Performance Enhancing Drugs

Introduction

Performance-enhancing drugs are usually used by athletes to achieve better results in different sport competitions. Most athletes, especially young ones, have a strong desire to win by any means. Though performance-enhancing drugs are banned, many sporting events are known as those places, where these substances are utilized. Performance-enhancing drugs are used not only in sport but also for other reasons such as to improve sexual excitement and other supernormal human performance. The historical records have shown that performance-enhancing drugs have a long history. The modern competitive environment requires new sporting results that lead to more frequent use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports. Young athletes should realize the real danger of using enhancing substances and their consequences. It is crucial to educate people on how performance-enhancing drugs influence a person's life and wellbeing.

 
 

Types of Performance-Enhancing Drugs

Performance-enhancing drugs are used to stimulate the body for better performance and activity. They make a person's heartbeat faster, which causes serious heart problems. They can be classified into different types. They are as follows:

Lean mass builders are substances that help sportsmen to gain body mass, reduce fat, and grow muscles. They are widely used by athletes both to achieving better results in sports competitions and recovery from injuries. They include human hormones, anabolic steroids, beta-2 agonists, xenoandrogens, and selective androgen receptor modulators. They were used in ancient Greece as a synthetic growth hormone that was found in animals.

Painkillers are those types of performance-enhancing drugs that are used to overcome pain in order to compete successfully in sporting events. Painkillers influence blood pressure in such a way that cells in the muscles receive more oxygen. They are substantially similar to powerful narcotics that are prescribed by doctors.

Sedatives are used to overcome nervousness and discomfort during competitions. Examples of such performance-enhancing drugs are marijuana, alcohol, propranolol, and diazepam.

Stimulants stimulate an athlete's body and mind. They help to enhance energy or aggression. Examples of such performance-enhancing drugs can be methamphetamine, amphetamine, and caffeine.

Blood boosters help to increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. They give an extra capacity to a person. The most known of them is EPO.

Masking drugs that have an immediate influence on the body and mind. They are usually used as a substitution for other drugs.

Diuretics are performance-enhancing drugs that help to expel water from a person's body. They help to lose weight in a short period of time.

The Use of Performance-Enhancing Drugs

The use of performance-enhancing drugs is rather controversial, and there are different opinions regarding this issue. Thus, proponents of their use claim that performance-enhancing drugs are part of sports competitions, and they should be used in order to build strength, endurance, and power. Many experts conclude that athletes have the right to use them with the intention to be competitive. Others consider that the use of performance-enhancing drugs is so widespread that they should be legalized. Moreover, professionals must regulate their usage in order to give equal opportunities to all athletes to compete and gain better results. Furthermore, Thornton, Champion,?Ruddell, & Ruddell (2011) observe that research on term-long effects is unclear. Thus, the danger of their use may be exaggerated.

Opponents often argue that the use of performance-enhancing drugs is cheating and often leads to unfair rewards. It has become a common opinion of many experts that performance-enhancing drugs are an extreme risk in terms of the human body and mind. Especially they are dangerous for young athletes, whose bodies are growing. Admittedly, many adult athletes, who use different types of performance-enhancing drugs, become a negative example for young athletes. In fact, their use is forbidden in the United States and many other countries. The research asserts that sportsmen often lose their qualification during the Olympic Games and other sports events because of using these drugs (Waddington & Smith, 2008).

Though it still seems appropriate to use performance-enhancing drugs to improve one's appearance or performance, the person, who intends to do so, must thoroughly study the most authoritative scientific information possible. It is essential to consider the influence of that performance-enhancing drug on one's social psychology and perception of self that is really the most significant and far-reaching outcomes.

Sports Medicine and Performance-Enhancing Drugs

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The relationship between sports medicine and the use of performance-enhancing drugs is rather complex. Sports medicine is the main source, where performance-enhancing drugs have developed and are used. Thus, the use and development of performance-enhancing drugs have become a part of sports medicine. Beamish (2011) observes a number of problems in terms of sociological, medical, and ethical considerations as for using performance-enhancing drugs. According to the historical records, performance-enhancing drugs were widely used by athletes in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Germany. Admittedly, the drugs were provided by these states on a formal basis. The use of performance-enhancing drugs was viewed as one part of medical performances, which also included a diet. Athletes use performance-enhancing drugs in order to receive medals in the Olympic Games and other sports competitions. It looks like sports doctors allow to do so because they care more about the nation's prestige than athletes' health.

As mentioned above, performance-enhancing drugs were developed to treat patients, certain post-operative patients. However, meanwhile, they were widely spread in sport. Nowadays, the use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes is considered serious cheating. Developed as a supplement that could improve the sportsmen's performance, these drugs become banned during all sporting events. Robinson (2010) argues that sports physicians are involved in competition-winning performances and provide the use of performance-enhancing drugs along with special diets. Admittedly, performance-enhancing drugs are mainly used by athletes from developed countries. On the other hand, it is not fair to conclude that they win only because of drugs. Sportsmen win different competitions because of hard work and constant training. Thus, opponents consider that the use of performance-enhancing drugs cannot be viewed as the supposed cheating. This is why, this issue is rather controversial, and there are different opinions about it among experts.

Disadvantages of Using PEDs

The practice has shown that people use many substances that may harm their health. For example, smoking and drinking alcohol damage the human body and mind, but they are not banned in most countries. Moreover, people have the legal right to choose what to eat and drink. Nobody can prohibit them to do so. Freedman (2009) noted that PEDs may be rather helpful not only in sport but also in other situations when their use is necessary. However, using drugs in sport should not be legalized. Otherwise, sporting events would not be even. Those athletes who do not use performance-enhancing drugs would achieve worse results than those, who use them. Therefore, the only perfect decision for them would be to leave the sport forever. Drug users in sport are those, who win competitions because of drugs and not because they are stronger, more hard-working, or sacrificial. To win competitions with the help of performance-enhancing drugs is not fair, and many people agree with this statement.

It is obvious that the use of performance-enhancing drugs is harmful to the athlete's health and is a bad example for the new generation of athletes. Sporting events may lose the real meaning of competition. The invention of performance-enhancing drugs diminishes the real role of strength and training in sport. The main danger of performance-enhancing drugs is that a human's body becomes addicted to them. In a while, people, who are addicted to PEDs, would face serious health problems. Moreover, they have many side effects that have not been properly studied (Pound, 2010).

Consequences of the Performance-Enhancing Drugs Use

Those, who are going to build a strong body and muscles using performance-enhancing drugs, must study all dangerous consequences before starting to do so. The research asserts that the experience has shown that PEDs may affect the human body negatively in different ways. For example, anabolic steroids may be a cause of baldness, impotence, shrunken testicles, prominent breasts, and infertility in men. Women may suffer from the increased body hair, a deeper voice, infrequent or absent periods, an enlarged clitoris, and baldness. Both men and women may develop an increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture, severe acne, prostate gland enlargement, depression, and high blood pressure among others. Rosen (2008) claims that many performance-enhancing drugs, such as designer drugs, have been made particularly for athletes' use and are not approved by medical tests. They are prohibited by many sports organizations.

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Another example of performance-enhancing drugs is the human growth hormone. It is also known as gonadotropin. It has an anabolic effect. The human growth hormone improves performance and muscle mass. The research asserts that it does not improve the strength. These drugs are available only by prescription. Side effects of the human growth hormone may be as follows: heart problems; enlargements of such crucial organs as kidneys, liver, heart, and tongue; overgrowth of face, feet, and hand. It happens because too much muscle and bone are developed in these parts of the body. It is also worth mentioning the use of doping, e.g. the illegal misuse of drugs. Doping was used a long time ago during sporting events. Most athletes use doping in order to improve their performance and strength.

Most performance-enhancing drugs have long-lasting side effects. The findings show that their frequent use may be a cause of cancers and viral infections. This can occur because of the weakening of the immune system (Wiley, 2013). Steroids effects stay in the human body for decades due to the muscle memory mechanism. Additionally, the data suggests that the long-lasting effects become stronger later in life. The mechanism of muscle memory should be thoroughly investigated in the future for a better understanding of the long-lasting effects of performance-enhancing drugs. Thus, further investigation is obviously necessary.

Conclusion

Performance-enhancing drugs are a crucial issue in sports, and there are many debates on this topic. In order to receive better results in sporting events and win medals in the Olympic Games, athletes use different dopings. Most of them are not legal. The founding has shown that their use is a matter of conflict during world sporting events. Though performance-enhancing drugs are banned, many sporting events are known as those places, where these substances are utilized. Young athletes should realize the real danger of using enhancing substances and their consequences. Most performance-enhancing drugs have long-lasting side effects. The findings show that their frequent use may be a cause of cancers and viral infections. It is obvious that the use of performance-enhancing drugs is harmful to the athlete's health and is a bad example for the new generation of athletes. Sporting events may lose the real meaning of competition. The data suggests that the long-lasting effects become stronger later in life (Egner et al, 2013). It is important to educate people on how performance-enhancing drugs influence a person's life and wellbeing.

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