The Dark and Dangerous Side of Steroids

January 5, 2013
When most teenagers hear a phrase akin to “steroids for enhancing athletic performance,” usually what comes to mind are the slew of slang terms associated with steroids, the names of fellow student athletes who have allegedly used steroids, and the fact that steroids have for some reason been branded as detrimental. But in terms of the latter, most teenagers never know exactly why.

In truth, prolonged use of steroids for enhancing athletic performance comes with a host of health problems, particularly in the physical realm. One form this can take on is premature ossification, or hardening, of the bones, and considering teenagers’ bodies are still developing, the stunted growth that can result could be dangerously irreversible. Another physical issue that could ensue from taking steroids is the weakening of one’s tendons (tissue attaching muscles to bones), a process that can lead to excruciatingly painful ruptures. Thus, although teenagers may believe that taking steroids is “cool” at the moment, the possible physical problems in terms of stunted growth and tendon ruptures is quite undesirable indeed.

In addition, steroids can cause immense damage to teenagers’ cardiovascular systems. The chemicals in steroids have been known to enlarge the left ventricle of one’s heart, an abnormality that could ultimately hamper proper pumping of blood to one’s vital organs and hence cue the onset of heart failure. Furthermore, steroids can cause a surge in collagen buildup on the walls of arteries, leading to a decrease in the efficiency of blood flow to heart muscle tissue and thus setting the stage for heart attack(s). Therefore, steroids, holding the potential to cause heart failure and heart attacks, can pose incalculable amounts of danger to teenagers’ cardiovascular systems, a startling contrast to the mild light steroids are often viewed in.

Lastly, since steroids tamper with teenagers’ hormone balance, the subsequently increased testosterone levels can help contribute to dangerous mood swings. Often termed “roid rage” by experts, the behavior of steroid users and abusers can turn to one of varying degrees of fury or irritability, sometimes even putting the individual him/herself in danger. On the alternative, individuals succumbing to steroids could experience bouts of depression, with a few reports of suicide being attributed to prolonged steroid use. Clearly, steroids can crack open the door to a wide range of mental health issues in teenagers, such as rage or depression, that could no doubt negatively impact the course of life ahead.

Suffice to say, it is important today to imbue teenagers with the fact that using steroids to enhance athletic performance is, simply put, dangerous. Such steroids can cause physical concerns in the forms of stunted growth and tendon ruptures, cardiovascular problems in terms of heart failure and heart attacks, and psychological issues in relation to rage or depression. If society places more emphasis on fully elucidating these deadly workings of steroids, teenagers may be more inclined to see the virtue of conducting healthy, happy lives.

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