Some athletes will stop at nothing to achieve maximum performance capacity. As a result, real life doping addiction stories are revealing that this is not an anomaly in the world of performance driven sports. Studies show doping among world championship and Olympic track and field athletes is more prevalent than previously thought among both genders.
One of the most memorable stories was recounted to Oprah Winfrey by former Tour de France superhero Lance Armstrong. His admission that he used performance enhancing drugs to gain a competitive edge not only rocked the world who watched Mr. Armstrong make his famous comeback after a reported battle with cancer, but highlighted doping as a common practice among athletes.
As a result of this confession, Armstrong was stripped of all athletic titles and received a lifetime ban from participation in competitive sports. The United States Anti-Drug Agency also described Lance Armstrong’s doping program as the most sophisticated that the agency had ever encountered.
Doping, according to Research Scientist Gregory Crowther, refers to the practice of increasing the number of red blood cells in the body’s circulatory system through blood transfusion or by taking a hormone called Erythropoietin (EPO). According to Crowther, since red blood cells transport oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, increasing them in the circulatory system improve the flow of oxygen to the muscles which in turn enhances muscle performance.
On the down side, doping has the potential to cause cardiovascular problems by leading to a gradual build-up of deposits on the walls of the arteries. In other words, doping has the potential to be dangerous and, in some instances, deadly. Although most athletes may dispute this fact, in reality people who blood dose, use stimulant, anabolic steroids or other performance enhancing substance to gain a competitive edge fall under the umbrella of being a “substance abuser”. These practices alter the normal functioning of the body and put the person at risk.
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) bring together all professional disciplines to combat abuse of all substances including the practice of doping. Many non-athletes put themselves at risk by using muscle building drugs. Overtime, some of these substances can lead to dependence. Any major health problems created by chronic use of these hormone enhancement drugs must be medically managed relative to the alterations in the levels of hormones in the body. In some instances, specific steroid tapers may need to be prescribed as well as other therapeutic remedies to help with the severe self-esteem and psychological issues that may be the underlying issue for those struggling with this type of substance abuse. Like all forms of drug abuse, early treatment to prevent the progression of the disease of irreversible damage to critical organs in the body is highly recommended.
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