Anabolic-androgenic steroids are man-made substances related to male sex hormones...
Steroids have many side affects as well as social and economic impacts on society. A major social issue is the use of these steroids by children in high school and even middle school...
- these drugs are available legally only by prescription, to treat conditions that occur when the body produces abnormally low amounts of testosterone, such as delayed puberty and some types of impotence. They are also prescribed to treat body wasting in patients with AIDS and other diseases that result in loss of lean muscle mass. Abuse of anabolic steroids, however, can lead to serious health problems, some irreversible;
- today, athletes and others abuse anabolic steroids to enhance performance and also to improve physical appearance. Anabolic steroids are taken orally or injected, typically in cycles of weeks or months (referred to as ‘cycling’), rather than continuously.
What are the effects?
- The US National Institutes of Drug Abuse estimates in recent studies that 325,000 teenage boys and 175,000 teenage girls are using steroids. As part of a 2002 NIDA-funded study, US teens were asked if they ever tried steroids - even once: 2.5% of students (aged 12-13) ever tried steroids; 3.5% of 14-15-year-olds; and 4% of 16-17-year-olds. According to Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF), on average the use of steroids decreased significantly among US high school students in 2004. However, steroid use among 15-16-year-old students, remained stable at peak levels.
- recent statistics indicate a significant rate of anabolic steroid use among Canadian youth. In a Canadian Centre for Drug-Free Sport (Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport) survey of 16,000 students between 11-18 years of age, 461 or 2.8% reported having used steroids at one time.
The adverse effects of steroids on body and mind range from mildly irritating to serious and even life threatening. The majority of these ill effects are reversible once use of the drug is discontinued.
Anabolic steroids help retain nitrogen in the body and this is used to build up muscle, which explains why the drug is so popular among body builders. There are no studies to prove that prove that anabolics alone have a direct effect on performance.
Continuous steroid use may result in side-effects such as liver tumors, jaundice, fluid retention, high blood pressure, severe acne, trembling, aggression, and psychiatric problems (i.e. depression, mood swings, paranoid jealousy, irritability, delusions, and impaired judgement).
Because anabolic steroids are synthesised from male hormones they can have a masculine effect on the body. Youngsters who take the drug run the risk of stunted growth because the steroids stop the skeleton from maturing. They also risk accelerated puberty.
Because steroids increase red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body, all users face an increased risk of coronary heart disease due to raised blood pressure and cholesterol. There have been reported cases of heart problems including heart attacks in athletes under the age of 30.