Anabolic Steroids are synthetic compounds formulated to be like the male sex hormone testosterone. Many athletes use anabolic steroids male and female alike, such as body builders, weightlifters, baseball players, football players, swimmers, and runners. They do so because they mistakenly believe that they will gain strength and size. In a male, testosterone is released by the leydig cells in the testes. The testosterone has two main functions androgenic and anabolic. Androgenic is the development of male sex characteristics.
Anabolic is the development of muscle tissue. To treat patients who suffer from a natural lack of testosterone pharmacoligists alter one form of testosterone slightly, increasing the length of time the drug is active. Testosterone was first isolated in 1935; soon forms of testosterone such as dianabol, durabolin, deca-durabolin, and winstrol were produced. One of the main effects of anabolic steroids is to increase the number of red blood cells and muscle tissue without producing much of the androgenic effects of testosterone.
There are only four legal uses for steroid treatment for certain forms of cancer, pituitary dwarfism, and serious hormone disturbances. There are two forms of anabolic steroids those taken orally and those injected. The immediate effects of both are mood swings of many different kinds. In one study, physicians Ian Wilson, Arthur Prang, Jr. , and Patricio Lara found that four out of five men suffering from depression when given a steroid suffered from delusions. A research team from Great Britain Found that a patient given steroids became dizzy, disoriented, and incoherent.
It was stated that they had a case of a young man who was diagnosed as schizophrenic, and took steroids to help with his weightlifting. After taking these drugs he suffered severe depression and anxiety and had trouble sleeping(Layman and Annitto 126). Most people who use steroids do not have side affects this severe. Steroids make changes in the electroencephalogram (an image of brain electrical activity). Researchers believe that these changes are responsible for some of the behavior changes in users of steroids like increased hostility and aggressiveness.
Even though there not supposed to some of the masculinizing effects of testosterone still show on users of anabolic steroid. People who use them sometimes develop acne, depend voice, abnormal hair growth. Some of these side effects can not be reversed. The most severe effect of anabolic steroids is on the liver they call it peliosis hepatis or blood filled cysts in the liver. If the cysts rupture they can cause liver failure which can kill a person. After stopping the use of steroids though these cysts may become smaller and disappear.
Steroids can also cause cancerous tumors in the liver that can also kill and disappear if the drugs are not used anymore. Steroids are also increasing the risk of getting gallstones. Use of steroids also effects your cardiovascular system. There are two kinds of cholesterol in your body high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. HDL is good for the body but LDL is very hazardous to your health. Using steroids lowers the number of HDL in the body in most of the users.
The lowering of the amount of HDL in the body puts the person at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure and blood-clotting problems. Some of the physicians also think that steroids also cause abnormal fat deposits in the body and change the way the body processes carbohydrates. Men who use steroids also can develop serious reproductive system problems. Steroids lower the amount of sperm in the semen, which makes conception difficult or even impossible. A mans testes will decrease in size, and the amount of natural testosterone and the hormones that nourish them also decrease.
In some users the prostate gland will get larger. Most of the symptoms of the drug use go away after the drug is not used anymore but some of them stay such as abnormal tissue in the liver, testes, and prostate gland. There are also serious effects that take place in women as well. Besides the masculinizing effects the steroids lower the amount of female hormones for example estrogen and progesterone, which are essential to the function of a women’s menstrual cycle. Some women claim to stop menstruating completely. Steroids are prohibited in any completion wether it be international or national.
Even though this is true many top athletes as well as amateur athletes use steroids. Athletes first used drugs in competition in 1954 when the team physician for the world weight lifting team, John Ziegler, went with the team to the world championships in Vienna, Austria(Peter McDaniels 63). Ziegler then met the Russian team doctor that told him that the Russians were using testosterone. Ziegler brought the news back to the United States and soon every weight lifter was using steroids. Thirty years later it was said that four out of five weight lifters were using steroids.
I told you earlier that there are only four legal uses for steroids but in a recent report it was said that only 20-30% of the steroids produced were used for those purposes. Another study taken of where the athletes got these drugs said that 36% of them got them from a physician, 10% got them from trainers, 9% from pharmacists, and 45% said that they bought them illegally. Now the big question. Why do athletes use this drug? Well its because of the false information that steroids will get you bigger and stronger than a person that is dieting and training hard.
Researchers have concluded though that using steroids does not get the user any bigger or stronger but only increases hostility and aggressiveness. Some researchers say that the added aggressiveness and hostility may make a person train and work harder. Part of the body size controversy is about the type of tissue growth that drugs promote. Now, every researcher agrees that steroids do make the users gain weight, but some researchers think it’s in real muscle tissue and others think that it’s in abnormal muscle tissue and that the weight gained is due to water retained in the body.
Throughout my research of this topic I read alot of different stories about anabolic steroids. I read from the researchers that anabolic steroids show few if any effects at all and I read from athletes that there is a very large effect on muscle gain and endurance. I came across only one book though that addressed this issue between researchers and athletes. The book said that The American College of Sports Medicine stated a report on the use and abuse of anabolic steroids. It stated that for many people any benefits of anabolic steroids are small and not worth the health risk(Hutson).
Yet almost all the athletes who use anabolic steroids feel that the steroids had a great effect and that they would not have been successful without them. The big gap between researchers and athletes has caused a big controversy. Athletes say one thing and researchers say another. The researchers have found a reason that maybe is the cause that anabolic steroid users see effects that researchers say are not possible they call it the “placebo effect”. The placebo effect works by the power of suggestion athletes believe that the steroids will improve their performance so they do.