One could venture to say that large sporting events organized over many years, such as olympics or world championships, can not do without further doping scandals. More than once sports idols who performed “miracles” in their disciplines and climbed to the heights of human possibilities did not pass doping control. Cases of taking up sporting competitions in a dishonest and health-threatening manner are captured in the media every now and then. A ruined career, health or loss of life are one of the most common consequences threatening athletes who are using prohibited substances.
The first case of doping in modern sport was heard in 1865 at a swimming competition in Amsterdam. The first death was recorded in 1896. At that time, the British cyclist died after taking ephedrine.
Athletes, however, are not only users. Doping agents find their amateurs also among young people striving to improve their figure or build confidence.
Doping agents stimulate the nervous system, sharpen attention, increase endurance. Their goal is to increase strength, concentration and overcome human limitations – fatigue and weakness. In this context, the concept of dumping is also used, which means the use of pharmacological agents to achieve an increase in form, speed, strength and pain resistance.
Consequences of using doping drugs
The most common effects of doping are:
- skin changes – the appearance or worsening of acne and stretch marks caused by a rapid increase in muscle mass,
- alopecia – steroids accelerate the process of baldness; it is an irreversible process,
- liver damage – steroids destroy the structure of the liver, leading, among others to her necrosis,
- growth inhibition – most anabolic agents inhibit bone growth; it is dangerous especially for people during adolescence when normal body development stops,
- high blood pressure – this is due to the rapid increase in muscle mass, for which the heart is not yet adapted,
- addiction – regular use of anabolic steroids leads to addiction,
- hormonal changes – associated with the use of testosterone or its derivatives.
The effects of hormonal changes include:
- the appearance of male traits in women, including facial hair, male voice, cycle disorder, infertility,
- oligospermia, i.e. a decrease in the amount of sperm in the semen, leading to infertility,
- testicular atrophy, manifested in the shrinkage of cells responsible for testosterone and sperm production,
- gynecomastia, or enlargement of the nipples in men.
Types of doping agents
- stimulate the nervous system (amphetamine, ephedrine),
- increase heart and lung function (beta-blockers, beta-mimetics),
- have analgesic effects (morphine, pethidine, pentazocine).
With prolonged action:
- hormonal substances; the most commonly used group are anabolic steroids (testosterone, methanabol, nondrolone),
- peptide hormones (chorionic gonadotropin, somatotropin, i.e. growth hormone, insulin),
- genetic doping, involving the introduction into the blood of the appropriate gene or genetically modified microorganisms, which e.g. increase muscle mass or produce specific hormones.
Young people reach for anabolic steroids in the belief that not only thanks to this they will gain an impressive figure, but also increase their assertiveness and gain greater confidence. For them, training in the gym is not enough. Research conducted among young people in Europe explains that the main motives that push them into this lethal experimentation with doping substances are: dissatisfaction with their body build, desire to increase their weight and improve results at the gym.
The biggest threat lies in the fact that the use of harmful substances takes place in such a situation beyond any control. What’s more, a large proportion of users are unaware of the consequences of using these substances. This means that young people who reach for anabolics are poisoning and ruining their health without being aware of the long-term effects of their use.