Teen Athletes: Steroids and Supplements Can Be Dangerous

Perhaps it goes without saying that you want to use any drug foreign to your body in moderation. When you drink alcohol, have coffee in the morning, or use steroids to increase your athletic performance, too much of it is going to eventually be damaging.


Despite this common sense, it’s still incredibly easy to go overboard on a substance that helps us improve our experience of life. Drinking alcohol, for example, can make us feel great, socially adept, and loosen our inhibitions. But, of course, when someone continues to yearn for these experiences and continues to drink again and again, his or her entire life is at risk. Addiction to alcohol can lead to the loss of relationships, employment, and even one’s life if involved in an alcohol-related accident.


The same is true with steroids. This medication is widely used for a variety of medical conditions. For instance, whenever the body’s defense system malfunctions and causes tissue damage, steroids are typically the main method of treatment. Steroids are used inflammatory conditions, such as inflammation of blood vessels, inflammation of muscles. They may also be used selectively to treat inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or gout.


Of course, if you’re an athlete you know that steroids can help you increase your performance, run faster, get stronger, look slimmer, and in general feel more energized. A teen athlete taking steroids is going to likely feel very good and strong. Yet, like the good feelings that come with drinking, these are the ways that steroids can lure an athlete into continued use of the drug, and possibly an addiction.


Steroids are drugs that mimic the male sex hormone testosterone, such as promoting the growth of cells, particularly in the muscles, and enhancing certain masculine characteristics. When abusing the drug, athletes might take doses that are 10 to 100 times greater than medically prescribed doses. However, it’s important to know that it’s a felony to take steroids without a prescription. The effects of abuse of steroids can be severe, which include joint pain, depression, hallucinations, fertility problems, impotence, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and heart and liver abnormalities.  Males might experience their testes shrink and growth in breast tissue, while females might experience irregular menstrual cycles and the growth of facial and body hair. Both genders could experience acne, mood swings, and aggression.


The use of steroids can easily spin out of control and an addiction can develop. In fact, there is a large problem with steroids around the country among high school and college students, as well as professional athletes.


The same is true with the use of supplements among athletes. There are many forms of supplements that athletes use to increase their performance in their sport, and one of these is caffeine. Although we think of caffeine as the drug we take each morning in our coffee, athletes sometimes use this supplement because it helps burn fat, protect carbohydrate stores, and increases levels of energy. Interestingly, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has banned caffeine if too high an amount is found in an athlete’s urine sample.


However, this ruling didn’t save the life of Logan Stiner, a healthy 18-year old wrestler from LaGrange, Ohio. He died in June of 2014 from an overdose of powdered caffeine. He was a senior in high school and a state-qualified wrestler. Stiner consumed a teaspoon of the powder before his death and tests reveal that he had a lethal amount in his system. Examiners believe that the young 18-year old was not aware that he had consumed a toxic amount.


Although the use of supplements and drugs such as steroids can be tempting, it’s best to use them wisely. Of course, steroids can only be taken when prescribed. Because of the danger of drug addiction and death among teen athletes, more and more addiction treatment centers are tending to the unique needs of athletes. They recognize that the pressure to perform can so easily lead an adolescent to reach for drugs as tools to help them succeed. However, if you’re a teen athlete, you can make the decision to succeed without using drugs and supplements in excess.