Steroids In Teen Sports
It is no secret that famous athletes have admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. Similarly, teenagers that abuse steroids, more specifically anabolic steroids, do so in attempt to enhance athletic performance. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explain that “Anabolic steroids are synthetic, or human-made, variations of the male sex hormone testosterone.” When used properly, healthcare providers can prescribe steroids as a means to treat hormonal issues (e.g., delayed puberty) as well as to treat diseases that cause muscle loss (e.g., cancer, AIDS, etc.). According to the U. S. Department of Justice Diversion Control Division “anabolic steroids dispensed for legitimate medical purposes are administered in several ways including intramuscular or subcutaneous injection, by mouth, pellet implantation under the skin and by application to the skin (e.g. gels or patches).” Anabolic steroids are never prescribed to healthy teenagers. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded a study in 2018 that found that about 0.5% of high school senior females reported having used anabolic steroids in the last 12 months, which was nearly one-third the rate of use by their male counterparts.
Signs and Symptoms
It can be challenging to detect teenage steroid use, as some of the signs and symptoms mimic typical adolescent behaviors. However, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) provides examples of signs and symptoms that could be indicative of teen steroid use, some of which include the following:
- Excessive body and facial hair
- Severe acne
- Stunted growth
- Bruising or marks from the injection site (e.g., thighs, buttocks, shoulders, etc.)
- Accelerated puberty
- Shrinking of the testicles
The abuse of anabolic steroids can result in severe short and long-term consequences.
Anabolic steroids are classified as a Schedule III controlled substance, which according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are defined as “drugs, substances, or chemicals with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.” According to the Mayo Clinic, possible side effects can include:
- Liver problems
- Irregular heartbeats
- Blood-clotting problems
- Reduced sperm production
- Shrinking testicles
- Enlarged breasts in males, decreased breast size in women
- Irreversible hair loss
- Elevated cholesterol
- Mood swings
- High blood pressure
The Mayo Clinic further asserts, “In growing adolescents one of the major risks of using anabolic steroid precursors is the permanent stunting of height.” When teenagers misuse steroids they lack proper medical supervision, and have been known to take doses 10 to 100 times higher than the amount prescribed for medical reasons.
For Information and Support
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