Why have steroids become a problem for the teenage athlete? For one, those who offer them are speaking the proper language. Steroids have many slang names: roids, juice and gym candy are a few. But, they are anything but candy.
The body manufactures its own steroids to control certain bodily functions. There is no need for any additional ones to be introduced, even when you are getting your body into optimal shape. It goes back to that old theory about too much of a good thing. It seems to be true with steroid use.
The most popular type of steroid is anabolic steroids. These are similar to androgens in the male human body. The most abundant androgen is testosterone. Both males and females have it, although males have it in greater abundance. It is responsible for primary and secondary male sex characteristics like increased upper body strength, body hair and deepening of the voice.
Steroid supplements are composed of a weaker form of the androgen testosterone. It can be ingested as pills or even injected. Even in their weaker state, they increase the levels of steroids in the body and also bring about side effects.
One side effect that teen athletes may like is that they get bigger muscles. Yes, testosterone increases strength, endurance and muscle size. This allows athletes to work out longer. Exercise itself is an addiction due to the increased level of endorphins produced as a result.
But, they have been banned for a reason. While they increase strength, there is no evidence that they increase skill. If you are strong but lack the prowess to outsmart your opponent, then the athlete has gained nothing. That only comes with practice, as do other skills.
Steroid use can lead to unpleasant side effects. The most notable is “roid rage” or increased aggression. This can result in mood swings, paranoia, delusions, aching joints and injuries. Suicide is not an unlikely side effect of prolonged steroid use.