FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- In order to meet expectations on the field, many student-athletes look for a competitive advantage, even if it means putting their minds and bodies at risk.
According to the experts at Newport Academy, a teen treatment center with campuses in Bethlehem and Darien, research has shown a strong correlation between adolescents’ use of performance-enhancing drugs -- or PEDs -- and mental health, substance abuse and eating disorders.
As high school sports become more competitive and PED use continues to grow, youth psychologists are finding that a desire to win isn’t the only contributing factor. "There’s typically an underlying issue, such as low self-esteem, depression or anxiety,” said Kristin Wilson, Director of Clinical Research at Newport Academy. "If we can tap into the athlete's mind, we find this idea of 'I’m not good enough.'"
In addition to long-term health effects, including thickening of the blood, heart attack, stroke, joint damage and overgrowth of body parts, PEDs are illegal. In recent years, several high-profile athletes have been in the spotlight for PED use, including Major League Baseball players Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and more.
At Newport Academy, the focus is on resolving the underlying issues teens face. Counselors teach clients skills for building self-esteem and managing their emotions, so they don't resort or return to dangerous and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Newport Academy has several locations throughout the United States, including residential programs, recovery day schools and outpatient programs for mental health and substance abuse.
For more information or to find a campus near you, click here.