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Drug Abuse Among Professional Athletes: Is it a Growing Problem?

Drug abuse among professional athletes

Drug Abuse Among Professional Athletes: Is it a Growing Problem?

Some people are of the opinion that professional athletes have it easy. They think this because of their hefty paychecks, fancy cars, and glamorous lifestyles. The truth is that athletes are under an immense amount of pressure. They are pressured to succeed in ways that people in other professions rarely experience. It’s because of this, and the fact that they have the disposable income to finance a drug habit, that athletes are so vulnerable to substance abuse. They are in a constant struggle to succeed in an incredibly competitive arena. If you know a professional athlete who is abusing drugs, call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services to speak to a certified addiction recovery counselor. Drug abuse among professional athletes is a major problem in the US today.

Drug Abuse Among Professional Athletes

According to the Journal of Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, drug abuse is a problem that occurs in all sports and at most levels of competition. This problem persists for some individuals even after retirement. In addition to drugs that enhance performance, drug abuse among professional athletes originates with drugs to relieve pain. They may even use drugs to conceal career-ending injuries. Athletes use drugs to increase muscle mass and body weight. Professional athletes also use drugs to self-treat otherwise untreated mental illness. They also use drugs to deal with the emotional stress that comes with a professional career. Due to recent responses to using performance-enhancing drugs, many athletic organizations are banning “doping.” When catching athletes using such drugs, there are strict consequences.

Athletes and Drug Addiction

One of the main reasons for drug abuse among professional athletes is simply to combat fatigue and exhaustion. This is sadly a part of the professional athlete package. Whatever the reason for the abuse, abusing drugs in a high-risk, high-pressure environment is dangerous. The world of professional sports presents a significant risk of athletes developing a drug addiction. Drug addiction can lead to serious adverse health consequences or death. Even so, despite the significant risk of side effects, a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2002 found that one in three general practitioners is likely to encounter a patient who uses drugs to improve his or her athletic performance. This fact further proves the concern that drug abuse and addiction is “deeply entrenched” in the sporting world.

Using Drugs to Help Performance

So widespread is the issue of drug abuse among professional athletes, that the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry ranked second in past month for illicit drug use. Furthermore, they ranked third in past year substance use disorder rates from 2008 to 2012, according to SAMHSA.

“What is really worrying is that people who use drugs in sports are taking potentially life-threatening drugs and think it’s worth it,” says Dr. Vivienne Nathanson. Dr. Nathanson is the British Medical Association’s head of ethics and science. “Surely no accolade is worth your health or indeed life.” It’s hard to believe that professional athletes who appear to have it all would risk their careers, and their lives, by abusing drugs. However, you have to consider the fact that they base their success on how well they perform physically and mentally on a daily basis. It makes sense that they might look to chemical substances for help.

Treating Drug Addiction in Athletes

As far as a professional athlete seeking treatment for drug addiction, the Substance Abuse, and Rehabilitation study advises that “drug abuse in athletes should be addressed with preventative measures, education, motivational interviewing, and, when indicated, pharmacologic interventions.” If you or someone you know is abusing a performance-enhancing drug or another controlled substance, contact the addiction recovery experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services for help.

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