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Why are anabolic steroids abused?

      Anabolic steroids enable athletes in certain sports to build
 up muscle tissue during training more quickly than in training
 without drugs.(1-3)  Many athletes believe they
 can win in competitions only if they use steroids.(4)  

      It has not been proven that steroids alone directly increase
 muscle mass for athletes in training.  Gains may be due to
 psychological effects.(2,5)  In sixteen trials of
 steroids as muscle builders, nine trials concluded that steroids
 were effective while seven concluded that they were not
 effective.(2)  At the same time, anabolic steroids are used
 to build up muscle tissue after certain kinds of surgery and cancer
 in which the patient experiences loss of muscle tissue.(6-8)  

      This topic is covered in detail in the section entitled,
 "Steroids and Body Growth."

      At first, only athletes in certain sports abused steroids to
 enhance their training.  Steroid abuse spread to other sports over
 time.  Now, the only two Olympic sports which have never had an
 incident of steroid detection are women's field hockey and figure
 skating.(7)  This topic is covered in detail under

      Steroid abuse is no longer limited to the world of sports.  In
 recent years a growing segment of steroid abusers are high school
 students not involved in any organized sport.(1,6)  When
 surveyed, these non-athletic steroid abusers say that they take
 steroids to improve their appearance or health.(9)  Steroids
 may help some athletes develop bigger muscles if used with rigorous
 training.(2,3)  However there is no evidence that high
 doses of steroids taken without exercise will do anything for
 muscle mass.  Overweight people who don't exercise run the risk of
 high blood pressure and other heart problems.  However, there is no
 evidence that rigorous athletic training, with or without steroids,
 will lengthen life or reduce disease.(9)  

      There is evidence that excessive amounts of steroid side effects can
 prematurely stop body growth, cause hardening of the arteries and
 heart attacks, produce liver disease, atrophy of the male sexual
 organs, and many other effects.(9-11)  These topics
 are covered in detail under the heading, "Effects of Steroids on
 the Body."


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REFERENCES 1. Kleiner SM. Performance-enhancing aids in sport - health consequences and nutritional alternatives. J Amer Coll Nutr 1991 Apr;10(2):163-76. 2. Smith DA, Perry PJ. The efficacy of ergogenic agents in athletic competition. part 1: androgenic-anabolic steroids. Annals Pharmacother 1992 Apr;26:520-8. 3. Kopera H. The history of anabolic steroids and a review of clinical experience with anabolic steroids. Acta Endocrin 1985;271:11-8. 4. Johnson MD. Steroids. Adolescent Med 1991 Feb;2(1):79-93. 5. Wilson JD. Androgen abuse by athletes. Endocrine Reviews 1988;9(2):181-99. 6. Kashkin KB, Kleber HD. Hooked on hormones - an anabolic steroid addiction hypothesis. J Am Med Assoc 1989 Dec 8;262(22):3166-70. by Trent Tschirgi, R. Ph. (c) 1992 University of Maryland Office of Substance Abuse Studies. All Rights Reserved.
Disclaimer: Steroid use is illegal in a vast number of countries around the world. This is not without reason. Steroids should only be used when prescribed by your doctor and under close supervision. Steroid use is not to be taken lightly and we do not in any way endorse or approve of illegal drug use. The information is provided on the same basis as all the other information on this site, as informational/entertainment value.

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