Wrestling is so famous and loved for its grandeur: epic ring entrances, dazzling performance, and a rippling physique create a wild and powerful image that is so attractive to many people. It has already grown from another form of performing art into a whole culture. One of its key elements is incredible athleticism. For the show to look spectacular and breathtaking, the appearance of wrestlers in the ring must match their characters, stories, and costumes. The amazing muscularity that’s expected of wrestlers, however, isn’t always achieved through blood, sweat, and tears in the gym.
Effects of Steroid Abuse, Overdose, and Addiction
Legal or not, it is obvious that many wrestlers use steroids. These are synthetic drugs, developed to function in ways that resemble the action of certain natural hormones in the human body. Originally, steroids were created for medical purposes. For instance, corticosteroids are used to treat allergies, rashes and many other inflammatory conditions. Anabolic steroids might be prescribed to counter muscle loss caused by diseases like cancer, diabetes, and HIV, help with delayed puberty and treat many other conditions associated with testosterone deficiency in men.
Essentially, anabolic steroids mimic the effects of testosterone, contributing to muscle growth and the development of male sexual characteristics. They are tempting to use for athletes in particular because of their specific properties that quicken the healing of muscles after exercising. Putting your body under unfamiliar stress forces your muscles to strive to put up with the load. When it’s impossible, microscopic rupturing occurs and lets the brain recognize that a certain group of muscles needs to become larger and stronger in order to avoid getting hurt again. Steroids speed up the adaptation process, allowing athletes to exercise harder and gain greater results.
Many people believe steroids can’t be addictive, yet the abundance of steroid withdrawal programs at private detox centers (explore more here) indicates it’s far from being correct. While it’s true that steroids don’t possess the same psychoactive properties like the majority of recreational and some prescription drugs, people who use them regularly are at high risk of growing addicted. The nature of this addiction is primarily psychological. Steroid users who turn to chemicals to stay fit may develop anxiety over their appearance over time, feel depressed when they miss a workout session or lose muscle mass. The disturbed psychological state may lead people to gradually increase the dosage, spend more and more money on steroids and use impulsively, which, in turn, can cause overdose and even death.
Adverse effects of steroid misuse or abuse can be quite extensive. They include high blood pressure, increased risk of developing heart attacks, artery damage, and strokes, liver damage, and tumors, severe acne, hair loss, and aggression. In women, anabolic steroids can trigger voice deepening, irregularities in the menstrual cycle and excessive body hair growth. Although the effects of steroid abuse are mostly physical, the hormonal nature of the drugs can make withdrawal cause mood swings, irritability, insomnia, cravings and a couple of more serious conditions including depression, anxiety, mania, and delusions. For this reason, withdrawal under medical supervision at private rehabilitation clinics is both safer and more effective than abrupt quitting.
Tragic Deaths of WWE Stars
The philosophy of doing whatever it takes to win is the usual one in sports and martial arts. Although it’s used metaphorically to encourage athletes to work harder and surpass their old limits, for Chris Benoit it clearly took too much. As described by Dave Meltzer, a journalist specializing in wrestling and MMA, Benoit was “one of the top 10, maybe even the top 5, all-time greats.” Being a one-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion and a one-time World Heavyweight Champion in WWE, Benoit was a prominent figure in wrestling who died at the peak of his career. The wrestler also killed his wife Nancy and his son Daniel before committing suicide. He was then found to have ten times the normal levels of testosterone, as well as Xanax and hydrocodone in his system. Benoit’s actions were attributed to brain injuries from his years in the ring coupled with steroid abuse.
The list of wrestlers who died of steroid abuse or associated conditions is alarmingly long. Its loudest names include James Brian Hellwig, known as the Ultimate Warrior, Eddie Guerrero, whose death in 2005 forced the WWE to introduce a new strict drug testing scheme, David “Davey Boy” Smith, Rick Rude and many others. Most of those deaths were attributed to sudden heart attacks and the effects of deadly combinations of steroids with alcohol or other prescription medications and illicit drugs.
Benefits of Steroid Rehab
Enrollment into a private rehab center is the best way to fight steroid addiction in the majority of cases. One of the reasons for this is the complexity of treatment that can rarely be achieved without professional assistance. As the world saw on the bitter example of so many wrestling stars, steroid abuse frequently comes together with alcohol or drug addiction. Such combinations can result in violence and aggression, as well as severe heart and liver problems. Therefore, it’s not enough to treat the causes behind steroid abuse alone, since another disorder is already in place. Private rehab facilities are equipped to account for all disorders that surfaced during the initial assessment.
Also, treatment of co-occurring conditions includes mental disorders. Depression and anxiety that frequently go hand in hand with drug abuse can not only hinder the recovery process but evolve and become separate issues that require treatment. Fighting steroid addiction, dealing with its potentially detrimental impacts on health and struggling to overcome a mental illness at the same time can be extremely hard to handle without professional help.
Finally, confidentiality is a huge concern that frequently deters celebrities from seeking treatment. If anyone catches the scent of steroid use, a wrestler can expect an avalanche of public humiliation, a string of terminated contracts and the prospects of stained reputation coming his or her way. While private rehab won’t eliminate the fear of consequences, it can reduce its intensity enough for the person to find the strength to make the first step towards improving their life, health, and career.
About the Author
Jaffrey Buckley is a columnist who focuses on drug use/abuse in the sport. His works aim to prevent athletes from improper drug use showing the consequences of abuse.