Steroids are the “synthetically produced variants of the naturally occurring male hormone testosterone” (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2000) There are more than 100 types of steroids developed, introduced, and sold to the public in the United States so far, and legally these steroids should be sold on prescriptions. The steroids are mainly used with the intention of increasing muscle mass, reducing body fats, and enhancing performance during any sporting event however the medical associations and experts clearly describe the negative consequences of using steroids. The use of steroids among young athletes is increasing along with the passage of time creating a serious disaster for the youngsters, their families as well as the sports field.
According to an estimate, the usage of steroids among young and professional athletes is increasing at such a high rate that in the coming future it is expected that there will be about 500,000 to 1,000,000 young athletes (Beth, 2000) involved in using steroids for enhancing their performance and stamina during the professional sports event. However, they are not aware that there are many negative as well as long-lasting effects of using steroids, and even after the end of their athletic career, they will continue to face serious mental and physical health problems caused by the use of steroids (Steven, 2007).
This paper is intended to describe the major effects of using steroids in professional sports on young athletes. In this regard, the paper discusses the main reasons behind the increasing trend of using steroids so that it can be understood that why young athletes are attracted to the use of steroids. Moreover, the paper mainly focuses on the physical, mental, and other effects of using steroids on young athletes with an intention to create awareness about the negative impacts of using steroids, especially by young athletes.
Why Young Athletes Use Steroids?
Young athletes use steroids due to a number of reasons. First of all, they are attracted to steroids because they are conscious of an improvement in their performance and endurance in sports events. Secondly, they find steroids a good source of enhancing muscle mass and reducing the extra fats of the body. Thirdly they have a lot of pressure to perform well in professional sports for which they are also ready to take help from the steroids. The fourth and important reason behind the increasing trend of using steroids among young athletes is that they are unaware of the serious and negative side effects that can be drawn on their mental and physical health due to the use of steroids (Beth, 2000).
The young athletes also look towards using steroids because there are many star athletes that are found to be involved in using the steroids. The young athletes admire these start a lot and they try to follow their footprints and the use of steroids is also one of the activities that the young athletes learn and copy from star athletes. The young athletes are mostly compelled to use steroids because they have pressure build-up to them from their family friends and surrounding people that they have to win at any cost and for that, they become ready to each and everything that can take them close to the victory.
There is unawareness among the young athletes regarding the risk associated with the use of steroids and they just consider them as performance-enhancing drugs while keeping blind eyes towards the side effects of these drugs as well as moral aspects of this issue (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006).
Effects of Steroids in Young Athletes
It is proved from a medical point of view that there are several short terms as well as long-term negative and serious effects of using steroids on young athletes. The medical experts are very much worried about the effects of steroids among the young athletes because they know that the youngsters are mostly unaware and unconscious about the consequences of these steroids that’s why they are attracting towards the use of steroids for gaining muscle mass and better performance. In this regard, the medical experts also pointed out that the easy availability of these drugs is an important factor that is promoting the use of steroids among young athletes.
Steroids can seriously harm the psychological and medical health of youngsters because there are certain side effects of steroids. For example, after using steroids the young athletes can experience severe muscular pain and there is also a possibility that the user will get violent as well as aggressive due to the use of these steroids because the steroids usually extract mass mood swings causing panic attacks on the users (Steven, 2007).
There are many possible negative effects of using steroids and young athletes can face many physical medical problems like the possibility of damage to the heart, kidneys, and liver. The young athletes become at a high-risk level of getting a heart attack, renal failure, and hepatic cancer. At the same time, there are also dangers of sperm count, fertility problems, increased prostate size, and prostate cancer. The risk of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and bacterial endocarditic also prevails among the young athletes if they continue using steroids for enhancing their performance in professional events (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006).
There are some cases also registered at the National Institute of Health that prove the serious negative effects of steroids on young athletes. The mid-twenties aged athlete using steroids persistently for five years suffered from liver cancer and the side effects of using steroids finally resulted in the damage to his lever (Beth, 2000).
The National Institute of Health (NIH) also demonstrated that there are many negative effects of using steroids and young athletes can face many problems due to steroids. When a young person uses steroids then the ability of the brain to produce serotonin and dopamine is permanently changed. These elements give the human body a feeling of well being but when the production of these brain chemicals is affected and reduced then there is the growth of long term aggression among the youngsters and when even a young athlete has to take part in any event, he has a lot of pressure build upon him and in case of losing the game, there is a higher degree of violence and aggression engender in the young athlete. The effects of steroids are turned to be such serious conditions where some of the young athletes have also committed suicide and their families told about the depression and aggression faced by these young athletes (Steven, 2007)
It is an established fact the steroids draw many long-term as well as short-term negative and serious effects on the mental and physical health of young athletes. The information about the long-term effects of the steroids is present in form of different cases that have been reported by the families of the athletes or by the athletes themselves. These case reports informed that during a young age these athletes used steroids continuously for many years and as a result, they face many problems in the next phase of their life as well. It is found that the long-term effects of steroids are life-threatening in very few cases however there are many other serious effects reported on the health of the athletes.
The use of steroids at a young age for many years increases the possibilities of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and there are great chances that the athlete will get any heart attack or stroke in the coming years of his life. The risk of heart attack and stokes is a serious problem because an athlete can have a heart attack even at the age of 30 or even below that (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006).
Cardiovascular diseases are caused due to use of steroids because steroids partly change the levels of lipoproteins in the human body. This chemical has the function of carrying the cholesterol in the blood and the variation in this element contribute towards the creation of many heart-related diseases. The steroids increase the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and at the same time, the continuous use of steroids can also decrease the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Along with the CVD, the use of steroids also increases the risk of blood clotting in the blood vessels due to which the blood flow is disrupted and the heart muscles are either damaged or badly affected in a way that they become unable to pump the blood in an effective manner (Steven, 2007).
When a young athlete starts suing steroid and continue it for some years then there are also chances that his reproductive system will be badly affected because due to continuous use of steroids in males can reduce the amount of the sperms produces by the testicle and even there can b reduction in the size of the testicle. Due to this reason, the male can face the disease called impotence. If the female young athlete uses steroids for some years then she can have problems in her menstrual cycles as the use of the steroids can disrupt the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries and ultimately in the coming years of the age, the young female athlete can possibly face problems related with the fertility issue.
In addition to these negative effects, the continuous use of steroids by young athletes can also cause stunted growth, liver tumors, heart diseases including the abnormal enlargement of the heart muscles and blood lipid abnormalities, acne, stretch marks, and muscular ache. Moreover, there is also major change occur in the nature, behavior, and well-being of the young athlete and he used to be more aggressive and violent and most of the time there are mood swings observe in the athlete. The female young athletes can get even some more negative effects due to steroids in form of male-type hair growth on the face and body, voice deepening, and clitoris enlargement. (Steven, 2007)
The use of steroids is getting popular among young athletes because they have trust in the claims of the steroids company that by using steroids they will get some very bold results however, in reality, there is no proof found that the use of steroids brings benefits to the athletes. On the other hand, there are much extensive research conducted by medical experts and other people that find many pieces of evidence about the negative effects of steroids, and it is also proved from the results of these researches that many of the effects of steroids can not be seen at the same time of using the steroids but after some later, the athlete will start encountering many diseases (Business Wire, 2007)
There are many cases of steroids negative effects reported in recent years and many young aged cyclists, baseball payers, and track stars are found accused of using steroids. These people are a great source of inspiration for the young student-athletes and when they see their ideal starts and role model using steroids, they also think about using steroids so that they can also perform like their favorite stars. However, the pressure on the young athlete is an important reason for turning towards the use of steroids.
When young athletes are struggling to get their place in the professional leagues or their college teams then they have even more pressure on them they have to prove themselves faster and stronger and at this point, they find the solution to their problems in using steroids that give them temporary benefits and then a number of long terms and short term negative effects are attached with the health of that young athlete. (The Eagle Tribune, 2007)
The above discussion explains several serious and negative effects of using steroids in professional sports on young athletes and it is revealed from the above discussion that the young athletes use steroids mainly because they want to get a victory at any cost and they think that using steroids will help them in meeting a success by reducing their body fats and increasing the mass of their muscles however the young athletes are mostly unaware of the negative effects of the steroids due to which there is a consistent increase in the number of young athletes that are continuously using steroids for gaining a certain type of benefits.
The use of steroids badly affects the health of young athletes and these effects can not only be seen on their physical conditions but their mental health is also badly destroyed. It is also revealed from the discussion that the use of steroids has both short-term and long-term effects on young athletes. The young athletes encounter many problems with their mental and physical health as they continue to use steroids and even when they leave the professional sports and enter into the next age group, they find them in a position where they have great risks of many diseases like heart attacks, kidney and liver failure, infertility, HIV Aids and Hepatitis.
Beth Hering, discourage steroid use among student athletes, 2000. Web.
Business Wire (2007), Baseball Bombshell Lesson: Illegal Steroid Use Dangerous to Young Athletes. Gale Group.
National Institute on Drug Abuse, Research Report: Anabolic Steroid Abuse, 2000. Web.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2006), Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States. Web.
The Eagle Tribune (2007), 5th Congressional District race: Fine gold would seek steroid testing for pro athletes, The Eagle Tribune, Issue.
Steven Dowshen, MD (2007), Steroids: Play Safe, Play Fair. Web.