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Teen Steroid Use

Teen athletes who use steroids are risking serious long-term damage for a short-term performance boost. Although some of these side effects are reversible, many are not - including hair loss and breast development in males, and the deepening of a female's voice. In fact, data on the effects of long-term steroid use is still nebulous, at best. The prevalence of premature death in the pro wrestling industry has led to speculation that sustained steroid use could be downright deadly. While science has yet to prove that steroids are responsible for these deaths, the correlation - if not the cause - is impossible to ignore.5

How can you help your teen say no to the temptation of using steroids? The first step is to maintain open and honest communication with your child at all times. If your relationship is based on trust and respect, your child will be more likely to talk to you about steroids before any drug use starts. Parents and coaches need to make sure they aren't putting unnecessary pressure and unrealistic expectations on teen athletes.

Keep an eye out for signs of steroid use in your teen. Some symptoms to watch out for include the following:

  • Rapid gain in muscle mass
  • Sudden acne outbreaks
  • Newfound aggressiveness and anger
  • Darkening of the skin
  • Swelling of the legs and feet

Now that you know the facts, make sure you share them with your child. Show respect for his ability to make the best decisions for himself. Remind him why he's chosen to compete in athletics in the first place. Sports should be about learning persistence and dedication, and the value of working hard to reach a goal. People who take shortcuts to get there don't just cheat the competition - they cheat themselves.

References:
1. "As part of a 2002 NIDA-funded study, researchers asked teens if they had used marijuana or hashish (another form of marijuana) in the past month. Of all the 8th graders surveyed, only 8.3% said yes; only 17.8% of 10th graders had used the drug in the past month; and just 21.5% of 12th graders." http://teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/facts_mj1.asp
2. 43.3% of high-school students surveyed reported drinking within the previous month. http://beta.samhsa.gov/health-reform
3. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7633384/
4. http://www.drugfree.org/Portal/Drug_guide/Steroids
5. http://grg51.typepad.com/steroid_nation/2007/02/kinda_funny_how.html

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