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Steroids (eg. Anadrol, oxandrin, dianabol, winstrol,
deca-durabolin & equipoise)
Most people marvel
at how bulky weightlifters get so big or how that light weight lock transforms into a representative front
rower. Many achieve this through a regime of training & diet. Others choose, or ‘add in’
synthetic substances similar to the male sex hormone ‘testosterone’. There are different types of
steroids. Corticosteroids are used to reduce swelling & are probably very well known
to Rugby League players. They are not anabolic steroids
and do not have the same harmful effects.
Anabolic-androgenic steroids are man-made substances related to male sex hormones.
‘Anabolic’ refers to muscle building & ‘Androgenic’ refers to increased masculine
characteristics. ‘Steroids’ refers to the class of drugs.
Some athletes use & abuse anabolic steroids in
order to enhance performance and improve physical appearance. They are taken either orally or injected,
typically in cycles of weeks or months (referred to as ‘cycling’), rather than
The major side effects from abusing anabolic steroids
can include liver tumors and cancer, jaundice (yellowish colour of the skin, tissues & body fluids),
fluid retention, high blood pressure, increases in LDL (bad cholesterol) and decreases in HDL (good
cholesterol). Other side effects include kidney tumors, severe acne and trembling. There are also some gender
specific side effects:
the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, development of breasts
& increased risk of prostate cancer.
facial hair, male-pattern baldness, changes or cessation of their menstrual cycle,
enlargement of the clitoris, deepened voice.
adolescents – growth halted
prematurely through premature skeletal maturation and accelerated puberty changes.
This means that adolescents remaining short for the remainder of their lives if
they take anabolic steroids before the typical adolescent growth
In addition, people who inject run the risk of
contracting or transmitting HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.
shows that aggression & other psychiatric side effects may result from the abuse of anabolic steroids. Many
users report ‘feeling good’ about themselves while on the anabolic steroids, but researchers report
that extreme mood swings also can occur including manic-like symptoms
leading to violence. Many may be aware of, or have witnessed what is often referred to as
Depression often is seen when the
drugs are stopped and may contribute to dependence on anabolic steroids. Other side effects such as ‘paranoid jealousy’, extreme irritability, delusions
and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility, have been reported. Users of anabolic steroids
who cease after significant use tend to gain weight markedly, particularly fat. This can lead to obesity in
later life and the complication associated with that, such as: diabetes, cardiac problems and poor
Research also indicates that some
users might turn to other drugs to alleviate some of the negative side effects of anabolic steroids. For
example, a study of 227 men admitted in 1999 to a private treatment centre for dependence on heroin or other
opioids found that 9.3% had abused anabolic steroids before trying any other illicit
drug. Of these 9.3%, 86% first used opioids to counteract insomnia &
irritability resulting from the anabolic steroids.
The final and most important
issue relating to steroid use is that they are illegal. They will never be prescribed by a doctor for the
purpose of muscle building and, despite some short term positive results that may be obtained, will have
Nothing can replace diet &
training as the perfect means to naturally build your physique for the rigours of Rugby League. You have a greater opportunity to play
according to your own natural, gifted ability by remaining healthy and free of the excesses of man –made,
Please speak with your trainers
& conditioners regarding the best means of strength & body mass (muscle) enhancement & abide by the
training regimes they have in place for you.
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Should you have concerns regarding any
issue relating to your 'mental or physical
off' strongly recommend you seek professional assistance.
This may entail contacting your GP or similar clinician (Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Counsellor etc.).
You may also contact the appropriate agency or service that might assist you. Irrespective of your
choice, ensure you see someone who might help.