The Importance of Individualized and Specialized Treatment for Professional Athletes

Many people look at professional athletes as role models. However, these athletes are not exempt from struggles, mistakes, or behavioral and mental health disorders. Unfortunately, drug misuse in sports is an often-occurring problem. As is the case with other disorders and diseases, any individual can develop a substance use disorder. Since athletes are pressured to perform well, they often use unhealthy ways to cope. Fortunately, when substance use disorder in athletes becomes an issue, there are resources available to help.

Why Substance Use Disorder in Athletes is So Common

Substances Athletes Typically Misuse

The rate of professional athletes’ drug misuse is at an all-time high. In fact, researchers have found that certain players are at a higher risk of developing addictions to drugs or alcohol than their teammates. The specific sport played does not typically influence athletes using drugs. Instead, addiction comes from the need to receive social acceptance.

Substance misuse among athletes may also occur as a result of self-medication. It may also sometimes be due to the normalization of drug use. Many people place blind eyes on this type of behavior. No matter, each athlete has a specific reason for his or her addiction. The possible reasons might include the following:

Heightened Performance

One of the most common reasons for drug misuse in athletes is to gain an edge over the competition. According to the World Anti-Doping Agency, 50% of athletes admit to using performance-enhancing drugs to gain an advantage over the competition. It occurs across all sports, ages, and competitive levels.

Help Dealing with Mental Illness

Most times, athletes receive treatment for injuries. However, in some cases, these individuals are less likely to be treated for mental illness. Some athletes may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their conditions.

Help Dealing with Stress

Often, pressure is the underlying motivation behind substance use disorder in athletes. In fact, players face huge amounts of pressure to win. Professional athletes are typically expected to perform well and to recover from injuries quickly. To help individuals deal with the pressure, drugs and alcohol enter the picture.

Treating Injuries

Injuries bring pain. It is impossible to perform well with physical discomfort. Many players use opioids and marijuana to escape this pain. Due to the fact that these drugs are so addictive, misuse begins.

Dealing with Retirement

Many people think that when athletes retire, they relax and exit the spotlight. When a player leaves the game, it can be difficult to transition into a normal lifestyle. Stress occurs, which leads to the use of drugs and alcohol to cope.

Substances Athletes Typically Misuse

Individualized and Specialized Treatment for Professional Athletes

Professional athlete drug misuse does not include one particular medication. To clarify, many individuals use stimulants, opioids, and other performance-enhancing drugs.

Anabolic Steroids

The American Psychological Association explains that anabolic steroids increase muscle mass and body weight. Athletes take these types of drugs to build stamina and to gain strength. Unfortunately, they raise aggression levels.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that anabolic steroids help athletes perform better. On the other hand, they cause painful withdrawal symptoms after discontinued use. Athletes experience insomnia, sluggishness, and mood swings.

Specifically, anabolic steroids interfere with the body’s production of testosterone. Therefore, male athletes may experience impotence and enlarged breast tissue. Females often develop deeper voices. As a result of lower estrogen levels after use, women athletes may miss their periods as well.

Adderall

Adderall is today’s drug of choice in many locker rooms. It causes increased awareness and mental focus. Traditionally, it treats people who have ADHD.

On the downside, it brings harm to the brain’s neural pathways. A person who takes Adderall experiences extreme pleasure, which is hard to match without taking more. Also, it causes anxiety, sleep disorders, and mood swings. When a person suddenly stops taking this drug, his or her body has physical reactions, including nausea and muscle cramps.

Psychologically, a person experiences depression. In most instances, people have suicidal thoughts. An alarming fact is that many athletes take stimulants like this during training to copy the adrenaline rush that occurs during a real game.

Painkillers

Drug misuse in sports includes painkillers. Many players experience injuries that cause extreme discomfort. Painkillers are prescribed to help. However, they are often abused. Players become hooked and keep taking them, especially when they are needed back on the court or field. Unfortunately, these types of medicines are very strong and are easily addictive. Athletes get unnecessary prescriptions so that they are in peak condition to perform well.

Human Growth Hormone

Human growth hormone, or HGH, increases muscle mass and heightens performance. This is an injectable drug that is often bought illegally.

Alcohol

Undoubtedly, alcohol is another substance that is associated with drug misuse in athletes. Certain people drink before a big game to lower anxiety. However, there is no proof that alcohol actually helps. In fact, alcohol hinders performance. Some teams binge drink after a game to celebrate a win as well.

Cocaine

Like other stimulants, cocaine improves endurance, heightens focus, and encourages weight loss. Primarily, users experience periods of short euphoria; then, a crash occurs. To elongate the high, individuals binge use the drug. Cocaine suppresses a person’s appetite as well. When an athlete is forced to maintain a certain weight, it is easy to abuse this drug.

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Misuse in Athletes

There are various signs of a substance abuse disorder in athletes.

Physical Signs

  • Neck puffiness
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Excess body hair growth
  • Excess weight gain or loss

Medical Signs

  • Ulcers
  • Hypertension
  • Digestive issues
  • Heart palpitations

Psychological Signs

Behavioral Signs

  • Obsession about athletic performance
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Financial problems

Drug Misuse in Male Athletes vs. Female Athletes

the importance of specialized treatment for substance use disorder in athletes.

Although headlines showcase male athletes who misuse drugs or alcohol, there are women athletes using drugs as well. Research for the National Collegiate Athletic Association shared some statistics. It explains that 44% of male athletes and 30% of female athletes report binge drinking. On the other hand, certain drugs are misused more frequently by males. Anabolic steroid use is dominated by male athletes. However, drugs like painkillers are misused by both males and females to deal with injuries.

Types of Treatments Available for Athletes Using Drugs

The rate of substance use disorder in athletes is extremely high. These people face unique circumstances that benefit from structure and individualized treatment. Of course, athletes require a facility that offers confidentiality. Many professional athletes fear getting a reputation as an addict. Also, athletes need a rehab center with amenities that help to maintain physical abilities.

Detox

When an athlete takes drugs for a prolonged period of time, it is essential to undergo detox. In this process, the body deals with the physical symptoms of withdrawal. At an inpatient facility, medical professionals oversee this process so that no complications occur.

Therapies

Next, an athlete receives individualized therapy. Both face-to-face therapy sessions and group meetings are used. Therapy helps an athlete understand the reasons behind drug misuse. Also, it provides healthier ways to cope with stress and anxiety. Many times, patients participate in behavioral therapy, which helps to identify triggers that lead to drug use.

In certain cases, athletes have dual diagnoses; this means that they suffer from addiction along with another mental illness. It is especially common in the world of sports to ignore mental issues, which can have direct effects on substance misuse. Working with a sports psychologist helps athletes cope with the pressure that is associated with competition.

It is true that some athletes participate in holistic therapies to treat their bodies, minds, and spirits. To demonstrate, acupuncture, massage, and yoga are therapies used to lower stress and to learn ways to naturally cope with pain and anxiety.

Aftercare

After an athlete leaves rehab, it may not be wise for him or her to return to the locker room. Accordingly, having a plan for aftercare is essential for long-term recovery. Future injuries and stress can return an athlete to negative behavior. A therapist will work with each patient to develop a plan that helps him or her maintain a drug-free lifestyle.

Helping with Professional Athlete Drug Misuse

When a person notices athletes using drugs, there are certain ways to help these sportsmen seek treatment. To begin, it is essential to show interest. When a person knows that someone cares about him or her, this individual listens to the caring person’s advice. Also, it is vital to offer support. Treatment can be a scary prospect, especially for a famous athlete. In fact, having a network of support makes the entire process a bit more bearable. Recovery is a long road that may have many setbacks. It is essential to bolster a person’s confidence and to guide him or her onto the path of sobriety.

Where to Receive Treatment for Professional Athlete Drug Misuse

Professional athletes enjoy applause from fans and the perks of fame. Nevertheless, they often deal with substance abuse. Drug misuse in sports must be treated with professional therapy. At Coastal Detox, our team understands the pitfalls of professional athlete drug misuse. We use individualized therapy to address the issues that lead to drug misuse in sports. We offer a safe and comfortable setting in Florida for detox so that a person has a stable start to recovery. For more information, contact us today.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4140700/

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/steroids-other-appearance-performance-enhancing-drugs-apeds/introduction

https://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/ncaa-student-athlete-substance-use-study-executive-summary-august-20145

Jodi Silverman Goldberg
Jodi Silverman Goldberg
2022-03-21
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Matthew Mcnulty
2022-03-07
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This is the top tier Rehab/Detox center in Southeast FL. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them. Their attention to detail is impressive. They specialize in treating alcohol abuse among several other conditions. If you or a loved one are looking for a blueprint on how to sober up…Coastal Detox will lead you there.
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Mary Katz
2022-02-26
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My experience with Coastal has been one of empathy, kindness and family. From Admissions to Nurses to techs I have never felt so cared for. Food and drink 24/7. Coastal is a place I went twice. First time 14 days next 6days later for another 11. At 59 and umpteen detoxes Coastal by far is Heaven Sent! As a Nutritionist and Trainer, I'm so happy to be back....the Mary ,who was lost:)
vicky ehr
vicky ehr
2022-01-29
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Great place . Helped me so much I am a 64 year old woman and this place got me sober with dignity and kindness. I highly recommend it plus the food is incredible. Rooms are really well laid out. 2 guys to a room . Each bed has its own t.v with head sets so you dont bother your roomate. Take an extra pillow and comfort blanket from home. At least 3 pairs of pj’ s sock and shoes and comfortable clothing fit. You do your own laundry there. I will send you the link to look at. After thinking all morning this is hands down the place for you. Lots of young people and fantastic therapists. For my wonderful son who suffers. From addiction the way I do.
Melissa Lorina
Melissa Lorina
2022-01-13
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I am the mom of an addict. My son arrived at Coastal Detox on his own...very torn...very broken...tired of being sick and tired.I can not rave about this place enough. From the 1st phone call, it all went great! Great staff, great nurses, very helpful at all times...very caring and loving. He has chosen to go forward with a program...which is amazing to me...this is a break through for sure! If your reading this and are trying to decide wether to come here or not...hands down...the answer is yes!!! This place is amazing and changed my world for sure! I pray all that enter these doors, finds recovery! It is possible and this place is amazing!!! They should have 10 Stars!!! Awesome experience for me to witness the 1st day of the rest of my son's life sober!!! I am so grateful for this place...pick them...pick recovery!!!💜💜💜💜💜💜💜
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John Doe
2021-12-02
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The staff is very caring it’s extremely clean with delicious food ( healthy and comfortable). It’s 4 stars because the administration just needs some work. It’s still one of the best places I’ve been too. Thank you to ALL the staff you made me feel loved , safe , and helped me through some very difficult times. If you need a detox that cares this is the place to go!

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