Use of Steroids in Athletes Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2172 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Sports

Steroids Among Athletes

Steroids are a class of prescribed drugs, used to treat abnormally low amounts of testosterone, body wasting in the case of AIDS and other disease conditions involving loss of body mass (National Institute of Drug Abuse 2006). Anabolic steroids contain hormones or hormone-like substances, used to boost strength and muscle growth (Encyclopedia of Childhood and Adolescence 1998). Steroids were first developed in Europe in the 30s to treat undernourished patients. They were also used for healing after surgery. Weightlifters began using them for competitions in the 50s in order to enhance their performance. The popularity and use of steroids thus spread among athletes throughout the world. Today, at least one in 15 male high school seniors in the U.S. Or half a million of them have used steroids. Some of them do so to increase strength and build. Others, especially the young, use steroids to accelerate growth and keep up with peers. Doctors' prescription is required to purchase them in the U.S., but they are available over the counter in other countries (Encyclopedia of Childhood and Adolescence).Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Use of Steroids in Athletes Assignment

The American College of Sports Medicine observed that the use of anabolic steroids had gone up in the last decade (Rose 2000). Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances related to testosterone, male sex hormones (National Institute on Drug Abuse 2006). They promote skeletal muscle growth and help develop male sexual characteristics in both sexes (National Institute on Drug Abuse). The use of these steroids has not been confined to Olympic athletes but extended to high school students. Lifetime prevalence rates for the use among male adolescents are from 4 to 12%. Female users have also been increasing in number. Laws on the use of anabolic steroids have been established but the Association believes the users should be constantly updated about them and about sports nutrition, strength training, conditioning and supplements. Young people specifically need strong moral and ethical guidance in their activities and the use of the drug (Rose).

The use, misuse and abuse of drugs have troubled amateur and professional sports for some time now (Nutrition Health Review 2002). Studies showed a significant and alarming rise in the use of anabolic steroids among middle-school students from 1998-99. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield survey estimated that a million U.S. children between 12 and 7 years may have been using steroids as well as other performance-enhancing substances. Pennsylvania State University Professor Charles Yesalis commented that children and other young people's health could be seriously damage their health by mis-using these substances. Despite warnings like this, some coaches and parents have taken the risk of allowing their wards to use anabolic steroids. Some even actively encourage the use in the pursuit of scholarships or winning sports competitions. Fame and fortune have been strong motivations. Some sports fans already support drug testing and the ban on steroids but the impact has not reached sufficient levels. Massive response of support is needed from fans of all major sports through boycotts and other activities before a change can take effect (Nutrition Health Review).

Some enhancements do not contribute to better performance or may appear like improving it but actually devalue performance (Will 2004). Radical chemical changes can disturb the health of both mind and body. Those are "charged" by steroids are over-driven to win. They have an altered way of viewing and valuing winning. On the other hand, professional athletes who avoid steroids and other artificial ways of achieving sports success invest in discipline. This effort reveals itself in their character. They also struggle to perform better or excellently, but not in an unnatural way. They do not resort to chemicals to boost their chances. They do not need the kind of win that brings on a soiled character (Will).

An analysis of 26 pills from eight manufacturers showed that their ingredients fell below the recommended range for ethical drugs (Brunk 2000). At this low level, the drugs could hardly affect athletic performance, according to Dr. Gary Green of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of California. If ineffective, they can pose a risk to health, such as prostate cancer. The researchers found that 7 of them contained less than 90% of at least one ingredient. Two had an ingredient not listed on the label. At least one listed ingredients was missing in two brands and one had 110% more of the listed ingredients. Dr. Green added that potential adverse effects of the drugs included prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, reduced HDL and cardiac arrhythmias (Brunk).

The General Medical Council warned doctors that they would be deleted from the medical register if they prescribed performance-enhancing drugs to athletes (Laurance 2000). Dr. Jane Millson noted that athletes undergo strong pressure to excel and give in to the temptation of using performance-enhancing drugs. According to a study, 9% of bodybuilders at gyms in the UK used anabolic steroids. These steroids could increase aggression and sterility and shrink the testicles. Dr. Evan Lloyd of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine emphasized that only a thin line divides acceptable treatment and unacceptable drug pushing. Ben Johnson, a 100-meter sprinter, lost his world record in 1988 after revealing that he had been taking drugs. A Canadian doctor prescribed these drugs. Peter Elliott, a UK 1,500-meter champion, received an injection of a local anesthetic and then won a gold medal (Laurance).

The International Society for Sport Psychiatry recommended the banning of anabolic steroids from all kinds of sports for a number of reasons (Business Editors 2005). Enough evidence has shown that the use of anabolic steroids damages mental and general health. They go against the development of good character for athletes and everyone else. Their use has also injured the lives of young people. They become icons or idols to these young minds as a backup effort, the Society also recommended policies for the treatment of those who would find it difficult to stop using anabolic steroids and those with certain symptoms of mental illness. These symptoms included depression, mania and anxiety (Business Editors).

The Society embarked in a program to educate young athletes, their families and coaches on the risks entailed by the use of steroids (Business Editors 2005). It is an organization founded on the science and practice of psychiatry in the field of sports. Sport psychiatrists apply the bio-psychosocial model with athletes and teams. It was organized 12 years ago and since then has had 125 members in different countries worldwide (Business Editors).

Taking anabolic steroids can have adverse mental consequences (Science News 2004). A series of interviews with 41 steroid-using bodybuilders and football players showed that a third of them developed severe psychiatric complications during their exposure to the substances. At large doses, steroids increased muscle size and strength but also affected the athletes' mental balance. They took the steroids at 10 to 100 times more than those used in medical studies of this kind of drugs. The respondents used steroids five to six at once in 4 to 12 cycles. This practice, called "stacking," seemed common and a probable cause of the ensuing psychiatric effects and muscle size more than those commonly observed. The respondents were habitues of gyms in Massachusetts and Los Angeles. Nine of them experienced severe depression or mania while exposed to steroids. One of them deliberately rammed against a tree after speeding for 40 miles per hour. Five other subjects exhibited psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations of voices (Science News).

To many persons, professional sports involves numbers or statistics (Santora 2005), Those who heavily indulge in sports get paid for their performance. This makes young TV viewers think that taking steroids would make them as strong and talented as some sports hero. Genuine talent cannot be swallowed or drunk. But right fitness and nutrition can help that genuine talent come out and excel. Steroids were previously available only as injectibles. Now they are available in pills and creams. Human growth hormones or HGH suggested significant potentials, according to researchers. But human growth hormones are harder to detect and thus have become more popular. Orthopedic surgeon Greg Stewart at Tulane Institute for Sports Medicine stressed the long-term side effects users can accumulate from these performance-enhancing drugs. According to him, these steroids can speed up damaged or damaging cells the body should eliminate or destroy. Otherwise, steroids can nourish abnormal cells or develop into breast cancer in women or impotence in men. Steroid tests cost $50 to $100 each. In comparison, tests for marijuana, cocaine and heroine cost only $10 to $15 per person. A nationwide survey said that 6.1% of high school students admitted taking steroid pills or shots even without doctor's prescription. This was the National Youth Risk Behavior conducted by the Disease Control and Prevention. Minor sports did not need to test because they did not have the funds for it. Steroids have been presented as a kind of "magic" bullets. But they cannot replace proper training, nutrition and proper and natural supplementation (Santora).

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APA Style

Use of Steroids in Athletes.  (2008, April 14).  Retrieved October 24, 2021, from

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"Use of Steroids in Athletes."  14 April 2008.  Web.  24 October 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Use of Steroids in Athletes."  April 14, 2008.  Accessed October 24, 2021.