Anabolic steroids were first discovered around 1930 and were initially used as natural drugs. They were mainly used to treat Hypogonadism. This is a medical condition where testosterone levels in a body are low. Anabolic steroids are direct derivatives of testosterone. A few years later, scientists discovered that these steroids could be used to treat chronic wasting conditions (caused due to Cancer and AIDS), and also delayed puberty or impotence.
When even more research was conducted, researchers concluded that anabolic steroids could be used to effectively enhance cell growth, thereby making them useful in muscle and bone growth stimulation. As wind of this information surfaced, hordes of bodybuilders, athletes, sportsmen, models and even highschoolers began to demand these steroids. However, large-scale production led to increase consumption and finally, overdose by many athletes.
Such overdose and improper usage is called ‘Steroid Abuse’. This abuse is aided by the large amount of steroids available in black markets, through smuggling and organized crime. The main reason for overdose is that athletes and bodybuilders wish to get faster results without considering the aftereffects. Some are known to take doses larger than 10 times the regular dose.
There are basically two forms of abuse, cycling and pyramiding. Cycling is when a steroid user takes multiple doses of steroid stacks. Stacks are combinations of steroids designed for specific purposes as muscle gain, fat burning etc. These are sometimes abused by overdose. Pyramiding refers to taking high and low doses alternatively. A popular misconception is that this will balance the hormone levels in the body, while it actually confuses the body’s hormone production mechanism.
Many countries have noticed the dangers concerning steroid abuse and these drugs are now classified as “controlled substances” across the globe. It is usually illegal to purchase them without prescription. Also, these drugs are banned by all major sports bodies.
Steroids or synthetic hormones are substances that are derived from natural hormones. Anabolic steroids, the most popular form of steroids, are the ones derived from the male hormone, testosterone. These are commonly used in sports and bodybuilding due to their ability to manipulate protein synthesis in muscle cells, thereby greatly enhancing their growth. However, this has prompted many athletes to overdose themselves as they seem to think this will somehow boost their performance instantly. This is based on ignorance as overdose of steroids can cause severe side effects that result in various harmful diseases and even death. One other reason for overdose is mass-production and organized crime which lands these drugs in the black market.
Steroid abuse takes place in two types: 1) Cycling 2) Pyramiding. These methods of overdose are further aided by the different stacks of steroids available in the market. They are basically developed to perform specific “combined” functions like losing weight and gaining muscle at the same time, or gaining weight and strength etc. But these stacks are abused by many sportsmen.
Cycling refers to taking multiple doses of stacks over any given period of time. This is usually done with the intention of achieving fast results. However, all that results is a huge list of combined side-effects. Pyramiding refers to alternate doses of high and low levels. Abusers consider this harmless as they think hormone levels will be balanced due to the alternation. Again, this is a misconception. Hormone levels will actually be further imbalanced and results in various hormone-related problems including excessive growth of hair, enlargement of breasts in men, abnormal growth of sexual organs etc.
Thanks to such irresponsible abuse, all major sports bodies including the Olympics, FIFA, NHL, NFL etc. have decided to permanently ban the use of steroids in competition. Any athlete caught using them is rejected from the sport. Also, it is illegal to purchase steroids without medical prescription as they are placed under “controlled substances”.