Performance Enhancing Drugs: Analysis of Benefits and Negative Consequences
A performance-enhancing drug is one that is used largely by athletes to enhance their sporting performance and gain an overall advantage over their opponents in order to win their selected sport. Performance-enhancing drugs have been around for decades and has been an ongoing problem aware within the sports community today. Nowadays there are numerous performance-enhancing drugs that can be obtained and used today. Some of these performance-enhancing drugs include Anabolic Steroids, EPO, and Diuretics. Each of these drugs have their benefits and downfalls which will be discussed throughout this response.
Currently, one of the most popular and commonly used performance-enhancing drugs within the sporting community is anabolic steroids. Anabolic Steroids are types of drugs that help aid and improve how your body deals with the growth and repair of muscle tissue. Anabolic steroids are a synthetic drug that imitates testosterone, which is the male sex hormone, commonly found in men. Anabolic steroids work by mimicking the many properties of hormones and adjusting them so they can be used by athletes. Its these common properties that enable the user to gain significant muscle mass due to the drug causing your body to increase its muscle tissue production, resulting in increased muscle mass and growth. Anabolic Steroids has its vast number benefits that seem enticing for athletes to use. Athletes take this drug due to it being a muscle-enhancing drug that provides quick and easy results that improves their athletic performance and allows them to have a solid advantage over their opponent. On the other hand, along with its many benefits, anabolic steroids have many negative side effects that come with its use. These negative effects have proven to be dangerous and sometimes fatal if the drug is abused or mistreated. Some of the short and long-term negative effects include, acne, more frequent colds, increased sex drive, and sleeping difficulties, and the long-term effects being liver damage, cardiovascular complications, and tendon and ligament damage. The negative effects are also different between genders with men more likely to experience reduced sperm count and fertility, baldness, and shrunken testicles as well as women dealing with irregular periods, depended voice, facial hair growth, and smaller breasts.
Throughout the year many athletes have been caught ‘doping’ or taking these illicit steroids to improve their performance. One of the most renowned athletes who have been caught doping was Lance Armstrong. Lance Armstrong was considered the king of cycling in the world for many years, as he dominated the Tour De France seven times in a row. This wasn’t until he was accused for doping and finally in 2013 he came clean and admitted to using steroids, resulting in his seven-year win being stripped immediately from him. Overall, anabolic steroids have their many benefits and downfalls that both impact the user in ways both good and bad, as seen with professional athlete Lance Armstrong.
Another popular performance-enhancing drug commonly used by athletes are diuretics. Diuretics are powders or pills that are available to get over-the-counter as they are most commonly used to treat patients with high blood pressure. These over-the-counter diuretics are mainly used to alter our bodies balance of electrolytes, as well as increasing the amount of water and salts that the body expels. This performance-enhancing drug is utilized as a form of quick weight loss as well as to dilute and mask any traces of other doping-banned drugs that are found in the body’s urine. Diuretics are known to have some minor risks that follow its use, including symptoms like dehydration, muscle cramps, dizziness, and blood pressure fluctuations. However, these minor side effects could be potentially fatal if potassium deficiencies increase, it will cause irregular heartbeat and ultimately kidney failure. During 2013, Olympic runner and world 200m champion of the time Veronica Campbell-Brown was tested and came back positive for banned diuretics found in her system. These banned substances that were found in her system resulted in her receiving a two-year suspension from participating in athletics. Apart from this suspension she faced a lot of hate and had her already great reputation ruined due to taking this performance-enhancing drug. To conclude, diuretics have the ability to make or ruin an athlete’s reputation as evident in Veronica Campbell-Brown’s case, where due to her taking this banned drug it caused her reputation to collapse as well as being suspended from the sport.
The last performance-enhancing drugs that aren’t banned are stimulants. Stimulants are drugs that are used to stimulate our central nervous systems in order to raise your heart rate and blood pressure. Most of these stimulants are used due to many of them being readily available nearly anywhere and most importantly not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, (WADA). The most common form of these stimulants is caffeine, found in many energy drinks which are very common within the sporting community. These stimulants are preferred as they are used to improve your overall endurance, suppress your appetite, reduce fatigue and increase alertness and aggressiveness. On the other hand, there are also the illicit stimulants that have the same purpose of giving energy however it is almost two times faster in entering the body and delivering the results. These illicit drugs include methamphetamines and cocaine which provide these quicker results. These benefits are followed by the risks which include dehydration, heatstroke, insomnia, and even addiction or tolerance to the drug. The more negative and dangerous side effects that certain stimulants have include, hallucinations, heart palpitations, heart rhythm abnormalities, and even heart attacks and strokes. An example of an athlete using stimulants as a performance-enhancing drug was Andreea Raducan, a Romanian gymnast that competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Andreea succeeded in winning a gold medal in the Olympics that year but unfortunately had it stripped from her after she had been tested positive for pseudoephedrine, a stimulant that is found in common medicines like Sudafed. This example shows us the benefits that performance-enhancing drugs have, however, due to the use of these drugs there is great chance that the user could get disqualified or banned from the sport further justifying why it shouldn’t be used in the first place.
Overall, anabolic steroids, diuretics, and stimulants are performance-enhancing drugs that have their many benefits to help improve athletic performance as well as many side effects that follow its use. These benefits are very appealing to athletes that want to shape up, lose weight, gain muscle mass, and have increased endurance and reflexes while competing in their chosen sport. Despite these benefits, they have many negative consequences and effects like being embarrassed, disqualified, banned, and having their medal stripped away. Performance-enhancing drugs have proven to be beneficial as well as having many negative consequences which can be faced as further proven by the athletes said in the response.
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