Doping in Sports

Unfortunately, the world of sports is very often related with the word doping, since respectful and famous athletes have been tested positive for banned pills and substances. Undoubtedly, the level of these ingredients is increased annually due to the desire to be the first no matter what. This ongoing issue dramatically influences not only sportsman’s  health, but also his/her moral face and ethical identity. Furthermore, these drugs can cause the development of mental disorders, destroy different organs and systems, and even lead to the death of a person. Despite all the above terrible effects, sportsmen still use drugs. The question is: what are the roots of this problem and how to struggle against it?

Undoubtedly, the competition either in business or war evolves inevitable desire to win. Thus, the competitors make an effort in order to achieve benefits over their opponent. In most cases, they use banned substances in order to be at the edge of the competition and gain worldwide recognition. Unfortunately, such desire to be famous costs a lot and influence on health, family relationship, social identity, and love. Moreover, there are some sportsmen who apply doping, violating all social norms. In sport, such illegal action is defined as cheating and has existed for a long time. According to the history, punishment of sportsmen was observed in the Olympic times (778BC-395AD). During this period of time, the name of sportsmen who had violated the norms was inscribed on the pedestal. The statue of Zeus demonstrated not honor to the competitors, but their violation of norms. After, the sportsman who did not follow the legislative norms was harshly punished. However, until nowadays, it is still unknown whether the prime Olympians used banned substances. Historically, the term doping is etymologically derived from the Dutch word dop that describes strong alcoholic drink. This beverage was used during war time in order to increase mood of the army. In the modern history, the first documentation of the usage of banned drug was observed in 1865, during the Amsterdam canvas competition.

The year 1896 is famous for the first lethal ending, caused by ephedrine. In this year, Arthur Linton, the English cyclist, who participated in the competition Paris-Bordeaux, died. Another vital historical stage is 1920, when amphetamine was firstly produced. Until 1933, the term doping became popular in English due to the fact that scientists tried to organize institution that would highly test sportsmen. The biggest influence on the establishment of this institution had excessive usage of doping during the early 60th. At this time, people thought that drugs could help to achieve all spheres. A good illustration of this is the fatal ending of Knud Jensen, Danish cyclist, who died due to the excessive usage of amphetamines. Consequently, in 1967, the International Olympic Committee firstly adopted a drug-banning policy that regulated the process of testing of the athletes. In the modern history, not only European countries are famous for the abuse of doping, but Turkey also. In August 5, 2013, 31 Turkish sportsmen were suspended of doping by the Turkish Athletics Federation (BBC 1). Simon Hart (2), the Telegraph journalist, claims that Esref Apak, who held silver in the Olympic competition in the 2004, was also suspended of the usage of the banned substances.  Unfortunately, Turkey is at the high risk of being excluded from the championship in Moscow.

Without any doubt, the struggle against the banned substances has begun since the early stage of recorded history. The aim of the most drugs is to increase the mood and overcome fatigue. Nowadays, drugs, which refer to the above mentioned functions, are known as anabolics and stimulants. The fist observation of the usage of these drugs was observed in the ancient times in the process of animal castration (Newerla 41). Moreover, ancient Egyptian pointed out medical power of the testicles (Hoberman and Yesalis 61), since it can influence brain to work more intensively. According to the recent history of sports, stimulants demonstrate a structurally various type of substances. It is known that stimulant directly influence human nervous system and increase the functionality of the brain. Mostly, athletes apply stimulants in order to reduce tiredness, overcome fatigue, and increase their aggressiveness. The most known types of stimulants are caffeine, ephedrine, amphetamines and mesocarb.

Caffeine belongs to the substances, which are well absorbed by the stomach; moreover, Caffeine increases blood levels after 45 minutes after ingestion. It is evident that this substance can stimulate function of the body, causing blood pressure, stomach ache, rapid brain functions, and increased blood streams. However, caffeine can be effective to those who do not use it very often. This can be amplified by the fact that the organism gets used to these substances. For example, caffeine can influence the development of blood pressure; however, a regular user will not feel this effect. It is known that more than 12 micrograms of caffeine is a positive doping test. Undoubtedly, there are no excuses, since it is the norm. Thus, athletes should be very careful, while six bottles of Cola-Cola may exclude them from the competition.

Ephedrine is another stimulant, which is in the same category with amphetamine. However, ephedrine influences considerably less on the central nervous system comparing amphetamine. The main effect of ephedrine is the ability to overcome fatigue and stimulate the work of human mental system. However, the influence of ephedrine outside the central nervous system is on the higher level than amphetamine. This substance evolves high rate of heart, creased blood pressure, metabolism, and the damage of the blood vessels. A good example of this is the increased rate of the usage of ephedrine between athletes that was observed in 1997-2000. It is totally true that ephedrine has various strong side effect (Docherty 2). Athletes sometimes may underestimate that the application of this substance can cause fatal ending. It is known that ephedrine significantly increases body temperature and heart production. Thus, athletes are in the higher risk of suffering from heart attack, especially in warm weather. Furthermore, ephedrine can cause irregular heartbeat, stroke, gastrointestinal diseases, mental deterioration and death. These side effects can not only exclude the athlete from the competition, but also can deteriorate athlete’s health. It is known that the combination of ephedrine and caffeine greatly increases the side effects.

Another example of the stimulant is amphetamines. These “uppers” of the mood directly influence the central nervous system, causing rapid brain functionality, self-confidence, concentration and high level of energy. The chemical structure of this drug is almost equal to adrenaline. Thus, this substance increases self-esteem and self-confidence of the user. Amphetamines share the same side effects on central nervous system as effects of cocaine. However, unlike cocaine, these banned substance is not easily removed from the organism, since after the usage of it, it is located in the urine. Consequently, the side effect of this drug lasts much longer, comparing with cocaine. The main psychological effects of the amphetamines consist of decreased appetite, increased mood, and overcoming of weakness. This substance totally changes the athlete’s perception of reality that leads to high level of injuries. The adverse health effects of amphetamines can be demonstrated by the acute and chronicle side effects.

Acute adverse effects:

  • Hallucination and abnormal perception of the reality
  • Increased blood pressure that leads to heart attack and heart stroke
  • Increased weigh loss that is caused by reduced appetite
  • Convulsions
  • Fatal ending, caused by the abnormal functionality of the blood vessels

Chronic adverse effects:

  • Strange and uncontrollable movements of the face
  • Abnormal behaviour
  • Paranoia
  • Mental deterioration and psychological collapse

In the modern sport history, the case of Troy Patton, one of the Major League player, is known for the excessive use of amphetamines (The Canadian Press 1). Mesocarb is identified as amphetamine psychostimulant that has a strong effect on the central nervous system. Moreover, this substance causes addiction and is used by drug addicts. This element is prohibited in sports. According to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s, mesocarb has various side effects, such as:

  • Increased irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Anorexia
  • The Ad allergic reactions
  • Hallucinations

Finally, in the framework of identifying the banned substances, it is vital to mention the anabolic agents. For example, testosterone is widely used in sports. The side effects of the anabolic substances are:

  • Increased possibility to suffer from hepatitis
  • Gonadal atrophy
  • Hallucinations (Hoberman and Yesalis 63)

The usage of these substances was commonly widespread during the World War II, when German soldiers were required to apply steroids in order to increase aggressiveness and decrease weakness.

It is needless to say that performance enhancing drugs tremendously influences not only Olympians champions, but also those who are on the ladder to achieve success in sport, especially high schools sportsmen. The issue is that modern processes of globalization that are followed by the free access to the mass media devices caused an idle, known as muscular and fitted sportsmen who looks great on the cover of the journals. However, the mass media employees do not understand that this picture can significantly change the life of high school athlete. The desire to be in the centre of attention is mostly followed by the application of stimulants and anabolic agents. Unfortunately, many students do not comprehend that these banned substances cause addiction and even lethal ending. The effect of these drugs on the teenagers’ health is absolutely similar to the adult organism. The person, who has just started to use it, will be unable to stop it.

The main issue in the application of the enhancing drugs is a pressure placed on athletes to perform better and to show excellent results. The strong demand to be the first combining with the social request for excellence has influenced the sportsmen to find alternative means how to satisfy modern requirements. Nowadays, athletes have faced a controversial issue, regarding their choice to sue banned substances in order to show great results or to be a normal citizen. By the normal citizen, it is meant not to do everything possible and impossible in order to achieve high positions in sports. However, there is a side effect, known as depression, caused by inability to be the first, jealousy and inner malice. In this case, the role of surrounding cannot be overestimated. First of all, coaches have the biggest influence on the young athletes. Thus, these mentors should show not only understanding to the athlete, but also demonstrate high psychological support.

Looking at the above mentioned issues that may cause depression, it is necessary to mention the appropriate treatment that will be helpful in diagnosing addicted athletes and their mental recovery. There are four main methods to treat them: family therapy, medications, behavioural approach and psychoanalysis. Family therapy does not demand all family members participate in the session. At the first stage, it is vital to establish therapeutic relationships between a mental specialist and family members. For instance, an effective approach is to interview family members separately, to identify the patient, and then siblings. It is highly recommended that parents express their opinions and emotions freely when children do not participate in the psychoanalytical session. Children should also express their feelings freely without a fear that their parents may punish them. Consequently, parents and children will be ready to accept family therapy and show willingness to discuss their problems. At this stage, it is vital to establish credibility and belief in the effectiveness of the family therapy.

Moreover, another good example of treatment of depression is the application of medication that is determined as a helpful method (Docherty 3). In the application of medication, it is necessary to control the dose of drugs, taking into consideration the structure of the body and weight. Additionally, the behavioural approach analyzes the direct behaviour of athlete, explores their cultural and social experience, and determines main reasons that have led to depression. In this case, psychiatrist should ask many questions, create a convenient atmosphere (play silent music and use comfortable furniture), build trustworthy relationships, and not limit a person in expressing his/her emotions. Furthermore, it is evident that a new stage of imperialism, known as globalization leads not only to the global democracy, the development of education, a rapid transfer of information, professional medical care and the exchange of experience, but also to the uncontrollable changes in mass communication, transportation, and development in computer technologies.

Stiglitz (17) illustrates the above mentioned information by the notion of total changes of social landscape of the world. People have more possibilities to buy what they want and use it how they want. Thus, the access to the banned substances is almost unlimited. A person needs only money. Undoubtedly, rapid development of technologies, cross-border relationship and immigration significantly influenced the beginning of the new era, known as a new qualitatively economic development. Free access to what humans want can be clarified by Thomas Friedman, NY Times journalist and Pulitzer Prize winning author, who mentioned that today globalization is cheaper, deeper, farther and faster (Stiglitz 45). Consequently, modern changes have deteriorated all spheres of human life. The process of controlling globalization has been always in the centre of heated debates. The elite officials of countries and their opponents point out that the process of globalization is absolutely unpredictable and uncontrollable. Teenagers and adults are uncontrollable; moreover, they have become addicted of this free excess. In this case, modern legislative system should apply various laws in order to solve this controversial issue. Undoubtedly, mandatory drug testing is identified as unethical means, since it violates sportsman’s rights. This notion can be amplified by the fact that western directions to freedom and privacy are totally misunderstood in the modern governmental systems. In this case, an athlete can freely use performance-enhancing drugs, with the full understanding of the possible results. However, the testing should be applied in case when there is a strong possibility to harm people and oneself. Moreover, every athlete has a choice to use or not these enhancing drugs.

Most of real athletes understand the consequences of this using; however, the desire to win and be the first is more vital. In this case, it is highly advisable to use adequate treatment. Furthermore, it is highly advisable to introduce interactive lessons relating negative effects of doping. In this case, professors should not accentuate the attention to the lecture type of lesson, it should be question-answer lesson with numerous examples, illustration of not only side effects, but also fatal ending.
All in all, the ongoing issue relating doping in sports should be solved by applying various methods, including effective government cooperation, medical support, various psychological approaches, and family understanding. Moreover, the national testing agencies should not only exclude the athlete who used the banned substances, but they should also use more strict measures, such as disqualification for long span of time. Consequently, the global changes should be taken only from the positive sides, such as advertising of healthy lifestyle and promotion of sports as a pivotal part of human being.

Works Cited

BBC. Esref Apak among 31 Turkish Athletes Banned for Two Years, 2013. Web. 26 Dec. 2013.

Docherty, James. Pharmacology of Stimulants Prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). British Journal of Pharmacology 154(3): 606–22, 2008. Print.

Hoberman, John, and Yesalis, Charles. The History of Synthetic Testosterone. Scientific American, 61-65, 1996. Print.

Newerla, Gerhard. The History of the Discovery and Isolation of the Male

Hormone. The New England Journal of Medicine, 28(2), 39-47, 1943.

Simon, Hart. Drug Scandal Rocks Turkey who Could Be Thrown Out of World Championships as ‘Dozens’ of Athletes Test Positive. The Telegraph. 2013. Web. 26 Dec. 2013.

Stiglitz, Joseph. Globalisation and Its Discontents. Penguin Books, 2002.

The Canadian Press. Orioles Reliever Troy Patton Suspended 25 Games for Positive Test for Amphetamines. 2013. Web. 26 Dec. 2013.