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A dangerous trend: Kids and teens using steroids

  1. Basoodler
    A dangerous trend: Kids and teens using steroids

    A new study shows that about five percent of middle and high school students have used anabolic steroids to put on muscle, and that as many as one-third of boys and one-fifth of girls have used protein powder or shakes. Between five and 10 percent admitted to using non-steroid muscle-enhancing substances like creatine.

    I was shocked to read these numbers. This is a brewing epidemic and parents need to become aware. We live in a complex world, and just like the war on drugs, we have make this a priority when it comes to our children.

    Many kids see steroids as a tool to speed up the process of achieving their ideal body type and enhancing their athletic performance. And of course, this keeps them preoccupied with an image that they feel the need to achieve at any cost. And what’s even scarier, is that many people who abuse anabolic steroids often use more than one kind of drug at a time – a practice that’s called stacking.

    The problem is that the potential effects of steroid use could be quite deadly. Steroids can damage vital organs in the body including the heart, kidneys and liver, and they can also interfere with the natural development of hormones. They can also alter kids’ behavior – even to the point of emotional instability. Especially in teens, steroids can cause bone growth to stop before it is complete – meaning a child may not reach his or her full adult height.

    Unfortunately, many schools fail to teach about the dangers of steroids and athletic trainers in gyms around the country often fail to impress the scary facts upon their young clients. And of course, many professional athletes still are not helping enough because we continue to see them stripped of their medals and banned from their respective leagues for abusing steroids.

    So what are we to do? Parents need to become aware. I would argue that a healthy interest in your child about exercising and athletics is good -- but you need to know what they are doing.

    As a parent, you need to know the game plan. You need to know that your child understands that steroids are dangerous. And if they don’t understand it, you need to have that conversation.

    Another thing you might want to consider is testing your child if you notice some of the tell-tale signs, like becoming aggressive, obsessing over body image or dramatic changes in their appetite. It’s as simple as testing for illegal drugs like cocaine, pot or methamphetamine. It can be done in the privacy of your own home and these tests are incredibly sensitive to dozens of different kinds of steroids. You typically have a 1-4 week window to test for traces of steroids in the urine. If a test does come back positive, at least you know what you are dealing with and you can prevent a bad outcome in the future.

    We cannot bury our heads in the sand when it comes to this issue; we have to be aware to keep this problem under control

    Dr. Manny Alvarez
    Published November 19, 2012


  1. Budd1990
    Anabolic steroids can be used a safe way but the user would have too do alot of research too be able too minimize and even eradicate any bad side effects, im not condoning nor condemning the use of steroids but i agree if they do want too use them atleast wait until they are fully developed as too not stunt bone growth etc.
  2. zerozerohero
    This is a serious problem. When one considers the side-effects of steroids in healthy, fully-formed adult subjects, the effects they might have on developping kids seem gruesome.
    I'm first and foremost thinking of the endocrinologic point of view - just imagine for a second tht you're a 15 year old boy and you start seeing your balls shrink and tits grow where your pecs were... no happy ending to this one i'm affraid. I'm not saying this happens to all steroid users, far from it, but the potential risk for teens is huge, not even mentionning the mental side effects of this class of drugs.
    Toying with one's hormonal system in the teens is a terrible idea and as a proud dad i'm shocked that society pressures people into being physically perfect so much, that kids start doing that sort of stuff to ressemble what they get fed on TV and in movies. Not even mentioning that the probability that they're using other drugs conjointly is high. I wouldn't have suspected that this matter in the larger sense, also englobing eating disorders in young women for example, would get kids that far out of their senses.
  3. nitehowler
    Protein shakes and creatine and spying on your kids what are these bloody do gooders gunna think of bannen next ..

    Probably a little weak bunch of do gooders that dont like kids that are bigger or stronger than em or something..

    Grow up n get rid of the little man syndrome and worry about doing some sort of good thing for yourselves instead of pushen their do gooden crap on to our kids.

    Drugs will always be used in all walks of life be it medical recreational physical sport work for good or for bad and no matter how stringent the controls become there will always be something new to circumvent the law in one way or another.

    Protein powder and shakes and creatine are actually very healthy for you. Steroids used as recommended are also safe and are prescribed by doctors.
  4. cabal
    Frankly, I don't see how protein shakes ended up there being mentioned next to steroids.
    Using steroids to increase muscle growth can very rapidly lead to severe side effects like permanent organ damages, while protein shakes are just a dietary supplement that won't have any negative health effects if you don't overdo it or replace actual food with it.

    I know for a fact that there are some people here who speak German. I want to share this excellent dissertation from the University of Munich with you. It's about side effects from steroid consumption, and it convinced me to never try them out, although I go to the gym often and have been offered steroids. To make things short; 10 bodies of bodybuilders that have been known to have used steroids have been examined. It was found out that every one of them had ventricular hypertrophy, 9 of them had either fresh or old myocardial infarctions, all of them had some kind of myocardial damage. 9 of them had arteriosclerosis of the coronary arteries, 2 of them had thrombotic occlusions. 9 of them had hepatomegaly (enlargement of liver), 5 had testicular atrophy, 2 of them had adenomes.

    Everyone knows that abusing recreational drugs (like cocaine, amphetamine) bears risks for one's health. But tampering with one's hormone system in such a drastic way - I just wouldn't do it. What really shocked me was the fact that every single one of them had at least one kind of chronic condition or some noticeable damage to vital organs.
    Some side effects - even chronic ones - can occur after very few cycles of using 'roids. What I wanna say; if you use steroids frequently, you are definitely destroying your body. If you only use them in one or two cycles - why even bother?

    A good diet and a coordinated workout plan is probably the better way to go.
  5. nitehowler
    Thanks for that good info Cabal. Coming from you i believe now how bad steroids are for ones health but when a young bloke is told by police and authorities that their illegal the challenge for them to get their hands on the illegal substance then exists.
    We need to approach substances in a way that we can teach our kids the harms and harm reduction techniques cause prohibition seems to be attracting our kids to take these substances secretly.If not illegal our children would be more open and parents could help to reduce usage and harms.
  6. Isodimorphism
    It's just the typical media ignorance on health/exercise stories.

    Since the shakes are a supplement, some people seem to assume that they either posses some magical quality that is absent in food, or that they contain dangerous amounts. The average protein shake has as much milk as a pint of milk. You'd need to be drinking a dozens of them every day before you had a health problem, assuming you didn't use them as a substitute for a balanced diet.

    And even as a substitute they can be safe, as long as it's only a temporary measure (they may be useful for morbidly obese people who need to lose a lot of weight very quickly).

    How "serious" were these bodybuilders?

    It's an important question, because the more seriously they take bodybuilding, the more likely they are to use roids recklessly; they'll consider the risks to be worth it. I imagine that a more casual user, if he is well-informed, cycles intelligently and uses appropriate medication to prevent side-effects, might suffer fewer complications from his steroid use. But my German is poor, so I can't read the study for myself :<

    Unfortunately, the article author seems to want us to use scare tactics against them. Because that worked so well with recreational drugs.

    Steroids are one area where a harm reduction policy should be especially useful. If you go to any steroid forum, most of the advice will revolve around how long to take them for before cycling off, what doses to take to get the best results, and what medication to use to prevent or mitigate side-effects such as breast growth and testicular atrophy and to get the hormonal system functioning again when one has stopped using the steroids. Without access to that information, users might take high doses (thanks to the "more is better" philosophy) use the steroids constantly (because they haven't even heard of cycling) and not use any medication besides the steroids themselves, massively increasing the risk of permanent damage.
  7. cabal
    Actually, the only realistic health hazard emerging from consuming too many protein shakes is probably protein toxicity. You see; the breakdown of proteins produces some rather nasty nitrogenous metabolites that can harm your kidneys - only if proteins are consumed in excessive amounts or your kidney function is impaired.

    That's a very good question. The bodies came from the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Munich, most were associated with either drug overdose or organ failure. However, if you look on p.28 you will see a picture, the text below it says: "External inspection shows a very muscular bearing in all cases." There's even a picture. I think most of them were rather serious about the 'roids, judging from the limited amount of data we have. However, it should be noted that more experienced users probably also know more about how to perform a 'roid cycle correctly.

    Do you have any personal experience with steroids, if I may ask?
    You see, the problem I see with steroids is that they mess around with your hormonal system for a longer term - most recreational drugs have only a very limited impact on the overall hormonal system of the body and they exert that impact for only a short period (at the time of intoxication). Also, hormones are so incalculable because they exert their effects on so many sites. I'm well aware that recreational drugs can do that, too by binding to certain G-coupled receptors, but generally their effects are much more acute.

    Well maybe I find it hard to relate to steroid consumption because I prefer a lean, muscular, defined body type ("ottermode" as some people call it) in terms of body aesthetics, which is easily achievable without steroids in a reasonable amount of time.
  8. Isodimorphism

    Interestingly enough, I was dissuaded from taking them by visiting sites that were of a kind of steroid equivalent of these very forums. One of the first pieces of advice they give is that people shouldn't take steroids if they haven't been working out long enough to reach their genetic potential, which means I have a good few years before I should even think of them. I was also rather put off by seeing how complex and expensive steroid cycles can be, and how many sellers are scam artists.

    I took all of this advice much more seriously because the people giving it seemed trustworthy due to their own personal experience with steroids and open-mindedness towards their use, which is why I advocate this approach when dissuading teenagers from using steroids. I think they'd respond much better to a balanced argument than to any scare tactics; given the facts, any kid smart enough to get hold of steroids should be able to see that the risks outweigh the benefits, at least at their age.

    Also, AFAIK, the main risk factor for steroid abuse is pre-existing body image problems. The key to reducing abuse may be to tackle these issues rather than steroids directly. It may seem counter-intuitive, but I think that teaching children about what can realistically be achieved naturally, and that many of the extreme physiques they see in the media are steroid enhanced, may reduce the temptation to take steroids, since they'll (hopefully) no longer feel inadequate about their bodies when they realise that what they're comparing themselves to may not be natural. Ignorance about the prevalence of steroid use can lead to unrealistic expectations, followed by feelings of inadequacy, leading to the temptation to use steroids. I know that my body image was improved when I realised that I was actually rather big for someone who's natural.
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