Steroid use has been in the news thanks to professional athletes succumbing to the temptation to improve their performance. When young people see their role models using steroids and succeeding in sports, the message they get is very clear: not only are steroids safe to use, they also improve athletic ability. Unfortunately, what teens don’t always realize is that steroids are harmful and there are serious consequences associated with abusing them. Teen drug facts tell us that young people are using steroids, so education about the risks is crucial.
What Are Steroids?
Steroids that are abused by athletes, more accurately called anabolic steroids, are synthetic compounds that are similar to the hormone testosterone. They promote the growth of muscle cells and also cause physical changes that are characteristically male. Doctors can prescribe these steroids for valid medical reasons, but they would never give them to a young and healthy person looking to build muscle.
How Do Steroids Affect The Body Of Boys And Girls?
Increasing muscle mass is the main reason athletes abuse steroids. Steroid use among teens also follows this reasoning. Young athletes hope to improve muscle mass, and therefore, performance.
There are a number of other effects on the body, however, most of which are not positive. Anabolic steroids can cause a stunting of growth, especially when the user is young and still growing.
In young men, anabolic steroids also cause:
- Testicles to shrink
- Breast development
- Reduced sperm count
In girls, anabolic steroids can cause:
- Facial hair to grow
- Changes in menstruation
- Deeper voice, which may be permanent
What Are The Dangers Of Using Steroids?
Using steroids can increase the risk of prostate cancer and infertility in young men. In both young men and young women, steroid abuse may cause extreme mood swings and violent behavior. It can also cause impaired judgment, which may lead to risky and dangerous behaviors. Steroid use, especially when stopped abruptly, can also cause dangerous instances of depression. The depression can be severe enough to be life threatening.
How Many Teens Are Using Steroids?
According to teenage drug abuse statistics, too many teens are abusing steroids. Surveys show that close to 5 percent of male high school students have abused steroids, while only 2.5 percent of female students have. These percentages amount to more than 500,000 young people abusing these harmful substances. While abuse rates are not as high as with some other very dangerous drugs, the damage caused by steroids is a serious problem. Young people need to be educated, as do their parents and coaches, on the real harm this type of abuse can cause.
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