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Athletes and Anabolic Steroids

Although it is against Federal laws and many professional athletic associations (The National Football League, for example) have banned their use, anabolic steroid drugs continue to be used by amateur and professional athletes. The drugs are believed to enhance athletic performance. Anabolic steroid drugs mimic the effects of the body’s own steroid hormones, like testosterone and its derivatives. These drugs have the potential to provide a competitive edge by increasing muscle mass, strength, and endurance, although not all users may experience these results. Moreover, use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) does not come without risks. Anabolic steroid use has been linked with a wide variety of potentially negative outcomes, ranging in severity from largely cosmetic (acne) to life threatening (heart attack). Furthermore, use of these substances can result in profound changes in mood and can increase aggressive behavior (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2001).

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Baseball player Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) has been at the center of a media storm regarding his use of illegal PEDs. Rodriguez’s performance on the field was unparalleled while using the drugs; his success played a large role in negotiating a contract that made him the highest paid player in professional baseball. Although Rodriguez maintains that he has not used PEDs for the several years, he received a substantial suspension in 2013 that, if upheld, will cost him more than 20 million dollars in earnings (Gaines, 2013). What are your thoughts on athletes and doping? Why or why not should the use of PEDs be banned? What advice would you give an athlete who was considering using PEDs?


106 Chapter 3 | Biopsychology

This OpenStax book is available for free at http://cnx.org/content/col31502/1.4



action potential

adrenal gland






auditory cortex

autonomic nervous system


biological perspective

Broca’s area

central nervous system (CNS)


cerebral cortex


computerized tomography (CT) scan

corpus callosum


deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)


dominant allele

electroencephalography (EEG)

endocrine system


Key Terms

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