Are Steroids Really A Problem? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/27/04

Are Steroids Really A Problem?

The short answer to this question is 'yes', But this issue deserves more explanation. Unfortunately, use of steroids among teens appears to be growing.

What are steroids or anabolic steroids? Steroids are drugs made from hormones. There are over 100 different types that have differing effects on the body. The type to which we are referring are so-called 'performance enhancing' drugs.

Most commonly, these drugs help he body to retain protein and enhance the growth of muscles, bones and skin. Derivatives of testosterone, the male hormone, promote growth of body hair, deepening of the voice, and other male characteristics.

Do they work? While users, athletes, coaches, and others report significant increases in muscle strength, agility, and endurance, there are no compelling scientific studies to support those claims.

What is 'megadosing?' Megadosing is practice of taking large doses-up to hundreds of milligrams a day. The usual medical dose is 1 to 5 milligrams.

What is meant by 'stacking' and 'cycling?' Users of steroids combine or 'stack' many kinds of hormones and sometimes combine them with stimulants and pain killers. They take these for a period of time or 'cycle' and then stop for a time. They hope to enhance the results of taking these substances and to escape detection.

What are the dangers of taking steroids? The potential dangers to teens are particularly worrisome. Steroids can stop growth prematurely. This effect is not reversible. There is also some evidence that steroids produce mental changes and may produce dependence and a tendency towards addiction.

In adults, steroids cause a long list of problems:

  • shrinking of the testes in men
  • cessation of the menstrual cycle in women
  • acne
  • bad breath
  • liver problems
  • loss of scalp hair and development of facial hair
  • increase in LDL, bad cholesterol, and reduction in HDL, good cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • uncontrollable bouts of anger ("roid rage")

The use performance enhancing drugs is illegal and dangerous, especially in adolescents. We have to take a look at an emphasis on perfection of body and skill in sports among teens and ask ourselves as parents if we are giving them the wrong messages.

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