Living in an overly demanding society would often require one to have all the energy he would need, and at times, getting quick-fixes like taking performance-enhancing substances tend to become the norm. While these concoctions may be acceptable, a number of researchers found a bothersome link between intake of these substances and alcoholism, as well as an exhibition of drink-related risky behaviours later in life. They have noted that this relationship is more prevalent in men.
A study published in Pediatrics journal analysed 12,000 participants from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the U.S. They found that young adults between the age of 18 and 26 who used legal performance-enhancing substances were likely to report alcoholism seven years later.
Kyle T. Ganson, the lead author, and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, stated that the results of their study were concerning considering that these substances are commonly used in young people, most especially among boys and men.
Dr Ganson stated that adult men show higher death rates associated with alcohol use. This is a very risky behaviour, which would eventually lead to a number of adverse consequences. It can affect employment success, increase health care cost, impede the economy and even contribute to an increase in law enforcement cost.
There are legal and illegal performance-enhancing substances. The legal ones include protein powders or creatine monohydrate. The illegal ones include anabolic androgenic steroids.
Based on the research, men who use legal performance-enhancing substances have a higher risk of experiencing different problems related to alcohol use. In addition, they also show the propensity to exhibit risky behaviours.
Among the set of behaviours while under the influence of alcohol as identified by the researchers include engaging in risky behaviours, binge drinking, experiencing legal woes, continued use of alcohol despite the emotional or physical health troubles, diminished socialisation, and binge drinking.
Ganson mentioned that a possible reason why young boys and men have a higher propensity to go for performance-enhancing substances is the social pressure behind the "ideal" body type for men. For them, since they cannot easily achieve it, they would go for these substances to be able to attain the ideal body type.
Dr Jason M. Nagata, senior author and assistant professor at the University of California, said that these legal performance-enhancing substances are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He added that they are often commonly mislabeled and they may also contain harmful ingredients like anabolic steroids.