Many kinds of drugs are used by athletes competing in sports all over the world. Some are used to build muscles or give the athlete extra energy. Others kill the pain of inquires or calm nerves, but many are illegal. Taking substances to improve sports performance is not new. Athletes in ancient Egypt drank a mixture of boiled donkey hoof, rose petals and rose-hips, believing it would make them winners.
There are some kinds of drugs: the anabolic steroids which are used in sport resemble male hormones. Anabolic means ‘to build up’ in this case to build up muscles. Bodybuilders use anabolic steroids in order to look better in competitions but big muscles do not necessary mean extra strength!
Stimulants give you confidence and make you feel full of energy, but they can also make you feel more aggressive. They are officially banned in sport, but amphetamines have been abused by cyclists, who need lots of stamina, and cocaine has been used by basketballers and footballers to make them more competitive.
Beta-blockers are drugs which are normally prescribed by doctors for people with high blood pressure or heart problems. They help calm you down and relieve stress. Snooker players, archers and those who shoot in competition all need steady hands and cool nerves.
All of these drugs can cause health problems if taken in large doses. For example, steroids can cause liver cancer in men and infertility in women. There is also evidence that people who take steroid can become very aggressive. Stimulants are also very dangerous. They do not create energy – they take it from body. Users feel exhausted and washed-out. When doing hard exercise there is a danger of having a heart attack. The problem is that people who take stimulants think they can keep going and they push their bodies too far.
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