Personal Experiences With PEDs

Whenever I have a chance to research or write about performance enhancing drugs, or anabolic steroids, I take it.  Mostly because its interesting to me, but also because I had a good friend who took anabolic steroids, and he greatly suffered from the side effects. His name is Zach, and he is my best friend.  Zach was always into sports his whole life, but he really began to feel the pressure when he left to go play football in college.  He felt the need to get bigger and faster, and just lifting weights was not doing It for him so he began taking anabolic steroids.  He quickly put on 20 pounds of muscle, and got faster.  But he soon began to realize that it wasn’t worth it.  After taking steroids for about a year, Zach began to become depresses, and when I say depressed, I  mean extremely depressed.  He was not talking to any of his friends, and he had broken up with his girlfriend so none of us knew what was really going on.  I did not know how serious the situation was until his mother called me letting me know that Zach was suicidal, and had dropped out of college.  I was in shock. Zachs life had taken a complete 360 spiral the wrong way, all because of PEDs or anabolic steroids.  After Zach went through therapy and was slowly cycled off anabolc steroids he began to be my best friend again.  It’s crazy how much one drug can really affect someone in such a negative way, and when we talk about it to this day he tells me that it was not worth it at all.

Another story that I found touching while I was doing my research, that people should know about.  This article from the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) summarizes Taylor Hootons death, and how high school athletes feel the pressure to take steroids. Taylor Hooton, a 16 year old boy from Texas was, a well-known boy who did well on and off the baseball field. Taylor was told by his baseball coach that he needed to get bigger to move up on the team depth chart. After his coach told him, Taylor thought he had only one option. Taylor began using anabolic steroids in the year 2003. Taylor’s family began to notice some mild mood swings from Taylor. So Taylor’s parents began taking him to a psychiatrist. Taylor admitted to using anabolic steroids, and promised that he would stop using them. That same summer, Taylor started to get into trouble. Taylor stole a laptop computer. His parents grounded him from driving his truck, and he couldn’t hang with his for two weeks as a punishment for stealing the laptop. The next morning after his punishments, Taylor tried pleaded his mother not to punish him. Taylor’s mother said, “’ Taylor came in and had a couple tears in his eyes, so he reached over and squeezed her hand, went upstairs and hung himself.”’
Taylor is just one of thousands of high school athletes that abuse or take anabolic steroids. When steroids are taken, they suppress the body’s ability to produce testosterone. When someone stops using steroids, t5he body takes a few months to return to normal and severe depression can occur. The article explains how there are no exact number on suicides related to steroids, but Taylor’s father said it’s not uncommon. According to UNESCO, 500,000 to 600,000 high school student athlete’s abuse or have used steroids. Dr. Lyle Micheli says that there is an underground black market for kids to buy steroids, and the internet is even easier way to get steroids. A survey taken by the Youth Risk Behavior survey says that 6.1 percent of students in grades 9-12 have tried steroids without a doctor’s prescription. Taylor’s father says he believes that all students need to be educated and taught the risks of taking anabolic steroids. He says this because he doesn’t want to see young lives taken because of steroids. Another point brought up in the article is that today’s youth sees professional athletes using steroids. They think that since professional athletes can get away with using steroids, then they can use steroids and get away with it. The article mentions how New Jersey high schools are now using a high school steroid testing program.
This was a very touching article for me because I realized how lucky I was. I didn’t have to see my best friend commit suicide, but I did lose my best friend. This is why I believe that every student in high school should be tested. It doesn’t matter if only 100 kids die a year. That is still a hundred lives that could be saved. In the article when Dr. Lyle Micheli is saying how steroids are extremely easy to buy online. I think that is true because I know that’s how Zach bought his steroids. I think that there should be some way to monitor websites selling illegal steroids. I also completely agree with Mr. Hooton, I think that today’s youth should be educated on anabolic steroids. I agree with this because this would teach students what happens to their bodies if they use steroids. This would maybe help to make student athletes make the right choice. One of the main reasons that today’s youth think it’s acceptable to use steroids is because their professional role models use them. It also makes the youth think that steroids will make them as good as their role model. One of the main things that I think will help solve steroid use, is to have random testing every week for all high school athletes. Like in the state of New Jersey they require drug test for every student. Every state needs to have that rule. Think how many lives could be saved if all 50 states required drug tests. I also strongly disagree the parents of these athletes that say “since only so few students are caught using steroids why waste time to test students.”. A life is a life, and as many lives should be saved as possible.

– Here is an amazing video that shows what kids like Zach were going through when they used anabolic steroids.  I know it is a little long, but it is a great story, and really gives you a good idea of what happens psychologically happens when someone takes steroids- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkPZ5xIAIk4

There are laws that are in place that make taking anabolic steroids illegal, but it so east to do and not monitored and is becoming decriminalized.  According to  Lindsey Barton, there are a few ways to prevent steroid use, but its difficult.  Some ways of prevention are,

– “Education: Well-designed, properly implemented sex-spacific, sport-centered, and  nd coach-facilitated educational programs appears to be effective AAS abuse deterrents for adolescent student-athletes.”

-“Drug testing: Whether drug testing significantly deters AAS abuse remains unclear, says the statement, due to the small number of high-quality studies. The statement says a prospective randomized trials to investigate the deterrent effect of AAS screening is “greatly needed.”

These are the two main way that are used when it comes to preventing anabolic steroid abuse.  I think that when people know what nasty side effects that this drugs has that it will deter them from using anabolic steroids.  When looking at ways of treatment, Lindsay Barton list a few ways to treat anabolic steroid abusers.

keeping athletes’ self-esteem high with alternatives to AAS, such as evidence-based nutrition and weight-training principles, along with collaboration from conditioning experts and sports nutritionists, among others

-building trust with patients, clients, athletes, and coaches through consistent, year-round, evidence-based educational meetings and in-service sessions;

-avoiding unfounded scare tactics and hype concerning the negative consequences of AAS;

-being alert for excessive discussion about and focus on supplements and nutrition practices or self-education about AAS (eg, types, stacks, and cycles);

-not threatening suspected AAS abusers, but instead cautiously stating their suspicions and offering evidence-based information and assistance in order to be an “accessible agent of positive behavioral changes”

-acknowledging the minimal, short-term (physical) consequences of AAS abuse but stressing education from health, moral and ethical, and legal perspectives;

-commenting on the negative aspects of AAS abuse, such as increased acne, stunted growth, or jaundice because they are “issues younger adolescents and adults will likely to be concerned about,” and being sure not to compliment their physical appearance (eg. muscularity) or strength gaines because it may reinforce or encourage AAS abuse;

-discussing personal sacrifices that accompany AAS abuse, such as money, time, social experiences, risk of disease and injury, and counterfeit or tainted products, among others; and

-remaining attentive because AAS abusers typically are secretive and good at not getting caught (i.e. a passed drug screen does not prove AAS nonuse).

As of right now there are rules in all professional sports that ban the use of anabolic steroids and other PEDs, and there is also legal laws against the use of anabolic steroids. I think that by educating our youth about anabolic steroids and other PEDs, and their bad side effects as well as drug test more consistently, then we will be more successful in preventing anacolic steroid abuse.

 

 

 

Sources-

Barton, Lindsay. “Pro-Active Approach To Preventing Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Use Urged.” Moms TEAM. MomsTeam, n.d. Web. 10 July 2014.

Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior. By, Carl Hart and Charles Ksir.

“DrugFacts: Anabolic Steroids.” National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). N.p., July 2012. Web. 13 July 2014.

Roberts, Stephen. “Dying to be prefect”. “UNECO”. Sept. 2006. 9 Oct. 2008

Kersey R, Elliott D, et. al. National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids.  J Ath. Train 2012;47(5):567-588 doi:10.4085/1062-6050-47.5.08.

Neri, M. M., Bello, S. S., Bonsignore, A. A., Cantatore, S. S., Riezzo, I. I., Turillazzi, E. E., & Fineschi, V. V. (2011). Anabolic Androgenic Steroids Abuse and Liver Toxicity. Mini Reviews In Medicinal Chemistry11(5), 430-437.

Radcliffe, Shawn. “Troubling Trend: Steroid Use On The Rise.” Men’s Fitness. Weider Publications LLC, n.d. Web. 10 July 2014.

 

Anabolic Steroids in Modern Day Sport

As we look further into performance enhancing drugs, I am going to focus on the most common performance enhancing drug, Anabolic Steroids.  What are anabolic ssteroids? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Anabolic steroid” is the familiar name for synthetic variants of the male sex hormone testosterone.  The proper term for these compounds is anabolic-androgenic steroids- “anabolic” referring to muscle-building agent and “androgenic” referring to increased male sexual characteristics.  Another definition from the peer reviewed article, Anabolic Androgenic Steroids Abuse and Liver Toxicity, “Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids (AAS) are synthetic hormone derivatives of testosterone chemically modified to maximize anabolic effects, promoting growth of skeletal muscle and enhancing athletic performances”(430).

Next we will look at how they are taken, and how they affect the brain.  Anabolic steroids can either be injected into the muscle or taken orally, and on some rare occasions they can be rubbed on the muscle in a cream form.  Usually when athletes take anabolic  steroids they will take 10 to 100 times the dose prescribed to treat certain medical conditions.  When this drug is taken it is usually taken in cycles, because if you continuously use it, your body will begin to stop making its own natural testosterone.  The uses of anabolic steroids can affect the brain in many different ways.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse , “Anabolic steroids work very differently from other drugs of abuse, and they do not have the same acute effects on the brain.  The most important difference is that steroids do not trigger rapid increases in the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for the rewarding “high” that drives the abuse of other substances”  However, long-term steroid use can affect some of the same brain pathways and chemicals- including dopamine, serotonine, and opioid systems- that are affected by other drugs, and thereby may have a significant impact on mood and behavior.”  long time users of steroids and suffer from many physiological affects that can be very serious.  Some of the physiological affects are: increase in aggression, extreme mood-swings, anger symptoms, paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility. All of these are the affects that long time steroid users abuse, and now were going look at some of the physical side affects of steroids for both men and women.

         Steroid abuse can lead to some serious health issues that can sometimes be irreversible. Some of the more serious health effects are, ” impairment or failure; damage to the liver, cardiovascular problems including enlargement of the heart, high blood pressure, and changes in blood cholesterol leading to an increased risk of stroke and hear attack(even in young people)”(NIH).  As you can see, steroid abuse can cause some serous and dangerous physiological and health related problems.  This drug also has different affects for males and females.  Males who abuse steroids side affects: sever acne, shrinkage of the testicles, reduced sperm count or infertility, baldness, development of breasts, and an increased risk of prostate cancer(NIH).  Some of the side affects for women are: sever acne, growth of facial hair, male-pattern baldness, changes in or cessation of the menstrual cycle, enlargement of the clitoris, and depend voice(NIH).  Basically, men slowly begin to turn into a women, and women slowly begin to turn into a man.

Although steroids have some pretty nasty side effects, they have been successfully used to treat many kinds of medical issues.  Anabolic steroids have been used to treat patients with:  retarded growth, hypogonadism, impotence, infertility, eunuchoidism, cyptorchidism, sarcopenia, muscle wasting or debilitation, decline of cognitive functions, depression, HIV-related cachexia, anemia, hepatic regeneration following an injury or a transplantation, endometriosis, breast cancer and osteoporosis(Neri 430).  Anabolic steriods have many treatments, but only if the patient is ready and can handle the side effects of steroids.   In a social aspect, people really only take steroids to become more fit, and build more muscle.  This is mostly seen in body building and heavy weight lifting.

 

 

Sources-

Neri, M. M., Bello, S. S., Bonsignore, A. A., Cantatore, S. S., Riezzo, I. I., Turillazzi, E. E., & Fineschi, V. V. (2011). Anabolic Androgenic Steroids Abuse and Liver Toxicity. Mini Reviews In Medicinal Chemistry11(5), 430-437.

http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/anabolic-steroids

 

Sources and Forms of Perfomance Enhancing Drugs

As we all know today performance enhancing drugs are a big issue in sport today.  We see them from professional baseball players to professional bicyclists taking them.  Performance enhancing drugs have been around since the early Greek Olympics.   These drugs are used in many ways and many forms.  Athletes will use performance enhancing drugs to increase: their strength, power, speed, endurance, faster recovery,energy boost, weight loss, faster reaction time and for injuries.

According to our book, Drugs, Society and Human Behavior, during the 1800s and early 1900s there were three types of stimulants that were reported used for sports.  First was, Strychine, which at low doses acted as a central nervous system stimulant.  Second was, cocaine, which was a stimulant that athletes used for increased energy. lastly, athletes would use the common stimulant known as caffeine.

Amphetamines-  It was not until about 1930s that athletes began using  amphetamines to get the edge.  During 1940’s and 1950s these drugs were always around because of WWI and WWII.  Athletes began to use amphetamines because it was more potent than cocaine and could last longer than caffeine.   By the time of the 1960 Olympics, this drug has been spread all across the world for sports.

Modern Day Sports enhancers-  From the late 1950s- present there has been a huge boom in anabolic steroids or PED’S as performance enhancers. Anabolic steroids are a drug that promotes constructive metabolism, which leads to building muscle.   A These drugs come in many different forms.  Some of the most common forms of steroids are: pill form, injection form, liquid form, gummy form and cream form. According to our book, “During and after world war II, it was found that malnourished people could gain weight and build themselves up more rapidly if they were given the male hormone testosterone.”(375)  This was the main origins of the modern day issues of steroids.

When looking at performance enhancing drugs  today, it has become a huge issue.  The drive to become the perfect athlete can lead to the misuse of this drug.  According to the website, Men’s Fitness, steroid use is currently on the rise.  They did a survey in 2009 and found that about 1.3% of high school students were using some sort of steroid.  In a more recent study they did in the Minneapolis area, they found that about 5.9% of boys were using steroids and 4.9% of girls were using steroids.  This is currently an issue at every age level for both males and females.  When athletes need that extra dive to be better they are leaning towards doing steroids in the U.S.

Steroids

 

 

Sources-

Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior. By, Carl Hart and Charles Ksir.  

http://www.mensfitness.com/training/build-muscle/steroid-use-on-the-rise

 

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