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Essay/Term paper: Steroids

Essay, term paper, research paper:  English Papers

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Many people have had their lives ruined by the use of illegal steroids, yet

the desired effects are so overwhelming that people tend to overlook the

consequences. Steroid users believe taking anabolic steroids will enhance their

performance, strength, size,etc. They regard the use of them as legitimate as any

other aspect of training.

To begin with, the term "anabolic " means "to build tissue," therefore

anabolic steroids tend to increase constructive metabolic pathways within the

body. Also, anabolic steroids are synthetic derivatives of the natural male

sex hormone, testosterone.

Testosterone was the first steroid developed, a natural occuring hormone in

many plants and animals. The first clinical use of testosterone occured in 1958

when physicians injected it into underweight and ill patients to simualte weight

gain. The first reported use of steroids in a non-medical setting occured during

World War II. Steroids were adminstered by Nazi doctors into German soldiers to

enhance their aggressiveness. The Soviet Union noted the Nazis' use of the drug

and recognized that enhanced aggressiveness, increasing in strength, and size

could be desirable in athletic competition. The Soviets experimented with steroids

in the early 1950's and it is believed that they were used in the 1952 Olympic


The introduction of steroids into the United States is often attributed to the

late Dr. John Ziegler, the team physician for the United States weightlifting team

at the last Vienna World Power lifting championships. A Soviet physician told

Ziegler that some of the members fo the Soviet team were using testosterone as an

aid to enhance their strength. Ziegler was impressed with the results and began

conducting some studies on American lifters. The results were the development

and introduction of the steroid Dianobol, an anabolic steroid with fewer

masculinizing properties than testosterone. Dianobol became well known in the

athletic world. By the 1956 Melbourne Olympic games, steroid use had escalated

to the point that many Olympic competetors in the strength events were either

using them or were aware of their performance ehancing abilties.

Anabolic steroids are all derivatives of the male sex hormone testosterone.

With the use of steroids a person will receive two types of effects from the use.

The first is the androgenic effects or masculinizing. These are the unwanted

effects such as the enlarging of the prostate, growth of male sex glands, deepening

of the voice, and increased facial hair(other steroids were developed in an attempt

to separate these effects of testosterone from the anabolic). The other effect is

anabolic effects, the wanted effects. There are three major benefits that are

wanted from steroid use and they are: Frist athletes will attain a greater increase

in lean muscle mass and strength when it is used with a combination of rigorous

training and the drug. The second major benefit of the steroid use is that the

athlete's body suffers less breakdown. This decrease in muscle breakdown and

recovery time permits more frequent training sessions at higher intensity and for

longer periods of time. The third benefit is the increased aggresiveness they are

believed to simulate. This increased aggresssiveness may drive athletes to train

harder and longer without the usual fatigue. Other positive effects of using

steroids is increases in; storage of muscle glycogen, blood volume, a general

boasting of the immune system, and the reduction of body fat percentage. The

effects are maintained as long as the athlete continues the steroid use.

Anabolic steroids also have a number of potentially harmful side effects.

The introduction of synthetic hormones results in decreased levels of other natural

hormones. This worsens acne and accelerates baldness. This can also result in

the decrease production of sperm and testosterone by the testes, which can lead to

atrophy of the testes. Increased incidents of liver tumors and abnormal liver

funtions have been noted in patients using anabolic steroids. Liver, prostate, and

testicular cancer have been linked to steroid use, particularly oral steroids.

Increases in high density cholesterol is noted in people using steroids, suggesting

hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, and blood-clotting disorders. Also,

athletes using steroids seem to be suffering many more muscle and tendon injuries.

Some doctors wonder if it is the drug-induced brittelness of the muscle or tendon

or the heavier weights that is being lifted. Others think the increased

aggressiveness causes lifters to ignore warning signals from an overworked body

and they train harder than they should.

In adult women, severe masculinizing effects have been documented

including hair growth onthe cheeks and the chin, male patern baldness, irreversible

deepening of the voice, shrinkage of the breast size, uterine atrophy, and menstrual

irregularities. In pre-adults, anabolic steroids can cause the premature closure of

the bone growth plates resulting in shorter structures.

Another major side effect includes what has been popularly called "roid

rage". For training and competition, the increased aggressiveness has been

classified as a benefit of steroid use; however, with increasing dosage, the

increased aggression will have an adverse effect. Wild aggression and paranoid

delusions are common in some steroid users, and they may also suffer from major

depressions and peroids of spontaneous violence.

Steroids can also be both physicaly and psychologically addictive.

Physcially many many athletes experience severe depressions following periods of

not taking the drug, similar to that of any other drug addict. Psychologically,

steroid use can be compulsive and unstoppable in what has been termed by the

medical community as "reversed anorexia". The steroid users have an

uncontrollable obsession with being big instead of skinny. This obsession results

in the continuing or increased usage of anabolic steroids.

The use of steroids in the United States has been estimated as high as one

million persons, or one in every two hundred-fifty people. The major reason for

this large amount of useage is that sports have envolved from recreational pastime

to a lucrative money-making venture at the professional level. Speed and strength

have opened the door to financial opportunities and a bond has been formed

between sports and steroids. The concept of sports as a fun recreational activity

has been surpassed by sports as a business. Many athletes will sell their bodies to

steroids for an opportunity to win a spot on a professional roster or winning a gold

medal in the Olympics. Since the introduction of steroids to sports, the reason for

their use has remained the same; the pursuit of the winning edge.


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