Anabolic Steroids Just The Facts Essay, Research Paper
ANABOLIC STEROIDS JUST THE FACTS
Report #5 – 6/28/98
Anabolic steroids are widely abused drugs that promote protein synthesis and decrease protein catabolism in muscle cells. They have been also called performance enhancing drugs because of their ability to dramatically aid the increase of strength, endurance and recovery in athletes. Recent statistics report that over 3 million athletes and bodybuilders in this country alone have used anabolic steroids. A recent Sports Illustrated article has stated that 90% of professional athletes have taken some form of illegal performance enhancing drugs. This is amidst a vast array of scare tactics, steroid testing, new anti anabolic steroid legislation, and education programs which have been designed to directly put an end to their usage. The efforts that have been made to halt the usage of these drugs so far has been ineffective. The fact is that anabolic steroid use in this country is still growing and will continue to do so unless a new solution is devised.
The vast popularity of anabolic steroids is due to their powerful strength and muscle building properties. Strength and portrayed strength (a large muscular physique) are two factors that are directly related to the inherent need that man has to exert dominance over other males. This can also be verbally, intellectually, physically, and aesthetically. In our society we have always praised the athletes that achieve the most amazing physical feats or that have achieved cosmetic perfection. Lets face it, having large muscles enhances confidence, strength, and physical attraction from the opposite sex which can lead to positive popularity. Being extra strong can also dramatically aid an individuals performance in most sports. A person that is in shape usually portrays a sense of control and enjoyment for their life that is envied by most. Anabolic steroids have been touted as the best and almost overnight way to achieve an extraordinary physique which leads to instant personal gratification.
Steroids have been around for the past 40 years and have been used by athletes and bodybuilders as a means of enhancing cosmetic appearance, athletic performance and physical strength. The Russians were the first to utilize these drugs with extreme success ( primarily testosterone ) to enhance athletic performance. Scientists soon discovered that they could chemically alter testosterone and remove most of its virilizing side-effects. This was the birth of anabolic steroids. By the late 1950 s most of the anabolic steroids that are used today had already been invented. Their usage has since spread and they are now used and manufactured in virtually every country in the world.
In addition to the aforementioned cosmetic and physical benefits of these drugs, anabolic steroids have also gained some valuable use in the medical community. Their most beneficial use is in the treatment of wasting syndrome that is associated with many diseases especially AIDS. New legislation is now being passed in this country so that anabolic steroids may be legally administered by prescription to AIDS patients. This will probably facilitate the ease of attaining pharmaceutical quality drugs by athletes in this country. This country has strict laws that enforce and regulate the sale of anabolic steroids. This makes attaining these pharmaceutical drugs very difficult. Black market entrepreneurs have taken advantage of this opportunity and have made small fortunes selling steroids in their underground pharmacies. These pharmacies are usually a gym bag full of steroids in a gym locker room or bathroom. The biggest problem associated with black market steroid purchasing is the large possibility of acquiring drugs of uncertain consistency, quality, or potency. Counterfeit drugs are a widespread problem in this country and are related to a lot of the physical problems associated with anabolic steroid abuse.
As with every illicitly used drug today the anabolic steroid user also has to experience a first time . This is usually due to personal interest and or peer pressure. Many drug pushers promote steroid use among their peers to help make them more money. Then when the first couple of guys start blowing up like balloons there seems to be a chain reaction. All of the jocks and bodybuilders in and around that clique start taking an interest in these drugs and potentially try using them for their own overnight physical enhancement programs. Remember that everyone wants to fit in and being strong and looking good can help. Anabolic steroids may be an easy short cut to a phenomenal physique that will gain many young users much popularity and self confidence. Many times natural bodybuilders that have reached their genetic potential will also experiment with steroids to further enhance their levels of development Most users of steroids do not research them thoroughly before using them and just rely on the second hand information passed along to them by their dealer. This irresponsible use of anabolic steroids is an enormous factor which leads to the abuse of these drugs. Just think about this. The abuse of almost any substance known to man can hurt you. Taking an entire bottle of aspirin could definitely lead to a life threatening situation. What makes steroids any different? They re not but their muscle building, fat burning and emotional lifting action on the mind and body can be extremely powerful and psychologically addicting. These effects may lead to its use and extreme abuse. People are generally never completely satisfied with the results that they achieve from using anabolic steroids because they know that if they use just a little bit more they will get just a little bit bigger and stronger. This thought cycle continues until the user is on a roller coaster of abuse that usually leads to an onslaught of physical and mental health problems.
A lack of education about the safest ways to use these drugs may also contribute to their health risks. There are generally two methods of delivery of anabolic steroids in the body. These delivery methods comprise of oral ingestion or intramuscullar injection. The most popular injectable forms of anabolic steroids used in America today are Deca-Durabolin, Testosterone Cypionate, Equipose and Sostenon 250. These steroids tend to be less toxic on the liver than orals. This is because orals have an altered chemical composition that allows them to stay intact through the digestive process and through liver metabolism. This altered chemical configuration is the addition of an alkyl substitute on the 17th carbon position of the steroid molecule. Many individuals prefer oral steroids because they hate the thought of being a human pin cushion.
The most popular oral anabolic steroids in the USA today are Anadrol 50, Winstrol v tablets(stanazolol) and Primabolan orals. All anabolic steroids have both androgenic and anabolic properties. So which ones are the most effective and have no or little side effects? Unfortunately all anabolic steroids have undesirable side effects. Typically the perfect steroid would be purely anabolic because the majority of the side effects associated with steroid abuse usually occur because of the drugs androgenic qualities. Some mild steroids such as Deca-durabolin, Winstrol V, Anavar and Primabolan have minimal androgenic qualities and therefore would be considered clean steroids or the safest to use. Anavar is probably the cleanest steroid ever made but it is still slightly toxic to the liver because it must be taken orally. Anadrol 50 is the strongest all around steroid ever made. This is a very high androgen steroid that is in turn also extremely anabolic. For this reason it is the favorite among bodybuilders and powerlifters looking for extreme results. Anadrol 50 has a high price tag of high liver toxicity and adverse reactions on the hypothalamus-pituitary-testicular axis resulting in abnormal hormonal secretions. Anadrol 50, along with being the most potent steroid, is also the most harmful to the body. Anadrol is a derivative of dihydrotestosterone and can commonly cause acne and induce early onset male pattern baldness. Water retention , hypertension, gynecomastia, headaches, and stomach aches are also frequently reported side effects from using this drug.
Long term use of any synthetic male hormone can result in receptor breakdown which can lead to the inability for these steroids to any longer aid in the muscle growth process. In an attempt to reduce the risks associated with steroid abuse and increase their benefits many athletes have placed much emphasis on proper cycling of these drugs. They use different combinations of steroids throughout this cycle at specified times for the desired results. These combinations are often times called stacks. Certain anabolic stacks used by bodybuilders and powerlifters are more effective as bulking and strength building agents and are utilized in their off-season training. Others are better at cutting, shedding fat and maintaining strength are utilized in pre-contest preparation. As mentioned before cycling steroids also helps to prevent down regulation of receptor sites and makes the benefits obtained from the anabolic steroids to be stronger and longer lasting.
The negative effects obtained from using anabolic steroids can be numerous and very serious. The media has sensationalized these side effects as scare tactics to some degree but the fact still remains that anabolic steroids can cause adverse health related conditions. Remember that these drugs are potentially very addicting. Three to six weeks following a steroid cycle users often lose most of the size and strength gains that they achieve while on their steroid cycle. During this time they may also experience depression and anxiety because of the suppression of natural occurring androgens which occurs due to their steroid use. The use of a hormonal substance called HCG is often times used to help alleviate these symptoms. It helps to kick start the bodies natural production of testosterone again. Many strength athletes report of their best gains upon the use of this compound.
Anabolic steroids are very powerful strength and muscle builders but unfortunately, as mentioned before, have many unwanted side effects. The following very long list contains most but not all of the side effects often associated with steroid abuse: Sodium retention, acne, aggression, hypertension, cardiovascular, cancer, disease, palpitations, enlarged heart, virilization, gynecomastia, bleeding, headaches, impotence, stomach aches, jaundice, muscle tears, premature hair loss, stunted growth, immune system suppression, enlarged prostate, insomnia, sterility, anaphylactic shock, anxiety, depression and other psychotic illnesses. Although the side effects are many, people will continue to use them because of their powerful effects on increasing performance and cosmetic enhancing abilities.
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