Performance enhancing drugs are mostly used to improve athletic abilities and give an unfair advantage over competitors in sports. The International Olympic Committee banned performance enhancing drugs but because of the severe competition to be the best, the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports has become increasingly common.
Taking these drugs has both advantages and consequences. Anabolic steroids increase the testosterone produced by your body making muscles bigger and helps the body recover from work outs more quickly. It can be taken as a pill, injection, or a topical treatment.
Types of Performance Enhancing Drugs Include:
- Anabolic steroids
- Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
Androstenedione allows athletes to train harder and recover quicker from strenuous work outs. Some risks are acne, decrease in sperm production, shrinking of the testicles, and masculinization in women.
Human Growth Hormone, only available by prescription and is administered through injections. Risks include fluid retention, cardiomyopathy which is the weakening of the heart muscle, muscle weakness, and joint pain.
Erythropoietin is taken by athletes to increase the movement of oxygen in muscles. This drug is extremely dangerous and can cause death, strokes, and heart attacks. Diuretics cause a change in the body’s natural water and salt levels. Use of this drug may be to lower weight or clean out the body to help pass drug tests Taking this drug can lead to dehydration, exhaustion, heatstroke, heart arrhythmias, and death.
Creatine is the most popular supplement among the performance enhancing drugs in sports. It is sold over the counter and is used to help the muscles release energy. Side effects of creatine are stomach and muscle cramps, nausea, weight gain, and in high-doses liver and kidney damage.
Stimulants increase heart rate and blood pressure and are taken to improve endurance, reduce fatigue, and increase alertness. The consequences of this drug include stroke, dehydration, convulsions, heart attack, and heart palpitations.
Negative Side Effects Include:
- Drug dependence
- Liver abnormalities
- Heart and circulatory problems
Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports
Using performance enhancing drugs, commonly referred to as doping, has both advantages and consequences. Some believe that the benefits aren’t worth the less appealing outcomes of using these drugs to aid athletes in enhancing their abilities. Young teenage athletes have dabbled in performance enhancing drugs to cope with insecurities, pressure from friends or parents, and negative body image issues. The most commonly used among teens are anabolic steroids, androstenedione, and creatine. The use of these supplements in teenagers, most prominent in males, can be related to the desire to fit in but also may be because of seeing professional athletes use steroids.
Mark McGwire of the Cardinals baseball team used steroids for most of his career and while on steroids, broke many records for homeruns and other achievements. Lyle Alzado, most known for his time on the Los Angeles Raiders football team, was also a serious steroid user. Not only can performance enhancing drugs cause major health problems but they can also ruin the potential for a professional athletic career or stop an athletic career after reaching the big leagues. For more information on drugs and sports please visit, White House Drug Policy.