Take a look around, and you will see that drugs are always in the sporting world. Athletes are revealed continuously to have drug problems. One must ask the question, are sports making people addicted to drugs? In many ways, the simple answer is yes.
An athlete’s life is usually very different from an ordinary person’s life. They are under a lot more pressure to perform. They also receive a lot more attention. All of these can be factors that can lead to drug abuse and addiction.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Sports are very physical activity, and some sports encourage it. Many athletes get concussions while they are competing. We know the obvious culprits like boxing and American football concussions happen in less physical sports like basketball and soccer too. Injuries to the brain can have long term effects.
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Loss of Impulse Control
The loss of impulse control heavily contributes to substance abuse and addiction. Added to the fact that athletes can be depressed, drugs and suicide can become dangers in an athlete’s life.
All athletes are at risk of severe injuries. When these injuries happen, it is common for athletes to be prescribed painkillers. The opioid prescription has a long history of making people vulnerable to substance abuse. When someone has been prescribed a painkiller, they are always in danger of abusing it. Here are some signs of abuse.
- Using prescription for boredom or kill time.
- Using a prescription dosage that is not in line with the doctor’s recommendation.
- Using prescription for reasons that your doctor did not recommend you to use them for.
- Running out of prescription faster.
Dopamine is the feel-good chemical your brain releases to keep you alert and motivated. An athlete’s dopamine levels do not experience the same cycles as most normal people do. When an athlete is competing, their dopamine levels are incredibly high. The pressure to perform makes the brain release dopamine. This is why intense exercise can feel great. Some people might even seem addicted to exercise.
However, in an athlete’s daily life they will rarely find activities that produce that much dopamine. Many drugs affect dopamine, so athlete’s are prone to abuse these drugs. This is especially prominent in athletes who no longer compete. They are unable to find meaning excitement in their lives anymore. They may feel extremely bored and are only able to enjoy life with the use of drugs.
The attention an athlete receives from the media or their peers also raises dopamine levels. When this attention suddenly stops, there is a lot of adjustment needed. The body and the mind have to learn this new life.
Recovery for athletes actually has an unexpected twist. Many athletes like being challenged and start their addiction because nothing is challenging. However, recovery is extremely challenging. Many athletes may find the process thrilling and rewarding.
Still, drug recovery is not easy for anyone. Athlete’s need help to get better too. An athlete who is trying to recover will need a lot of support. This is never easy for anyone and should never be done alone.