Steroids may cause death
Michael’s suicide devastated and confused his parents, who had recently watched him attain unprecedented success at school, work and what had become his life’s passion: powerlifting.
Michael’s parents, who asked not to be identified, have had numerous conversations with their son’s friends from the gym and from his night job at the state Department of Revenue. They are now struggling to come to grips with this likelihood: that the weightlifting obsession that fueled their son’s life for three years was also the power behind his death.
They believe Michael’s muscle-bound body was the product of anabolic steroids massive doses of which he is believed to have been taking for most of the last three years of his life.
Michael’s death,; which his friends and parents say was not preceded by notable bouts of depression or anger, is one of many cases beginning to surface nationwide in which steroids are blamed for causing psychiatric disorders including paranoia, overaggres-siveness, mood swings and major depression.
Doctors and scientists involved in sports medicine believe that cases like Michael’s are symptomatic of increasing steroid use by teenagers.
More importantly, his death illustrates the little-known psychological dangers connected with the muscle- and strength-building drugs, which are available by prescription but more often are obtained and used illegally.
Michael’s involvement with steroids dates back to 1986, when he asked an employee of Vic Tanny Health and Racquetball Club to make a connection for him with a steroid dealer.
“He wanted to get big so fast,” recalls Robert Mitchell, who had been powerlifting for almost a year when Michael began coining to the club. “He felt like he needed to impress everybody in the gym.”
Mitchell, who is now 26 and no longer works at the club, said he and Michael quickly became friends, often working out together after the gym was closed.
From a dealer he won’t identify, Mitchell bought Michael a $25 bottle of the anabolic steroid Dianabol, enough for a four-week cycle, and the teen-ager incorporated the drug into his six-day-a-week workouts. He expected instant results, and was impatient when he did not get them.
“Mike would come in and say, ‘Robert, I’m not feeling anything,’ and I’d say, ‘Give it three weeks.’”
Before obtaining the steroids for Michael, Mitchell had undergone a six-week cycle on Dianabol and had made remarkable gains in both strength and size.
‘If people think getting steroids is a problem because they are illegal, it’s not,’ the 19-year-old writes in his term paper. ‘If you are into bodybuilding and powerlifting and want them, you can get them as easily as buying a gallon of milk.’
Steroids may cause death