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  • Friday, August, 2022| Today's Market | Current Time: 04:12:11
  • Athletes have become such an archetype in American culture. Their stories are inspirational; whether you are an athlete yourself or someone who struggles to get out of bed, you can connect with the physicality of a runner’s attempt to go faster, or a boxer’s attempt to last longer.

    But that very quest can easily be tainted by substance abuse. Most sports were originally developed as a method of self-improvement. But just as many were developed as a form of competition. You will see many runners who just want to push themselves as far as they can go. That mindset is far less common in sports like football or baseball, where winning is everything.

    Not that runners and other self-improvement-motivated sports are necessarily spared from this. Competitive mindset permeates every layer of American life. The thing that makes athletes the most unique is that the mostly physical nature of their activity makes it easy to supplement.

    Enter performance enhancing drugs. There are three kinds of performance enhancing drugs we will be covering today: Steroids, doping, and opioids. We will be talking about what the drug is and its intended effects, as well as the side effects (which are normally much worse).


    Probably the most well-known of performance enhancing drugs. Steroids are known for increasing muscle mass far beyond what it would be naturally. But the interesting thing about steroids is how they do this. As you might know, steroids have medical uses.

    What steroids really do is increase the responsiveness of muscles. That means that not only do they receive and transmit signals faster, but they also repair themselves stronger and more accurately. This is the actual cause of the gain in muscle mass.

    Basically, you have to work out in order to get anything out of steroids.

    The most common users of steroids are contact sports players. It makes the most intuitive sense there: If you and the opponent are wrestling with each other, it can be quite the disadvantage for your opponent to have steroids while you do not.

    This creates an arms race among athletes in a few different ways. Steroids help build muscle, meaning that while contact sports find the most use for them, they are incredibly versatile. They find their way into sprinting, baseball playing, and long jumping. It is worth noting however that the more cardio intensive a sport, the less likely it is going to have steroids used in it. 

    The Side Effects

    This is because of the side effects of steroids. The chief among these is heart irritation. Cardio tissue, which makes up the human heart, is an interesting substance. It is a muscle, but it never wears out or needs replenishing like a normal muscle does. How does that work with steroids?

    The answer is, “Not well.” The heart of a person taking steroids will increase in size along with the rest of their muscles. This is the result of their body being too responsive to muscle activity. Just like other muscles are repaired beyond what is necessary, so too will the heart be repaired.

    This is a serious problem. If a heart is too big its rhythm can get thrown off, it might pump blood too hard leading to clotting. In short, you do not want to mess with your heart.

    Beyond that, it can lead to a reduction in testosterone production, throwing off a person’s hormonal balance and rendering them both moody and sterile.


    As far as performance enhancers go this one is less notorious than steroids. That is because it is primarily used by cyclists and long-distance runners due to it helping with stamina rather than explosive muscle movement. This makes its effects less visibly obvious to the observer.

    Doping is a term for any performance enhancer that improves your stamina, but the most common form of doping is getting blood bags from donors with better blood. “Better” usually means “has a higher oxygen carrying rate”. For instance, a cyclist might have smoked at one point in their lives, permanently damaging their lungs’ ability to process oxygen.

    With a transfusion, they can get blood that is oxygenated by undamaged lungs, boosting their stamina.

    Side Effects

    You might observe something similar to an improvement to cardio in the short term of doping, but in the long term you are damaging your heart. More specifically, you are causing your blood pressure to increase massively. This results in stroke and high blood pressure.

    Doping can even cause liver damage as the liver is responsible for cleaning the blood in your body. Introducing new blood or doing anything that changes how the body processes blood will make the liver work overtime, increasing the risk for cancer in the organ by a ton.


    The use of opioids in sports is common and well-known. But its use as a performance enhancer is not as well-documented. Basically, they are painkillers with no immediate side effects. People rationalize abusing them by saying that they can time them right.

    But while you can avoid side effects interrupting your athletic feats, the toll has to be paid eventually. You can ignore pain for a while and run as if your knees don’t hurt. But eventually, the drug will wear off.

    Side Effects

    And when it does all of the pain you were bypassing will come rushing back.

    Perhaps even worse is the fact that pain exists for a reason. It is totally possible to fill yourself with so many opioids that it results in your straining yourself without thinking about it.

    These are problematic injuries because they are just so sudden. And if they are happening suddenly, then there is nearly no way to tell what strain will cause it.


    Performance enhancers are damaging to use, but at the same time hard for athletes in certain circumstances to avoid. If you are struggling with a dependency with performance enhancing drugs, then the Ocean Recovery official site can help you find resourc


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