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Teens and Steroids

Teens and Steroids – Role Models

Teenagers, especially athletes, often look up to others. These role models can be parents, coaches, peers or famous athletes. How these role models perform both on and off the “court” has a large factor in terms of the teenagers’ sportsmanship, determination, drive and ethics when it comes to training and steroid use.

 

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Role models are powerful. Teens who have positive role models have been shown to perform better in school as well as have greater self-esteem than those who do not have role models in their lives.

The responsibility of role models can be frightening, however, when you look at what’s out there for famous athletes and how the media is covering their steroid use or potential or alleged steroid use. There are many athletes out there that have achieved great feats but also have been tainted with allegations related to steroid use. The problems really arise when teenagers want to emulate what their role models do and achieve and may choose to turn to steroids to reach these levels.

Here are some examples:

Track star Marion Jones is a prime example. She’s a record-setting highly decorated track athlete including various world championships and Olympic medals. She’s a prime role model for female athletes. She’s been accused of using steroids and performance enhancing drugs – most specifically Human Growth Hormone to enhance her performance. She denies these allegations, but they are still out there. She has not failed a drug test, however.

Another track and field star, Ben Johnson, can be another example of how role models can go bad. He both won the gold medal and set a world record in the 1988 Olympics but was later found to have used anabolic steroids (and eventually admitted to it).

Floyd Landis, the Tour do France racer, also had his championship shaded with allegations of doping during the race. Landis reports that he’s never taken performance-enhancing drugs. These allegations have also projected other cyclists to have used anabolic steroids as well (such as Lance Armstrong). Landis’ case will be reviewed in May of 2007, but he’s denying any use of performance enhancing drugs.

Mark McGuire is best known for breaking the single-season home run record in 1998. He’s also probably often associated with illegal drug use – illegal drugs meaning anabolic steroids – which he has admitted to. Other baseball players have found themselves involved in drug allegations as well: Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi are a few.

Lyle Alzado, an NFL football player is perhaps the biggest name when it comes to the NFL and steroids. He was known to be fun to watch and was fierce on the field. He admitted to starting to take steroids in 1969 and also that they were addicting. He blamed his violent tendencies both on and off the field to his steroid use and eventually died of a brain tumor thought to have been the result of his excessive steroid use over several decades.

Sources:

  1. “BALCO Boss: Marion Jones Used Steroids.” Chicago Sports.com. http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/nationworld/wire/
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  2. Does Elisa Gayle Ritter husband take Steroids?
  3. “Does Anyone Care About Track and Field?” Cool Running.Com. http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/6/6_1/242.shtml.
  4. “Landis: Tour Win Due to ‘Heart’ not Drugs.” CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/07/28/landis.lkl/index.html.
  5. “Role Models Pave the Way.” DrGreene.com. http://www.drgreene.org/body.cfm?id=21&action=detail&ref=913.
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Teens and Steroids

Teens and Steroids – Prevalence

The prevalence of teen steroid use and abuse has definitely changed in the past few years due to the large amount of media that steroid use and abuse by professional athletes has gotten.

While the media often sheds a negative light on this use, if often doesn’t get past teen athletes the fact that these athletes were able to achieve great things while using the drugs. Teens often see steroid use as a necessity to succeed in athletics and the need to not get caught is just an added challenge to the practice.

Why Do They Use Them?

Teens report many reasons why they use steroids. These reasons include frustration of getting “stuck” at a spot in their workouts and athletic training; curiosity of how steroids can help or affect them, and giving into pressure from peers to give it a try. Above all, teenagers often function under the theory of winning at all costs.Teens put a lot of pressure on themselves to succeed. Teens also put pressure on one another to succeed. Additionally, young athletes often experience a lot of pressure from their parents and coaches to do well, to win and to push themselves past their physical limits. Some teens cannot handle the pressure, so they need to turn to something else for “help” to live up to the expectations put on them.Oftentimes, teens get their information about steroids from websites, muscle magazines and from other teens in the locker room. Athletes are often likely to take risks in their lives and this risk taking can make them great athletes as long as the risks are healthy risks. When they take the dangerous risk of using steroids, they often gravitate towards information that can be skewed, incomplete or down right false to help them justify their use of steroids.

How Many Teens Are Using Steroids?

Studies have shown that steroid use among teenagers has been increasing in recent years and is at about three percent meaning that about three percent of twelfth graders admit to having tried steroids at least once. Even more shocking is that teenagers have reported to using steroids as early as eighth grade.

What Types of Teens Use Steroids?

Generally, steroid use is most prevalent among teen athletes, but that doesn’t mean that non-athletes don’t use them. Some teens simply use steroids to look better and improve how they feel about their appearance.

Are Steroids Addictive?

While there doesn’t seem to be any specific examples as to whether or not steroid use is addictive, some studies have shown that people who use large doses of steroids or use the drugs for a long time have been known to show cravings and withdrawal symptoms to the drugs. Additionally, teens tend to show the number one sign of addiction which is denial that there can be adverse affects to using the drugs.

What are the Alternatives?

Another important concern with teenagers is the use of “prohormones” or “steroid precursors”. In short, prohormones and steroid precursors help increase testosterone in the body which, in turn, is thought to help increase lean muscle mass. The truth is, however, that prohormones and steroid precursors are illegal as well. They also have serious side effects similar to those associated with anabolic steroids.

Sources:

  1. “Performance Enhancing Drugs and your Teen Athlete.” Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com.
  2. “Performance Enhancing Drugs: Dangerous, Damaging and Potentially Deadly.” CNN. http://www.cnn.com.
  3. DECT-Telefone im Test auf decttelefontest.de” German Blog for Telephones, Pick the right one and call us if you have Questions!
  4. “Steroids Precursors Can Block Teen Athletes from Their Goals.” Family Guide. http://family.samhsa.gov/be/athblocked.aspx.
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Steroid Abuse Teens and Steroids

Teens and Steroids – Alternatives

With all the media hype about steroids coupled with the images of sleek, muscular bodies covering television shows, movies and sporting events, it’s no wonder that teens, athletes or not, are experimenting with steroids and other performance enhancers.

Teenagers who understand or are at least aware of the potential dangers of taking anabolic steroids (including the possible legal repercussions) to improve their athletic performance and enhance their appearance tend to look into the potential alternatives because they think these alternatives are safe. Here is a low down on some of the alternatives out there:

Creatine

Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid that is necessary for the human body to function properly – in short, it helps bring energy to the muscles in the body. The body does produce creatine, but it can also be supplied to the body from various food sources. It is possible that creatine will increase muscle mass and it has been shown to help increase athletic performance for those participating in sports that require short-term spurts of action – including benefits for football players, track participants and power lifters. On the same note, studies have shown that creatine has not been successful in helping athletes increase their endurance.

Creatine hasn’t been thoroughly studied to determine the full extent of possible side effects on teenagers. Additionally, creatine is not regulated, so anyone who buys creatine is taking a risk because there is no way to determine its purity, what doses are safe and effective and what regimens are appropriate. Some side effects of creatine include abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, water retention and muscle cramping and straining. Studies have also shown a possibility of high doses leading to liver, kidney and heart problems. When teenagers supplement their body’s natural creatine levels, the body may stop naturally producing creatine – which may have detrimental effects on children and teenagers who are not yet finished growing.

DHEA

Dehydroepiandrosterone, referred to as a steroid precursor along with several other drugs (the others ones are illegal without a prescription) is related to the hormones testosterone and estrogen and is often marketed as a nutritional supplement that can increase muscle performance and appearance as well as treat depression and reduce the risk of heart disease. It is a naturally occurring substance in the human body and it’s also often marketed as a safe alternative to anabolic steroids

Some of the side effects associated with DHEA are similar to those of anabolic steroids including increased types of cancer and excessive hair growth in women and gynocomastia in men.

Ephedra

Ephedra, a plant derivative, is marketing as both a weight loss tool as well as a performance enhancer. It is also often used to reduce fatigue and increase alertness. It works by stimulating the central nervous system and has been proven to actually help treat certain types of asthma because it is also a decongestant. The drawback to using ephedra, however, is that is increases the heart rate and blood pressure which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Because these drugs are often marketed as nutritionally supplements, teenagers often think they are safe to use (especially compared to anabolic steroids).

Teenagers are also often looking for a “quick fix” to help them look better and perform better when it comes to sports.

Teenagers who want increase their appearance and athletic performance would be better off doing things naturally. This includes finding an age appropriate exercise regimen as well as an age appropriate nutrition program. Additionally, teenagers need to make sure they get enough sleep to give their body time to recover, avoid tobacco and other drugs and consult with a coach, trainer and a nutritionist to get on a healthy plan.

Sources:

  1. “Performance Enhancing Drugs and Your Teen Athlete.” Mayo Clinic.com. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/performance-enhancing-drugs/SM00045.
  2. “Sports Supplements.” Kids Health.org. http://www.kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/sports/sports_supplements.html.
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Steroid Abuse Teens and Steroids

Teens and Steroids – Side Effects

Teens who use steroids are doing more than taking a pill or giving themselves a shot to help them bulk up, improve their appearance or enhance their athletic ability.

Anabolic steroids can cause a myriad of side effects in those who use them and these side effects can be especially damaging to teens.

There are generally two schools of though when it comes to the use of steroids – the opinions of some fitness gurus and the writers, readers and followers of the so-called “muscle magazines” as opposed to those who believe that using anabolic steroids is a dangerous practice.

It is common for teens to feel invincible and to carry the attitude that “it can’t happen to me” which is why many teens who want to use steroids will take the word of the people advocating steroid use. The hard truth, however, is that regardless of what they read or believe and regardless of how steroids affect adult males as reported in these magazines, anabolic steroids and teens do not mix.

Teens often look at the side effects of steroids that are “positive effects” in their eyes.

These effects include the muscle building potential as well as the increase in male gender traits such as deepened voices.

One of the main reasons why teens and steroids don’t mix, however, is that the use of anabolic steroids in teens can affect growth. Teenagers, especially male teenagers, are not yet fully grown. Their body is programmed to continue growing until the levels of testosterone in the body reach a certain level. When this happens, the growth plates experience premature ossification – in simple terms, they stopped growing the teen will experience stunted growth.

There are other side effects that anyone regardless of age or gender may experience with the use and abuse of anabolic steroids. These side effects include sterility (sometimes it’s just temporary, but extensive use can make it more permanent), aggressiveness, acne, injury to the connective tissues, damaged liver and negatively altered cholesterol levels. Additionally, teens that use steroid injections increase the risk of transmitting or contracting diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.

There are also gender specific side effects.

Males can experience increased breast tissue (called gynocomastia) that may be permanent and premature baldness. Females can experience the appearance of masculine characteristics (called virilization) including a deepened voice, increased body hair and male pattern baldness.

Additionally, it is possible with some observation to tell is someone might be using anabolic steroids. Often times, people who start using steroids will experience one or more of the following: rapid weight gain, a change in attitude (to the negative), a yellowing of the skin, swelling in the feet and legs, shakes and tremors, body odor and acne breakouts.

While adults who choose to use steroids might be able to find ways to counteract some of the negative side effects, the big one is that they are fully grown and won’t experience stunted growth as a result. Teenagers who choose to use steroids are setting themselves up for a slew of health problems throughout their lives and should look for viable, healthy alternatives to using steroids.

Sources:

  1. “Performance Enhancing Drugs and your Teen Athlete.” Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com.
  2. “Performance Enhancing Drugs: Dangerous, Damaging and Potentially Deadly.” CNN. http://www.cnn.com.