The number of teens in organized sports using steroids is on the rise. As of 2012, a reported 5% of high school athletes confessed to using steroids to enhance their ability.
There is no doubt that teens deal with image issues as well as pressure to perform well in organized sports. It’s not just a “girl thing” to be concerned about image. Yes, it looks different for boys then it does for girls, but it is still an issue as most boys would like to be large and muscular. So what should parents look out for as signs of steroid use, what are the dangers and how should one be treated?
Signs of Use
If you suspect that your child is taking steroids, but aren’t quite sure then there are some signs that you can look out for. First look for the physical evidence. Steroids can be injected or ingested in pill form, so look for needles and vials as well as pills. If you aren’t sure about a pill you find then contact your pharmacist as they will be able to identify the pill.
Take note at your child’s physique. This isn’t the clearest way to tell as teen boys typically do a lot of growing at this stage in life, but if you notice a rapid increase in size then this could be a sign.
Dangers and Risks
As a teen, if you take steroids you can permanently stunt your growth. Some medical professionals say that men don’t stop fully growing until about 25. Steroid use in boys can also cause their testicles to shrink and cause extra breast tissue to grow on their chest. Steroids add extra testosterone to the body which can cause boys to have spouts of rage.
Like any drug steroids can become an addictive substance, so if you find that your teen is using steroids then professional treatment should be sought out quickly. Depending on how long your teen has been using and how much they have used to date will be a determining factor on what type of treatment they receive. If the addiction is severe enough then residential rehabilitation might be the only option. Counseling will most definitely need to be sought out.
The best case scenario would be to deter your child from taking steroids in the first place. The question is how do you do that? It is important to get involved in your child’s life and have frequent quality time with them and talk with them and allow them to express themselves and know that they can trust you. If your kid is involved in sports then do your best to attend their games and affirm and encourage them in their athletics so they don’t feel like they need to attain a certain level of perfection before you’re proud of them.
Teens deal with a lot of pressure and fears today and that is typically why they turn to drugs. Creating a safe and positive home environment can help your kid to make the right choices. If you suspect that your child is using then talk with them first and hear them out, then move forward with treatment.
- License: Image author owned
Henry Hernandez is a veteran of the army and father of two. Henry is the marketing director for a rehabilitation center in Fountain Valley, CA (stephouserecovery.com). Henry can be found on Google+.