• The Cycling News forum is looking to add some volunteer moderators with Red Rick's recent retirement. If you're interested in helping keep our discussions on track, send a direct message to @SHaines here on the forum, or use the Contact Us form to message the Community Team. Thanks!

WHAT ARE THE MENTAL IMPACTS of doping?

Mar 11, 2009
77
0
0
Visit site
So Tom was on the gear again.

He must have known the risks- Did he want to be caught?


taking drugs for which will improve athletic ability has been largely researched to the benefits of aerobic ability.

WHAT ARE THE MENTAL IMPACTS?

this illustrates a problem which was responsible for the death of Marco Pantaini. doctors giving drugs to riders, chemicals to alter their natural systems, must have also effects on the brain.

1,Does regular doping use in sport encourage the recreational use of other substances .
2, Is a long term side affect of doping in cycling, depression? (brought on by chemical imbalance, guilt?)
 
Apr 11, 2009
2,250
0
0
Visit site
Very good questions.

What is the relationship/correlation between pro cycling and depression? There do seem to have been an unusual number of pro cyclists who have or are suffering from depression (Jimenez, Pantani, Hamilton, and I also wonder about Sastre, sometimes, but who seems a really aware kind of guy and deals with it).

Is it drug use and/or the natural consequence of those spending inumerable hours in a mild exercised-induced state of endorphin excess, and subsequent letdowns? There's a real endorphin yo-yo from the exercise cycle.

Drugs/hormone use/blood transfusions along with the huge "unnatural" yo-yo of exessive exercise-induced endorphin cycles doesn't sound like a good combo to me for someone predisposed to depression. It's a problem.
 
I can imagine that cheating for such a long time must lead to depression. The stress of cheating and always worrying about getting caught must be huge. On top of that knowing that your achievements, even though you worked hard are all hollow. Life as a fraud is depressing. Depression seems to be a natural outcome for anyone who has a conscience cheats in such a systematic and profound way.
 
Black Dog said:
I can imagine that cheating for such a long time must lead to depression. The stress of cheating and always worrying about getting caught must be huge. On top of that knowing that your achievements, even though you worked hard are all hollow. Life as a fraud is depressing. Depression seems to be a natural outcome for anyone who has a conscience cheats in such a systematic and profound way.
Unless he/she pushes the idea that everybody is doing it as well and then relaxes the guilt a little bit. That was one of he Jonathan Vaughters dilemmas when he was in US Postal service until he found out that outside US Postal service there were some riders or teams that were somewhat clean. Then he had emotional problems, according to his interview, and then retired as a cyclist.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
maybe tom was depressed cos cavvy is whupping him so he turned to coke... in which case , that makes cavendish partly responsible.. think the UCI should be looking more closely at him and maybe banning him for a while instead.. :D

If depression leads to drugs can we now expect the entire silence squad to fail drug test during the giro.. if anyone in the cylcing world is depressed right now its got to be them...
 
BigBoat said:
Coke is harmless unless smoking large amounts of crack.
BB, please. Ask Len Bias family if they think this is true. Or the family and friends of many others that have died from recreational cocaine use.

As far as doping goes, I think Lemond pointed out once that the burden many of these riders must carry is huge, knowing you doped, you cheated, and not being able to tell anyone, or even admit it.

If you read the interview from I believe last December with Tyler Hamilton, it's now rather telling. About how he said someday he'd like to write a tell-all book, and that cycling was governed by a mafia, etc. I'm no supporter of cheaters, him included, but he seemed very much like an American Pantani. Someone who is sensitive, and got caught up in cheating, and all of his wins are a result of that. Probably last year's National Championship as well, to be honest. Assuming he is that sensitve, and prone to depression to begin with, this is probably a very, very heavy weight to carry. Of course, spilling his guts won't change the sport, and he might get stripped of his gold medal and other wins - wins he likely feels were over other doped riders.

Then there are cases like Koldo Gil, or Roberto Heras, guys who no matter what they do or say, can't get accepted back into the sport. That's a real motivator for others to see.
 
Mar 11, 2009
78
0
0
Visit site
Alpe d'Huez said:
Then there are cases like Koldo Gil, or Roberto Heras, guys who no matter what they do or say, can't get accepted back into the sport. That's a real motivator for others to see.

Do you think that might have more to do with their attitude of denial or maybe they weren't well liked or something? It seems to be the same with Vino, everyone seems to hate him now and be appauled that he'd consider a comeback, but other riders seem to be welcomed back with open arms.

The topic is certainly an interesting one, the evidence certainly seems to indicate that certain people are more likely to develop mental illness based on 'substance' abuse, or as Greg Lemond says in that ethics talk, substance abuse often occurs by someone 'self-medicating' to deal with their depression. I don't see why doping wouldn't come under this. Everyone knows the stereotype of the angry guy who takes steroids!

I personally think they need to do more research into mental illness anyway.
 
tashimi76 said:
Everyone knows the stereotype of the angry guy who takes steroids!

I think you have that reversed.

Parot23 said:
What is the relationship/correlation between pro cycling and depression? There do seem to have been an unusual number of pro cyclists who have or are suffering from depression (Jimenez, Pantani, Hamilton, and I also wonder about Sastre, sometimes, but who seems a really aware kind of guy and deals with it).

I think it is probably because exercise can be used to alleviate depression to some degree or at least make the effects go away while exercising. It is likely that a lot of hardcore exercise addicts have issues to some degree. Cycling is convenient because you can do vast amounts of it per week.
 
Like all of us - competitive athletes (cyclists included) are driven by the recognition they get from winning. But some are overly externally referenced that is to say they judge themselves on what others think about their performance too much. This is sometimes linked to lower self-esteem. Folks with lower self-esteem need to keep winning to feel good about themselves - which is great when they are on the way up - but when they stop winning or success gets a little tougher they get down. Initially this might simply fuel a determination to get back out there and prove they still have it but eventually it can lead to real depression. It's quite common in competitive athletes especially those that are comming to the end of their career.

The psych effects of doping would only make this worse
 
tashimi76 said:
Do you think that might have more to do with their attitude of denial or maybe they weren't well liked or something? It seems to be the same with Vino, everyone seems to hate him now and be appauled that he'd consider a comeback, but other riders seem to be welcomed back with open arms.
I personally think they need to do more research into mental illness anyway.

I would fully agree with that last part, especially in the United States. We live in such a competitive society, telling each other to stop trying to suck off the system, and fend for yourself and stop complaining, etc. and not showing sympathy much of the time until someone is truly suicidal, or in some cases, dead.

BroDeal said:
I think it is probably because exercise can be used to alleviate depression to some degree.

Beck Weathers, who was involved in the famous 1996 Everest expedition later said he had suffered from rather severe depression, and climbing alleviated that as he was pretty constantly exercising and often too exhausted to even think.

180mmCrank said:
Like all of us - competitive athletes (cyclists included) are driven by the recognition they get from winning.

Or depressed from the lack of doing so. I knew I hated losing. I think the culture of doping exasperates this, as if you think most others are doping, you're thus more inclined to feel the need to dope, creating a downward spiral. Potentially anyway.
 
It's interesting to compare the cases of Jonathan Vaughters and Tyler Hamilton. Both came from the same US Postal background and probably were subject to the same conception that everyone is cheating.

Vaughters then comes to credit Agricole and finds a completely diffrent atmosphere where, like someone said, Christophe Moreau never went above 40% hematocrit etc and got a new outlook on things and quit as a result of it.

If you instead look at Tyler who when leaving US Postal ended up in CSC under Bjarne and then Phonak. It's quite possible that Tyler didn't get the same epiphany as Vaughters and as a result had much diffrent outcomes in his career.

This is of course just speculations but who knows....
 
Mar 10, 2009
420
1
0
Visit site
There was some research about a link between doping, depression and drug use. Maybe it was Sandro Donati who spoke about it. He is a renowned Italian antidoping fighter. Unfortunately, I don't recall more.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Alpe d'Huez said:
Or depressed from the lack of doing so. I knew I hated losing. I think the culture of doping exasperates this, as if you think most others are doping, you're thus more inclined to feel the need to dope, creating a downward spiral. Potentially anyway.

youve only got to look at the likes or ronnie osullivan or alex higgins in snooker, several darts players, gazza, georgie best...

fine while they are on top of there game.. when things go even a little bit wrong unable to cope.. interesting that the likes of them general get our support (ok.. gazza only up to the point he started beating up his wife) yet we seem very intolerant to cyclists straying off the otherwise perfect path
 
dimspace said:
youve only got to look at the likes or ronnie osullivan or alex higgins in snooker, several darts players, gazza, georgie best...

fine while they are on top of there game.. when things go even a little bit wrong unable to cope.. interesting that the likes of them general get our support (ok.. gazza only up to the point he started beating up his wife) yet we seem very intolerant to cyclists straying off the otherwise perfect path

It's the same in the entertainment world - think of all the entertainers / comediens / rock stars - who need the hit of the recognition from the audience and when it goes they repalce it with drugs or alchohol...slippy slope.

The ones that get through it or have less trouble have a more robust self-esteem - they are just not as bothered about what others think.
 
Mar 19, 2009
1,311
0
0
Visit site
Obama has done coke... people in US congress blow coke... So its not a huge offence. What can you do?

Cycling in America doesnt have a fan base, the only "fans" are Lance Pharmstrong supporters who obssess over him and want nothing else to do with 2 wheels, pedals and the latest Carbon bling with 88 mm rims.
 
BigBoat said:
Obama has done coke... people in US congress blow coke... So its not a huge offence. What can you do?

Cycling in America doesnt have a fan base, the only "fans" are Lance Pharmstrong supporters who obssess over him and want nothing else to do with 2 wheels, pedals and the latest Carbon bling with 88 mm rims.

BigBoat you make some good posts that show a passion for cycling and an understanding of some of the real challenges that the sport faces.

This wasn't one of them :rolleyes:
 
Mar 10, 2009
272
2
0
Visit site
Interesting re: Vaughters going to CA and finding clean riders. It made me think a little bit about the treatment Armstrong dished out to any rider that left his team. Always seem to end a little nasty. Remember some issues with both Vaughters and Landis.

Could it be that he was sending a message to keep quiet about what happen at US Postal, knowing the lies he told about the other teams (that they were doing it more)?

Can't stand Armstrong's psychopathic ways of bullying others and exerting his power around.
 
Mar 19, 2009
571
0
0
Visit site
bikepure said:
So Tom was on the gear again.

He must have known the risks- Did he want to be caught?


taking drugs for which will improve athletic ability has been largely researched to the benefits of aerobic ability.

WHAT ARE THE MENTAL IMPACTS?

this illustrates a problem which was responsible for the death of Marco Pantaini. doctors giving drugs to riders, chemicals to alter their natural systems, must have also effects on the brain.

1,Does regular doping use in sport encourage the recreational use of other substances .
2, Is a long term side affect of doping in cycling, depression? (brought on by chemical imbalance, guilt?)


This is a human condition. We all strive for perfection in some area of our lives. It's an insidious illusion though.... as the only perfection is in all the imperfection in the universe. Can the mind grasp that? Not really. So.... a choice is made. A choice to try .... or die.........try to attain the unattainable or there is no place in this world for you and you will wither and die..... or so the mind tricks one into believing.

No wonder there is depression. The mind ..... is like the "friend" who eggs you on to do something you don't want to do, for the sake of status...... but to attain that status..... that boost of e-g-o .... you do it anyways against your better judgment. From that point on, it gets a little easier to not listen to yourself. You become what you do.

Take Pantani. He is/was a cyclist. That was his identity. But, who was Marco Pantani? Cycling is something he did.... not who he was. Tom Boonen. Again, a person who rides a bike for a living..... but who is TB? He says he doesn't know what happens to him when he drinks. Yet, he still drinks. He must live in hell, so to speak. Everywhere he goes.... he's TB.... mr. cycling. He's not though. He's a human just like you and me. Humans do many things..... but we are no better than anyone else no matter what we do. That is hard for the mind to swallow. All the riders we look upon as cycling heroes and super athletes are just like us. They eat, drink, sleep and go to the bathroom. They are treated differently by teams and fans because they want --something-- from them... or through them. TB is no longer considered a human.... he's a thing(mr. cycling). I'd want to escape too, for there is no living up to that. Now that the illusion is broken..... what to think of TB? I've read the usual "He'll take care of "the problem" and get back on the bike". That's the same train of thought that got him to where he is today.

Addictions are like nature's way of saying "wake up!". If you think you know who you are..... you're likely addicted to something. Freedom comes from not knowing..... and that is not congruent to a pro cyclist.

The "Impacts" of addiction can be life giving, life ending . It's our choice. Easier said than done. It wakes us to the fact that we are either living in the past or living for the future..... because the present moment is too much to bear.
 

TRENDING THREADS