Anabolic steroids are powerful muscle-building and performance-enhancing compounds. They are many times used as the "secret-weapon" behind many world-class athletes, their performance, and bodybuilding. Steroids increase the amount of muscle one can build. They are banned by almost every athletic organization and are illegal, therefore leading to arrests and jail time if one is caught with them. They also have terrible side effects that can even be deadly. Anabolic steroids are used to gain the physical advantage over opponents.
Steroids are forms of hormones. These hormones control various things. Animals have different steroids in their bodies, some for self-defense, some to help heal injuries, and some steroids even assist with development. Testosterone is the male hormone reproduced to make anabolic steroids. This reproduced testosterone is known to increase strength, speed, endurance, muscle mass, and aggression.
The use of steroids is the introduction of testosterone into the body from a source other than the testes. The use of these steroids can increase strength, muscle size, and athletic performance. Steroids are thought to be first used in athletics by the Russian weightlifting teams of the 1950’s. Now steroids are used (illegally) from professional athletes to high school football players.
Once introduced into the body by injection or taken orally the steroids enter the bloodstream and travel to every cell in the body. In muscle cells, it causes them to reproduce at an increased rate. After strenuous exercise the muscles naturally break down and duplicate, however when on steroids, the muscles don’t break down, they just reproduce. Steroids will also increase recovery time from injures. Another gain from the use of steroids is the increase in red blood cell production allowing for greater endurance.
There are many negative side effects from the use of steroids. These side effects can be permanent and quite serious. These side effects differ from males and females. In males acne problems and early hair loss develop. Increased levels of circulating testosterone can act as negative feedback to the pituitary gland, decreasing the production of sperm and natural testosterone. People on steroids often show various behavioral changes as well. Know as “roid rage”, irritability, increased aggressiveness, nervous tension are the most prominent examples of this. Side effects in women using steroids include deepening of the voice, increased body and facial hair and decreased breast size. The steroids also throw off the hormonal balance in a female throwing off her menstrual cycle. Making it difficult, if not impossible to have a child. These side effects can become permanent in females after only a few months of use. The platelets in the blood will also clump together inside the blood vessels clogging them. Steroids can shatter the heart, liver kidneys, and immune system. Another highly feared side effect is cancer. With the steroids weakening the immune system, cancer cells have more freedom to develop. If the muscles grow too fast, tendons and ligaments can be torn. If steroids are taken in through injection, there is a risk of infection from bacteria, viruses, and even HIV.
Steroids have a lot of psychological symptoms as well. They can cause mania, depression, schizophrenia, and paranoia. Steroid users usually become very irritable, aggressive, and violent. Suicide is also a problem of people who have taken steroids for an extended period of time. One of steroids mental side effects can be massive depression in which people sometimes feel that the only way out is to kill themselves. Also, steroid withdrawal can be so devastating that suicide is contemplated. Incredibly aggressive and violent sexual behavior due to steroids has also been recorded.
Once someone starts taking steroids for the physical advances it gives them it can become incredibly difficult to stop taking the drugs. Your body becomes so used to the steroid being in the body that it becomes difficult to go one it without it. Luckily there are many treatment centers where someone could get help getting off of drugs, including steroids.
As serious and devoted and athlete may be, they should not engage in such dangerous smuggling of their bodies. Steroids may deliver quick and extraordinary results, but in the long run, the side effects are much more serious. The chance of being terminally ill is much more regrettable than loosing a tournament. As athletes, we should become wiser about the choices we make today, because these will affect our bodies tomorrow.
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