Lesson Plan #19 - Article By SNN Reporter
Note: We recommend that you print this article
and distribute it to your students.
Using steroids can cause health
troubles for teens
By A. Zirnhelt, Columneetza
Secondary School, Williams Lake, British Columbia
Whether you are watching from the
sidelines, flipping through a newspaper or right in with the
action, sports are a part of everyday life. Associated with athletics
are muscular body images and the use of steroids. Working out
on a regular basis is healthy, as long as you don't take it too
far. In recent years, many men and women have identified with
a disorder called muscle dysmorphia.
Muscle dysmorphia is said to be the reverse
form of anorexia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa is when a person
diets until they are severely underweight. With muscle dysmorphia,
a person will see him or herself as out of shape, even if they
are a body builder or accomplished athlete. People with muscle
dysmorphia are so preoccupied with working out that they will
put off social engagements and careers so that they can go to
the gym for hours every day.
In many cases, muscle dysmorphia leads
to the use of steroids to build bigger muscles. Steroids trick
the body into thinking that testosterone is being produced. When
the body senses an excess of testosterone, it shuts down bodily
functions involving testosterone like bone growth. This causes
the tendons of bones to fuse together and stop growing, which
results in stunted growth. Steroids were originally developed
in the 1930's to rebuild and prevent the breakdown of body tissues
from disease. The use of steroids has increased significantly
in the last ten years in male and female athletes as well as
with young athletes.
Use of steroids by female athletes has
caused the women to develop so many male characteristics that
they had to have chromosome tests to prove that they were female.
Also, steroid use has caused males to develop such large prostate
glands that they needed a tube inserted so that they could urinate.
Steroids are often manufactured in motels and warehouses and
then smuggled into Canada and the United States. The amount,
strength and purity of steroids are not regulated. Therefore,
it is almost impossible for the user to know how much and what
exactly they are taking.
Although there are many harmful affects
from steroids, there are many possible reasons why young people
are resorting to using them. The main reason is body image. With
the way our world is today, many young men feel they need to
look strong and muscular in order to fit in or be a "real
man." Also, athletic activities, especially body building,
stress muscular development. In sports competitions, there is
often so much pressure to win that people resort to the use of
steroids so that they don't let down their team or their fans.
When it comes to sport competitions, remember
that it's not just about winning. It's about going out, having
a good time and trying your best. If you take drugs to enhance
your performance, you aren't really enhancing your performance
--you are cheating your way out. Sports aren't just about how
tough you are or how big your muscles are, they are about how
hard you try and whether you can beat your own records.
We need to remember that how our body looks
is not as important as how our mind thinks. Watching television
shows and reading magazines causes us to think twice about body
image because they contain mainly pictures of skinny, pretty
females and strong, muscular males. We are so caught up in the
image that the media portrays that we often forget what's important.
Remember the saying: "Beauty is only skin deep."