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Steroids (eg. Anadrol, oxandrin, dianabol, winstrol, deca-durabolin & equipoise)




Most people marvel at how bulky weightlifters get so big or how that light weight lock transforms into a representative front rower. Many achieve this through a regime of training & diet. Others choose, or ‘add in’ steroids. 


Steroids are synthetic substances similar to the male sex hormone ‘testosterone’. There are different types of steroids. Corticosteroids are used to reduce swelling & are probably very well known to    Rugby League players. They are not anabolic steroids and do not have the same harmful effects.


Anabolic-androgenic steroids are man-made substances related to male sex hormones. ‘Anabolic’ refers to muscle building & ‘Androgenic’ refers to increased masculine characteristics. ‘Steroids’ refers to the class of drugs.


Some athletes use & abuse anabolic steroids in order to enhance performance and improve physical appearance. They are taken either orally or injected, typically in cycles of weeks or months (referred to as ‘cycling’), rather than continuously.




Health Hazards



The major side effects from abusing anabolic steroids can include liver tumors and cancer, jaundice (yellowish colour of the skin, tissues & body fluids), fluid retention, high blood pressure, increases in LDL (bad cholesterol) and decreases in HDL (good cholesterol). Other side effects include kidney tumors, severe acne and trembling. There are also some gender specific side effects:



       For males –  shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, development of breasts & increased risk of prostate cancer.



       For women –  growth of facial hair, male-pattern baldness, changes or cessation of their menstrual cycle, enlargement of the clitoris, deepened voice.



       For adolescents – growth halted prematurely through premature skeletal maturation and accelerated puberty changes. This means that adolescents remaining short for the remainder of their lives if they take anabolic steroids before the typical adolescent growth spurt.



In addition, people who inject run the risk of contracting or transmitting HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.




Research also shows that aggression & other psychiatric side effects may result from the abuse of anabolic steroids. Many users report ‘feeling good’ about themselves while on the anabolic steroids, but researchers report that extreme mood swings also can occur including manic-like symptoms leading to violence. Many may be aware of, or have witnessed what is often referred to as ‘roid-rage’. 


Depression often is seen when the drugs are stopped and may contribute to dependence on anabolic steroids. Other side effects such as ‘paranoid jealousy’, extreme irritability, delusions and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility, have been reported. Users of anabolic steroids who cease after significant use tend to gain weight markedly, particularly fat. This can lead to obesity in later life and the complication associated with that, such as: diabetes, cardiac problems and poor mobility. 


Research also indicates that some users might turn to other drugs to alleviate some of the negative side effects of anabolic steroids. For example, a study of 227 men admitted in 1999 to a private treatment centre for dependence on heroin or other opioids found that 9.3% had abused anabolic steroids before trying any other illicit drug. Of these 9.3%, 86% first used opioids to counteract insomnia & irritability resulting from the anabolic steroids. 


The final and most important issue relating to steroid use is that they are illegal. They will never be prescribed by a doctor for the purpose of muscle building and, despite some short term positive results that may be obtained, will have life-long consequences. 


Nothing can replace diet & training as the perfect means to naturally build your physique for the rigours of Rugby League. You have a greater opportunity to play according to your own natural, gifted ability by remaining healthy and free of the excesses of man –made, man-altered substances. 


Please speak with your trainers & conditioners regarding the best means of strength & body mass (muscle) enhancement & abide by the training regimes they have in place for you. 





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Should you have concerns regarding any issue relating to your 'mental or physical well-being', 'Kick off' strongly recommend you seek professional assistance. This may entail contacting your GP or similar clinician (Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Counsellor etc.). You may also contact the appropriate agency or service that might assist you. Irrespective of your choice, ensure you see someone who might help. 



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"Keep up the good work"

Michael J. Salamon, Ph.D., FICPP
Senior Psychologist/Director
ADC Psychological Services, PLLC
1728 Broadway, Suite 1
Hewlett, NY 11557







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