In America and all around the world, people are subjected to things that may belittle themselves and their identities. We are shown a world where people must be a specific height and weight, dress a certain way, talk a certain way to be accepted into society. If someone does not conform to the certain requirements given, they are seen as an outcast or a special or weird person. Yet, that is okay, because there are makeovers for those people.
Directly, here in America, we have magazines that show people how to be more beautiful and more physically fit. There are magazines and books with people that have muscles bigger than their own head. They have women on the covers who are larger than most men. They do this while sending out the message that this is what everyone should look like or at least what the good-looking ones do. After seeing these images everywhere they turn, and no one around to say that it is wrong, it starts to get into a person s brain that they need to look like those freaks of nature on the covers of those magazines.
The more people become exposed to the idea of lifting weights to build up their physics, the more they become susceptible to the use of supplements, and if they turn the wrong corner somewhere, the use of steroids. That is where all the trouble starts, or ends. People use steroids as a direct result of images they see in their everyday lives and the people that surround them.
Some people see things that might alter the way they think about themselves. As stated before, magazines with huge, ripped men and women on the cover can give people
a false sense of what a true person is supposed to look like. In a study performed by Doctor Angeledis Smith of Northwester University, doctor Smith researched how people would react to a atmosphere that exposed them to magazines, television shows and commercials with a physical fitness theme. Doctor Smith found that men and women who were exposed to this type of life, became more aware of what they looked like, and began to workout more, or started to workout if not signed up to a local club. When the study ended, these people still liked to workout, yet not as much. This occurred as a direct result from the withdraw of the fitness type atmosphere (Steroids, 196).
Doctor Smith concluded that if these people had been exposed to a more intense environment, friends who also vigorously worked out, and had been exposed to the idea of illegal performance enhancing anabolic steroids, there was a good chance that they would have accepted the steroids. This, he said, is how most non-athlete users begin the use of illegal anabolic steroids (Steroids 259).
Although this is not the only scenario that can lead to the abuse of anabolic steroids, it is certainly a fair example of how people can be influenced by what they are exposed to on a day to day basis. Some people argue that things shown on television, movies, and advertisements do not have a significant influence on a person s life.
One of the major and most recently discovered reasons is a disease called Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a disease where a person sees their body, no matter how well trained or how much shape that person is in, as ugly. The person is constantly checking the mirror or totally avoiding themselves, comparing themselves to others, engages in extensive dieting, or excessive grooming. While these symptoms seem
more related to young teenagers, it has recently been associated with body builders who use steroids. In a survey conducted by ESPN they found that seventy-five percent of people surveyed who took steroids, said they were not satisfied about their appearance. Of that seventy-five percent, all of them stated that they felt they did not feel or looked big enough. This might be the root cause of anabolic steroid use in the first place.
In an interview with Chris Berman, an analyst and sportscaster for ESPN, Mr. Berman was quoted as saying,
The exact reason that these men and women begin using steroids can never be truly known. In my opinion you can not get into somebody s mind and figure out exactly what they are thinking. Still, from research that has been performed over the last few years, there is a growing number of evidence that suggests these people are exposed to things in there every day lives. The fact that these people are also being diagnosed with a disease called Dysmorphic disorder does not help them (Newman).
Although the term roid rage has been associated with just the abuse of anabolic steroids, recent studies conclude that Dysmorphic disorders can also play a vital role in it. While the user keeps pumping steroids into his system, the results of that go directly to his brain before anything else. Therefore, before a certain person begins to see results from the performance-enhancing drug, it has already begun to destroy parts of his brain.
One of the first areas of the brain that becomes effected by the use of anabolic steroids is the part that deals with reason. It takes away their sense of right and wrong, rules, and even takes away some of their personal emotions. It also begins to make the
person emotionally unstable. This same area, is one that is effected by Dysmorphic disorder. As stated earlier, Dysmorphic disorder makes a person feel terrible about their appearance. In most cases, that is totally unreasonable. The Dysmorphic disorder has taken away the persons ability to reason. So, add that to the deterioration of their brain and you have one messed up person.
On the other side of steroid abuse are the athletes. Although Dysmorphic disorder can be found in athletes, most of them will abuse steroids for a totally different reason than average, everyday people. Athletes use anabolic steroids to gain an advantage over others. They come from a different background then the normal, everyday people, who use anabolic steroids, but there are some similarities in the reasons, and pressures put on them. Berman believes that this disease is overlooked too much and should be recognized more.
This disease can and has been easily overlooked as one that is not that serious. This seems like a disease that does not really exist, just the individual person wanting attention, and doing that in an extreme way. If someone asks you out of the blue if they are fat, that is someone craving attention. Someone shooting himself or herself full of a drug that, while not illegal, is when abused in the ways it has been. That is someone with a serious problem that should be taken seriously and not overlooked. It might be just a little overlooked in athletes. Everyone expects an athlete to
be full of themselves. Therefore, when it is expressed, it is no big deal. When the athlete expresses it to the extent that people start to look down upon him for it, that is a cry out for help.
An example of the similarities between every day users and athletes who use anabolic steroids is the exposure to images day to day that can effect the way they think. In an average person, these things can range from magazines, to images on television, to pressure from friends. In an athlete s case, they are constantly exposed to people who are bigger, stronger, faster, or just plain out better than you are. Sara Bellum, a research student from the University of Arizona, believes that the few athletes that use steroids feel that there is no other way. They can run as hard as they want weightlift as much as they want, but they just can not get to the same level as their peers are. Somehow, these athletes are thrown into the idea of steroids. They begin to use them no matter how harsh the outcome (106).
There are different consequences for different sports. Some sports give small suspensions, such as the National Football League or the National Basketball Association, some give long suspensions such as track and field or the Olympic Committee that gives out a minimum of two years for a minor violations (Peck, Becker, 267).
The only problem with some of these sports is that testing for illegal anabolic steroids is rarely given. The National Football League although they have strict rules about steroid use only gives random tests. Although the rules themselves would not scare away any hard core users, the fact that the steroid user knows that there is a good
chance he will not be caught or even be tested, invites the steroid user to keep on abusing the drug. Maybe if there were random tests to all players once a month, or every other
month, then abusers would be caught or even just stop using because of the fear of being caught.
In the sport of track and field, testing is so common, that there are very few users who slip by, and if they do, they are eventually caught. The punishment for using steroids is so severe, that the threat alone scares most users away from the start. Users who are caught can be suspended anywhere from two, to eight years. Anyone who risks the consequences of that would have to be incredibly disillusioned up or unusually confident in themselves.
In the lower levels of sports, the non-professional area of sports, there are even fewer people caught using anabolic steroids. At the high school level of sports, steroid users are not even heard of. That is a direct result of the lack of awareness that high school officials have of it. Now, there is probably not a whole lot of steroid users at every school, maybe not even every district, but they sure are out there. Testing every single high school athlete for anabolic steroids would be unnecessary and extensive. School officials and coaches can just try to be on the look out for kids who could be steroid abusers. For example, if there is a kid who one year is a little six-foot-three-inch twig, and then the next year he comes back the next year as a six-foot-three-inch monster who weights two hundred and fifty-five pounds of pure muscle, there is a little something going ion there that needs to be looked into. It is just a matter of people noticing what is going around in
their high school program. Now if a coach knows about this miracle kid, and does nothing to stop the kid or even supports the kids use, then higher authorities need to step in and act against the coach.
The coach knowing about the use of steroids and even encouraging it is another example of pressures that can result in the use of anabolic steroids. If there are guys or
girls on your sports team that are openly, within the team, taking steroids, then you are probably more open to take them as well. A kid in a high school sport does not want to be left behind by his or her teammates, they want to be the best that they can be, and steroids can get them there, for a price.
At the collage level, there are tests that take place. The tests are extremely rare, but they do happen. The only way that a test can be given is if the team is about to take part in a major event, in which the team is told about a month ahead of time about the test. This gives any users of anabolic steroids on the team to stop the use of steroids for a while to
get it out of their system, or they can take multiple number of pills that will flush their body out and any traces of steroids will be lost. Another way that a collegiate athlete can be tested is if the head coach is suspicious of a player s use of an illegal substance, in which the coach will tell the player around three days in advance that he will be tested. Since this is not enough time for the player to get rid of any traces of steroids, the player usually fails the test. However, coaches do not usually report these test failures, instead they ask the player to promise that they will discontinue using anabolic steroids. The player nods yes, and goes back to his dorm room and shoots himself up. The regulations in
at collage level of sports are stricter than the high school level, but it probably still needs some improvement.
The use of steroids by people is a direct result of what they are exposed to in their everyday lives. There are many reasons that people take steroids. Some reasons are not as clear as others are. They can be pressured by images they see in their everyday life, or it can be that they just don t feel comfortable with themselves. The fact that they do not feel comfortable with themselves could be from a disease, or they can be just insecure. Athletes can be surrounded by peers who are using steroids, and think that if it is working for them, it can work for him or her. Coaches can tell athletes that they need steroids to become better or to get over the top. The use of steroids by people is a direct result of what they are exposed to in their everyday lives.
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