Steroid Abuses amongst High School Students
Unfortunately, Performance enhancing substances are being used today more than ever. The worrying trend is that even high school students are being pulled into this vicious cycle of drug dependency. It is no longer bout wins and losses since the use of steroids is detrimental to the physical development of adolescents thus causing irreversible changes and worse still the loss of innocent and young lives (Fox, Margaret, and Katherine 21). This research paper seeks to address the effects of steroids in school athletes, the consequences of steroid abuse, as well as the prevalence of steroid use among high school students.
Effects of steroids on a high school athlete
According to a confidential survey, many of the high school athletes from grade 8 to grade 12 have admitted to having used anabolic steroids. Unaware of the risks that are attributed to the use of anabolic steroids, many claim that they would not hesitate to use steroids so as to realize their goals in athletic disciplines. A majority of these students do concede that they are aware of the risks that the use of steroids poses. They understand that steroids can adversely affect both their health as well as decrease their life expectancy (Bissinger).
Many professionals in the medical world have pointed out the grave eventualities that high school athletes indulging in the use of steroids face. These professionals point out that the effects of steroids in young athletes whose bodies are not yet fully developed is uniquely different from the physiological actions that steroids have on mature athletes. Steroid use among youth athletes is potentially life threatening (Bissinger).
Generally, it has already come to light that almost thirty percent of all steroid abusers experience negatively adverse effects. Some of these effects tend to be irreversible even in the event that users stop using these drugs. Come of the most common side effects seen in such athletes include testicular atrophy, acne, enlargements of the breasts in male athletes as well as excessive facial hair (van Amsterdam, Antoon, and Fred 121). Other worse effects include suicidal tendencies, cardiac arrest, and liver damage.
Teenagers are in a physical growth stage which means that growth hormones in the bodies are being produced at a high rate. Steroids tend to introduce synthetic testosterone in to the bodies of these physically immature athletes. Attributes unique to high school athletes abusing steroids include premature puberty. One of the common problems associated with premature puberty is the premature closing up of growth plates which are usually open in adolescents until natural puberty kicks in (Basaria 1537). This results in a profoundly short stature mostly common with young high school athletes abusing steroids.
Consequences of steroid abuse
Consequences of abusing anabolic steroids are well documented as there are many case studies which have been done in this field. Though there has been not large research studies carried out on this issue there are common side effects which are similar results arising from similar cases (van Amsterdam, Antoon, and Fred 118). Some known consequences include feminization, masculinization, growth defects, liver and kidney complications and skin disorders. Masculinization is most prevalent in female athletes do to an abnormal intake of testosterone and the consequences are irreversible. These include facial hair, baldness commonly seen in men only, excessive body hair growth, as well as aggressive behaviors and are highly irritable (Fox, Margaret, and Katherine 21). On the other hand, feminization affects men due to the fact that the male body tends to convert excess testosterone in to estrogen, a hormone found in women. Consequences include development of breasts, low sperm counts, shrunken testicles, low libido, exceptionally soft muscle, and impotence (van Amsterdam, Antoon, and Fred 120). However, with professional treatment and care these adverse consequences can be completely reversed.
Steroids are known to increase the body’s cholesterol levels more so with regard to what is referred to as bad cholesterol. This not results in an explosion in body weight but also clogs the body’s veins and arteries (Basaria 1537). This means that such an individual is highly vulnerable to high blood pressure, heart disease, or heart failure. However, expensive treatment regimes are available for such athletes in the event that these are accessed before a cardiac arrest is experienced.
Liver and kidney problems are usually experienced by high school athletes taking steroids to enhance their athletic potentials. Toxic by-products are produced during the metabolism of steroids and these stress the kidneys functions due to the complex nature of the by-products. Such strains on the kidneys result in high blood pressure as well as electrolyte imbalance. Kidney problems can be exhibited through fevers, lower back pains, swelling of the ankles and lower leg regions (Basaria 1539). Research has shown that liver damage can be accelerated with use of steroids more so in athletes attempting to increase their physical endurance and performance (Fox, Margaret, and Katherine 21).
The skin is the largest organ in the human body and is concerned with ensuring the homeostatic balance in the body is kept at the required level. It is also the most affected by steroid use more so among women. The consequences of steroid use leads to an increase in the size of skin pores as well as an increased risk of acne (Basaria 1539). Stretch marks are also consistent with rapid mass and weight gain which is due to muscle size increases brought about by steroid use.
Prolonged steroid use also results in neuropsychiatric consequences as has been documented in a number of case studies. Symptoms first manifest themselves through mania and this later transforms into aggressive behaviors. Insomnia is also common ion athletes who tend to have aggressive episodes. In medical terms this is known as roid rage (van Amsterdam, Antoon, and Fred 120). This is perceived by some coaches and athletes as beneficial since it is considered as a source for motivation for greater athletic endurance and performance. Unfortunately this consequence has suicidal tendencies which rise from a sense of depressions which has seriously adverse effects which in clinical terms is said to be similar to bi-polar disorders (Basaria 1540).
How much is steroids used amongst high school students
The use of steroids among high school level athletes is said to be at an all time high and the worst case scenario is that coaches and sports officials fear a spiral type of effect due to the temptation in students to become more huge athletically, faster and stronger (Basaria 1535). More so, this has been largely due to the fact elite athletes are known to use performance enhancing steroids. Many students covet to attain the lucrative scholarships that come with great athletic performances as well as the prize money that is in the sports industry (Bissinger).
In the last two decades the use of anabolic steroids has been on the rise. It is now a requirement that ensures all high school athletes sign to a pledge so as to desist from anabolic steroid use. All through this paper, it has been highlighted how grave the consequences of using steroids are in mature athletes and more so in high school athletes. It is therefore important for high school athletes to acknowledge the fact that despite the peer pressure they may experience to indulge in steroid use, it is in their best interests that they avoid such negative influences.
Basaria, Shehzad. “Androgen abuse in athletes: detection and consequences.” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 95.4 (2010): 1533-1543.
Bissinger H.G. Friday night lights: a town, a team, and a dream. Cambridge: DA CAPO Press, 1990.
Fox, Harriette B., Margaret A. McManus, and Katherine N. Arnold. “Significant multiple risk behaviors among US High School Students.” Fact Sheet No (2010).
Nevius, C.W. “Impact of steroids felt across high school sports.” Hearst Communications Inc. 2006. Web. 28 May 28, 2013.
van Amsterdam, Jan, Antoon Opperhuizen, and Fred Hartgens. “Adverse health effects of anabolic–androgenic steroids.” Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 57.1 (2010): 117-123.
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