Understanding Drug Addiction Among Athletes

The pressure put on athletes to succeed is immense. They want to satisfy their coaches, their fans, and themselves. In their determination to succeed, talented athletes will put themselves in dangerous situations. For many, this means taking, and ultimately becoming addicted to, drugs.

Why Athletes Use Drugs 

It can be generally understood that athletes use drugs to improve, but the reasons for wanting to improve can vary. Some might be looking to improve their speed, while others might want to become stronger. Some might be dealing with the perceived pressure that leads them to believe they need to use drugs in order to win. It doesn’t matter if they’ve already proven themselves as master athletes. Even the best of competitors can hit a wall and think that there’s no other way to get out of their rut.

Performance Pressure 

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat hit athletes very hard. Being decent isn’t enough for most professional athletes, especially ones who have an image to uphold as a winner. When Lance Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France victories following the revelation of his doping, people were shocked that such an inspiring figure would use drugs to improve his performance. But when one considers how much pressure was put on Armstrong to uphold his streak, is it any wonder that he felt like doping was the best option?

Stress 

Athletes will often take drugs not to succeed but to just make themselves feel better. When stressed out about upcoming games, an athlete might look to “take the edge off” with some drugs. These could include drinking alcohol, taking cocaine, or smoking marijuana. What starts off as a means of unwinding can turn into a profound dependency. Since athletes can be tested at random intervals multiple times a year, they can easily fail a drug test.

Injury Recovery 

Injuries are unfortunately prevalent in athletics. It doesn’t even have to be a contact sport like football. A tennis player could deal with a sprain or fracture. Athletes that are injured may be prescribed painkillers. These are highly effective at numbing or dulling the pain of the injury, but their strength also means they can be highly addictive. Prescription opioids can give athletes feelings of intense pleasure which are difficult to lose. After their prescription has run out, they can become desperate to procure more drugs.

The Consequences of Drug Addiction Among Athletes 

There are multiple consequences to athletes using drugs. It can put their bodies, careers and relationships in jeopardy. By the time they’re able to admit they’re addicted, it might be too late to do anything.

Health 

Many athletes will use drugs to improve their bodies and put their minds at ease. However, they’ll just end up harming themselves due to the severe side effects of these substances, such as anabolic steroids, which damage major organs and cause severe mood swings. Due to drug abuse, they might be unable to make it to games and practices.

Professional Troubles 

Athletes sign strict contracts that spell out the consequences for failing drug tests. If they test positive, they risk forfeiting their contracts. It can also cost them money, as being exposed for using drugs can lead to them losing lucrative endorsement deals.

Relationship Harm

People who are addicted to drugs will do their best to hide it from others. This can lead to them being deceptive and cruel to others in order to cover up their addiction. Athletes who use drugs risk alienating not just their friends and teammates but also their fans.

No athlete intends to become addicted to drugs. What can start off as some “experimenting” can quickly evolve into a full-blown addiction. Many athletes will be tempted to use drugs, but a proper education will help them to realize the consequences before they can happen.

 

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