"Out with the old, in with the new"
Buddhism teaches us that each person has a role in life, dharma, and that we might write a book of our experiences to help others as an example. It is my responsibility, and perhaps my dharma, to own up to my addiction to anabolic androgenic steroids, commonly referred(0)
to as steroids, and other performance-enhancing or mirror-enhancing drugs. Recently, I attended a conference as part of the continuing-education portion of the CSCS certification. One of the speakers flashed pictures of high-profile professional bodybuilders, many of whom had been my contemporaries, with notes such as "KIDNEY FAILURE" below their images. The sickening feeling this prompted was the same as the one I felt back in my bodybuilding heyday,(0)
when young schoolchildren would yell "Steroids!" as they passed by. In telling you about my prolonged chemical abuse and the consequences I've suffered, I hope to show you that all that muscle and strength, that false sense of manhood, self-esteem, and confidence, comes with a price.
I never thought about the downside of using steroids while I was using them. But I do now - when I try to throw a Wiffle ball to my three-year-old son and can't, or when I see that I can lift at most only 25% of the weight I once handled routinely. It doesn't really(0)
matter whether this weakness is the result of lifting weights that were too heavy for my joints and their attachments, overtraining because the drugs masked the pain, or the drugs' breaking down articular cartilage (unites bones in a joint) and weakening tendons and ligaments. What does matter is my life now. I've already had full hip replacement, and currently need shoulder- and knee-replacement surgery. The growth(0)
hormone I took in order to get bigger muscles caused several vertebrae to close over the pathways through which the nerves run, resulting in paralysis; I've had several spinal surgeries to correct this entailing drilling holes in sections of vertebrae (spine). You used to hear the jokes about steroid users' testicles shrinking - well, mine were pretty much(0)
shut off. It was only with some luck and by the grace of God that, after three years of hormonal intervention, my wife and I were blessed with our son, Brady.
Then, there is the psychological side. Withdrawal from performance-enhancing drugs often includes depression, and can lead to suicide; there are too many stories(0)
of aspiring athletes and bodybuilders who end their lives in what we now know is full-fledged Anabolic Steroid Withdrawal Depression. (Copy & paste this syndrome into our browser's search box; this opens your search engine to numerous sources)
. One of the tragedies of steroids is that their effects, both physical and psychological, are so delayed; physical problems often don't present themselves until after the drug use stops, and psychological problems are often not apparent until it's far too late.
Every sport in which usage in rampant has its share of casualties, whether they are physical, psychological, or both. The pictures at the conference reminded me of that. And those schoolchildren(0)
responding that way to me ... well, the days of sports idols and superheroes being role models and "clean" is in flux - even children can spot a user. Recently, articles have appeared detailing users of performance-enhancing drugs, famous, successful ones, expelling their experiences and consequences directly related to the usage. Several are personal friends of mine. And there will be more accounts, a lot more. Many just don't want to take the responsibility which is their prerogative and one I understand. Certainly, when you(0)
are in the midst of using it, irresponsibly as it may in my case, the bad karma that is attached to these drug's usage rarely becomes any conscious consideration.
To anyone using or considering(0)
using performance-enhancing or mirror-enhancing drugs, to any youngster who looks up to someone who uses them, to any athlete who's thinking of getting an edge: Just think. Imagine the pain and possible disability that lie ahead. Heed the warnings about Anabolic Steroid Withdrawal Depression
and look at the many cases of good, natural athletes who are no longer with us. Think of Marion Jones, and her sad fall from grace - there are only more to come. Mark McGuire, American Hero to disgraced cheater*. Take seriously the advice from someone like me, who's been there, and ponder the all too expensive price paid for a fleeting moment of notoriety.
This was an example of pulling on superman's cape. There was no drug policy nor ramifications of their usage during the(0) period of his assumed usage, per my sources, at least 60% of MLB players were using performance drugs at that juncture and his claim he used retail prohormones was never proven, nor was there evidence with a positive drug test. And his legacy were still destroyed in spite of this.
Let's see the science to substantiate my subjective, anecdotal evidence.
Is this solely an example of an isolated case, something that top pros(0) have to go through...part of the job so to speak, thinking this won't happen to you as you are tougher, smarter than that and not an addictive personality. Is this possibly a rant from a former frustrated pro bodybuilder or one who knows truly the inevitable effects both physically and psychologically users will experience. Let's(0) see what scientific medical journals and their studies conclude:
"A delayed depression syndrome when serum steroid levels drop precipitously has been reported that appears similar to that observed in withdrawing cocaine-dependent individuals."
JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol 262, no. 22, December 8, 1989, Hooked on hormones? An anabolic steroid addiction hypothesis
"Recent literature suggests a high incidence of psychiatric morbidity (dark, moody, gloomy, depressed) in anabolic-androgenic steroid abusers. In addition, some anabolic-androgenic steroid abusers have been noted to exhibit addictive behavior."
Journal of Psychopharmacology, United Kingdom Vol. 6, No. 1, 20-26 (1992)
Psychiatric effects of androgenic and anabolic-androgenic(0) steroid abuse in men: a brief review of the literature:
"if the factors that cause the use of anabolic steroids are similar to those associated with the use of other substances, adolescents who use anabolic steroids would be expected to report use of other drugs as well.
"Among users of anabolic steroids, 25 percent reported sharing needles to inject drugs."
The New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 328: pgs. 922-926, Number 13.
Edited, excerpts from THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DRUG POLICY, VOL 5, NO 1, 1994, THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF ANABOLIC STEROIDS
Dr.(0) Doug Williamson, Research Psychiatrist and Honorary Clinical Lecturer, Oxford University, Department of Psychiatry, Litttemore Hospital, Oxford, OX4 4XN, UK
"In one 1988 survey of 3403 male high school students from across the USA the rate of current or previous anabolic steroid use was nearly 7% (Buckley et al., 1988)". Several similar studies during that time period typically showed a prevalence of a 5 to 1 ratio of male to female users. The predominant male users(0) in that study were football players and wrestlers.
In a study of 41 anabolic steroid users recruited from gyms in the Boston and Santa Monica areas, a high proportion reported symptoms of mental illness. During periods of anabolic steroid use, five subjects experienced psychotic(0) symptoms and four other subjects experienced milder symptoms. Five subjects reported a manic episode and nine subjects a serious mood disorder. During withdrawal from steroids, five subjects experienced a major depression. No psychiatric symptoms were reported outside periods of steroid use (Pope andKatz, 1988).
Want to know why Andro is on the list of prohibited substances for(0) NCAA and Olympic Athletes?
"Androstene is naturally produced by the body's adrenal gland. But with the help of scientists, the andro that is on the market has been biochemically enhanced. In other words, it is one enzyme away from being the infamous testosterone. With andro (approximately 200 milligrams a day) you have the capabilities of increasing the circulation of testosterone by anywhere from 200 to 400%."
David(0) Schlundt, PhD., Vanderbilt University, Psychology Department.
Pheonix connecting dots between anabolic steroid use and suicide
Be careful with any interpretation of this, but a Phoenix medical clinic is under investigation following 3 patient deaths given anabolic steroids. ( KNXV-TV)
All three men have at least two things in common, they were taking steroids and they were getting them at gimnasio Medical Centers, a Phoenix-based clinic that's currently under state and federal investigation.
"We're looking to see if there is a causal relationship between the death and the treatment or therapy they were being given," said Dr. Craig Runbeck, executive director, Arizona Naturopathic Physicians Board of Medical Examiners.
"You're hitting(0) your body with a biochemical sledge hammer and you're pushing things way beyond where they were designed to be," Runbeck said.
The autopsy reports make no mention of anabolic(0) steroids, but police reports and medical records do.
"Patients die everywhere," said Dr. Jeremy Bula, owner of gimnasio Medical Centers. "They didn't die as a result of anabolic steroid use."
But one patient left behind a note. "Stop using steroids. They will destroy your life or anyone with you," the note said. Moments later, Brian Stubstad committed suicide.
A completed suicide is usually a very complicated multi-factorial act. No one should point a finger at one particular cause. However, it is true that anabolic steroids can be mood altering -- this is indisputable. Is the use of anabolic steroids necessary and sufficient to produce an act of violence? Probably not in most cases. Can the use of AASs be contributory. Absolutely....in a vulnerable person. (Anabolic steroids are now a major drug of abuse; medical(0) clinics are developing withdraw plans for users)
According to documents obtained by ABC15, he was a patient at gimnasio Medical Centers for two years. His chart indicates he had taken trembolin, a powerful steroid that's not approved for human use.
"Anytime you use a drug that's not approved for human use, there are unknown side effects," Runbeck said.
Was Brian Stubstad speaking from the grave? According to medical records, he was complaining of depression and mood swings shortly after receiving steroids from gimnasio Medical Centers.(0) In the weeks leading up to his suicide, there were police reports, a pattern of violence, and even an order of protection alleging death threats.
"The story sounds very familiar," said Don Hooton, whose son Taylor began using anabolic steroids five years go. Six months later, 16-year-old Taylor was dead. "He(0) was going through severe mood swings," Hooton said. "It went far enough that he went upstairs, took two belts and hung himself."
Excerpt from Steroid Nation, an Online Journal, Dr. Gary Gaffney, U. Of Iowa, College of Medicine
This is just the psych damage detailed in a few medical journals available through google search.(0) The next update will detail medical journal reviews, studies detailing the joint-damaging effect and musculoskeletal injury associated with steroid and performance-enhancing drug usage.