Crackdown on Steroid Users – PT’s Help Needed
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is taking steps to try and crack down on the worrying increase in the usage of anabolic steroids, which are believed to be taken by around 60,000 people a year.
Calling on Personal Trainers
They are calling on gyms and Personal Trainers to be more aware, and actively target people they believe to be taking, or thinking of taking, such performance enhancing substances.
Perfect Body Image
One worrying trend amongst regular users, is that they weren’t athletes cheating their way to glory, but instead young men utilising them for cosmetic purposes. It is generally accepted that society is more aware of appearance now than ever before, and the modern image has changed. They are keen to build on the trust developed between fitness professionals and their clients to warn them not to reach for a quick fix in pursuit of the perfect body image exacerbated by ‘selfie’ culture, and the ease of acquiring growth hormones and steroids on the Internet.
NICE believe that raising awareness amongst athletes about the use of such drugs and giving clear concise information about their potential for devastating effects is key to changing attitudes. This would include covering the risks associated with counterfeit products and also the very real threat of blood-borne diseases, such as HIV, that come with the use of injectable substances.
In certain parts of the UK, needle exchanges are more frequented by steroid users than the heroin users they were set up to help.
It is thought that most people who regularly use, or are considering using performance drugs, which are illegal to supply, but not possess, are not fully aware of the possible side effects associated with them. These include increased risk of heart disease, mood disorders, infertility, high blood pressure and severe acne. In some cases, abuse of these substances can lead to gynomastia, which is the development of female breast tissue in males. This is caused when the body starts to create more oestrogen in response to the overloading of synthetic testosterone. In this situation the presence of synthetic testosterone causes the body to stop making it naturally.
Steroid Affect Over-rated
Rob Dawson, a GP in Glasgow, says that the perception that these substances will give maximum effect with minimum effort is also misplaced, with their effect grossly over-rated. Their use does not result in increased muscle size and strength unless combined with intensive training and a specialised diet.
While NICE recognise it is almost impossible to stop their usage, they would like education and raised awareness to prevent those already using them to do so regularly and to excess, while helping those people at risk of drug misuse from taking them at all.