Performance-enhancing drugs change the normal physiology of a person, resulting to athletic improvement. For instance, anabolic drug use results in the creation of more tissues (anabolism). The effects of anabolic drugs are caused by their testosterone-like structure. Since testosterone increases muscle mass, anabolic drugs help athletes by bulking them up. The more muscle an athlete has, the greater his strength.
Testosterone also enhances male characteristics (making them “androgenic”). Male aggression, for instance, is attributed to this hormone. Therefore, the anabolic properties of PEDs are desired more than their androgenic qualities—and the most ideal PEDs are those that are anabolic without being too androgenic.
Performance-enhancing drugs have different mechanisms of action and are used in different situations and sports. Here are some of the most common ones to date.
Muscle mass builders increase muscle mass and may also reduce body fat. These drugs attach to receptors found in muscles and other tissues, triggering tissue synthesis. They increase muscle mass.
Thermogenics are weight loss pills. They help increase metabolism and burn fat stores, leading to a leaner body. Ephedrine alkaloids belong to this class.
Sedatives and anxiolytics help relieve anxiety and are useful in sports that require a relaxed state of mind or a steady hand. These drugs are also abused by athletes who get too nervous before a game.
Analgesics. These drugs relieve pain during sports injuries. They can be non-steroidal, but stronger drugs are often narcotic and addictive. They have different mechanisms of action, but they share one common trait: they improve pain tolerance and/or decrease inflammation, keeping athletes in the game despite painful injuries.
Physical and mental stimulants. These drugs improve mental or physical performance through different mechanisms. They can improve mental focus, increase one’s energy, or enhance athletic aggression.