Essay by Jared1High School, 11th grade December 1996

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'I just wanted to boost my performance.' These are the words spoken by numerous athletes who have been captured using steroids. The continuous stress and pressure on athletes to perform well has caused some to breakdown and take steroids as an easy way to bulk up. Steroids amongst athletes is not the only problem. Other reasons for taking steroids may be to heal injury, improve appearance, or for various social factors. High School is definitely tough on self-esteem for teenagers who look to fit in. Many simply desire to improve their physical appearance, but they are too lazy, or do not have enough time to work out. What do they do? They resort to the use of anabolic steroids.

Everyone has heard of steroids, but many people do not know exactly what they are. Natural steroids play a key role in the body processes of living things. They are naturally produced by plants and animals, and are used for various reasons.

Steroids include sterols, such as cholesterol, bile acids from the liver, adrenal hormones, sex hormones, and poisons in certain toads. Sex steroids in humans give men and women the characteristics that make up the sex, such as the type of voice, and the physical build. Adrenal steroids, produced in the cortex of the adrenal gland in humans, regulate protein and carbohydrate metabolism. Aldosterone, another steroid produced in the adrenal cortex, plays a role in the mineral and water balance of the body.

Anabolic steroids are commercially produced by chemical methods from the male hormone testosterone. Artificial steroids were first developed for medical purposes during World War II (1939-1945) by the German army. The Germans gave it to their soldiers to make them more aggressive in combat. After the war, doctors in Europe and the U.S. used steroids to...