Anabolic steroids are effective in enhancing
athletic performance. The negative aspect of this is the undesirable side
effects that could put one’s own health in jeopardy. Steroids have an effect on
numerous organ systems, in which some are irreversible. This life-altering drug
not only causes severe discomfort, but can even cause death if
administered in heavy doses. Steroids were first
introduced as a form of synthetic testosterone in the early 1930’s by a team of
scientists. The substance was able to help men that were not able to produce
enough hormonal growth, development, and sexual functioning. After World War II
an American physician developed a more selective form of what we know today as
anabolic steroids. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research “today,
illicit sale of steroids are still prevalent and surveys show that adolescent
use of steroids is on the rise and that a great number of adults are activity
using” (52).

human males, the reproductive system is greatly affected in relation to the use
of steroids. The prolonged use of anabolic steroids can result in an increase
of abnormal sperm cells, which decreases male fertility, and causes atrophy of
the testes. According to Lawrenson “other effects that can happen are abnormal
sperm and a decreased sperm count” (117). Using more than one kind of steroid
at a time increases the chances of infertility, but after a cessation of
steroid use, the changes in infertility reverse after one to three months,
depending on the individual and the dosage administered. There is been case
studies regarding male infertility, for example a thirty-one-year-old
bodybuilder with a six-year history of infertility due to his low sperm count.
He consumed steroids for five years due to that he had shrunken testicles, low
levels of follicle-stimulate hormones and a low testosterone level. However,
after a year of steroid free, his sperm count was highly improved. The
subject’s wife became pregnant twenty months after he ceased the use of

The use of anabolic steroids, also produce hormonal imbalances. One
significant side effect is that of gynecomastia, which, irreversible in nature,
causes breast formation in males. This happens because of the increased levels
of estrogen, which are typical female sex hormones. Even with the effects of
gynecomastia, sexual desire in males is increased, even though the rate of
erectile dysfunction is increased as well. This might seem to be incongruous,
but sexual desire is dependant on the androgen hormone (a steroid hormone that
controls the development and sustenance of masculine characteristics), while
erectile dysfunction is not. Steroids also cause a person to become more
aggressive. When this level of aggressiveness meets the level of sexual desire,
the risk of sexual assault is increased.

Females have some of the same side effects as
males, such as increased sexual desire and aggressiveness, but they also have
certain side effects that are unique to females. Such side effects are
irregularities in the menstrual cycle, hypertrophy of the clitoris, sudden acne
breakouts, hair loss, receding hairline, increased facial hair, deeper voice,
and breast atrophy. Unlike the male’s ability to recover from most side
effects, the female steroid user’s deeper voice, hair loss, enlarged clitoris,
and decreased breast size are irremediable. In addition to this, pregnant women
who use anabolic steroids can become prone to pseudo hermaphroditism or growth
hindrance of the female fetus. It could even lead to fetal death.

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Anabolic steroids can also produce
psychological effects such as hallucinations, euphoria, confusion, paranoia,
and insomnia. Because of the sense of euphoria, along with other potential
factors, steroid users could become addicted to the drug, followed with
symptoms of withdrawal (physiological and mental readjustment that accompanies

discontinuation of the use of an addictive substance). Such symptoms consist of
mental depression, suicidal behavior, and in some cases severe psychosis.

The essence of competition is what drives a
person to give it his or her all. It is distressing that some people feel as
though they have to alter themselves in order to succeed, in order to be


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