Term Paper: Drugs Differentiate Between Androgenic and Anabolic Effects

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Drugs

Differentiate between androgenic and anabolic effects of the male sex hormone testosterone.

The term "anabolic" refers to the muscle-building aspects of testosterone, and "androgenic" refers to how testosterone encourages the body to manifest masculine characteristics such as the growth of facial hair, male-pattern baldness, and a deeper voice.

Describe the potential adverse effects and possible health risks associated with anabolic steroid use by males and females, including psychological manifestations of use that have been observed in many athletes who have used these substances indiscriminately.

Abusing anabolic steroids can result in the growth of liver tumors and liver cancer, or other diseases of the liver like jaundice. High blood pressure and high cholesterol as well as water retention can also result, as can kidney tumors, acne, and trembling. For people who inject steroids, liver damage is possible as a result of being at greater risk from contracting hepatitis from dirty needles (there is also an increased risk of HIV transmission amongst individuals who favor interventions injection).

Men's testicles may shrink and they can exhibit reduced sperm counts. They are at greater risk for prostate cancer. Women may stop menstruating, which puts them at increased risk of osteoporosis. The clitoris may become enlarged and women using steroids may experience facial hair growth in unexpected areas. Adolescents may experience premature skeletal maturation and accelerated puberty which may mean that they can stop growing sooner than they would had they never used steroids.

Aggression and other psychiatric side effects may result from abuse of anabolic steroids. Many users report feeling good about themselves while on anabolic steroids, but researchers report that extreme mood swings also can occur, including manic-like symptoms leading to violence. Depression often is seen when the drugs are stopped and may contribute to dependence on anabolic steroids. Researchers report also that users may suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility" ("Steroids," NIDA InfoFacts, 2008).

1c.

Under what circumstances, if any, would you support the use of human growth hormone to enhance the height and weight of normal but undersized (i.e., below average in height and weight for their age) children or adolescents, including others interested in enhancing their physical appearance? Explain your viewpoint.

It is possible to argue that such children could benefit psychologically from attaining a physical size that is more normative to their peer group. Socially, they will be able to participate more actively in organized sports, dating, and they will be treated as mature enough to take on summer jobs and extra responsibilities by adults. On the other hand, should we put a child's life at risk, potentially, merely to prevent him or her from seeming different from the peer group? Should we validate societal pressures to be a certain size with the use of scientific intervention for cosmetic purposes? Also, the child may simply experience a growth spurt at a later age and coping with the challenges of being the smallest child may become a positive rather than a negative aspect of the child's development. The small child could even devote his or her energies to pursuits where smallness is advantageous, like track and field, gymnastics, or horseback riding and use other ways of coping socially to compete with his or her peers in school and his or her social life outside of school.

Question

2a.

The use of two or more of the nutritional ergogenic aids available to enhance athletic performance in youthful participants.

Caffeine, which is present in coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and in pill form, has been shown to enhance endurance and overall performance in sports in both children and adults. Minor amounts of caffeine may not be dangerous, although it is worth noting that caffeine can cause dehydration during sporting events, especially in the heat, and like all erogenic aids, can be abused. Ephedrine is another natural herbal stimulate used to increase energy and is also often to speed the metabolism and encourage athletes' weight loss for sports where a low weight is part of the sport's optimal aesthetic of performance needs. But ephedrine can be hazardous to athletes with heart problems or who work out in the heat. Protein in the form of shakes and bars in high amounts can place a strain on the kidneys, as in the case of protein shakes used by weight lifters, football players, and other individuals in power sports, although of course some protein is necessary for muscle building and rebuilding in all athletes.

2b.

The extended use of creatine in an effort to increase muscular performance in athletes and other active people.

Creatine monohydrate is naturally produced by the liver (up to 2 grams a day) to help release energy in muscles and can be found in protein-rich foods such as meat or fish as well as in supplemental form. "Creatine helps muscles make and circulate more adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is used for quick, explosive bursts of activity, as in weightlifting or sprinting. Creatine also reduces energy waste products -- such as lactic acid -- that can cause muscle fatigue" ("Taking performance-enhancing drugs: Are you risking your health," the Mayo Clinic., 2006). It causes weight gain, which is desirable for some athletes in muscle-building, power sports, especially young men who want to 'bulk up.' In high doses, even more so than high doses of protein, the use of creatine can cause dehydration, stomach and muscle cramps, nausea and diarrhea which inhibit performance during practice and competition. It can also damage the kidneys, liver, and heart if taken long-term and in high doses.

2c.

The employment of values clarification programs to combat drug abuse in schools, and the criticism that such programs are essentially value-free.

No form of education is essentially 'value free.' After all, in some societies today, drug addiction is viewed primarily as a psychological sickness, while the paradigm of most drug education programs suggests that on some level taking drugs is a conscious choice, and that the individual has the ability to resist the influence of drugs despite depression and a lack of other ways of coping with life. Also, the programs are taught by people in authority, usually members of the educational and law enforcement community, and represent institutional powers that are again, not value free.

These programs often stress the need not to bow to 'peer pressure,' however the usual implication is that children should instead adopt adult values such as sobriety, staying in school, and obedience to the law. Although these seem like good things, it is worth noting that the reasons why drug problems exist in certain communities, such as social inequalities and the lack of opportunities for individuals to survive other than selling drugs are usually not addressed, and thus the programs may lack an impact for individuals in these communities.

2d. The nature and scope of peer programs on drug abuse prevention, and the anticipated benefits and reportedly uncertain outcomes associated with such programs.

Programs such as DARE often have long, extended syllabuses spanning through many grade levels. DARE, because it is taught by members of the law enforcement community, specifically aspires to create a positive image of those who enforce drug laws rather than those individuals who break drug laws, to young people. By 'getting to' children while they are young and still malleable, the rationale suggests, they will be able to avoid negative peer influences when they are older. Problems exist with this model, not the least of which is that a young child who wishes to please adults might be an enthusiastic graduate of DARE, but because of low self-esteem or socioeconomic pressures, still succumb to the lure of peer pressure and drugs, or simply use drugs and alcohol as negative coping mechanisms.

Children are using drugs younger and younger today and students… [END OF PREVIEW]

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