There are many kinds of drugs out there, each with its own positive and negative effects on the body. A commonly known and most widely abused drug by people participating in an athletic activity are anabolic steroids, which is chemically related to testosterone. According to Jeffery Potteiger (1994) the anabolic functions of testosterone are responsible for accelerating the growth of muscle tissue, bone, and it enhances the development of neural pathways (pg. 60). This drug contains both positive and negative benefits to one’s health. But if taken in large doses, it poses serious physiological and physical damage to the human body. Although this drug is illegal worldwide, temptations arise for athletes or body builders to use anabolic steroids to gain the competitive advantage or to build muscle.
Potteiger (1994) has found that anabolic steroids were first developed by a team of scientists that were able to create a synthetic form of testosterone to help treat men who were unable to produce enough of the hormone for normal growth and development (pg. 60). After people started noticing the increase in size and strength in these drugs, athletes starting in the 1950s started using anabolic steroids to gain the competitive edge. Since then, anabolic steroids have developed into a drug that athletes and nonathletes increasingly use. The development of this drug or when it was first noticed actually dates back in time to 1700 BC with the ancient Greek Olympic athletes. These athletes consumed the testes of animals such as bulls and sheep because the testes gave them more strength and an increase in performance. William Llewellyn mentioned that large amounts of anabolic steroid testosterone were contained in the testes for those animals and the Greek athletes did not know that fact (Llewellyn 2018).
Many research studies have shown that using anabolic steroids led to negative effects on the brain such as mood regulation, sexuality, and behavior. Depression, anxiety, and cognitive deterioration are the main effects experienced when this drug starts to affect the neurotransmitter systems and largens the amygdala. Sanna Kailanto mentioned how long time anabolic steroid use can ultimately affect the brain’s serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitter systems which causes extreme aggression, depression, and anxiety (Kailanto). Anabolic steroids are synthetic compounds that mimic the effects of testosterone and in the human body, testosterone production is controlled by a group of cells in the hypothalamus. Not only does this drug affect the neurotransmitter systems and largens the amygdala, it also affects the hypothalamus which sends different messages throughout the body causing behavioral changes to occur. The use of anabolic steroids can also affect the cognitive functions of the brain along with parts of the brain that control behavior and mood. Bj??rnebekk et al. (2017) conducted a research to determine how the brain was affected for long time anabolic steroid users compared to non-users. After a neuro imaging scan of the brain was taken, results showed that the long time anabolic steroid users had a smaller overall cortical volume and thinner cortex in widespread regions than the non-users. When these parts of the brains are affected, cognitive functions such as memory and perception deteriorate, and a person’s IQ tend to be low. Therefore, anabolic steroids are responsible for affecting parts of the brain that deal with cognitive and behavioral functions.
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