When we think of steroids pro body builders such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and many pro athletes usually come to mind. This is due to the negative media that has been portrayed. But what do we mean when we say steroids? Steroid by definition is a “general class of chemical substances that are structurally related to one another and share the same chemical skeleton” (Steroids). So any “hormones, body constituents, and drugs” (Steroids) can be classified as a steroid.
“For example, steroids may refer to the corticosteroid drugs such as prednisone used to reduce swelling, pain, and other symptoms of inflammation. Vitamin D is a steroid… one that is necessary [for] normal health. The male hormone testosterone and its derivatives are steroids with anabolic effects that can be used medically (or illicitly) to build up muscle mass” (Steroids). So when it comes down to what a steroid really is, why has it received such a bad name? The negativity primarily comes from the type of anabolic steroid which many of the pro athletes use. But even though there have been many negative aspects of steroid use such as increased anger and aggression, fatality when mixed with other drugs, and medical problems, steroids do have many positive aspects like helping people live with terminal illness, help maintain a better way of life, and provide an alternative to abortion, which is why steroids should not be illegal, because it helps to provide a better way of living.
First of all, steroids can cause an increase in anger and aggression. This aggression can come form any form of hormone steroid but is mainly found with use of anabolic steroids. This aggression, normally referred to as roid rage, is one of the leading causes that people look down on steroid use. It sometimes causes the person to behave in a manner that can be illegal or disruptive in such a way that can quickly ruin a life. Teens especially when on steroids have be said to have a higher risk to act out in disruptive manner do to the already fluctuation of hormones in the body. The worst thing that can happen is the harm of family and loved ones. This was true with the professional wrestler Chris Benoit. Wilkes states that “[y]ou can feel it coming on but there’s nothing you can do about it. The next thing you know, a minor argument has gone into a full-fledged rage, when you’ve got your hands around somebody’s neck. You’re in a fight and doing things you wouldn’t normally do” (qut. in “Roid Rage”). This is what the news reporter thinks was the cause of the murder of Nancy and Daniel Benoit. The once loving father and husband burst into a fit of roid rage and quickly took the lives of two loved ones then him self.
Also, steroids can be fatal when mixed with other drugs. Weather these other drugs are prescription or the use of other steroids; it can lead to increased side affects of steroids like mood swings. The most common occurrence is the consumption of alcohol with the use of steroids. This has a tremendous negative affect on the body and the liver. This happens when the “oral [anabolic] steroids are activated through the first pass [through] the human liver, then filtered through the blood stream to nourish the muscular tissue. [T]his breaking down process is roughly equivalent to consuming a 6 pack of light beer first thing in the morning, daily, on your liver” (“How dose Alcohol Affect Steroid Use”). If you then drink a six pack then the damage on the liver is twice as harsh. But this is just an example of what it could do to your liver.
Another negative affect, steroid users are more at risk for medical problems. One of the most promanate health problems is liver health and function. Steroid use can cause liver damage as great as drinking a six pack of beer daily. Also people who use steroids are at a higher risk of getting tumors in the liver. Researchers have also seen “[i]n clinical trials, treatment with anabolic steroids resulted in a decreased hepatic excretory function…Hepatic peliosis is a hemorrhagic cystic degeneration of the liver… Rupture of a cyst may lead to fatal bleeding” (Kuipers). What makes it so hard to detect is due to “peliosis [hepatic] and liver tumors do not always result in abnormalities in the blood variables that are generally used to measure liver function” (Kuipers). This is such a risk due to there being no positive way to test for liver damage or tumors. Other health problems such as sterilization of both mail and female user and heart failure have been reported.
Not everything about steroid is negative; in fact there are many positive aspects of steroid use. First of all, people living with HIV/AIDS and other terminal illnesses can have a better more prolonged life. “A few years after his HIV diagnosis, Nelson Vergel began wasting away. No matter how much he ate, no matter how many protein shakes he added to his diet, no matter how much iron he pumped, the chemical engineer could not regain 25 pounds the virus had stripped from his 5-foot-7 frame. He watched as dozens of HIV-infected friends progressively lost body fat and muscle — and, ultimately, their lives” (Niedowski). When the body is infected with HIV the muscle and tissue dwindle away. No matter what one dose to reverse it, it seems like a lost cause. Researchers on HIV patients who took steroids saw that “[n]ot only do they help rebuild muscle, they make you feel better” (Niedowski). So instead of giving up and waiting for it to be their turn patients can living with HIV can now give living a fighting chance.
Also, it can help maintain a better way of life while dealing with body injuries. Weather a person is trying to hold off having surgery or trying to avoid having surgery to fix an injury; the easier less painful option is getting a cortisone shot. Cortisone shots provide an alternative to dealing with the pain or having surgery to fix the problem. Cortisone is a type of steroid that your body naturally produces and has been synthetically reproduced to have the same affects that comes from our natural cortisone our body produces. When injected into the affected area cortisone helps to relive pain, swelling, and inflammation of the injured area. This is a positive thing because surgery is now not the only option for dealing with an injury. Weather trying to prolong having surgery till it is covenant or trying to avoid it altogether, cortisone shorts now make it easier to decide what the best option is without having to live with the pain or rush into surgery.
Finally, the birth control is another positive steroid. Just like many of the other different steroids birth control is just another form of hormone that is naturally produced by the body and made into a synthetic form. Birth control pills “conta[in] a combination of the hormones estrogen and progesterone to prevent ovulation” (“Birth Control Pill”). The birth control pill is one of the leading forms of birth control. It has positively helped in reducing the amount of unplanned pregnancies in this country alone. It seems that teen pregnancies are becoming more and more recurring. This is due to the lack of use of birth control. Teens need to know the benefits and what birth control really is in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Other positive affect of taking birth control are that it lowers the chance of mood swings and PMS symptoms. Birth control also helps to regulate irregular periods.
In conclusion, steroids like most things have many positive and negative affects. It is easy to see why steroid use is seen so negatively. But with what steroids can do for people out weighs the negative side affects. Because what researchers do not tell you is that with the anger and aggression it only affects people who already have a more aggressive attitude. What most people do not know is that many of the negative symptoms of steroid use can be reversed by other steroids or disappear when the steroid use has stopped. Tobacco and alcohol are still the top leading causes for deaths in America. Steroids, low on the list, are rarely the solo reason found for death. Most of the time other drugs, illegal or prescribed, were also a contributing factor to death. So why have steroids received such a bad name? It is due to the lack of knowledge about steroids and the negative figure pointing of the media that has ruined the name. Yes with every positive there is a negative, but what steroids can help achieve is much greater than the negative side affects it has produced.
“Birth Control Pill.” N.D. 2 November 2010. http://kidshealth.org/teens/sexual_health.
“How dose Alcohol Affect Steroid Use.” N.D. 1 November 2010. Anwsers.com
Kuipers, H. “Anabolic Steroids: Side Effects.” Sports Medicine and Science. 7 March 1998. 2 November 2010. http://sportsci.org.
Niedowski, Erika. “For Some, Steroid Use Builds Hope.” 20 February 2005. 2 November 2010. http://www.ergogenics.org/vergel.html
“Roid Rage Questions Surrounding Benoit Murder-Suicide.” CNN. 27 June 2007. 1 November 2010. http://articals.cnn.com
, Steroid. “Definition of Steroid”. Medterms Medical Dictionary. 12 September 2004. Web. 1 November 2010 http://www.medterms.com