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Young Athletes and the Drive to do Better: What to Look For When Your Teen Wants to be a Super Athlete

The road to riches in the United States seems to be paved with sports stars — or at least that is how it often appears to the youth of today. How many times has a sports star, who has now been elevated to celebrity status, been featured in a television show showing off his luxurious homes with super models by his side as well as an abundance of pools and sports cars? This type of coverage can compel young athletes to push themselves to their limits — and even beyond.

When Are Drugs Not Okay?

It is a lucky athlete who has not had to endure at least one trip to their doctor in order to be treated for a sports-related injury. The two treatments that many doctors turn to in order to treat the symptoms of sports-related injuries include opioid pain medications or injections of cortisone. While both of these medications are typically used when an athlete has pushed themselves too far, it is when your adolescent takes them in a manner that is not how they were prescribed that troubles can begin. Teens and Steroid Use According to NIDA for Teens, opioid abuse can lead to nausea, breathing problems and confusion while abusing cortisone can result in joint damage1. Your teen might feel compelled to abuse these legally prescribed drugs if they are still in pain and there is pressure — either internally or from a coach, team mate or other important person in their life — to push through the pain and continue playing.

Drugs That Enhance Performance

Nearly everyone has heard of athletes using anabolic steroids in order to enhance their performance at their chosen sport. This is another instance in which this classification of drugs has medically-prescribed uses that make them invaluable for people who suffer from a deficiency in the steroid hormone as well as those who lose lean muscle as the result of diseases such as AIDS and cancer2. Athletes, though, tend to abuse these drugs in an attempt to improve their performance or the way they look.

Teens and Anabolic Steroid Use

There are a number of different hazards that can result from anabolic steroid use, according to the Mayo Clinic3. Mood swings, reduced production of sperm, liver problems and kidney damage as well as high cholesterol and high blood pressure are just a few of the possible side effects that teens can experience when they abuse steroids. Signs that your teen might be taking steroids include: Young female student studying outdoors in the autumn.

  • Changes in their body such as swiftly gaining weight, an increase in the development of their upper body and heightened muscle growth
  • An increase in the amount of acne
  • “Roid rage,” a condition that is characterized by a noticeable increase in aggression and other marked behavior changes.

If you have a son, and notice an increase in the size of his breasts as well as a decrease in the size of his testicles and male pattern baldness, steroid abuse could be to blame. Abuse by your daughter might show up as a deepening of her voice, a decrease in the size of her breasts and a significant increase in the amount of hair that she has on her body. With all of the pressure that adolescents experience, it’s important for parents to be aware of any changes in their child–unusual behavior or differences in appearance, such as those described above, could be cause for concern. If your child does have a problem with drugs, the team at Destinations to Recovery is here to help. To learn more, give us a call at¬†877-466-0620.


  1. NIDA Blog Team, Crossing the Line: Athletes Risk Their Health When Using Performance-Enhancing Drugs.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. DrugFacts: Anabolic Steriods. Revised 2012.
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Clinic. Performance-Enhancing drugs and teen athletes.