Example of a Cause and Effect essay on Health about:
steroids / hormone / sport / health / muscle
Title: Steroids and their effects
Anabolic steroids are powerful compounds that bear direct relation to the male sex hormone known as testosterone. Within the legal framework, steroids are applied to treat some kinds of anaemia. However, athletes, long-distance runners, body builders, cyclists etc widely use steroids to gain a competitive advantage over their rivals and such use of steroids is deemed illegal. On market, steroids are available in liquid form or tablets. Anabolic steroids are injected or taken orally by athletes in the course of few weeks or even months prior to competitions. While absorbed in combination, the effectiveness of steroids is maximized, whereas adverse affects are reduced. This process is referred to as stacking.
The use of anabolic-androgenic steroids adversely affects the adolescent physical transformation providing them with a greater sense of self-achievement. Regrettably, many adolescents know no limit regarding the steroid use. For instance, the metamorphoses of human muscle affected by the steroids also impact other aspects of the body, and therefore steroids are detrimental to the adolescent psychological condition, including such psychiatric consequences as depression, addiction, rage, self and public psychosis etc.
Most steroids cause extraordinary harsh side effects and permanent damage to the human body, while steroid abuse results in lifetime problems. However, side effects of anabolic steroids are yet to be investigated from purely medical side. There is few data, for example, regarding the hazardous effects of steroids on human health condition. For instance, it is questionable to what extent steroids masculinise females, stunt the height of growing adolescents, or change sex characteristics of males. Furthermore, anabolic steroids cause kidney failure, premature heart attacks, liver tumours, strokes, and serious psychiatric problems. Finally, considering that the drugs are often injected, users often risk to contract or transmit hepatitis B or HIV (Roberts, 2009).
In addition to the abovementioned effects, anabolic steroids cause increases lean muscle mass, strength, and overall physical capacity to train harder and longer. At that, most reports state that health hazards caused by short-term steroid effects are reversible. Anabolic steroids adversely affect jaundice, liver tumours, high blood pressure, and fluid retention. Regarding males, steroids shrink the testicles, cause infertility, development of breasts, and baldness, as well as reduce sperm count. Regarding females, steroids cause the growth of facial hair, deepened voice, and changes in or cessation of the menstrual cycle. Regarding the adolescents, they halt their growth through accelerated puberty changes and premature skeletal maturation. Eventually, there are many steroid takers that suffer from extreme irritability, paranoid jealousy, impaired judgment resulting from invincibility, and delusions. Nonetheless, there is little evidence so far on the long-term effects of steroids (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2009).
Apparently, steroids and related supplements present a serious challenge on the contemporary agenda. Mostly, steroids remain illegal save as medical treatment, and therefore the majority of instances of their usage are easy to spot. In comparison, the use of supplements presents a greater danger especially regarding the adolescents due to their vast accessibility on market and little knowledge about their hazardous ingredients. To this end, it is evident that the use of steroids is both dangerous and impractical. In particular unsupervised steroid use presents a great problem, including specific physiological dangers. Therefore, the unsupervised steroid use should be substituted by relevant alternative to such practice that would captivate young minds and motivate their athletic endurance through more constructive approaches.
National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2009, “Steroids”, http://www.nida.nih.gov/
Roberts, A. 2009, “Side Effects of Steroids”, http://www.steroid.com/side.php
Androgenic anabolic steroids were first created in the late 1930’s by the Germans, and were tested on dogs and later on soldiers. The Germans used them to keep prisoners alive who were dying due to malnutrition and to make their soldiers more aggressive during battle. After the war, doctors in Europe and the U.S. used steroids to treat anemia, malnutrition, and to help patients recover faster from surgery. Two decades later, Dr. Zeigler found that testosterone was the key ingredient in these steroids and soon they were out on the market and readily available. In the well-documented case of the 1976 Olympics, the East German women’s swim team set records and swept the competition. It was later discovered that the team’s doctor and the head of the East German sports federation had given them anabolic steroids which lead to their many unfair victories. Steroids are commonly used in medical practice, curing such things as allergic reaction and arthritis, but also more serous illnesses like some types of cancer. Steroids are also obvious quick fixes for hormone deficiencies or abnormal production, and to imitate stimulation of muscle building androgens (Dempsey 443). They are most often used to replace testosterone in ill-functioning or non-existent testes. The controversial uses today are commonly seen when teens as well as adults (both men and women) use steroids, which are now illegal in the United States, to “bulk up” and/or to achieve better performance in whatever sport they may play. They assist in healing muscles faster, reducing the amount of down time the athlete will need and increasing the amount of time that can be spent at the gym.
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Weight lifters, body builders, and athletes who feel that they need an extra edge to compete above and beyond their competitors commonly use anabolic steroids. They want to be bigger, stronger, work out longer/more often and enhance their athletic performance (Yesalis/Cowart, 40). Approximately ј million prescriptions were written in 2001, and surely many more than that were doses which were handed out illegally (August, 13). High school males are the prime abusers of this drug with around 12 percent admitting to have used them by the time they were seniors (Belliner 48).
Females cannot be written out of the equation though they only make up a minute part of it. One percent of high school seniors say the have taken steroids in the past year; this amounts to about 175,000 student athletes. Professional athletes, especially baseball and football players, are well-known steroid users. Steve Courson, a now avid speaker against the use of anabolics, once took a great part in the steroid: “Courson was a man of legendary strength; he dominated the NFL Strongest Man competitions from 1980 to 1982 and once bench pressed 605 pounds. He believes steroids gave him an edge in developing strength and power.” (Yesalis 15) Angel Meyers was a swimmer in the 1976 Olympic Games and is the only person from the U.S. to test positive while competing. She broke world records that year and after she was found guilty, those records were revoked and she spent one year and four months suspended from any Olympic participation. Androgenic anabolic steroids have been illegal in the United States for almost 25 years. They are however, legal in many European countries as well as Mexico. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency recently reported that individuals from Russia, Romania, and Greece frequently smuggle steroids into the U.S. from their countries. Consequences for possession of this drug vary from 4 years of jail time, probation and a $1000 fine, depending on the state in which the offense took place.
Many athletes, especially younger ones, overlook the fact that steroids have enormous negative effects, some which can be life threatening. Some short term effects can be reversed such as shrunken testicles in men, severe acne, trembling, breast development in men and facial hair growth in women. Long-term effects which are irreversible include jaundice, liver tumors, strokes, and heart failure. Most commonly found in steroid abusers are liver and heart diseases which are potentially life-threatening. Though no hard evidence exists that steroids cause stroke and/or heart attacks, there is wide suspicion by doctors worldwide. Liver diseases such as jaundice and tumors are also very common. Women who take anabolics slightly heighten their risk of developing breast cancer, loss of hair on their head, and enlargement of the clitoris. These symptoms are usually irreversible. Women also experience the same permanent and temporary effects as men. Anabolics also cause psychological effects due to steroid receptors in the brain that control mood and judgment if the steroids are administered in large regular doses. These side effects include aggression, over competitiveness, and even violence. Dependence on this drug from frequent and high dosage causes depression, insomnia, loss of appetite, as well as decreased sex drive and other symptoms.
Although the dangers of prolonged or even short-term use of anabolic steroids are greatly publicized and evident, athletes continue using them. They do this because they believe that the results are better than the side effects. It gives them an extra push, more endurance, and allows them to spend more time improving on their performance due to the athletes, they simply like the increased muscle mass and decreased body fat that they experience in a shorter amount of time. An ironic aspect of this is that many steroid users refuse to take any illegal drugs fearing failing health or that they will jeopardize their athletic performance. Other reasons for steroid use have been for individuals’ protection. There have been reports of physical or sexual abuse in their childhood years, and some use steroids to “make sure” that that will never happen to them again. Many women weightlifters who have been reaped say that being bigger will either intimidate men or make them unattractive.
In the United States, there is not much going on to sop the use of steroids by athletes or any others. On March 1, 1991, the United States Congress issued the Federal Anabolic Control Act, which made all anabolic steroids a Schedule III controlled substance. The use of this substance is considered as drug use because the amounts taken for muscle growth or athletic performance far exceed that taken for medical purposes. However, there is not much emphasis put on the distribution and/or abuse of these drugs. More is put on marijuana and such substances which have fewer side effects and less serious risks. One thing commonly thought to prevent use of steroids is the obviously surprise drug tests on athletes. This method is practically ineffective according to Dr. Yesalis: “Drug tests catch only stupid, careless and foolish people.” (Kindred 1) Serious athletes can test negative on these test by knowing a few simple tricks such as, taking the pills with a masking agent, flushing out his system within a couple of days of taking the pills, using human growth hormone, or insulin-like growth factor I which don’t have test for, or taking undetectable potions by a famous designer (Kindred 2). Other steps have been taken to educate people by a program called Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids. The program consists of a group of educational sitting that include information about steroids as well as nutrition and weight training. ATLAS uses an approach of education rather than saying how bad they are. This is more appealing to many people and is proven to work in most cases to lessen interest in the use of anabolics. A team-centered approach to ATLAS has shown to reduce new steroid abuse by 50 percent (NIDA 2). Although these are great resources and educational tools, they provide only bases to the fight to prevent the spread of usage of steroids.
More needs to be done if prevention is truly an issue to the people of this country. Though it is burdened with such serous side effects and widespread use, it seems almost unheard of to for someone to be arrested for taking steroids. It is quite overlooked by law enforcement and this is causing many unnecessary deaths relating to the consumption of these brutal products.
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