Body building

Cheat This, Not That: Hypocrisy, Ethics and Efficiency Enhancement

from dr. Jack Darkes, JD Rick Collins, MD Dan Gwartney and PsyD Jason Cohen

Anabolic steroids are being demonized, while Viagra, Adderall and breast implants have gained social acceptance. Those of us who have spent their careers studying substance use (note that we do not assume that any consumption is disrupted) and / or working in different roles with those who do not use androgenic / anabolic steroids (AAS) medically Do not be surprised by the extent of bias in the media and in the scientific community towards AAS and AAS users.

The agenda that many were pushing in both places had the direct effect, with or without intention, of putting those who use AAS in a negative light. Therefore, the general message to the public is that such users are narcissists with an "adonis complex" and muscle dysmorphia (in fact, all of them are bodybuilders and those who are interested in their bodies). that they are addicts who are dependent on AAS and have a wide range of psychopathology; that they have cognitive deficits; and / or that they can explode into murderous tantrums at any moment. First of all, AAS users may be "cheaters" who use drugs to defy the limitations of nature. Unfathomable!

But wait! How can we reconcile that level of targeted outrage and hypocrisy with the fact that America has become a nation of "performance climbers"? When it comes to academic / intellectual achievement, the idea of ​​playing the hand has given way to the use of stimulants to enhance cognitive performance as a means of academic success – to be all that you can be. This is no longer just to fix deficits, but to take everyone on any level and seemingly boost performance. We can not get through an hour of television without seeing a commercial telling men that they do not have to live with the natural decline in erectile function that our fathers endure, that it can be "a matter of circulation" and it is one Drug for "when" gives the time is ripe "(which seems to have something to do with being in the bathtub on a hill or on the coast). The "Lifestyle Lift" tells women that they no longer have to face the age-related decline in skin firmness, but can regain the illusion of youth under the expert guidance of a surgeon. Seeing the natural age does not have to be endured anymore. Liposuction and other body shaping techniques can reshape the hips and abdominal muscles. Implants that can form and enlarge calves, pectorals, buttocks, and breasts have now become recognized as a means of overcoming natural limitations. Prescription stimulants that can improve focus and concentration are sought by parents and students and prescribed by physicians with more latitude. In fact, we are a culture of improvement; Given the prejudices against AAS, even the father of all AAS – testosterone – is being traded on television in a form that we can rub on our skin or dab under our arms so that we no longer have to suffer the hormonal decline that is inherent in AAS Way, age occurs. Breast augmentation, sexual enhancement, cognitive enhancement are all about the American dream of bigger breasts, better bones and brighter brains; Bigger, better bodies simply are not on the American agenda. It is clear that some goals and methods to be everything we can are more accepted than others.

A recent study (1) compared how individuals assess others who use performance-enhancing medications in two different areas: athletic and academic. Researchers noted the similarities between the abuse of prescription stimulants and the abuse of AAS – in both cases, a drug is misused for legitimate medical uses to gain a competitive advantage. The researchers, however, hypothesized that an athlete who takes a performance enhancer and succeeds is more likely to be considered a fraudster than a student who uses a performance enhancer and succeeds. They also hypothesized that an athlete's use of a performance enhancer is considered more necessary for successful performance than a performance enhancer used by a student. Approximately 1,200 male undergraduate students were recruited to complete a questionnaire with two scenarios. One scenario described an athlete who had abused AAS to succeed in a championship race, while the other described a college student who had abused Adderall to succeed in his midterm exams. As expected, the results showed that the participants thought the athlete was more of a scammer than the student. Contrary to the hypothesis, however, the participants considered Adderall more necessary for students than AAS for athletes to succeed. So for AAS users, the news is all bad: AAS users are seen as both bigger scammers and less necessary / justified for drug use.

Less than 1% of the sample said they had ever used AAS, while about 8% of the sample said they had used a no prescription stimulant over the past 12 months. The researchers found that prior use of prescription stimulants without prescribing by participants correlated with a heightened perception of AAS users as fraudsters. In other words, familiarity creates acceptance. People agree with what they are used to and justify their continued use. The hypocrisy of such a position is obvious.

The study supports our observation that those who use substances to increase exercise capacity are rated more negative than those who use drugs to increase cognitive performance. If we look for the causes of this bias, why do Americans see those taking bodybuilding medications as another case – fraud, narcissistic pariahs – we need not look further than the distortion in science and the accompanying media. Those who keep up with the scientific literature have seen an increase in the number of articles adopting a pathology among AAS users. Some researchers appear to be releasing a new study each month highlighting another reason to be afraid of AAS and its users to be very scared. What about those people who want to be taller, slimmer, bend and shave their bodies? Who are these big, weird, hairless people? Our own study of the characteristics of AAS users has yielded something quite astounding – at least for those who consider such users a foreign life form. That is, they are just ordinary people trying to improve themselves.

Researchers who investigate human behavior, especially in cases that have political and moral (and financial) implications, often approach such issues with certain assumptions. As people who study human beings, this is not always avoidable and requires a degree of objectivity that is sometimes difficult. For example, when it comes to AAS, many researchers first assume that every use is abusive, or that they discriminate poorly, if at all, between use, abuse, and abuse. They then interpret all the results in the light of these assumptions. Example: A small percentage of people using AAS may experience some increase in hypomanic behavior. A similarly low percentage may indicate an increase in aggression as measured by laboratory analogue tests (although it is generally determined that observers do not report such increases). The interpretation of this finding in the literature has now become consistent with "AAS causing aggression". In the service of the science of human behavior, we must ask ourselves what the other 99% of users are who are not affected. Why not her? Apparently they are not important when looking for problems and finding what they are looking for.

It is also clear that this public bias – a public that seldom or never reads the scientific literature – reflects the weird presentation of information about drug use to improve the body or physical performance through the media. Although we are at a point where attitudes towards marijuana use and consumers have become more moderate and recreational use is increasingly gaining legal recognition in some areas, AAS continues to occupy a special place of evil in public. Perhaps this partly reflects the fact that marijuana use is ubiquitous enough, that most of them either know users or have used themselves, while AAS consumption is so rare in the general population that most people have never met an AAS before Users have met. When it comes to marijuana, the public has learned to smell bullshit when it's in their backyard, so it can tell when scientists with an agenda mislead them. But in the case of AAS, media reports are often the only source of information that summarizes sensational citations from research or single reports highlighting or inventing rare, and frankly, unbelievable cases. Therefore, many people who know the name Chris Benoit and the tragedy of his creations will only associate steroids with him – few will have heard of other more likely causes of his behavior, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Those of us who have spent a long time studying drug use and the history of our country's drug use relationship immediately see a parallel between this approach and the pyramid of prejudice that arose in the late 1930s with regard to marijuana. Scientists try to find suspected negative results and use their results to further substantiate their prejudices. other researchers cite these findings as facts and build upon them by bringing validating and biased results into the literature; The popular media use and expand it by focusing on the most irresponsible and sensational individuals (2) of the individual class, creating distorted images and presenting them as if they were the norm, as if they were reality, and capital Out of them, relative ignorance of the reader in relation to the basic facts. Soon, such scientific and popular articles will be cited by others and the cycle will continue. Unfortunately, this "beefer madness" – a bizarre doppelganger of reefer madness – has a number of negative implications, in particular the fact that AAS users distrust both the media and medicine and may therefore be less inclined to get these precautions needed to avoid damage. Honestly, we hope that this pyramid of prejudice will be exposed in decades to the same ridiculousness with which we now look at these past days of marijuana hysteria.

footnotes

http://www.businessinsider.com/juicer-explains-anabolic-steroid-use-in-florida-2012-12), in which the absurd exploits of "Joey O" – either an amazingly ignorant steroid abuser or a fantasy Jokester, whose colorful distortions and imaginative exaggerations "played" a naive reporter, who was all too keen on sensational experiences.

About the authors

Jack Darkes, PhD (University of South Florida, Tampa, FL)
Rick Collins, JD (Collins, McDonald & Gann, PC, Mineola, NY, www.steroidlaw.com)
Jason Cohen, PsyD (private practice, San Luis Obispo, CA, www.jcohenpsyd.com)
Daniel Gwartney (Columbia, MO)

The authors are co-authors of Chapter 197 of the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ADDICTIVE BEHAVIOR entitled "Performance-enhancing Drug Use (including Anabolic Steroids) in Adolescents and Students: Aetiology and Prevention" (Elsevier, published 2013), co-authors of "A League of their Own, Too : Motivation and Initiation Age Comparisons between American Male and Female AAS Users ", Conference and Exhibition of the Fifth International Society for Sports Nutrition (ISSN), Las Vegas (6/2008) (poster presentation) Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2008, 5 Suppl 1) p: 26 (September 17, 2008) and co-author of "A League of Their Own: Demographics, Motivations, and Uses of 1,955 Adult Male Non-Medical Anabolic Steroids Users in the United States," Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2007, 4:12 (October 11, 2007).

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