Exploring Adolescent Use of Performance-Enhancing Substances

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Exploring Adolescent Use of Anabolic Steroids

Since the introduction of anabolic steroids, the main objective of using them has been widely abused. The use of these substances has steadily increased throughout the years. As popularity of anabolic steroids escalated, so has its demand. With the inception of anabolic steroids in the world of professional sports, the acceptance of doping amongst athletes was positive. During the 1970s, there were no repercussions for taking anabolic steroids, and so athletes, especially football players and weight-lifters, were trying to get that physical advantage over their competitors. Many professional baseball and football players of this most recent generation have used anabolic steroids. In football there was the great Lawrence Taylor, Bill Romanowski, and Shawne Merriman. In baseball, a steroid scandal involved the great Barry Bonds, and numerous baseball prodigies who juiced up such as Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, and Manny Ramirez. Not only have baseball and football players used anabolic steroids, but other types of athletes, such as power-lifters, as well. In track and field, Tim Montgomery was cited for doping. In recent years, female track and field athletes such as Marion Jones were busted for using anabolic steroids. With the accessibility of anabolic steroids increasing at an alarming rate, a person has to wonder what kind of effect anabolic steroids could have on adolescents? If doping really is becoming accepted amongst professional athletes, what kind of influence will it have on the adolescents? This research analysis essay will be exploring the physical and mental risks and consequences for adolescents using anabolic steroids as well as their motivation for doping.

Steroids were originally developed to administer to hypogonadism in the 1930s (Volkow 1). Through experimenting, scientists discovered that the use of anabolic steroids could generate muscle growth. This discovery led to the abuse of anabolic steroids in the sporting world. Technological experimentation and advances over time enabled researchers to identify many types of anabolic steroids. In researching the effects of anabolic steroids, scientists also detected many side effects from using anabolic steroids, although much is still unknown regarding their long-term side effects (Kusserow 9). There are two ways of taking anabolic steroids, one way is to take them orally or by injection. In taking anabolic steroids with these two methods, an adolescent can severely damage the endocrine system, musculoskeletal system, circulatory system, the hepatic system, and the skin (Volkow 5).

A major health defect of taking anabolic steroids is that it affects the endocrine system. The endocrine system is a gland system that is responsible for the discharge of hormones that assist in regulating certain bodily processes, such as metabolism, growth, and development. One of the important factors that the endocrine system controls is the mood of a person. The human body already secretes certain hormones into the body to keep bodily processes functioning the way they were supposed to. By taking anabolic steroids, an adolescent is disrupting the natural production of hormones (Volkow 4). The endocrine system only secretes a certain amount of hormones a day to prevent imbalance. If the endocrine system secretes too many hormones into the human body, there will be a hormonal imbalance which could lead to disease or abnormal development. Taking anabolic steroids can cause reversible changes, which include sperm count deduction, infertility of sperm, and testicle shrinkage (Volkow 4). In males, irreversible changes may occur by taking anabolic steroids such as feminization and male-pattern baldness (Volkow 4).

Although anabolic steroids may physically enhance a person’s appearance, the damage caused by anabolic steroids is something many adolescents are...
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