This two part article series covers the dangers of drugs and addiction for athletes. The first article reviewed the various athletic supplements that can have dangerous health effects for athletes. This article will cover steroids, the more dangerous and more addictive drug for those who are frequently yearning to improve their performance.
Once a steroid addiction has set in, it’s likely it will get in the way of performing well. In this case, an athlete will have to find the appropriate drug addiction treatment center to tend to the addiction in order to return to playing sports and perform effectively again.
Steroids are sometimes described as anabolic, meaning muscle building, or androgenic, meaning increased male sexual characteristics. The full name for this drug is anabolic-androgenic steroids, sometimes abbreviated as AAS.
Steroids are drugs that mimic the male sex hormone testosterone, such as promoting the growth of cells, particularly in the muscles, and enhancing certain masculine characteristics.
At times, steroids are legally prescribed in order to treat conditions such as delayed puberty or when certain diseases lead to lean muscle mass, such as cancer or AIDS. However, athletes, bodybuilders, and others who want to develop their physical appearance can easily abuse the drug.
Drug Addiction for Athletes
Steroids can either be taken orally or injected directly into muscles. Others can be applied to the skin as a cream or gel. When abusing the drug, individuals might take doses that are 10 to 100 times greater than medically prescribed doses. When taking the drug, the effects can be severe, particularly on the hard worked bodies of athletes.
Adverse effects of steroid use include fertility problems, impotence, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and heart and liver abnormalities. Males might experience their testes shrink and growth in breast tissue, while females might experience irregular menstrual cycles and the growth of facial and body hair. Both genders could experience acne, mood swings, and aggression.
Unlike other drugs, which stimulate the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, bringing the euphoria of a high, steroids do not trigger the same release that might drive an addiction. However, in general, steroid use will promote feeling good and have a long-term effect of certain brain pathways thereby influencing the how other drugs affect the brain, causing significant mood and behavior disturbances.
The overall promotion of feeling well can still lead to an addiction, and when the drug is no longer being used, withdrawal symptoms are present. These symptoms can include mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive, and continued cravings.
It is important to note that depression is also one of the dangerous effects of discontinued use of steroids. For this reason, it’s important for athletes and others who might have an addiction to steroids to know that a substance abuse treatment center that also tends to psychological illness, such as depression, is important to look for.
Furthermore, drug treatment from steroid abuse can also lead to suicide attempts, if depression is not recognized and treated.
Because of the dangers of depression and suicide attempts, drug addiction treatment for discontinuing a steroid addiction should be comprehensive and multi-faceted. Treatment might include individual and group therapy, medical care, anger management classes, family counseling, and continued care to ensure a long-term, lasting recovery.
Likely, this would involve that an individual attend a rehabilitation center so that he or she could focus on treatment and recovery.
This article series has explored the various dangers of steroids and supplements for athletes. As mentioned above, if you’re an athlete with an addiction, seek the support of mental health services, particularly a drug addiction treatment center that also tends to psychological illness. In this way, your addiction and overall psychological well being will be cared for.
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