The Effects of Steroids
Anabolic steroids are heard about everywhere in the sports world. They are thought to give you superior strength incredibly fast. Athletes feel that taking steroids gives them an edge at beating the competition. They think they can rise to be number one in their sport. This may be true, but there are consequences that can change your life forever in very negative ways. Although steroids strengthen you in the short-term, it will deteriorate your body over time. The negative effects, physically, as well as mentally, are staggering.
The proper name for anabolic steroids are anabolic-androgenic steroids. The word anabolic means building or growing. So your muscles are growing and building in this case (Crane). Testosterone is the main chemical on your body that anabolic steroids imitate (Taylor). Testosterone is an androgen and thought of as the “male hormone,” but it is actually found in women as well. An androgen is a male sex hormone. Ninety five percent of testosterone in men is produced in the testicles. Testosterone in men is responsible for a man’s muscular build. Womens’ testosterone is eighty-five percent produced by the ovaries and fifteen percent produced by the adrenal glands. The testosterone produced in women is much less than in men. A deep voice, beard, and slim hips are all caused by testosterone in a man. Muscle protein building, and the formation of red blood cells are promoted by androgens. Also, they increase your appetite (Silverstein). When people work out, they create micro tears in their muscle fibers. A muscle then regrows, like scar tissue and comes back larger than before. If you use anabolic steroids, this cycle gets faster and better. People can work out more often, as well as get stronger quicker (Taylor).
There are various techniques of taking steroids. Steroids can be ingested by a pill, injected with a needle, and also can be rubbed on your skin with a cream. Most people take a hundred times the amount that is prescribed normally. Another method is
called cycling. Cycling is most commonly used with body builders. This form has the individual taking the drug in certain time cycles. Most commonly, they are taken in 6 to 12 week cycles. Another way is called stacking. You put the substance into your body by both pill and injection. This isn’t scientifically proven to work, but is meant to double muscle growth. Pyramiding is a common way to take steroids. It is just like cycling, but slightly different. In your first cycle you take a low base dosage. Then each cycle you keep increasing your dosage until you hit a peak. Then you gradually decrease (Anabolic Steroid Abuse).
Steroids are very addictive. When usage is stopped, severe migraines, depression, and fatigue commonly occur. They have effects on the body that would encourage usage. Steroids increase muscle mass while lowering body fat with the increase of testosterone. It also increases the concentration of hemoglobin in your blood and your blood volume. Hemoglobin is in your blood and it carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Steroids will also escalate bone strength and the mineral density in your bones. Your pain tolerance heightens. Steroids accelerate your recovery from muscle injuries and injuries caused from overuse. A sense of euphoria is felt by steroid use making you feel on top of the world (Taylor). In other words, steroids give you a sense of well-being and strengthen you abnormally quickly.
Anabolic steroid use is commonly found in many sports and most commonly associated with Major League Baseball. Athletes believe that using steroids will enhance their performance and give them an edge over the competition. Steroids, also known as performance enhancing drugs, are banned in sports for that very reason of giving them an edge over everyone else and to protect the health of the athletes.
People with a psychiatric condition known as muscle dysmorphia often abuse steroids. Muscle dysmorphia is the disorder of being absolutely obsessed with your body image. If someone is built and strong, they believe that they appear weak and skinny. There is no believing that you look good enough ever. Nothing is good enough for them concerning their body. This causes people with muscle dysmorphia to abuse anabolic steroids to improve their body image (Rohman). A common misconception among anabolic steroids is that they treat and prevent injury (Taylor). This has some truth, but can severely destroy the body in the long run.
Steroids will destroy your body physically. Specifically, men experience the development of breasts. The testicles also shrink (Crane). As a result of this, a reduced sperm count and temporary impotence also occurs. At first, using anabolic steroids increases the sex drive rapidly, but it eventually decreases. When the body experiences another source of testosterone, artificially introduced, the body may stop or slow the production altogether. This may actually make a man appear more feminine (Silverstein).
Women who take steroids appear to be more masculine. This is result of the increased testosterone. Another result is the deepening of the voice and breast size decreasing (Silverstein). Women lose their hair on their scalp, but it rapidly grows on their body. The hair lossage on the scalp is called male-pattern baldness (Anabolic Steroid Use). Menstrual irregularities often develop as well (Crane). Horrific side effects in women are the degeneration of the uterus and an enlarged clitoris (Silverstein).
Adolescents who take anabolic steroids usually do it to build muscle to improve in athletics and to attract women they are interested in. Sometimes boys take them to start puberty if it has not been reached at an older age. Adolescents using steroids may have premature baldness and may even have stunted growth. The stunting of growth happens because instead of bones and muscles growing, the bones become fused together. This makes no room for the bone to grow, just the muscle (Silverstein).
There are many side effects that develop in both men and women. The most common are severe acne and tendon and ligament damage. Tendons and ligaments become damaged because muscles are strengthened so fast that they can’t keep up. This could also cause a bone breakage (Crane). Users get a very oily scalp. Steroids also alter the level of lipoproteins which carry cholesterol through the bloodstream. Atherosclerosis can then occur. Atherosclerosis causes the arteries to have deposits of fatty substances within them. This can confound blood flow. If this arises, then the risk for heart attacks and strokes are greatly increased (Anabolic Steroid Use).
Anabolic steroids can destroy the body’s liver. Painful cysts will develop on the liver. Tumors can build up too and blood filled sacs can form. These blood sacs, cysts, and tumors can end up rupturing resulting in hemorrhaging and internal bleeding (Silverstein). Jaundice is also terrible side effect. It is a dysfunctional kidney condition that results in the yellowing of the skin and/or eyes (Crane). Another severe side effect is the possibility of infertility (Anabolic Steroid Abuse).
There are many personality and psychological effects. Users can end up experiencing suicidal feelings (Crane). Commonly people become delusional and experience mania. You may hallucinate and hear voices in your head. This is commonly referred to as ‘bodybuilders psychosis’ (Stein). Most often it is expressed as severe rage and aggression.
‘‘Roid rage” is the term for the behavioral side effects of severe rage and aggression. Increased testosterone has been linked with increased aggression. It has been reported that users would burst out raging. Some examples are beating a spouse for no reason and smashing in a car window in front of you because the blinker was left on. In the worst cases, ‘roid rage has resulted in murder. “It made me feel real moody, violent. I wanted to kill someone,” football player, Dan Steinkuhler said (Silverstein).
Anabolic steroids absolutely destroy your body. There are virtually zero positive outcomes from taking this drug because of the harmful side effects. Physically, your body will destroyed and deteriorate. Psychologically, they will change your personality and not for the better. The short-term enhanced performance, resulting from steroids, is in no way worth the risks of the detrimental effects on the mind and body.