Anabolic Steroids Essay, Research Paper
Are Anabolic Steroids Safe
Even if you didn t have any or little knowledge of steroids and were asked this question, you would probably answer no. Why? Would it be because a high school kid somewhere in California died from taking them? Or would it be because you read it in Readers Digest? Many people think you are selling your soul to the devil when you take steroids. There is an incredible amount of myths, misinformation, and misconceptions about anabolic steroid use and their dangers. Although there are risks, most people are misinterpreting them.
One of the biggest misconceptions about steroids is that it is a magic pill. A magic pill that will transform a 130 pound weakling into the hulk in a month. Steroids alone do not make muscles grow. They only aid in muscle growth. Steroids basically speed up muscle repair and slow down the body s natural tendency to break down muscle. Popular media has insinuated to the public about horror stories and the dangers. If they are so dangerous then why do doctors prescribe them? Why do pharmacies all over the planet still make them and sell them?
To have an opinion on whether steroids are safe are not, it would help to know how they work and what responsibilities are needed when choosing to take them.
Anabolic Steroids are a synthetic for of the naturally occurring hormone, testosterone. Anabolic steroids are used to promote accelerated muscle hypertrophy in both males and females.
Hypertrophy describes the increase in size of muscle as the result of stress put upon the muscle. Muscles go through hypertrophy in order to adapt to the increased demands placed upon them to perform. This is the primary goal of weight training.
Once steroids are introduced into the bloodstream, they circulate throughout the body and are gradually collected at the receptor sites in the body designed to recognize and absorb them. These sites include muscle, hair, sebaceous glands, endocrine gland, and the brain.
Side effects unfortunately come with the use of anabolic steroids. Side effects vary with the person and sometimes don t occur, however there are common ones. Most side effects come from steroids that are more androgenic than anabolic so they can very depending on the drug. Androgenic is the precursor of the male characteristics of muscle size and strength, deeper voices, body hair, sex drive, and aggressiveness.
Another side effect is gynocemastia. Gynecomastia is also referred to as bitch tits . This is the abnormal breast like tissue, which can develop in males using large doses of steroids. This is also naturally occurring in some men. Gynecomastia develops from testosterone aromatizing in the body and converting to estrogen. Estrogen is the naturally hormone produced in the female body. It is the hormone responsible for female secondary sexual characteristics. Aromatizing occurs when testosterone passes through the bloodstream and doesn t attach themselves to the corresponding receptors. The testosterone that is left over has to pass through the bloodstream a second time and converts to estrogen. The estrogen then collects to the mammary glands, which are located in the nipple area of a man s chest to form deposits. They will eventually start to resemble woman s breast.
Shrinking of the testicles happens in every male that will use steroids. This is unavoidable, but in most cases temporary until use is discontinued. The testicles main function in the body is to produce testosterone. If the body is receiving the testosterone from another source, the testicles are not needed. The testicles recognize the abundance of the hormone in the body and realize they do not need to produce any. While they are remaining dormant, they will shrink. Once use is discontinued and the synthetic hormones are absorbed by the body, the testicles recognize they need to produce once again. This returns them to normal size.
Fluctuation in sex drive happens because of the change in testosterone levels. The increase in hormones causes the dramatic increase in sex drive during the first couple of weeks of use until the pituitary gland realizes sexual hormones are high and suppresses them. This is what causes impotence during use. This too is temporary.
Water retention is also a possibility. Some steroids cause water to retain under the skin, which gives you a bloated look. This increases size and strength, but can also cause hypertension. Hypertension is high blood pressure.
Acne is another common problem. This happens when the hormone levels are high causing more bacteria on the skin s surface. This happens commonly in puberty, as are all of these side effects.
Balding is also common with increase in hormone levels, but this can be prevented by taking medication that prevents DHT breakdown. DHT stands for dihydrotestosterone.
The more serious and rare side effects are things like heart attacks and cancer. You do too much of anything and it is going to kill you. Take cigarette smoking and drinking. These things are legal and definitely deadly with continued use. Steroids are meant to be taken in 10 to 12 week cycles with a 12 week off cycle. A cycle is the period that a person is using steroids. The off cycle allows the body to recover from any stress put on it by the steroids and allows the natural occurring testosterone to be produced again. Many uneducated and egotistical bodybuilders and athletes do not take these breaks. This is the kind of ignorance that leads to serious problems.
Some of the milder anabolic steroids cause almost none of these side effects. Therefore it is a mistake to state that all steroid users will come down with these side effects. In 1996 Boston University conducted an experiment involving 43 young normal men. They randomly divided them into four groups. The groups were categorized by a placebo which received no testosterone or exercise, received testosterone with no exercise, placebo with exercise and received testosterone and exercise. The groups that received testosterone were injected with 600mg for 10 weeks. This is a reasonable dose for a bodybuilder. The group that received exercise were put through weight training three days a week for 10 weeks. The results showed that among the men in the no-exercise groups, those given testosterone had greater increases in fat free mass and muscle than those without testosterone. The men assigned to testosterone and exercise had greater increases in fat free mass and muscle size than those assigned either no exercise group. Neither mood nor behavior was altered in any group. Berman, Nancy. The New England Journal of Medicine The Effects of Supraphysoilogic Doses of Testosterone on Muscle Size and Strength in Normal Men. July 1996: 12.
There are a couple of ways to administer steroids into the body. Even though there are oral pills, injection seems to be preferred. Injection steroids are the safer and more potent steroids. Injecting is safe as long as responsibility is taken. Things like syringe selection, injection site, technique and sterilization are all factors to consider.
You can use the shoulder, thigh or buttocks for injection sites, the buttocks is the best choice. The buttock offers the largest area for deep injection into the muscle tissue and plenty of room to store the solution. This area also has few blood vessels.
Syringe selection is also important. You must have a proper size needle to administer steroids. Any needle over 23 gauge would be too thin. A needle this thin could break trying to penetrate muscle tissue. A 22 gauge, one and a half inch long needle is ideally the safest needle.
Sterility must be practice as with anything coming into contact with the bloodstream. The injection site should be cleaned with rubbing alcohol. Always use a new syringe and needle. Make sure whatever you are injecting is clean.
Knowing how to inject intramuscularly is relatively easy if you know what you are doing. You should always be well informed and educated before attempting this.
Pills are eaten orally are not quite as safe as injection because they have to be broken down by the liver when in the bloodstream. This puts more stress on the liver.
Only a small number of countries have a firm legal law against steroids. Most countries you can buy them over the counter. In the United States, steroids are considered a felony. There was a law passed in 1990 that converted steroid possession from a misdemeanor to a felony. They are ranked in the same classification as cocaine, crack, and marijuana. There is no law of having these substances in your bloodstream as with cocaine and pot. Nothing stops a bodybuilder from driving across the Mexican border and injecting himself and driving back to the states. If they are so dangerous then why are they legal in the bloodstream? Ever notice that athletes who test positive never suffer legal penalties. Possession and smuggling are the only crimes for steroids, but have severe consequences. Phillips, Bill. Nelson Vergel Detained at Miami Customs For Steroids. Muscle Media 2000. March 1996: 134.
The medicinal uses for steroids are beginning to get serious attention. There is plenty of clinical evidence that these drugs can significanly enhance the treatment of muscle wasting diseases such as cancer, HIV, AIDS and other chronic illness. Similar to the debate over medical use of marijuana, those opposed to its use are typically ignorant, close minded, and have a political agenda. Mooney, Michael. Literature of Steroids Potential Uses for Immune Therapy. Medibolics. January 1998: 58.
Anabolics significantly help AIDS and HIV patients live longer. These diseases attack the immune system. Anabolic steroids boost and strengthen the immune system. This not only helps keep the disease from spreading as quick, but also helps fight other illness that occur with a weak immune system.
If a person uses steroids and does not choose the correct one, administer the correct dosages, train correctly, eat correctly, and get enough rest, the steroids will have little, if any, effect. Only the ignorant believe that drugs alone can create the physique and physical performances of one’s goal. A lot of hard work and self discipline is necessary to get the most out of using anabolic steroids. I know a lot of people personally who experimented with them only to be disappointed. All these kinds of people do is get side effects, a little size and strength that disappeared in a matter of months.
So are they safe? The approval and use of any drug is a matter of deciding whether the therapeutic benefits from its use are worth the adverse effects. No drug is safe. Acetaminophen(Tylenol) and Aspirin has shown to cause some poisonings and rare cases of devastating skin reactions. However the consensus is that they save enough lives and alleviate enough problems to more than compensate for the bad effects. Just like these drugs, in therapeutic doses, steroids result in few side effects. Benefits clearly outweigh the risks. Otherwise doctors wouldn t prescribe them at all. Does everyone think that an AIDS patient is given steroids because he is dying and it doesn t matter what happens to him. No it is because they are beneficial.
Most of the side effects that are experienced during use also happens during puberty. The more dangerous ones come from careless use. If some one takes steroids in safe doses in a limited amount of time, doesn t evidence show this is safe? Does the mild negative effects outweigh the positive for steroid use even though we use them for cosmetic reasons. I that steroids should be administered by a doctor who can monitor your health during use. This would give no body a reason to smuggle them. If informed about the risks and side effects of these drugs, why can t a person make a decision to use them cosmetically? Should we outlaw breast implants and other cosmetic procedures that involve risk? I guess all of the other countries are wrong for legalizing steroids and we, the United States, are right.