This study shows strong evidence that the use of testosterone, in males with low base testosterone levels, can improve libido and sexual performance. Testosterone therapy is also beneficial for people suffering from AIDS and other wasting diseases. Dieterich (1998) found patients suffering from AIDS experienced increases in lean body mass, fat-free mass, and muscle mass when being treated with testosterone therapy. The subjects in this study also reported they felt better, improved quality of life, and improved appearance. The treatment of testosterone is also used amongst transexuals. The supplementation of testosterone causes changes creating more masculine features. Some of these include facial hair growth, underarm hair growth, and deepening of the voice. While some may be seeking these androgenic changes they can turn many people away from the drug. The effect steroids may have on a person vary significantly based on gender, genetics, diet, and training regiment. Gender plays a significant role on the effect of steroids in the body. Taking a testosterone boosting supplement like steroids can cause many undesirable effects in females such as; deepening of the voice, excess hair growth, facial hair, baldness, enlarged clitoris, and menstrual dysfunction (Casa Palmera, 2012). Although some anecdotal reports suggest a deepening of the voice in females caused by steroids Glaser and co workers (Glaser 2016) found no significant changes in female voice when taking 138?€“22.7mg on three-month intervals. The data from Glaser is important in terms of testosterone therapy, and the use of testosterone in women for medical purposes. However the doses administered in this study are far lower than what the average steroid abuser would put in their body to enhance muscle growth. Steroid use in large doses has shown significantly more adverse effects in the body. Adverse effects caused by steroids also vary greatly depending on the type of steroid and how the steroid is taken.
Anabolic steroids can be injected or taken orally. The most common injectable steroids include; Deca-Durabolin, Equipoise, Depo-Testosterone, Durabolin, Dianabol, and Tetrahydrogestrinone. Anecdotal reports suggest injectable steroids produce less side effects in comparison to oral steroids. Injectable steroids are the most popular in the bodybuilding community due to a lower frequency of taking them, and less side effects. However injecting them does add the risk of passing viruses or diseases through the needle. Bolding & Elford (Bolding & Elford 2002) found 31% of gay male anabolic steroid users in Central London gyms were HIV positive. This does not show correlation between steroids and HIV, but it does show a fairly high percentage of these anabolic steroid users to be HIV positive. A majority of steroid users also take more than one steroid at once, a term called stacking. Stacking is the most efficient way to gain muscle while using steroids in a short period of time. However the more steroids you put it your body, the greater the chance of side effects occurring. While the side effects steroids cause can be inescapable there are precautions users taken to lessen the risk of adverse effects. The typical steroid cycle, when used by weightlifters, is between six to twelve weeks. Some long term steroid users recommend stacking steroids to increase muscle growth in the shortest time possible. After a steroid user completes a cycle they typically take an off period to give their body time to recover. During the off period it is recommended users participate in post-cycle therapy (PCT). It is recommended users take anti-estrogen supplements to reduce the risk of developing gynecomastia or other estrogen imbalance disorders. Some users even use hair growth treatment to try and prevent balding. Others also take supplements to improve liver function. While steroid abusers do have ways to try and reduce side effects, the effects anabolic steroids can cause are never completely escapable. The short term effects steroid may cause differ significantly from the long term effects. Short-term usage effects include acne, mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, decreased appetite, trouble sleeping, decreased sperm count, and impotence. Some long term effects include anger and aggression, paranoia, delusions, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, tumors of the liver, and blood-borne diseases due to injection. It's very easy to develop a dependency for anabolic steroids, and can even lead to addiction. Bower (Bower, 2001) found that twenty eight of the forty nine steroid using subjects he studied could be identified as steroid dependant.
The subjects were identified as steroid dependant if they met three or more of the following qualities; more steroids taken than intended, an unachieved desire to control or cut down on steroid use, a great amount of time spent on steroid related activities, replacement of daily activities by steroid use, continued use despite being aware of problems caused by steroids, a marked tolerance and need for larger doses, frequent withdrawal symptoms, using steroids to stop withdrawal symptoms.. Of the forty nine steroid users studied by Bower an average of three steroids used at once was found among the subjects. The users studied also reported doses ten to one hundred times larger than a standard therapeutic dose. While steroids have been classified as non-addictive by the FDA, many users can be identified as steroid dependant. Almost all non-athlete steroid users begin with the goal of trying to achieve a more desirable body. However after seeing seeing the results steroids may cause, or experiencing withdrawal symptoms of the drug, many users have a hard time stopping. A long term anabolic steroid user reported to Bardick (Bardick et al. 2008) ...adding this and that supplements, meal replacements, protein, creatine, glutamine, any type of amino acid that would come in a pill, more ephedrine, caffeine, herbal energy pills, anything that I thought might help get results a little quicker. This subject is showing not only symptoms of dependency of anabolic steroids, but is also obsessing over their body image and is willing to do anything to improve it. A common disorder associated with steroids and bodybuilding is body dysmorphic disorder. BDD is a body-image disorder characterized by persistent and intrusive preoccupations with an imagined or slight defect in one's appearance (BDD, n.d.). A person suffering from BDD often wears baggy or bulky clothing, regardless of weather, to hide what they see as imperfections. Kanayama and colleagues (Kanayama et al. 2006) found anabolic steroid users more likely to show symptoms of muscle dysmorphia (BDD) than non users. This study does not identify a causal relationship between BDD and steroids. BDD is mainly caused by social and environmental factors. Weightlifters and bodybuilders are exposed to numerous social and environmental factors that could potentially lead to the develop of this disorder.
These factors include dieting talk, social pressure, and a gym setting. Being in a gym can make some people feel uncomfortable and even trigger anxiety. While there are many factors influencing us to behave in certain ways adding hormonal influencing drugs such as steroids can potentially cause negative reactions. Although we assume the majority of steroid users are professional athletes and bodybuilders, a significant portion of the youth around the world use anabolic steroids. Eaton and co workers (Eaton et al. 2005) found a 4.8% usage rate in males and a 3.2% usage rate among 7th-12th grade students. This survey was conducted in public schools in the state of Minnesota. This is a very high rate given the participants are primarily between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. Rachon and colleagues (Rachon et al. 2006) found 14.3% of males and 11.1% of females between the ages of thirteen and seventeen reported steroid usage. Rachon conducted his study in Poland, with a total of 150 participants. 14.3% for males and 11.% for females are extremely high prevalence rates for anabolic steroid usage. The spike in this data may be due to a small sample size, or it may reflect a greater use of steroids in this country. Komoroski and colleagues (Komoroski et al. 1992) identified a 7.6% prevalence rate among males and 1.5% rate among females. Komoroski studied 11th grade high school students in Arkansas. This study was conducted on a sample of 1500 participants. It's fairly typical to find a higher usage rate among males than females, but a five times increase is pretty significant. It's not easy to identify what the cause of this may be and it's quite unique. De Micheli and co workers (De Micheli et al. 2004) found a 0.1% prevalence rate of anabolic steroids among males and males between the ages of ten and twenty across Brazil. The sample size for this study was 6500 participants, a relatively large sample. It's pretty shocking to see such a huge difference in prevalence rates between these countries. All of these studies were conducted on adolescents between the ages of thirteen and twenty. The use of anabolic steroids can cause a variety of health problems for users so it's frightening to see such a large portion of the youth across the world abusing these drugs.
Never are we taught about the side effects anabolic steroids may cause, so seeing such high numbers of teenagers using them makes me wonder: Why are we not taught about anabolic steroids? Our public schools teach sexual education to us by scaring us with nasty pictures of diseases obtained through sexual intercourse. Schools should take initiative and teach the negative consequences of taking steroids before youth are even exposed to them. Johnston and colleagues found a 1.4% prevalence rate among eighth grade boys in the United States, population size 15,700. Eighth grade boys are typically age twelve or thirteen. Anabolic steroid use at such a young age can be detrimental to a person's mental and physical health. Bolding and co workers (Bolding et al. 2002) found 25.2% of steroid users reported depression between cycles. Puberty is the most hormonal period of a humans life, adding a drug that may cause depression, anxiety, or increased acne can potentially ruin a child's life. Anabolic steroids require a prescription to purchase, however they can be bought on the black market. Odds are most twelve to thirteen year olds don't have access to the black market. Parents, coaches, and teachers need to be more responsible in keeping these life altering drugs out of young children's possession.
Cite this page