Flip Your Script

John J. Schessler, Wellness Coach/Personal Trainer

The Steroid Debate

PED’s, steroid’s…..whatever you want to call them, have been a topic of debate probably for close to 40 years at this point. Steroids and performance-enhancing drugs are often looked at in terms of ‘cheating’ for professional athletes causing them to become suspended from their sport due to use and abuse. Steroids are divided into two groups, corticosteroids and anabolic steroids. Corticosteroids are made up of anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed by medical doctors to treat conditions that cause inflammation such as lupus or asthma. Anabolic steroids on the other hand, are man-made substances used to enhance the performance of the ‘user’. They work very similarly to the male sex hormone, androgen; giving out copious doses that assist the body in building and maintaining muscle growth and mass. Androgen’s also help with hair growth, fighting stress and so on and so on. In theory, prescribed use of androgen’s are not necessarily bad, it only turns sour when over-usage and abuse of the substance comes into play.

Steroids are used for a variety of reasons, often recommended for a multitude of medical reasons…although it is totally up to the patient whether or not they wish to take the steroids, these substances aid in alleviating discomfort from asthma, lupus, multiple sclerosis and so many other conditions. Administering steroid comes in a few different forms: orally, by injections, eye drops and gels/creams.

Medically needed steroids prescribed by doctors are one thing but what happens when athletes take it upon themselves to abuse the drug? Well, for one thing and the most obvious, there musculature is enhancing beyond normal muscle-building standards and taken to a whole new level. Also, athletes who cycle steroids in conjunction with their games or matches often become addicted to said substances. Cycling steroids is a process where people try to take multiple doses of the same steroid of a short period of time after which they take a long break from consuming the substance. They do this to either try to prevent addictive behaviors from forming or to prevent any other serious health concerns form surfacing.

Stacking is another way people consume steroids. This process involves consuming two or more steroids at once. The general idea is that the user will get a better outcome from having consumed multiple steroids together. Keep in mind, there is absolutely no scientific evidence to back up this claim. There is also something called the pyramid method. This involves taking steroids in small doses over multiple weeks and increasing the dosages to get the most effects from the substances. Many users believe that this helps enhance the drugs effectiveness but again, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims either.

There’s use and abuse and people who abuse steroids often find themselves mixed in the throes of addictive behaviors and cannot stop themselves from taking these substances. However, people who do manage to stop taking steroids often experience various withdrawal symptoms such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, mood changes, fatigue, etc.

Not all steroids are created equal and it’s true, there are some good ones among the bad ones. There is absolutely nothing wrong with steroids is they are prescribed and used under the guidance of a doctor or medical professional. The main issue and danger starts when people take matters into their own hands and believe that stacking, cycling or just taking steroids in general are going to give them the edge that they need to accomplish the goal that they’ve set for themselves. I’m not saying that contemplating using steroids isn’t seductive because anyone who has ever competed, has lifted or wanted to get in better shape probably has considered using them at some point or another. What I’m saying here is that you really need to exercise some self-discipline and self-control when considering starting to use these powerful drugs.

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John Schessler is a Pittsburgh-based Personal Trainer, Men’s Life Coach and host of the ‘ManAlive!’ podcast available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify Podcasts. If there is a topic that you would like to see discussed or just want to say hi, send me an email at j.schessler@pghwellnesscoach.com

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