Young Athletes & Drugs
Young athletes can sometimes face more exposure to substance abuse than many of their peers by taking performance enhancing drugs such as steroids, for their sport or using pharmaceutical drugs for pain resulting from an injury.
Identifying Substance Abuse in Young Athletes
It is sometimes difficult to differentiate normal teen behaviour from behaviour of those who are abusing drugs. While certain behaviours may be seen as simply teen angst, others are clear signs that there is more going on.
Changes in behaviour and patterns to look for include:
- Changes in sleep schedule or sleep patterns
- Alarming weight gain or loss
- Violent mood swings
- Aggression towards others
- Nervousness or anxiousness
- Swelling of feet or ankles
- Drowsiness at irregular times of day
- Becoming secluded from the family or avoiding family members
- Decline in grades
In the event you observe one or more of these signs, discuss it with your teen and consider getting them assessed by their GP.
Potential risks to young athletes from using drugs include:
- Higher risk of injury
- Damaging joints due to training while intoxicated
- Risk of high blood pressure
- Anger issues affecting other areas of their life
- Increased risk of stroke
- Increased risk of heart attack
- Irregular heart rate
- An enlarged heart
- Stunted growth from Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs)
All young people will experience dangers when taking drugs, but for athletes it can be particularly dangerous, ruining their career, damaging their body and opening the door to more injuries due to the nature of sport.
What Can be Done:
Prevention is always the best action, take extra care to educate young athletes on the dangers of drugs, how they can affect them both mentally and physically, the risks and what it could do to ruin an athletic career.
If the young person has already gotten into drugs, then help them to come off them, using local resources from your GP or full rehabilitation at a centre.
For more information on our drug education and rehabilitation programme,
contact us on 0800 802 1375