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Many athletes now a days are taking steroids, why is that? Is it to make a squad, or impress a member of the opposite sex? There really isn't a right or wrong answer to why athletes feel the need to take performance enhancing drugs. However ones psychological state, genetic mishaps, or even performance pressures from the coaching staff, can lead an athlete to steroids.
Anabolic-androgenic steroids are man-made substances related to male sex hormones. Anabolic generally relates to muscle-building while androgenic refers to increased masculine characteristics. Steroids are available legally, but under certain circumstances. They are legally available only by prescription from a doctor, to treat conditions that occur when the body produces unusually low amounts of testosterone, such as delayed puberty and some types of impotence. They are also prescribed by doctor to treat body wasting in patients with diseases such as AIDS that result in loss of lean muscle mass. Abuse of anabolic steroids can lead to serious or even fatal health problems. Steroids are known to be the fastest growing epidemic in the world today. There are an estimated three hundred million users in world.
Today, athletes and others abuse anabolic steroids to enhance performance and also to improve physical appearance. Anabolic steroids are taken orally or injected. Generally steroids are not taken continuously; they are usually taken in a method called "cycling, which means the steroids are taken in cycles of weeks or months" (Rodney pg. 56). Cycling involves taking multiple doses of steroids over a specific period of time, stopping for a little while, and starting back again. Also the second method to take steroids is called "stacking, which means that users often combine several different types of steroids to maximize their effectiveness while minimizing their negative effects" Rodney pg. 56).
"An estimated thirty percent of players in the National Football League (NFL) use steroids, or has used them in the past" (Parker pg 23). Steroids are basically used to help the athletes rebuild pulled or torn muscles. Taking steroids changes the way the body grows and the way it functions. They cause the muscles to grow bigger that they genetically would without the drug. Steroid is known also to increase an athletes speed and agility. That is why many track stars are now starting to turn to steroids. Athletes in particular use steroids for one main reason, and that is to get that performance edge.
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Even though steroids do have wonderful enhancing abilities, they also have dreadful side effects. "It is common for steroid abusers to have breakdowns called roid rage" (Parker pg.50). This is the worst type of rage possible. Football players who have used steroids say that roid rage made them want to rip the heads off of their opponents, and also teammates at practice. Several athletes feel this is a positive effect. They often find they lift more, and are more intense during workouts. On the negative side, users find themselves fighting with family, friends, and co-workers with an uptight behavior. It is said that males who have used steroids suffer from shrinkage in the testicles and impotence. Impotence occurs when a user goes on and off steroids. When steroids are first used sexual interest increases because of the heightened frequency and duration of the erections. But eventually the opposite happens and no erections can be produced.
The long term effects of steroids are brain tumors, high blood-pressure, kidney malfunction, and liver damage. The mental effects include the inability to sleep, and paranoia. Also depression can occur once you have stopped the usage of steroids. On some occasions suicide follow the depression stage, which is because your body feels that it is missing something vital to keep it going. "Steroids are imitation testosterone, which causes your body's real hormone system to shut down" (Robbins pg.22). Steroids can even prevent an adolescent from reaching their full potential heights, because they can stunt your growth during your teenage years. They also can cause a buildup of fat called cholesterol. Females who take steroids usually tend to start growing more facial hair, and are at risk of not being able to bear children.
Steroid specialist have also warned the population about a group of people called "Pushers", who sell steroids on what is known as the black market. They are getting rich by making other suffer from diseases and even death. The pushers are the only ones benefiting from steroids, because they make up to six hundred dollars every week to two weeks per customer on these steroids.
With the addition of books and movies on steroids people have learned the good and bad effects of steroid usage. On E.S.P.N. (sports channel) Carl Lewis was given a gold metal that was taken from Ben Johnson, who was disqualified after he admitted taken steroids. Books and magazines have labeled steroids as the most abused drug in the history of athletes. They are currently being used at every level of competition. "Michael Jordan is one of the greatest athletes who has stayed drug free and has maintained his positive role model status, because he chose to work hard and not take the easy way out with steroids" (Rodney pg. 41).
There is never a reason to turn to steroids unless actually prescribed by a doctor. Even though you feel as though you feel as though they can help my career jump start, their side effects are too dangerous to take that chance. Is it worth getting caught? Do I want to be remembered in my sport as the one who got in trouble for taken performance enhancing drugs? No, they will make you suffer, and might end your career or even your life, so don't take that chance. Use your God-given talents and don't resort to steroid usage.