Image and Performace Enhancing Drugs (IPED)
Anabolic Steroids are a man made version of the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is the chemical in humans, in particular men, that is responsible for facial hair, deepening of the voice and male sexual characteristics. In simple terms, the ‘manly things’ in men, which is referred to as the androgenic effects of testosterone. Anabolic steroids also stimulate growth in tissues, such as muscle - this is referred to as the anabolic effect of testosterone. People tend to take anabolic steroids in order to obtain the anabolic effect however some of the androgenic side effects are experienced. There is no steroid that completely seperates the anabolic side effects from the androgenic side effects. What’s more, most people who use anabolic steroids become addicted to them and can often suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms when they stop using these steroids.
Harms caused by Image and Performace Enhancing Drugs (IPED):
Harms associated with steroids depends on the type of drug being used, different drugs have different harms. The effects of steroids will vary from person to person depending on certain characteristics such as:
- Physical size
- Exercise level
- The amount used
- The purity of the PIEDs
- Whether the PIED is taken by injection or orally
Risks are particularly high for young people. If steroids are taken while a person is still growing they can cause a number of serious problems included stunted growth.
If a person is injecting they also carry the risk of transmission of HIV and other blood borne viruses (BBV’s) such as Hepatitis B and C. Injecting can also cause muscle damage, scarring and infections at the site of injection.
The use of steroids can cause many negative physical and psychological side effects. Some of the effects can be irreversible, however some can be more serious and possibly lead to death. Many steroids are illegal and can contain harmful and unknown substances that may increease negative side effects.
Possible side effects for women:
- Growth of facial hair
- Deepened voice
- Changes in the menstrual cycle
- Decreased breast size
- Shrinking testicles
- Testicular cysts
- Reduced sperm count
- Pain when urinating
- Development of breasts
- Decreased testosterone production
Possible side effects for both men and women:
- High blood pressure
- Liver damage
- Increased cholesterol level
- Damage to kidneys and heart
- Urinary tract infections
The law surrouding PIEDs/steroids
Anabolic steroids and other similar steroids are now considered Class C in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
It is considered an offence to import, export, produce or supply PIEDs. Maximum sentences for supply offences are up tp 5 years imprisonment plus a fine.
Anabolic steroids are prescription only medicines. It is not an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act to possess anabolic steroids where the drugs are in the form of a medicinal product by a person for own administration. They can also be imported or exported so long as they are not ‘fakes’ and in medicinal form for personal use.
A healthy diet
50-60% Carbohydrates + 30-35% Protein + 10% Fats
= A healthy diet to aid in muscle building
People who are on a strict diet in order to ‘bulk up’ often over estimate the need for protein, with the rational being that protein builds muscle. While this is true a more important requirement for the body is energy which can be provided by carbohydrates. Getting enough energy should be the main priority as if insufficient carbohydrates are consumed then the body will begin to break down protein to be used as energy instead.
All meals and snacks should be based around foods that are high in carbohydrates and then all other foods should be based around that. Vitamins and minerals are also essential
Before taking steroids, people should consider the alternatives such as:
- a better, healthy diet
- protein and vitamin supplements
- shock training regimes
- positive thoughts