Wednesday 21 August 2019

Teenagers 'can shop around' to find cheap steroids

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Health fears: Synapse Performance’s David Nolan
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The decreasing cost of steroids is making the potentially lethal drugs more accessible to teenagers.

A recent survey found that one in five young people in Ireland would consider taking steroids.

According to David Nolan of Synapse Performance and head of performance for the Rugby Academy Ireland, young people are now "shopping around" to find the most cost-effective performance-enhancing drugs.

"A few years ago the barrier for young people used to be the cost," he told Karl Henry on the Real Health Podcast. "But now they can get steroids cheaply and they can shop around."

As these steroids are produced illegally, users often have no idea what they contain. This can lead to long-term health problems.

HSE figures show that the number of emergency inpatient cases related to steroid use more than doubled in six years from 174 in 2011 to 398 in 2017.

The risks include a permanent loss of libido and infertility, to heart and liver damage. Studies in the US have linked chronic use of steroids to cases of gangrene and amputation.

"Most of these steroids are made in underground labs, or [they are shipped] internationally… There is no quality assurance," Mr Nolan said on the 'Real Health Podcast' with Karl Henry.

The pressure on young men to look muscular has increased in recent years.

"We have the social media aspect where people's perception of what is aesthetically pleasing is distorted and people want instant gratification," Mr Nolan added.

If individuals are becoming frustrated with their lack of progress, many turn to steroids to enhance their training and physique.

However, an individual needs to be in an extremely secure psychological state before they take steroids.

"You take them and you turn into 'Superman' for a few months," Mr Nolan said.

With newfound strength and seeing the physical results, many can’t face the reality of coming off them.

“[They think] I have to go back off to go being a normal person where I won’t be as strong, I will be smaller and … I cant do what I was doing. A lot of men can’t psychologically handle that. So they end up in a constant steroid cycle, so intense that they turn off their own testosterone production.”

The dependency on steroids has become an increasing concern for many parents.

There are tell tale signs if your child is using steroids. One of the most obvious behavioural shifts is an obsession with food.

If they become preoccupied with how they look and are withdrawing from social situations which involve food, then parents should be aware it could be an indication they are suffering from dysmorphia and could potentially be more open to taking steroids.

For more episodes of Karl Henry's 'Real Health' podcast in association with Laya Healthcare, go to: https://www.independent.ie/podcasts/the-real-health-podcast/

For more episodes of Karl Henry's 'Real Health Podcast' in association with Laya Healthcare, go to: independent.ie/podcasts/the-real-health-podcast.

Irish Independent

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