional sports where testing procedures have been implemented. On the amateur side very little testing has been done.
The best way to prevent this abuse is to educate young people on the risks of these drugs. Participating in sports offers many benefits but young people and adults should not take unnecessary health risks to be the best in an effort to win. This is a point that must be presented to young athletes.