Anabolic steroids: reported causes and rationales

The use of anabolic steroids (SA) by athletes to artificially increase their physical performance is currently the most common form of doping. Initially, SA self-determination was only concerned with elite athletes involved in strength sports, but later it spread like wildfire to other sports, as well as amateur athletes. SA were banned as substances banned by the International Olympic Committee since 1976, but their abuse continued to spread more and more in the world of sports, especially in bodybuilding gyms, where they are taken for the sole purpose of improving the physical aspect. It is estimated that there are over 1 million SA users in the United States alone, including many teens. The percentage of SA use among high school students will be between 1% and 3% [1].

after the exam Research done on this topic has shown that the reasons reported can be grouped based on the different subjects being tested, divided into:
– Competitive athletes who are found to be using them for increase muscle mass and intensify workouts. In the 1950s and 1960s, the use of androgenic anabolic steroids (AAS) was mostly restricted to top-level athletes.
– Athletes using it report that steroids are essential for competition and that they exercise as much as possible. An analysis of 135 questionnaires filled out by readers of 2 bodybuilding magazines found that 20% of steroid users reported that they had taken steroids to compete in bodybuilding, showing that motivation to be successful in sports was a strong incentive.

– Other subjects, mainly attending the gym, report among the reasons, the desire to increase muscle mass, improve their appearance and level of self-confidence. In fact, in the WRIGHT study, the desire to get bigger and more muscular was the most common reason reported by steroid users (31% of steroid users). In interviews, steroid users reported that one of the main incentives to take steroids was that they felt like they were in a stagnation phase where they couldn’t get even more muscular just through strength training. a group of subjects, mainly adolescents, report the reasons for the use of alloying substances that improve the image or athletic performance. In a 1995 survey of 37 boys who reported doping in a Swedish schoolchildren’s survey, 22 responded that the reasons were more attractive bodies / larger muscles and / or better athletic performance.

Even in a West Virginia study, the most frequently cited reason for using steroids was “to improve your appearance – to look bigger or better” (43%). This answer was given twice as often as the second most frequent answer: “improvement of sports results” (22%). This data, combined with the fact that 36.8% of steroid users do not participate in any sport, suggests that anabolic steroid abuse is widespread among the adolescent population and that gaining an advantage in sports is not the main reason adolescents who use these funds [3]. In another study, the main percentage of users (47.1%) reported that their main reason for using drugs was “to improve athletic performance.” “Appearance” was chosen as the main reason for use by approximately 26.7% of the user group [4].

in a study from Chicago The authors were surprised to find that 15 students (2.4%) who did not exercise reported using anabolic steroids. The questionnaire did not specify the reasons for drug use, so the authors could only assume that the reason was to improve the appearance [5].

John R. Fuller and Mark J. LaFontaine surveyed 50 athletes who confessed to using steroids. With the help of some informants, Fuller and LaFontane have contacted several weightlifters, soccer players, wrestlers and bodybuilders who use stereo. These athletes were between the ages of 15 and 40, with an average of 19 years. No differences were found between athletes from different school occupations, and the sport did not appear to play a major role in the decision to use steroids.

He was asked directly why they use drugs, how they found out, and the values ​​they associate with this form of drug use. Athletes who used steroids viewed drug use as a “victimless crime” – something that shouldn’t worry other people. The respondents believed that a serious athlete should use steroids if he wants to be competitive nationally and internationally. Most of them said that if the athletes they compete with do not use drugs, they will not take steroids themselves. A recurring theme of motivating steroid use is pointing the finger at the Eastern peoples.

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Steroid use has been justified as an act of patriotism and as a price to pay to be competitive:
“We should be allowed to take them, because everyone else in the world accepts them. These guys from East Germany, Bulgaria and Russia are using steroids. Women too. If we don’t take them, we can never win an Olympic medal for America. ”
“ You have no choice if you want to compete. Everyone from other countries is doing it, and we must do it.

Many seem to have seen their bodies simply as a tool or machine that can be manipulated to achieve results. Athletes did not view steroid use as harmful to their health, using various reasons to ignore the potential risks: “Every drug has side effects. Steroids have fewer side effects than other medicines. »
» You can abuse everything. Also aspirin. I don’t think there is any validated test that says steroids are actually harmful. You’ve heard about it, but I don’t know anything definite. Many of us use them, but none of us have any health problems. Some may have health problems because they do it all of a sudden, and not like the Russians who do it as a science. ”
“ I use small doses. I only know three people who have had problems. One guy almost died. He was really good and had the opportunity to go to the Los Angeles Olympics, but he took too much. If I have a problem, I will stop. ”“ I know many bodybuilders who take huge numbers and have never had a problem. Only one guy got confused because his cycle went wrong. ”

“It’s like medicine. It helps you grow. Also, I only take twice a day, so I don’t think it’s enough for me to hurt. »

Another way for athletes who have used steroids to divert attention from their deviant behavior is to condemn accusers:

“The people doing this research are not athletes and don’t really know what’s going on. These studies are invalid because they only last a couple of weeks and were conducted on rats. American research isn’t hard. »

“People don’t know what it means to be an athlete. The rules should not be followed by people who do not know what they are talking about. »

For many athletes, steroid use was the only sports-related behavioral trait they proposed. victim:

“I think you should take care of your body. I never took care of myself, now I do. I have a lot of fun and enjoyment from weightlifting. It gives me the opportunity to realize myself, and I do my best to make my body stronger. I don’t use drugs, drink or smoke, and if my coach says steroids will make me stronger, I’ll use them. »

“I enjoy being with athletes more than other people. I have changed my social life since I started weightlifting. I don’t like people who think negatively, and when I take steroids I feel very positive. I live fast. I had an hour of sleep last night and am still strong. If your mind thinks positively, you can do whatever you want. “

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