SWISS PSYCHIATRIST Carl Jung wrote that we become what we do, an observation that has timely relevance in the sports world. This is true both in the United States—where several troubled college sports programs face sanctions for unethical behavior and a number of individual athletes have had criminal charges filed against them— and internationally.
The situation is of particular interest to physicians because many of the recent incidents are associated with some type of drug use, most commonly alcohol, cocaine, and anabolic steroids. The ethical issues can be considered apart from their effects on health, although the deleterious health effects of alcohol and cocaine are well known.
While the long-term health effects of taking anabolic steroids have not been documented, many experts believe that physicians have an obligation to discourage their athlete patients from using these drugs, based on the available information on their short-term effects.
Confessional tales by athletes