By Caleb Burch
The use of anabolic steroids has been very popular among avid gym goers since the early 1930’s. We’ve all see the effects of them on those huge, balloon men in the gym. Did you ever stop to ask yourself though: Why would somebody take steroids? What are the side effects of taking steroids? What are the long term effects on the body? Well you’re about to get all of your questions answered.
First question that generally comes to mind is: Why would somebody take steroids? According to the CDC, in 2001 5% of all high school students admitted to having tried steroids at least once. The most common reason for people to take steroids is to improve their athletic ability. Athletes are generally put under a lot of pressure to be the fastest and strongest that they can be. A lot of the time this can lead them to turning to steroids to improve their strength and speed. However, they don’t realize the psychological effects that they can have on them that will decrease their performance. Steroids are known to cause anxiousness, depression, paranoia, and severe mood swings. Another very common reason for people to take steroids is to improve their appearance. Muscles are in for both men and women. Everywhere you look you see ads filled with buff men and muscular women. These ads have a very strong influence over most people and make them feel as if they need to look that way. So again, they turn to steroids. What they don’t realize is the negative effects it can have on your appearance. Steroid use is known to cause acne, purple or red spots all over the body, swollen legs and feet, chronic bad breath, and oily hair. However, it’s up to each person to decide whether the cons out way the pros.
Before taking any type of performance enhancer or prescription drug, you should always know the side effects. Many of the side effects that come along with steroid use are potentially fatal. According to Medicenet.com, “Some of the effects are reversible and decrease when the drug abuse stops while others are permanent and irreversible.” The side effects for men include, but are not limited to decreased sperm count, shrunken testicles, premature balding and even Gynecomastia (breast development). Medinenet.com also informs us “Life-threatening side effects include heart attack and stroke, the risk of forming blood clots (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus), liver cancer, and liver failure. The health risk goes even further than that. Steroid users are often known to share needles, which can cause a person to pick up HIV or Hepatitis. If you ask me, a healthy diet of balanced carbs and proteins sounds much safer.
Last question: Which of the side effects mentioned above can be long term? Obviously if you were to come by one of the more life threatening side effects such as a stroke, this could cause permanent brain damage, a consequence that will be with you for the rest of your life. Liver cancer, blood clots, and heart attacks, are nothing to joke about either. Commonly the side effects that affect your physical appearance such as acne, Gynecomastia, or decreased sperm count, are easily reversible. Obviously if you happen to pick up HIV or Hepatitis from sharing needles, that is with you for the rest of your drastically shortened life.
Now you have the facts. You know why people might try steroids, the side effects of them, and which of those side effects is long term. Now that you have the knowledge, it is up to you to decide whether the pros outweigh the cons.