PEDs, or performance enhancing drugs, have been featured extensively in the news as of late. This is partly due to the rise of MMA, or mixed martial arts, where a number of fighters have been cited by the USADA for testing positive for these substances. However, PEDs are not restricted to MMA, and have appeared in other sports, including college level competitions.
Obsessed Athletes Are At Greatest Risk Of Abusing PEDs
The most competitive and obsessed athletes are the individuals who are most likely to abuse these substances. They have a passion for sports which blends into their lives, and it reaches a point where they are unable to disconnect from it and will even display feelings of guilt when they are unable to participate. This is true regardless of gender, race or socioeconomic background.
Such athletes tend to have a lenient attitude towards the usage of PEDS, because they are not only obsessed with competing, but are obsessed with winning. Such individuals see the sports in which they perform as being an extension of themselves, and while this may sound positive, some believe it is the root of the problem.
The Short And Long Term Effects Of Using PEDs
PEDs can dramatically alter the manner in which the human body functions. It does so in a way where the physical performance of the athlete is enhanced. Athletes who are under the influence of performance enhancing drugs will typically have much higher endurance, strength and stamina. In highly competitive sports where glory and millions of dollars are often at stake, the temptation to use these substances for some athletes can almost be irresistible.
However, as with all controlled substances, long term use of PEDs can be highly dangerous. Abuse of PEDs can damage the liver, stunt growth, cause baldness or acne. Psychological effects may include heightened aggression, roid rage and abnormal sexual behavior. Athletes that attempt to quit PEDs will face withdrawal which can lead to depression and possibly suicide.
Long term abuse of PEDS among male athletes may lead to shrinking testicles, lower sperm production and development of breast tissue. Female athletes that abuse PEDs extensively may develop unusual menstrual cycles, hair growth on the stomach, face or upper back, an enlarged clitoris, deeper voice and reduced breast development. The effects of using PEDs will vary from one individual to another and in some cases may be permanent.
Additional Dangers Involved With Using PEDs
PEDs differ from illegal street drugs in that they have legitimate uses. In fact, outside of sports many of these drugs are legal when used in a clinical setting. However, abusing them can lead to a number of debilitating physiological and psychological problems. Some of these problems include anemia, pulmonary embolism, hypertension, stroke and problems with the thyroid. Use of substances such a human growth hormone can lead to diabetes, arthritis, agonizing headaches and vision loss. The short term glory that may be gained from PEDs won’t benefit athletes in the long term, especially if they are caught. A truly great athlete can achieve victory without using them.