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Clinical Problem of Interest
Anabolic Steroids and Their Effects on the Body
Even though governing bodies and media reports may have a person thinking otherwise, the use of anabolic steroids by athletes is nothing new or unique. The use of these drugs has been going on for some time throughout many different kinds of sports, and there is no reason to think that it will stop, despite the illegality of it and the dangers that are seen when athletes engage in the use of anabolic steroids and other drugs believed to enhance performance. The biological and psychological effects can be very strong, and can include an increase in desire for sex, aggressiveness, and an increase in behaviors that are typically considered to be masculine (Graham, et al., 2008). These behaviors can also include sleep disorders, paranoia, euphoria, confusion, hallucinations, and anxiety (Graham, et al., 2008). Naturally, these are the kinds of problems that a person would want to avoid, but the allure of taking steroids for high performance in sports can sometimes be too strong for some to ignore.
There is tremendous pressure to perform in athletics, and an athlete may not realize the severity of the risk when it comes to taking steroids. He may also feel that the risks are well worth it, because of the ability he will have to succeed in his chosen sport. Millions of dollars can be at stake for anyone who becomes a professional athlete. Of course, getting caught taking anabolic steroids can also ruin a career. Athletes have to be careful when it comes to what they do to enhance their abilities, and steroids are not on the list of acceptable substances. Still, many athletes will take the risk because of the potential for income and also because of the potential for setting records and enjoying the fame that comes with that. That will not happen to every athlete that takes steroids, but the possibility is there - along with the possibility of the adverse reactions and biological changes that can cause serious problems and difficulties for even the healthiest, fittest athlete.
Anabolic steroids are used for their ergogenic effects, and they have been proven to increase muscle mass in men who have already reached adulthood (Graham, et al., 2008)d. One of the most common drugs used is testosterone. This is a hormone, which is technically not illegal. Males have testosterone in their bodies already, and females have it but to a lesser degree. However, the majority of sports do not allow athletes to take extra testosterone or any other kind of performance enhancing or growth drug. There are three classes of people who normally take anabolic steroids, and the reasons behind why they take them differ. These groups are (1) athletes who want faster performance and stronger abilities, (2) bodybuilders who are trying to gain muscle mass and get bigger, and (3) recreational users out on the streets (Graham, et al., 2008). In the last two decades, the use of anabolic steroids has grown rapidly (Graham, et al., 2008). Those who use them on the streets or who use them for muscle mass are not concerned about the consequences. The athletes who use them to be faster and better at their game have learned all about the half-lives of the drugs and other factors so that they can avoid detection and not get caught and punished by the sport they choose to play.
Some countries restrict the use of anabolic steroids in athletes more than others, but in most places possession of the drugs is not technically illegal. Where the legality comes into play is in the governing bodies for the sports themselves, where the rules for that sport and the athletes who play it are set. If it is illegal for someone to take anabolic steroids and play that sport, that rule must be respected. Many athletes choose to just work to avoid detection, though, because they see that they are not able to compete with their peers if they do not take steroids in order to keep up with everyone else. While that is unfortunate, there is actually very little that can be done about it if the athletes who are using the steroids cannot be caught. These athletes understand the biology of steroids, but they may not be clear on the risk. After…[continue]
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