Addiction In Sports: Why Athletes Are At Greater Risk?

Addiction In Sports: Why Athletes Are At Greater Risk?

Are you an athlete? 

If so, you’re probably aware of the excruciating amount of pressure (both physical and psychological) a professional has to deal with. 

Now, each person has their own unique way of dealing with this issue. 

For instance, some people tend to use performance-enhancing medications, such as steroids, to gain that competitive edge. Conversely, others primarily rely on various illegal drugs, like marijuana or alcohol to manage or reduce injury-related pain.

While using drugs occasionally is not harmful at all, it might lead to addiction when taken for a prolonged period. Please keep reading to know more about it. 

Addiction And Athletes – The Prevalent Risk Factors 

Genetics is the number one risk factor of addiction for both non-athletes and athletes. For example, if you belong to a family that has a history of addiction, you are more likely to develop the same. 

Besides, if you have experienced any childhood trauma, like abandonment, physical abuse, neglect, you’ll be at risk of developing addictive behavior. Finally, people, who’re suffering from anxiety, depression, or something similar, can develop addiction too. 

In any case, if you’re suffering from addiction, make sure to visit a professional today. For instance, Infinite Recovery provides a drug rehab in San Antonio that can help you manage your addictive behavior efficiently. 

Cause Of Addiction In Athletes 

Contrary to the general audience, an athlete cannot take any substance at their will. For example, if you’re a sprinter, you’ll be prohibited from taking cannabis or any other form of smoking. Conversely, the swimmers generally avoid drinking alcohol entirely. 

So, how do you get addicted? 

Well, the core of the addictive behavior for an athlete lies in medications. It can be a type of steroid or a painkiller, which is used to reduce the overall stress and discomfort. Here’s what you need to know in this regard. 


A painkiller, in essence, is the best friend of an athlete. It helps them manage their suffering and reduce the prominence of an injury to some extent. 

However, most of these medications tend to consist of a certain amount of opioids. Hence, if you keep consuming the same, it will cause some sort of addiction. 

Additionally, the aforesaid component can also make you feel sleepy or tired, which isn’t really an ideal situation for an athlete. 

Performance-Enhancing Medication 

Many people, who are seeking to improve their performance or appearance, tend to intake performance-enhancing drugs. Nonetheless, unlike a painkiller, these drugs aren’t ideal for your health at all. 

To begin with, they can cause more pain throughout your body, as you’re surpassing the limits your body can handle. Besides, taking them incessantly can also affect your psychiatric state as a whole and lead to pain. 

Finally, if you keep taking these medicines, you’ll also increase your risk of kidney failure, liver tumors, and symptoms of social withdrawal. 


Like performance enhancers, stimulants are generally used to increase the energy of an individual. Therefore, if you take one prior to your period of exercising, you can improve your overall longevity to some extent. 

However, there’s a hitch. 

If you start abusing stimulants like cocaine, amphetamine, you may experience paranoia and a sense of aggression. In severe cases, it can also lead to seizures and death.

Keep in mind – taking a stimulant with alcohol is pretty dangerous and can prompt you to experience life-threatening conditions as a whole. 

What Are The Side Effects Of Addiction? 

Addiction can be pretty impactful on the body of an athlete, as they’ve to go through a lot of stress and pain throughout their lifetime. 

The physical side effects of addiction for an athlete can include – 

  • Decreased libido and sexual drive. 
  • Testicle shrinkage (rare). 
  • Prostate or liver cancer. 
  • Cardiovascular issues. 
  • Issues with giving birth. 

The psychological issues that you might experience due to addiction are – 

  • Extreme mental stress and anxiety. 
  • A sense of euphoria and delusions. 
  • Behaving aggressively. 
  • Depression. 
  • Unnatural and untimely mood swings. 

What Are The Treatment Options Available For Addiction? 

When it comes to treating addiction, you can opt for three different options. Each of these is pretty unique on their own. Therefore, be sure to learn about them as thoroughly as possible before choosing something for your purpose. 

  • Inpatient: As the name implies, in an inpatient treatment procedure, you’ll have to stay in the facility for a certain period. You will not be able to take anything, such as your mobile phone, from your home. Also, you can only meet with your family members only once in a few months. Hence, the situation might be a little constricted. 
  • Outpatient: An outpatient treatment is more of an intermittent approach to the natural addiction therapeutic procedure. In this aspect, you will not have to stay in the facility for a prolonged period. It will also be possible for you to come back to your house and stay with your family together. 
  • Partial Hospitalization: This option is much more casual and flexible than the aforesaid alternatives. In this aspect, you can stay at your home and get treated by a professional simultaneously. You’ll be able to access all the amenities whenever possible and meet your family anytime you want. 

Amongst these options, the inpatient procedure will be ideal for someone whose addiction level is too high. Hence, they will need to be absolutely isolated from the rest of the world to get better and healthier. 

Final Thoughts 

While taking drugs can be viable in reducing your pain and discomfort, they don’t offer a permanent solution to your problem. Whether you’re a BJJ fighter or a sprinter, we’ll ask you to opt for a rest and recovery approach instead. This way, you can avoid the risk of addiction and keep your health condition much better than usual. 

In any case, now, we’ll be concluding our article. If you still have any queries, make sure to raise them in the comment section. We’ll try to answer everything as quickly as we can.