Good Research Paper On Steroid Use By Athletes
It is not easy to be a successful sportsman or an outstanding athlete today, as one has to prove to not only himself and the world, but also be ready to take care of the expectations of their coach, promoter, and sponsor. It seems the world no longer wants athletes but some freaks with incredible power and strength all the time. Thus, it is no surprise to see most athletes turning to taking steroids to up their performance and remain ahead of their rivals. The athletes too are becoming more demanding and have higher expectations from their bodies. The paper looks at the real side of taking those steroids and what risks the athletes are exposed to when taking those drugs to alarming levels and in combinations.
Introduction Excelling in athletic competition is the aim of every high school or college as well as amateur and professional athletes. Athletes participate in different fitness and sports activities to pit their skills, strength and abilities against those of their peers. Nothing can be more satisfying than playing to their potential and winning against rivals. Unfortunately, the desire to excel and race ahead of others creates some athletes who are willing to go to any length to win and at any costs. After all, winning will give them instant fame and recognition, and over and, above all, the feeling of being superior. They do not think twice about using steroids to gain a competitive edge. Most of these athletes have little clue as to how those muscle-building supplements work and what positive or negative impacts can they have on their bodies (Anabolic Steroids and Sports).
The athletic competition has intensified in the recent years, and this has led to an increasing numbers of athletes working hard to upgrade their performances. The coaches and players, both want to win and get recognized; the game is no longer about being fair and disciplined when competing. Although many athletes out there still follow traditional methods to reach their goals, majority of them are in a hurry and do not mind taking short cuts. The result is that an increasing numbers of athletes rely on anabolic steroids to improve their strength, endurance, and performance. The percentage of intercollegiate athletes using steroids was15%, and the numbers have risen to 20% in the eighties and still rising. What is shocking is that the even high school students are using steroids, and they are just 16 years of age or younger (Paul et al., 1990).
The scandals related to anabolic steroid abuse at all levels of athletic competition from high school sports to the Olympics are plenty. The current status of toxicology studies on anabolic steroid use is limited. There is a need to do more studies on the benefits and risks of these drugs. Steroid efficacy studies often look into the anabolic effects of individual drugs (Paul et al., 1990).
Anabolic steroids are the derivatives of natural hormone testosterone and are used to treat certain anemias and stimulate sexual growth. Athletes believe that the drugs can improve their strength and aerobic performance, helping them gain muscle and body mass. There is a need for more research in this directions. However, these drugs do leave one with a feeling of euphoria followed by fatigue (Engel, 1989).
Testosterone is the main anabolic steroid hormone that is made by the body, and it promote muscle building naturally as well as induces male traits such as deeper voice, facial hair, etc. Synthetic modifications of testosterone are used by athletes to boost their performance. Those synthetic hormones were made for medical uses, and were not meant for athletic performance. The anabolic steroids or the so-called designer drugs are created for athletes specifically illegally and do not carry approved medical use. Theory, these have not been not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and thus carry a potential threat Mayo Staff, (2015).
It is a common understanding among athletes that they can improve their fitness level and strengths plus improve competitiveness and their performance only if they take anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids are the chemical imitative of testosterone, the "male sex hormone." However, these athletes are only getting misguided by their parents, coaches, peers into believing that those steroids can help them archive their dreams. Athletes are known to take two or more anabolic steroids together and will even add painkillers and stimulates. The athletes believe that using different drugs will bring in faster results as compared to one drug (Anabolic Steroids and Sports).
Why Athletes take Steroids
Serious athletes are very serious about winning, and their drive to win can be fierce. There is nothing wrong with being competitive as long as the lines of sanity are not crossed. It is no surprise to see most of the athletes taking the short cuts to enhancing their power and building muscles by taking performance enhancing drugs that are company referred to as the ”roids.” These drugs are Anabolic steroids, erythropoietin, diuretics, human growth hormone, pump, etc. One should not confuse Anabolic steroids with the steroid medications that are very different. Anabolic steroids are known to build muscle tissue and increase body mass (Anabolic Steroids and Sports).
As those drugs can make muscles bigger and help athletes to recover from a muscle damage quickly, they sound appealing to them. The athletes to work out harder without feeling over-trained or fatigued. Moreover, some athletes like those aggressive feelings that they get when they take the drugs Mayo Staff, (2015).
Do those steroids work?
Athletes taking steroids are not aware, but those steroids cannot help build their agility or skill. The athletic ability relies on several factors such as age, sex, diet, body size, as well as the persona training and stamina of the athlete. The dosage taken by athletes can be thirty times higher than the therapeutic amount, and this can lead to undesirable effects such as premature fusion of long bones and short stature in adolescent. They may also cause abnormal liver function, leading to hemorrhagic condition of the liver. They can result in a predisposition to atherosclerosis, and other adverse effects compose of acne as well as an increased number of injuries in the tendons, aggressiveness, hypertension (Engel, 1989). Subjects taking steroids do report noteworthy gain in bodyweight and strength. However, there are symptoms of depression, aggression, and paranoia (Paul et al., 1990).
Controlling the abuse of anabolic steroids There has been an increasing interest in the scientific community regarding the use of anabolic-androgenic steroid use among the athletes. Recent evidences have shown that hundreds of thousands of Americans make use of anabolic steroids (Katz & Pope, 994).
It is still not known as to how many of those athletes abuse anabolic steroids. There are several athletic associations such as Olympics, Major League Baseball (MLB), National Football League (NFL), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) that ban the use of drugs. The athletes are tested for the use of steroids, and there have been plenty of controversies relating to those issues. Players who test positive face suspension and if found positive for a second time are expelled from the League.
The studies on Steroids Anabolic steroids are well tolerated and effective when administered under proper medical guidance. However, the abuse of anabolic steroids by athletes and sports person is getting common. About 3% of young American adults admit having taken anabolic steroids at least once in their lifetime. Another study points that the abuse of anabolic androgenic steroids has increased by 50% since the nineties (M & T, 2002). Another point to note is that the past studies on anabolic steroid efficacy are irrelevant by today’s standards. The athletes today are not only using higher doses, but taking multiple drugs at the same time. The sports medicine specialists need to become experts in an anabolic steroid pharmacology so that they can prevent the athletes from turning towards underground advice. According to some studies, there are side effects but they are temporary most of the time. In the real world, healthy athletes have not experienced drastic reactions such as liver cancer, sex changes, baldness, etc. There are personality disturbances seen in the steroid user group, but there is no individual personality disorder noted (Paul et al., 1990).
Results were taken and compared with laboratory studies of steroids, clinical studies of steroids and naturalistic studies of athletes. The studies where steroids are given under prescription, and medical guidance do not reveal any major psychiatric effects. This is because the doses pf the steroids are far lower than used by the athletes. Laboratory studies where the doses were high led to modest but significant psychiatric effects. In contrast, the naturalistic studies of athletes showed marked psychiatric symptoms due to the use of steroids. Increase in aggressiveness, irritability, euphoria and depressive symptoms were seen during steroid withdrawal (Katz & Pope, 994).
Effects of steroids
The anabolic steroids carry anabolic, androgenic and anticatabolic effects, and they encourage size and strength gain. If used in large doses, they can interact with numerous receptors such as estrogen-, progesterone-, as well as minerals- and glucocorticosteroid receptors. This is the reason one finds adverse effects in the athletes abusing them. Animal studies on male monkeys and rats have shown that anabolic steroids can lead to direct toxic effects, and the changes are very similar to the phase of cardiac failure in humans. The animals showed an aggressive behavior and rats showed liver damage with a shortened life span (M & T, 2002).
Anabolic steroids are taken by athletes in cycles that last from 6 to 12 weeks. However, there are athletes who are using those drugs on a relatively continuous basis. Athletes often take that steroid as combinations and move from lower daily dose at the beginning of the cycle to higher. Athletes further use diuretics, stimulants, human chorionic gonadotropin, antiestrogens and anti-inflammatories to improve physical capacity or to overcome the adverse effects of the steroids. Gradually they become dependent on the pattern of steroid use that tend to get longer as well as frequently repeated ( M & T, 2002).
The evidence from laboratory, medical and naturalistic studies suggest that use of steroids and their withdrawal may produce psychiatric effects. These effects are subtle when steroids are given in moderate doses but become prominent with marked increase doses, which are common among athletes (Katz & Pope, 994).
Taking steroids may enhance athletic performance, but it is illegal and prohibited by most sports organizations, is illegal.
Anabolic Steroids and Sports: Winning at any Cost. (2008). Retrieved from https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/1210/Katz, D. L., & Pope, H. G. (1994). Psychiatric and medical effects of anabolic-androgenic steroid use: A controlled study of 160 athletes. Archives of General Psychiatry, 51(5), 375-382. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1994.03950050035004M, P., & T, S. (2002). Steroid use and long-term health risks in former athletes. Sports Medicine, 32(2), 83-83. doi:10.2165/00007256-200232020-00001
Engel, N. S. (1989). Anabolic steroid use among high school athletes. MCN, the American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, 14(6), 417-417. doi:10.1097/00005721-198911000-00011Mayo Staff, (2015). Performance-enhancing drugs: Know the risks. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/performance-enhancing-drugs/art- 20046134
Paul J. Perry Kathleen H. Andersen William R. Yates. (1990). Illicit anabolic steroid use in athletes. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 18(4), 422. doi:10.1177/036354659001800416
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