History of Steroids and their Side Effects

History of Steroids and their Side Effects

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Performance Enhancing Drug Dangers

Steroids are organic substances responsible for the growth of the body and its tissue repair. They primarily belong to two families called the corticosteroids and anabolic steroids. Corticosteroids are released in the adrenal gland and play an important role in regulating the stress response system of the body and decrease its inflammation. Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) are in some form or the other derivatives of testosterone responsible for the development of muscle tissue and bone density in the body. They are artificially synthesized to suit the needs of its users, most of which are Schedule III drugs in order to be employed for medical use in the United States. Today there are more than 100 types of steroids in the market which are produced both legally as well as illegally.

Steroids have always been in the news owing to their illicit use in the sports worlds by athletes, cyclists, power lifters, swimmers etc. trying to gain a competitive edge over others. However, its ban from the sport has never ceased it usage. Apart from sports, these substances have long been employed by bodybuilders seeking development of quality muscle mass and density. In fact most steroids are used by professional as well as amateur bodybuilders to chisel their bodies in the best possible way. This of course has to be combined with a rigorous muscle training schedule. They also find usage among people seeking to alter their bodies in order to look physically better.

History

The history of anabolic steroids dates back to 1930’s when nobody exactly knew what to call these substances. Back then, a team of scientists created an artificial version of testosterone, (which is ideally a male hormone) for treating men who showed its deficiency and did not show proper development, tissue growth and sexual functioning. In the later years, it was found out that these substances could be used even on soldiers of the World War II to build aggression in them and improve their performance. It was after the World War that people belonging to professional sports starting using them for competition purposes. In 1956 Olympics, athletes belonging to Soviet Union were seen to perform exceptionally well. After it was learned that they had administered a form of testosterone to better their performance, Dr. Zeigler, an American physician created a more selective family of these substances we now address as ‘anabolic steroids’. From that point on, use of anabolic steroids became very prevalent not only among Olympic participants but among professional school players and high school athletes as well. In 1975, the International Olympic Committee finally banned the use of these substances in Olympic competitions. However, this did not stop its sale, both legally as well as illegally in the following year. In 1988, the first major Federal regulation of steroids came into being as a part of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act which stiffened the penalties on the possession and sale of these substances. Today the illicit use of steroids is still as prevalent and their use among young men, women and even teenagers is on a rise.


1956 Olympics @ Tenley Albright: Watch the Video on Youtube

Methods of administration

These substances can be administered in the body in many ways. They can be taken orally through pills, rubbed on skin in the form of creams, taken as syrups or through injections.


Side Effects of Anabolic Steroids

There are two major ways in which these steroids can affect the human body. One is in the physical way in which it can lead to certain unwanted developments in the body and secondly it can have many psychological effects as well discussed in detail as under:

Side effects of these substances can be androgenic as well as anabolic depending on the nature of the steroids. The androgenic effects of these substances include development of masculine characteristics such as deepening of the voice, increased facial and body hair and enlargements of sex glands. The anabolic effects include excessive growth of muscle mass, the size of many internal organs and high calcium content in the bones. The side effects these substances have in the human can also be categorized as short term and long term.

However, it should be mentioned that these side effects of any steroid appear only when it is taken in very high quantities for a prolonged period. Every steroid is designed to take some time after it is administered in the body to produce results. Thus it is imperative to not only take it in prescribed quantities but for the right time period as well. This ensures optimum results as well as safety from the incidence of side effects.

Some short term and long term side effects of the steroids in men are as follows:

Physical Effects:

  • Reduction in the sperm count
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Probability of impotence (Cirrhosis support group)
  • Difficulty in urination
  • Toxicity of the liver
  • Development of breasts or Gynecomastia
  • Shrinking of the testicles
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Improved appetite
  • Improved healing
  • Insomnia
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Headaches
  • Injured ligaments, muscles and tendons
  • Clotting disorders

Side effects in women include:

  • Reduction of Breast
  • Excessive growth of body and facial hair
  • Deepened voice
  • Enlarged Clitoris
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Appearance of Acne
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Improved appetite
  • Improved healing
  • Insomnia
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Headaches
  • Injured ligaments, muscles and tendons
  • Clotting disorders
  • Increased incidence of heart attacks
  • Bacterial infections while injecting
  • Reduced sexual functioning
  • Increase in muscle size
  • Fluid retention

Psychological Effects

These effects cannot be seen but certainly affect the person in a prominent way. Excessive intake of steroids can cause people to become more aggressive and violent in their behavior. It is commonly referred to as ‘roid rage’ which is also defined as manic rage. Other effects include extreme irritability, delusions and feelings of invincibility, fatigue, mood swings, restlessness, loss of appetite and depression.  A user should always seek the help of a +drug abuse clinic or specialist.

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