A anonymous, randomized-response survey of some 3,000 hobby triathletes revealed that athletes who used legal performance enhancement substances also tended to use illegal substances.
Further, researchers from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and Eberhard Karls University found that 13 percent of the respondents had used illegal or banned substances twelve months prior to the survey, with 15 percent of them saying they had engaged in brain doping.
When it comes to doping, a clear distinction is made between the use of illicit drugs like cocaine or heroin and performance-enhancing drugs.
Banned substances used for enhancing physical performance include anabolic steroids or growth hormones. Brain doping is the use of illegal substances like amphetamines, modafinil or Ritalin to enhance mental performance.
The proportion of men who admitted doping, 13.7 percent, was larger than that of women, which was 8 percent.
But researchers found a similar correlation between the use of illegal and legal substances for physical and brain doping.
"This indicates that athletes do not actually take the substances to achieve a specific goal, but may show a certain propensity towards performance enhancing substances," said Mainz University professor Dr. Perikles Simon.
[Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz]