Legal, medical and social issues associated with the use of anabolic steroids in bodybuilding

There are many legal, medical and social issues associated with the use of anabolic steroids in bodybuilding. In the United States, anabolic steroids are classified under controlled substances act; there are stringent rules governing the distribution and trade in anabolic steroids (Yesalis 53). The use of anabolic steroids is associated with many effects ranging from minor such as virilizing effects, scalp hair loss and elevated cholesterol levels to severe ones such as heart diseases, liver toxicity, liver tumors, high blood pressure and infertility (Yesalis 185). These effects are dose dependent, and some are reversible with cessation of anabolic steroid use. Psychological effects of anabolic steroids in bodybuilding include increased aggression and violence (roid rage), mania, increased suicide rates, psychosis and mood disturbances such as depression and mood swings (Monaghan, 156-160). These effects greatly affect social aspects of the steroid users and have increased incidences of these antisocial behaviors. In competitive sports, many governing bodies have banned the use of anabolic steroids to enhance performance. Many careers of bodybuilders have been shattered after metabolites of illegal steroids have been found in their urine or blood samples after laboratory analysis.

Bodybuilders are concerned first and foremost with appearance, but they also presume, quite correctly, that their workout routines will result in very high levels of muscular fitness. However, not all body builders want to put in effort and time required to become an elite-class bodybuilder or to achieve that desired nice physique, thus; they result to anabolic steroids. Analysis of the psychological, behavioral and physical effects of their use shows that bodybuilding through the use of anabolic steroids is not worth all the risk; in as much as they build the muscles real fast, the negative impacts clearly outweigh the benefits.  Natural bodybuilding, though is time consuming is the best way to tone up the body and to attain the desired physique. Besides the grave medical complications associated with steroid use in bodybuilding, bodybuilders who use steroids are have noticeable exaggerated body physique easily noticeable by all. People tend to have negative, demeaning views of them such as steroid freaks.

Most of the anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders are obtained from the black market due to the restrictive control measures applied to non-medical use these drugs (Yesalis 4). Similarly, the users who use them do not consult a qualified physician for advice on the use and the required dosage. This exposes the bodybuilders to risks of overdose or use of the wrong steroid all together; the content and the possibility of impurities in anabolic steroids obtained from the black market cannot be ruled out (Yesalis 268). This coupled to existent of undiagnosed underlying conditions such as hypertension can result in grave complications and sometimes even death. The withdrawal from using anabolic steroids also has been reported to have adverse effects such as dependence and higher risks of abuse of other drugs. This further supports the need not to use them in the first place.

The use of anabolic steroids is widespread among bodybuilders, as well as among many athletes in strength-power events. Aspiring bodybuilders must make a decision whether or not to use these commonly abused drugs. Unfortunately, most bodybuilders believe a person cannot be successful without their use. These should seek advice from qualified medical practitioners for expert advice on these drugs instead of self prescription.

Works Cited

Monaghan, Lee. Bodybuilding; Drugs and Risk. London: Routledge, 2001. Print.

Yesalis, Charles. Anabolic Steroids in Sports and Exercise. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. 2000. Print.

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