Steroids are known as synthetic versions of the naturally occurring male sex hormone testosterone. Although some people think that there are only positive effects from the use of steroids, there are far more negative effects than there are positive ones. Steroids may make you look bigger and feel stronger, but eventually they will become very detrimental to your body. There are physical and mental side effects to the use of steroids, and the continued use of steroids will be fatal.
To the science world they are known as altered testosterone molecules. Juice or roids, as called on the street, are made by adding an alkyl group or an ester to testosterone. Basically the 17-carbon atom of testosterone is altered to make the tissue building characteristic dominant and to minimize the virilizing characteristics (Wright, Cowart). The testosterone atom can be manipulated in many ways, and that is the reason there are many different types of steroids on the market. Why wouldn’t the virilizing characteristic just be eliminated from the whole process? The answer to this is “The anabolic and androgenic activities are distinguished primarily for classification purposes and not because of properties inherent in the steroids themselves.” (Wright, Cowart, p. 26)
Anabolic steroids are taken by ingestion of pills or or by a liquid being intravenously injected. Some users like to ingest the pills because there is no visual traces, but they are not as effective as the liquid steroids. The liquid steroids enter the bloodstream faster and there is more likely of a chance for the steroid molecules to link with the muscle fibers. However, there is the possibility of the user not being able to inject them self, or the risk of someone noticing the injection marks.
The main reasons that users of steroids abuse the drug is because they want to become better athletes or become bigger humans. To the potential user the main reason is to increase muscle mass. When somebody lifts weights, the whole purpose is to tear the muscle fibers in the body. These muscle fibers then repair themselves over the course of a day or two. This makes the muscle fibers bigger and stronger because when it repairs itself, it increases in strength and size. Steroids enhances this process by expediting the repair of the muscle fibers. Not only do the muscles grow back bigger and more defined, but stronger.
In sports, the use of steroids is prevalent among athletes that have reached a plateau in their physical development. Thinking that steroids will make them a more able bodied athlete, they begin taking cycles of juice. A major misconception of steroids is that they increase aerobic capacity. In actuality they don’t increase the aerobic capacity of the muscles, but only make the muscles grow back bigger and stronger. Roids can however increase the volume of the blood, its oxygen carrying capacity, and even the heart size of the user. (Wright, Cowart)
The use of steroids among athletes has greatly increased in the past few years. Professional and high school level athletes alike have been searching for an enhancement in their skill and strength ability. The majority of users claim that they take steroids for appearance. Users could include a skinny high school kid who wants a girlfriend or weight lifter looking to increase his physical ability.
Steroids also has many negative effects, both mentally and physically. Physically, there are both long term effects and short term effects. The long term effects include jaundice, cancer, and death. Short term effects include hypertension and severe acne. The mental effects are aggressiveness, depression, mood swings and psychosis.
The liver is the body organ most effected by steroid use because it is the primary means of clearing these drugs from the body. The toxic chemicals in the steroids, mainly the alkyl group, cause liver malfunctions and, after extended use, can cause liver cancer. (Goldman, Klatz)
Another negative side effect of the drug is sterility. The testicles in males shrink in size after steroid use. Production of sperm is decreased along with the size of the testicles. When alien sex hormones are taken, the brain informs the body to cut down the production of sperm to keep everything in balance. Severe acne and increased facial and body hair are also physical side effects of steroid use. (Stevens)
In adolescents, among all other negative effects, the most noticeable is stunted growth. When the anabolic steroids are ingested, the growth plates on the ends of the bones of the adolescent close prematurely. This means that the adult height of the adolescent will be shorter than it would have been. In women, the side effects are lower voices, shrinking of the breasts, and facial and body hair growth. (Wright, Cowart)
The most dangerous side effect of steroids is definitely increased aggressiveness. This side effect can be detrimental to the user and to surrounding people. Many medical studies and newspaper articles have shown that calm people who take steroids will snap in a fit of rage and commit offenses and not even be aware of it. This fit of rage is also known as roid rage’. Users become so emotionally unstable that it takes the most minute incident to provoke a physical confrontation.
When users are abusing steroids they have an invincible feeling. They feel a constant source of power and energy and nothing could ever defeat them. If a user decides its time to stop, they most likely will go through a period of severe depression. The depression is brought on by insecure feelings and degrading thoughts of weakness. This is when the user will eventually decide to start up again. Serious mood swings also occur when steroids are in the equation. The surge of testosterone causes a chemical imbalance in the brain and the user can go from happy to sad or angry in seconds.
The majority of hard working people would never think of cheating their body by taking steroids. But, there are those few adolescents or athletes that insist that steroid use is the only way to increase muscle mass or athletic ability. Those two single positive effects of steroids are far outweighed by the many negative effects. Beside hair loss, jaundice, severe acne, and increased facial and body hair, there are many other fatal aspects of this drug. Also, not only are is the user physically harming their body, they are mentally morphing into a monster.
Eventually, tendons, ligaments, organs and muscles begin to deteriorate and become useless. After years of studies, tests, and research, it has never been shown that one single person has ever taken repeated amounts of steroids and not been affected. All users are affected, just not all the same. The user might have some glory years in the beginning, but after that its all down hill. Repeated stories of football players and weight lifters have been told in magazines and newspaper articles. All of the stories and warnings will not stop a first time user from beginning to abuse steroids. They can only hope to be educated enough to make the right decisions for themselves.