Anabolic steroids are effective in enhancingathletic performance. The negative aspect of this is the undesirable sideeffects that could put one’s own health in jeopardy. Steroids have an effect onnumerous organ systems, in which some are irreversible. This life-altering drugnot only causes severe discomfort, but can even cause death ifadministered in heavy doses. Steroids were firstintroduced as a form of synthetic testosterone in the early 1930’s by a team ofscientists. The substance was able to help men that were not able to produceenough hormonal growth, development, and sexual functioning. After World War IIan American physician developed a more selective form of what we know today asanabolic steroids.
According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research “today,illicit sale of steroids are still prevalent and surveys show that adolescentuse of steroids is on the rise and that a great number of adults are activityusing” (52). Forhuman males, the reproductive system is greatly affected in relation to the useof steroids. The prolonged use of anabolic steroids can result in an increaseof abnormal sperm cells, which decreases male fertility, and causes atrophy ofthe testes.
According to Lawrenson “other effects that can happen are abnormalsperm and a decreased sperm count” (117). Using more than one kind of steroidat a time increases the chances of infertility, but after a cessation ofsteroid use, the changes in infertility reverse after one to three months,depending on the individual and the dosage administered. There is been casestudies regarding male infertility, for example a thirty-one-year-oldbodybuilder 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, lowlevels of follicle-stimulate hormones and a low testosterone level. However,after a year of steroid free, his sperm count was highly improved. Thesubject’s wife became pregnant twenty months after he ceased the use ofsteroids. The use of anabolic steroids, also produce hormonal imbalances.
Onesignificant side effect is that of gynecomastia, which, irreversible in nature,causes breast formation in males. This happens because of the increased levelsof estrogen, which are typical female sex hormones. Even with the effects ofgynecomastia, sexual desire in males is increased, even though the rate oferectile dysfunction is increased as well. This might seem to be incongruous,but sexual desire is dependant on the androgen hormone (a steroid hormone thatcontrols the development and sustenance of masculine characteristics), whileerectile dysfunction is not. Steroids also cause a person to become moreaggressive. 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 asmales, such as increased sexual desire and aggressiveness, but they also havecertain side effects that are unique to females.
Such side effects areirregularities in the menstrual cycle, hypertrophy of the clitoris, sudden acnebreakouts, hair loss, receding hairline, increased facial hair, deeper voice,and breast atrophy. Unlike the male’s ability to recover from most sideeffects, the female steroid user’s deeper voice, hair loss, enlarged clitoris,and decreased breast size are irremediable. In addition to this, pregnant womenwho use anabolic steroids can become prone to pseudo hermaphroditism or growthhindrance of the female fetus. It could even lead to fetal death. Anabolic steroids can also producepsychological effects such as hallucinations, euphoria, confusion, paranoia,and insomnia. Because of the sense of euphoria, along with other potentialfactors, steroid users could become addicted to the drug, followed withsymptoms of withdrawal (physiological and mental readjustment that accompaniesthediscontinuation of the use of an addictive substance).
Such symptoms consist ofmental depression, suicidal behavior, and in some cases severe psychosis.The essence of competition is what drives aperson to give it his or her all. It is distressing that some people feel asthough they have to alter themselves in order to succeed, in order to beaccepted.