Friday, November 2, 2018

Substance Use in Athletes - Contributing and Motivating Factors

As a care coordinator with the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in Robbinsville, New Jersey, Kandi Derry Digiovanni advocates for clients with substance use challenges. Kandi Derry Digiovanni comes to this role having served for nearly four years as an athletic trainer at Kean University.

For athletes at any level of skill, the pressures involved in competition can make substance use seem enticing. Many athletes turn to drugs to improve their stamina, strength, and even competitive ferocity. An athlete that begins taking these drugs may find it difficult to stop, largely because the substances themselves create a chemical dependency that leads to extremely distressing withdrawal symptoms with cessation.

Many athletes have similar struggles with medications designed for ADHD. These medications can cause an athlete to experienced improved mental clarity and a burst of energy as well as an intense feeling of pleasure. Unfortunately, if the athlete attempts to stop taking this drug, he or she often experiences physical symptoms such as nausea and vomiting as well as suicidal ideation and other psychological symptoms.

Pain relievers can also plague athletic communities, as many athletes begin taking them to treat an injury or illness so that they can keep playing. These drugs are also extremely addictive and can be easy to obtain, either from a doctor or from fellow players.

Regardless of the athlete's choice of drug, the resultant dependence can interfere severely with his or her career and everyday life. For this reason, experts recommend preventive intervention and education as well as available treatment for athletes who may be affected.