In our days, most people have set the goal and dream to have the perfect body. They believe by having this image, they will be popular and/or attractive. People want to achieve the body that they desire, like a super star, a hero in a Hollywood movie, a strong soldier, and an Olympic athlete. However, what are the extent people will go to get the perfect body? The biggest problem for those who dream to have a beautiful body today, as many people know, is the consumption of steroids. It is amazing what people and athletes will do to enhance their performance, strength and muscle size by taking steroids. Whether right or wrong people who use steroids to become the fastest and strongest will prevail, so who would turn down a substance that could turn them into a super athlete and a muscle man? The purpose of this essay is to inform the reader on the popular anabolic steroids that most people use and the positive and negative side effects of steroid use on its users and finally my personal point of view.
To begin with, there are two main types of steroids: adrenal steroids and sex steroids. Because of the great therapeutic value of adrenal steroids, many synthetic steroids have been made; some more potent than the natural hormones. Synthetic steroids are anti-inflammatory drugs, oral contraceptives. A synthetic adrenal steroid is used to treat adrenal insufficiency. Anabolic steroids are also synthetic and they mimic the male hormone testosterone. Anabolic steroids are most often abused by athletes and can have serious side effects when taken improperly (Silverstein, p.14). The term “anabolic ” means “to build tissue”; therefore, anabolic steroids tend to increase constructive metabolic pathways within the body. Also, anabolic steroids are synthetic derivatives of the natural male sex hormone, testosterone. These steroids are made to emphasize and promote muscle growth but without the masculinizing the user as much as testosterone does (Silverstein, p.18). Anabolic steroids were first used to help World War II victims put on weight at the end of the war. Anabolic steroids were intended for the sick people, but instead of this, healthy people often abuse these steroids because they want to gain muscle (Morris, p.230).
There are three major benefits from steroid use and they are: first, athletes will attain a greater increase in lean muscle mass and strength when it is used with a combination of hard training and the drug; second, the athlete’s body suffers less breakdown as this decrease in muscle breakdown and recovery time permits more frequent training sessions at higher intensity and for longer periods of time (Lukas, p.7); and third but not least benefit, the increased aggressiveness they are believed to simulate as this increased aggressiveness may drive athletes to train harder and longer without the usual fatigue (Rogak, p.11). Other positive effects of using steroids are increases in: storage of muscle glycogen; blood volume; a general boasting of the immune system; and the reduction of body fat percentage. The effects are maintained as long as the athlete continues the steroid use (Silverstein, p.17).
Unfortunately, anabolic steroids have many side effects. Some short-term side effects include high blood pressure, acne, nosebleeds, hair loss, and water retention. Other serious side effects are insomnia, increased appetite, and sterility. Users that inject steroids are at a higher risk of getting AIDS or hepatitis if using needles that are not sterilized properly (Rogak, p.22). Anabolic steroids have certain and different effects on males and females. Males can suffer from temporary impotence, develop large breast, and their sperm count will go down. Female users can get facial hair, experience deepening of the voice, may develop male pattern baldness, and suffer menstrual irregularities. Also in women, some side effects are permanent. Steroids can also effect adolescents by stunting their growth and cause the same side effects listed above (Morris, 1984, p.230).
Here are some examples of potentially harmful side effects of this drug. A man who use the drug and that learns the performance advantages he gains from steroids will, in a short time, become addicted, and will soon be craving more. For him to simply drop his addiction, and to go back to use to the edge he has obtained to being second best, is not even an option anymore. These addictions, as with most addictions, will cause the user to lose interest in friends and family, concentrating only on enhancements to his physique and athletic performance (Hemme, p.58). Even worse, the drug can cause the well known “roid rages”(Voy, p. 223). This involves the spontaneous acts of violence and abuse towards anyone a user comes in contact with. This is usually a worse scenario with non-athletic steroid abusers because athletes such as hockey players can release a good share of their rage on the playing field. Some severe addictions can include symptoms such as increased libido, sexual perversion, and psychotic episodes (Voy, p. 223). The massive doses, medical experts say, not only affect the muscles, but also sex organs and nervous system including the brain (Schrof, p. 235).
Furthermore, it is not uncommon to find many of the women athletes harming their bodies with the use of steroids. This is a scary situation because, as we know, steroids are a form of the male hormone testosterone and are not suited for a woman (Rogak, p.10). Women do have a similar, but different hormone called estrogen released naturally in their bodies. The massive doses of steroids that women will take when they are “cycling” on steroids will have many dangerous side effects (Hemme, p. 158). The long-term effects of steroid abuse among women are also unsure. But, the short-term effects involve, deepened voice, loss of scalp hair, growth of facial hair as well as chest and back hair, and genital problems can also result. It is unreal that a woman will continue using steroids after noticing some of the immediate effects steroids have on her, but some women are still taking that drug.
Steroids can also damage a young user. Steroids can damage the liver and the kidneys. High doses of steroids can cause cysts and tumors to develop on these two organs. Another problem is that blood-filled sacs can develop on the liver and if one bursts open, severe internal bleeding can be caused (Silverstein, p.42). The young user can be easily addicted to this drug too. Once a young user achieves the chiseled physique he always dreamed of, there is no turning back. It would only be his worst nightmare to give up steroids and relapse to the scrawny little body he had before his steroid use.
I believe the use of steroid is against the law of nature; we should stay happy for what we are. However, today?s society, which values those Hollywood stars such as Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger for their body built, influences a great deal the general population, especially the youngsters. We should not be affected by those images imposed on us and to try to imitate it. People should be themselves all the time. I do not think that we all have to be like Rambo or Superman because I do believe that the question of beauty is not just having big muscle. We can have a good healthy body without eating the steroid and by doing physical workout. In my view, it is artificial to eat a drug to become a strong man; it is like having a fake body. Besides, there are a lot of negative impacts on our health.
In conclusion, steroids are very helpful if used properly for medical reasons. When taken properly they can help cure diseases and quicken recovery time from an injury. They can also slow the effects of some incurable diseases, giving patients more time to wait for a cure (Silverstein, p.16). The downfall is that some people abuse steroids; this can only hurts them and the others around them. I do not believe that taking this drug is a great way to improve one?s image in front of his peers and his health. This steroid abuse is a wrong way of using steroids.
LUKAS, S.E. Steroids. Enslow Publishers, Inc. Hillside, New Jersey. 1994.
MORRIS, A.F. Sports Medicine. Wm. C. Brown Publishers. Dubuque, Iowa.1984.
ROGAK, L.A. Steroids: Dangerous Game. Lerner Publications Company. Minneapolis.1992
SILVERSTEIN, R. Enslow Publishers, Inc. Hillside, New Jersey.1992