Growing numbers of middle-aged men are turning to anabolic steroids to make themselves look and feel more youthful and boost their sexual performance
The Question is Why?
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There has always been this feeling that a mid-life crisis is more in the imagination and often made fun 0ff.
But for many men, it is a distressing experience.
Mid-life crises can trigger so many thoughts and feelings. But is that not why middle-aged men feel lost and alone? We hit middle age and then what do we do?
Middle-age is a time of reflection but is also a time feeling lost and alone? We hit middle age and then what do we do?
We hit middle age and then what do we do?
The term ‘midlife crisis’ was coined in 1965 by Elliot Jacques, M.D., Ph.D., a Canadian psychoanalyst, to describe challenges during the normal period of transition and self-reflection many adults experience from age 40 to 60.
During these years, middle-aged men commonly question who they really are, and where do they fit into this world and more importantly, what is their purpose in life, and how have they used their time thus far.
Mid-life crises can mean different things to different men.
It is it simply feeling of getting old-you know the feeling-life has just passed you by.
All the things that you wanted to do before you got to 50 have just not happened. You wish for time to be turned back.
From a personal point of view, I place great importance on appearance.
Now I am not talking about clothes or dress sense.
No this is more about how I fiscally look.
We live in a world of images and stereotypes
It’s not only women who feel under pressure to look young and fit, men also come under pressure.
“Guys are saying they just want to feel like they can stand alongside the younger generation who are much more aware of how they look,” said Joseph Kean, visiting research fellow at Liverpool John Moores University.
From his work, he estimates that the number of over-50s using steroids has doubled over the past five years, while 15,000-30,000 over the 40s were using. He also suggested that older men tended to use smaller doses of steroids than younger men.
Frontline service providers who work with drug users are now reporting that after a couple of years dealing with increasing numbers of young steroid users, they are starting to see men in their 40s and 50s – and in some cases even OAPs – referring themselves for help.
For a growing number of middle-aged, anabolic steroids is their way or attempt to fight off the natural decline which comes with the ageing process.
“We have come across a lot of older men using. It’s almost like hormone replacement therapy [used to relieve symptoms of the menopause] for females. Steroids can help you lose body fat as well,” says Julien Baker, an applied physiology professor at the University of the West of Scotland. “It is a major problem, but the evidence isn’t there about what the long-term impact is yet. We are not sure what these drugs are doing to you at that age, but everyone perceives it as safe.”
What are the dangers of taking them?
Men who use steroids as a short-cut to bigger muscles have long been shown to suffer from long-term physical reactions such as
- Shrinkage of the testicles,
- Penis problems,
- Pain when urinating
- Breast growth.
More recently, memory loss has been added to this list of not-so-glamorous health outcomes that are linked to the use of anabolic steroids.
It’s estimated that as many as 38pc of bodybuilders take steroids, while Drug Wise, a charity which promotes evidenced-based information on drugs, reports that between 20 and 40 percent of people attending some gyms use the substances.
So why are middle-aged men turning to drugs?
Can I suggest that its vanity that is driving this?
We all would like to turn back the clock, who wouldn’t like to look 25 again.
The sad truth is that we can’t stop the ageing process- but we can do a lot of things to slow it down
Older men are getting into steroids not just for muscle growth, but to revisit their youth.
Older men have grasped the idea that by taking drugs-and by the steroids is a drug.
(Legally, steroids are a controlled, Class C substance – it is not illegal to possess them, but it is illegal to manufacture, supply, possess or import/export them unless licensed to do so).
So if you could take something that will get you into a good shape, without the effort which that would have previously entailed… Basically, if they think something will work they’ll take it.
The most common ‘side effect’ is associated with testosterone.
By taking steroids you will inflate your levels of this hormone to the highest you’ve ever had, in doing so you can ‘reap’ the rewards, be able to train harder and have greater energy and vitality. But when you stop taking them the ‘crash’ for many can take years to recover from, if at all.
The Juice Clinic in Sheffield, a service for people using steroids and image-enhancing drugs, has noted an increase in older men asking for help.
“Steroid use for older men is often about the youthful effects, and about body image and energy levels,” said Sid Wiffen, the clinic’s team leader. “I hear talk of men feeling more pressure now to look good, so they are more likely to go to the gym and dress well.
“It can be dangerous and it does worry me. Lots of people we see are keen to make an informed decision about their steroid use, but some get information elsewhere and it’s not always good.”
Once users begin to decrease or discontinue use of steroids, withdrawal symptoms such as low mood and anxiety can occur
The False Impression –
For men who get to a certain age where they are unable to maintain a particular physique naturally, you can see how they would be tempted to try other means to get a body they may be found easier to achieve 15-20 years ago.
Wanting to look good is no longer just the domain of the young.
You only have to look at some of the men’s lifestyle magazines to see examples of men over 50 with a ripped body and a six-pack and you just thing-
How did he manage that!
The answer will properly be that he may or may not be taking some form Human Growth Hormone.
In a really great article written by Sarah Marsh from The Guardian, she interviewed a middle-aged man, who wanted to remain anonymous on his experiences of why had taken the decision to start to take drugs-
And this is what he had to say about the whole experience.
Older men are been seriously misguided
However, many older men using steroids might be seriously misguided – the NHS warns that many of the conditions men attribute to their dropping testosterone levels (poor muscle condition, lack of sex drive, erectile dysfunction) are actually caused by lifestyle issues, ranging from lack of sleep and exercise, o poor diet and stress.
So if men are self-diagnosing themselves as going through a testosterone deficit and taking their own cocktail of steroids without addressing these underlying issues, then the problems are going to stack up.
There’s also a lack of information about how these substances affect the older body – most medical research has looked at the effect of steroids on younger men and athletes, with little awareness of how reintroducing a substance after your body has stopped naturally producing it is going to impact on you.
Finally, as it gets older, the human body takes longer to recover from any damage caused to it – so even if you are just going through a slightly mad phase, any harm that you do to yourself could be serious, long-lasting and harder to come back from.