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How to use HGH and testosterone products in fitness

when you like bodybuilding ,and want stronger muscle,the supplements is must important,Now HGH product and testosterone product all can build muscle fast.but befor your star to use it, you must know their benefits ,side effects,reviews, and how to use it in bodybuilding cycle? if you also want use it for weight loss and burn fat.you also need know more results after use it.

How to use HGH and testosterone products in fitness
How to use HGH and testosterone products in fitness

Hgh And Testosterone Cycle

You’ll hear a lot of talk about not using mix hgh and testosterone , but I’ve used testosterone only cycles before with no issues.

Is having hgh and testosterone in the mix better? Yes. but before you want mix hgh and testosterone,you need check your doctor ,did you body can use it.

As a younger trainer would it stop me from using hgh and testosterone? No.

I don’t use hgh and testosterone any more because my body doesn’t react the same way it used to while on it. How to use HGH and testosterone products in fitness

Dianabol blunts my appetite, jacks up my blood sugar, and I just do not handle it as well as I used to.

But back when I was using hgh and testosterone in my 20’s the stuff gave me incredible strength and size gains in a very short time frame!!

Hgh And Testosterone Dosage

Mix hgh and testosterone Cycle Length

Because hgh and testosterone is liver toxic it’s a wise idea to limit Dbol cycles to under 8 weeks. Most sources will say 4 weeks, but with moderate dosing I’ve found that 6-8 weeks is suitable.

I’d rather use hgh and testosterone at 2iu and 25mg/day for 8 weeks than 50mg’s/day for 4 weeks. But seriously limit your cycles on hgh and testosterone because you don’t want to kill your liver by staying on dianabol all the time!!

Human Growth Hormone Hgh And
Testosterone Benefits & Effect For Bodybuidling

HGH BENEFITS FOR BODYBUILDING

Athletes and bodybuilders are always looking for a competitive edge that yields results.

Human growth hormone, or H.G.H., is commonly used by athletes and bodybuilders because of the vast benefits it can bring to the physique.

If you use H.G.H., taking the proper amounts can help increase the positive aspects of the hormone while minimizing side effects. Always talk with your physician before using H.G.H.

TESTOSTERONE BENEFITS & EFFECT FOR BODYBUIDLING

better muscle retention in a caloric deficitincreased drive and recovery between sets (shorter rest periods)increase in muscle volumesmooth and steady strength increases (This isn’t a quick gain of fluid and fat, it’s more similar to primobolan type gains)no problems with skin (my skin did not get oily or acne covered while using this)Benefits similar to steroids at a fraction of the priceincrease in sex driveincrease in sense of well-beingbetter recovery between workoutsno crashing when you stop using itdoes not require an anti-estrogen to be ran alongside it

Human Growth Hormone Hgh And
Testosterone Building

I’ve seen this happen over and over again, especially with bodybuilding competitors. The first 8-12 weeks of the diet they look great. Then the last part of it, something just goes wrong. They become flat, look emaciated, and unhealthy. That, my friends, is cortisol kicking their ass!! Cortisol is a nasty toxin that gets built up from stress on the body, and it acts as a catabolic agent trying to destroy everything you’ve worked hard for. How to use HGH and testosterone products in fitness

This isn’t about molding your life into bodybuilding, it’s about molding bodybuilding into your life. You control bodybuilding, it shouldn’t control you.

I’ll be working with Mike for the next 4 months on continuing to shred up and then transition into building slabs of new muscle mass with his new foundation!. How to use HGH and testosterone products in fitness

Human Growth Hormone Hgh And
Testosterone Brand And Supplements

For hgh product and testosterone product have more brand ,you could check the following ,will know more.

my company as a hgh product and testosterone product supplements ,we has do business near 10 years, you could buy the product in my company online shop

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How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System

How Long Percocet Header

Percocet is a prescription opiate drug that is often given to those who are in moderate to severe pain. This prescription drug is one of the most commonly prescribed opioids in America. It’s also one of the most commonly abused prescription medications. This isn’t surprising considering how addictive Percocet can be.

Percocet is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen. Together, these two drugs are very good at relieving pain. This is why Percocet is frequently a choice after major surgeries or injuries.

It is possible to form an addiction to Percocet, and many people do.

Chronic pain frequently leads to addiction. An addiction can form from using the drug too long, or from using it recreationally.

Many prescription drug addictions started off with a prescription from a doctor. Many people who are addicted to Percocet first started taking it for legitimate reasons. They may have been in an accident or were injured. Some may simply have a medical condition that causes them to be in a lot of pain. Unfortunately, with time, their usage transforms into abuse. Eventually, abuse becomes addiction.

If you have a Percocet addiction, it’s natural to wonder how long Percocet will stay in your body. In fact, this is an important question. It will determine when your withdrawal symptoms will appear. It will also determine how you should tackle addiction recovery. Once you know the answer to this question, you can begin to think about your recovery.

How Long Will Percocet Remain in Your Body.

Percocet is a combination of two different drugs. Because of this, the half-life of each drug needs to be taken into consideration. A drug’s half-life is how long it takes for half of the drug to leave the body. The half-life for oxycodone and acetaminophen will be different.

Percocet
It’s also important to note that the metabolites of oxycodone and acetaminophen may also have lingering effects on the body. The metabolites can also take a long time to be cleared from the body. If the metabolites are still around, the drug abuser may still experience some Percocet effects. The length of time that various drugs stay in one’s system will vary.

The Metabolic Pathway of Oxycodone

The half-life of oxycodone is about 3.5 hours. The half-life of the extended release version of oxycodone can reach up to 5.6 hours. These are just approximate guesses. The actual length of time that it will take for a drug to be metabolized will vary. It will depend on each person’s genetics and body.

The liver breaks down oxycodone into three metabolites: noroxycodone, oxymorphone and noroxymorphone. The half-life of these metabolites will also vary. Noroxycodone has a half-life of about 3 to 6 hours. Oxymorphone and noroxymorphone have a half-life of about 7.5 to 9.5 hours. In short,it will take one to three days for oxycodone and all of its metabolites to be removed from your body.

Oxycodone will be removed from one’s body and system within 22.5 hours. It will take longer for the metabolites to be cleared from your system.

What is Percocet

The Metabolic Pathway of Acetaminophen

The half-life of acetaminophen varies between 2 to 3 hours. Acetaminophen is metabolized in the liver. The metabolites of acetaminophen include sulphate and glucuronide compounds. Acetaminophen is also metabolized into a toxic byproduct, also known as NAPBQI (N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine). This metabolite is immediately detoxified in the liver.

The Chemical Makeup of Percocet

Percocet is made of two different active compounds: oxycodone and acetaminophen. Each compound plays a role in this medication. Percocet also contains several inactive ingredients, like colloidal silicon dioxide, crospovidone, croscarmellose sodium, microcrystalline cellulose, pregelatinized cornstarch, povidone and stearic acid.

Each dose of Percocet also contains other different coloring agents. Common coloring agents include FD&C Red No. 40 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake and FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake.

What is Percocet

Oxycodone

The chemical name for oxycodone is 14-hydroxydihydrocodeinone. Its chemical formula is C18H21NO4. It is a semisynthetic opioid analgesic that comes in the form of a white, odorless powder. This compound tastes bitter.

Oxycodone is also derived from thebaine. This chemical has an opioid effect on the body, and can be used to treat moderate-to-severe pain.

Acetaminophen

The chemical name for oxycodone is 14-hydroxydihydrocodeinone. Its chemical formula is C18H21NO4. It is a semisynthetic opioid analgesic that comes in the form of a white, odorless powder. This compound tastes bitter.

Oxycodone is also derived from thebaine. This chemical has an opioid effect on the body, and can be used to treat moderate-to-severe pain.

 

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Opioids Withdrawal

What is opioid withdrawal?

Opioids are a class of drugs that are commonly prescribed to treat pain. Opioids include both opiates (drugs derived from the opium poppy, including morphine, codeine, heroin, and opium) and synthetic opioids like hydrocodone, oxycodone, and methadone, which have similar effects. Prescription opioids include:

  • Oxycontin (oxycodone)
  • Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen)
  • Dilaudid (hydromorphone)
  • morphine

Although very useful to treat pain, these drugs can cause physical dependency and addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 2.1 million people in the United States and between 26.4 and 36 million people worldwide abuse opioids.

Certain illegal drugs, such as heroin, are also opioids. Methadone is an opioid that is often prescribed to treat pain, but may also be used to treat withdrawal symptoms in people who have become addicted to opioids.

If you stop or decrease the amount of opioids you’re taking, you may experience physical symptoms of withdrawal. This is especially true if you’ve been using these medications at high doses for more than a few weeks. Many systems in your body are altered when you take large amounts of opioids for a long time. Withdrawal effects occur because it takes time for your body to adjust to no longer having opioids in your system.

Opioid withdrawal can be categorized as mild, moderate, moderately severe, and severe. Your primary care provider can determine this by evaluating your opioid use history and symptoms, and by using diagnostic tools like the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale.

What effect do opioids have on the body?

Opioids attach themselves to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract. Whenever opioids attach to these receptors, they exert their effects. The brain actually manufactures its own opioids, which are responsible for a whole host of effects, including decreasing pain, lowering the respiratory rate, and even helping to prevent depression and anxiety.

However, the body does not produce opioids in large quantities — that is, enough to treat the pain associated with a broken leg. Also, the body never produces opioids in large enough quantities to cause an overdose. Opioid medications and illegal drugs mimic these naturally occurring opioids.

These drugs can impact the body in several ways:

  • Opioids may affect the brainstem, which controls functions like breathing and heartbeat, by slowing breathing or reducing coughing.
  • Opioids may act on specific areas of the brain known as the limbic system, which controls emotions, to create feelings of pleasure or relaxation.
  • Opioids work to reduce pain by affecting the spinal cord, which sends messages from the brain to the rest of the body, and vice versa.
What causes opioid withdrawal?

When you take opioid medication for a long time, your body becomes desensitized to the effects. Over time, your body needs more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect. This can be very dangerous and increases your risk of accidental overdose.

Prolonged use of these drugs changes the way nerve receptors work in your brain, and these receptors become dependent upon the drug to function. If you become physically sick after you stop taking an opioid medication, it may be an indication that you’re physically dependent on the substance. Withdrawal symptoms are the body’s physical response to the absence of the drug.

Many people become dependent on these drugs in order to avoid pain or withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, people don’t even realize that they’ve become dependent. They may mistake withdrawal for symptoms of the flu or another condition.

What are the symptoms of opioid withdrawal?

The symptoms you experience will depend on the level of withdrawal you are experiencing. Also, multiple factors dictate how long a person will experience the symptoms of withdrawal. Because of this, everyone experiences opioid withdrawal differently. However, there’s typically a timeline for the progression of symptoms.

Early symptoms typically begin in the first 24 hours after you stop using the drug, and they include:

Later symptoms, which can be more intense, begin after the first day or so. They include:

Although very unpleasant and painful, symptoms usually begin to improve within 72 hours, and within a week you should notice a significant decrease in the acute symptoms of opiate withdrawal.

Babies born to mothers who are addicted to or have used opioids while pregnant often experience withdrawal symptoms as well. These may include:

It’s important to remember that different drugs remain in your system for different lengths of time and this can affect withdrawal onset. The amount of time your symptoms last depends on the frequency of use and severity of the addiction, as well as individual factors like your overall health.

For example, heroin is typically eliminated from your system faster, and symptoms will start within 12 hours of last use. If you’ve been on methadone, it may take a day and a half for symptoms to begin.

Some specialists point out that recovery requires a period of at least six months of total abstinence, during which the person may still experience symptoms of withdrawal. This is sometimes referred to as “protracted abstinence.” It’s important to discuss ongoing symptoms with your healthcare provider.

How is opioid withdrawal diagnosed?

To diagnose opioid withdrawal, your primary care provider will perform a physical examination and ask questions about your symptoms. They may also order urine and blood tests to check for the presence of opioids in your system.

You may be asked questions about past drug use and your medical history. Answer openly and honestly to get the best treatment and support.

Get Answers from a Doctor in Minutes, Anytime

Have medical questions? Connect with a board-certified, experienced doctor online or by phone. Pediatricians and other specialists available 24/7.

What treatments are available for opioid withdrawal?

Opioid withdrawal can be very uncomfortable, and many people continue taking these drugs to avoid unpleasant symptoms, or they try to manage these symptoms on their own. However, medical treatment in a controlled environment can make you more comfortable and lead to a greater chance of success.

Mild withdrawal can be treated with acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. Plenty of fluids and rest are important. Medications such as loperamide (Imodium) can help with diarrhea and hydroxyzine (Vistaril, Atarax) may ease nausea.

More intense withdrawal symptoms may require hospitalization and other medications. One medication used primarily in the inpatient setting is clonidine. Clonidine can help reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms by 50 to 75 percent. Clonidine is especially effective at reducing:

  • anxiety
  • cramping
  • muscle aches
  • restlessness
  • sweating
  • tears
  • runny nose

Suboxone is a combination of a milder opioid (buprenorphine) and an opioid blocker (naloxone) that does not produce many of the addictive effects of other opioids. The opioid blocker works mostly in the stomach to prevent constipation. If injected it will cause immediate withdrawal, so the combination is less likely to be abused than other formulations. When taken by mouth, this combination can be used to treat symptoms of withdrawal and can shorten the intensity and length of detoxification from other, more dangerous, opioids.

Methadone can be used for long-term maintenance therapy. It’s still a powerful opioid, but it can be reduced in a controlled manner that is less likely to produce intense withdrawal symptoms.

Rapid detoxification is rarely done. It is done under anesthesia with opioid-blocking drugs, such as naloxone or naltrexone. There’s some evidence that this method decreases symptoms, but doesn’t necessarily impact the amount of time spent in withdrawal. Additionally, vomiting often occurs during withdrawal, and the potential of vomiting under anesthesia greatly increases the risk of death. Because of this, most doctors hesitate to use this method, as the risks outweigh the potential benefits.

What are the complications of opioid withdrawal?

Nausea and vomiting can be significant symptoms during the withdrawal process. Inadvertent breathing of vomited material into the lungs (known as aspiration) can be a serious complication associated with withdrawal, as it can lead to the development of pneumonia (aspiration pneumonia).

Diarrhea is another very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptom. Loss of fluids and electrolytes from diarrhea can cause the heart to beat in an abnormal manner, which can lead to circulatory problems and even heart attack. It’s important to replace fluids lost to vomiting and diarrhea to prevent these complications.

Even if you don’t experience vomiting, nausea can be very uncomfortable. Muscle cramps and joint pain can also be present during opioid withdrawal. The good news is that your primary care provider can work with you by providing select medications that can help with these uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

It’s also important to note that some individuals may experience other withdrawal symptoms not listed here. This is why it’s important to work with your primary care provider during the withdrawal period.

What can I expect in the long term?

If you’ve stopped taking opioid medication and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor can help manage symptoms and adjust your medication regimen. You should not stop taking prescribed opioid medication without consulting your doctor.

Seeking help for an opioid addiction will improve your overall health and reduce your risk of relapse, accidental overdose, and complications related to opioid addiction. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about treatment programs or support groups in your area. The overall improvement in physical and mental health is worth the pain and discomfort of withdrawal.

HEALTHLINE CHALLENGES
Curious about mindful eating? We can give you a taste.

Are you ready to give mindful eating a shot? Our nutrition newsletter can help you try it. Take the Mindful Eating Challenge and learn how to create lasting, healthy habits around food.

 

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HOW IS ANXIETY DIFFERENT FROM PERSONALITY DISORDERS?

xanax bar

Most people have a confusion between anxiety and Personality Disorders (PD) signs. However, when it comes to analysing their impact on your health, both are a little bit different. For example, Anxiety Disorders or stress episodes are simple and natural body responses in certain life situations. On the contrary, PD is a mental health problem that affects millions of people in the world. People with PD have unhealthy signs of thinking, behaving and feeling. Health experts say people with PD signs have a different lifestyle than normal people. Furthermore, they find it difficult to survive their basic daily tasks. Many experts suggest that people try Xanax bar to treat anxiety and depression but not long term use.

TALK TO A DOCTOR TO KNOW YOUR SIGNS OF PERSONALITY DISORDER

To this end, PD patients should talk to a doctor. A doctor can help them know their signs and causes. Likewise, knowing the signs makes the treatment easier and faster. At the same time, they can try natural ways to reduce the signs of PD in their daily lives. For example, they should get at least 6 hours of sleep at night to decrease the impact of PD signs. In the same way, eating a good diet can help them to live a normal life.

Again, health experts say physical activities also improve people’s signs of PD very easily.

SIGNS OF PERSONALITY DISORDERS IN YOUR DAILY LIVES

There are different types of PDs that happen in a person’s life. For example, some have signs of emotional issues in their daily lives. On the other hand, some have nightmares due to childhood negative memories. People with signs of PD are socially inactive in their daily lives. In fact, experts say they have a cold attitude towards people in their surroundings. They avoid social interaction with people due to signs of PD. Talking to them is a difficult task and they avoid relationships with others.

Again, some people with signs of PD have impulsive behaviour in their lives. They try unsafe sex or binge drinking in their daily routine due to emotional stress. Furthermore, stress is a natural body response in certain life situations. For example, meeting a person or attending a meeting can make you nervous. At the same time, normal stress signs improve your performance in daily tasks. On the contrary, if you have severe signs of stress in your life, talk to a doctor. Otherwise, you may experience daily life problems, like sleep loss.

TREATMENT OF PERSONALITY DISORDERS AND ANXIETY SYMPTOMS

Talking to a doctor can help you cope with signs of PD in your life. Health experts say talking to a doctor in the initial stages makes treatment easy and effective. Primary care of PD signs can treat them easily and effectively. There are many ways people can choose to treat their signs of PD. For example, they can follow natural therapies to ease their signs. Talk to a doctor about psychotherapy options for severe signs of PD.

On the other hand, they can buy Xanax bar to reduce their signs. Xanax is the best medicine that helps people with signs of PD and stress in their daily lives. In addition, try to get 6 hours of sleep at night for a healthy living.

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KLONOPIN VS XANAX: KNOW HOW BOTH CAN REDUCE YOUR ANXIETY

Klonopin vs Xanax

Anxiety disorders are common in people nowadays. In fact, a study shows more than 70 million people have signs of severe stress in their daily lives. Consequently, they have a negative impact on their body and brain health. In addition, stress leads to emotional and physical problems that can disrupt your daily life. At the same time, severe feelings of fear in everyday life activities affect life quality. To reduce stress levels, talk to a doctor and buy Xanax and Klonopin uk for better anxiety treatment.

In the first place, to treat anxiety, doctors say to find the real causes and signs of stress in your life. According to the causes and signs, doctors prescribe the best medicine.

SIGNS AND CAUSES OF STRESS IN YOUR LIFE

People experience physical, mental and emotional signs of stress, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Weight gain
  • High blood sugar
  • High insulin levels in the body
  • Breathing issues
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Body pain or fatigue
  • Sleep loss

Signs of stress can be treated with proper guidance and the best anti-anxiety medications. Talk to a doctor and buy Xanax or Klonopin online UK.

HOW KLONOPIN VS XANAX WORK IN YOUR BODY?

They work on the central nervous system to reduce stress signs in people. In fact, experts say Xanax can improve sleep loss signs in people. Klonopin helps your brain to stay relaxed and calm in daily situations.

In addition, both medicines release a calming effect and slow down your pulse. People with severe stress levels have high blood pressure and breathing disorders in their daily lives.

HOW DO THEY BALANCE HIGH-STRESS LEVELS IN YOUR DAILY LIVES?

Xanax is taken by people to lower stress levels and reset the sleep cycle. In addition, it reduces signs of seizures and panic attacks. On the other hand, Klonopin helps people to control depressive thoughts, seizures and stress signs. Further, people with high-stress levels should talk to a doctor before taking medicines. Experts say before choosing the best medicine, it is better to know your signs and causes.

At the same time, knowing your signs will make your treatment easier and faster. Doctors say the dose of medicine also depends on the severity of stress signs. Likewise, people can take medicines once or several times per day. Both medicines take 15 to 20 minutes to work and reduce your stress signs. Always take them with a proper prescription for a better cure for anxiety disorders. Finally, they improve your overall health and fitness in your daily lives.

HEALTH PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH STRESS SIGNS

People with high-stress levels have severe sleep loss signs. In addition, frequent attacks of stress increase the risk of heart problems. Furthermore, experts say sleep loss has negative health risks in your daily lives. Lack of proper sleep causes weight gain, diabetes and digestive problems. That is why anxiety experts say to reduce stress signs by taking Xanax vs Klonopin. In addition, good sleep, a healthy diet and exercise can reduce stress signs in your life. Talk to a doctor before buying Xanax and Klonopin for high-stress levels.

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Opioid (Narcotic) Pain Medications

When you have a mild headache or muscle ache, an over-the-counter pain reliever is usually enough to make you feel better. But if your pain is more severe, your doctor might recommend something stronger — a prescription opioid.Opioids are a type of narcotic pain medication. They can have serious side effects if you don’t use them correctly. For people who have an opioid addiction, their problem often started with a prescription.If you need to take opioids to control your pain, here are some ways to make sure you’re taking them as safely as possible.

How Opioids Work

Opioid drugs bind to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body. They tell your brain you’re not in pain.

They are used to treat moderate to severe pain that may not respond well to other pain medications.

  • Codeine (only available in generic form)
  • Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Abstral, Onsolis)
  • Hydrocodone (Hysingla, Zohydro ER)
  • Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  • Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Morphabond)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxaydo)
  • Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet)
  • Oxycodone and naloxone

Your doctor can prescribe most of these drugs to take by mouth. Fentanyl is available in a patch. A patch allows the medication to be absorbed through the skin.

Working With Your Doctor

You’ll need a prescription from your doctor before you start taking opioids. The doctor can adjust the dose as needed to help control pain.

You may receive around-the-clock doses to manage pain throughout the day and night. And your doctor may prescribe opioids to be taken “as needed” in case you have “breakthrough” pain — a flare of pain that you get despite round-the-clock doses.

While you’re on opioid pain medications, check in with your doctor regularly. Your doctor will need to know:

  • How your pain is responding to the drug
  • Whether you’re having any side effects
  • Whether you have any potential interactions or medical conditions that could make you more likely to have side effects, such as sleep apnea, alcohol use, or kidney problems
  • Whether you’re taking the drug properly
Never change or stop taking any opioid medicine without first checking with your doctor. If a pain medication isn’t working as well as it should, your doctor may switch you to a different dose — or add on or try another drug.When you’re ready to stop taking opioids, your doctor may help wean you off them slowly — if you have taken them for a long time — to give your body time to adjust. Otherwise, you may have withdrawal symptoms.

Opioid Side Effects

One of the reasons why your doctor needs to manage pain medications so closely is that they can cause side effects, such as:

  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting

The drugs lubiprostone (Amitiza), methylnaltrexone (Relistor), naldemedine (Symproic), and naloxegol (Movantik) are approved to treat constipation due to opioid use in those with chronic pain.

Opioids can be dangerous if you take them with alcohol, or with certain drugs such as:

  • Some antidepressants
  • Some antibiotics
  • Sleeping pills
Make sure your doctor knows all of the other medicines you’re taking. That includes:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Over-the-counter drugs
  • Herbal supplements

Opioid Tolerance and Addiction

After taking opioid pain medication for a while, you might find that you need more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect in easing pain. This is called tolerance. It’s not the same as addiction, which involves a compulsive use of a drug.

When you use opioid medication over an extended period of time, you can have dependence. This can happen when your body becomes so used to the drug that if you abruptly stop taking it, you get withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
  • Muscle pain
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

You can also get a serious addiction to opioid pain medications. People who are addicted compulsively seek out the pain medications. Their behavior usually leads to negative consequences in their personal lives or workplace. They might take someone else’s pills or buy them off the street, which is especially dangerous since those drugs are often laced with lethal amounts of fentanyl.

If you are having a problem with addiction, you need to see your doctor or an addiction specialist.Should You Take Opioid Pain Medications?

Opioids can make a dramatic difference to people with moderate to severe pain. These drugs can be an effective therapy — as long as you use them safely and follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.

From Mr Average ... to superman
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From Mr Average … to Superman

From Mr Average … to superman

In 16 weeks, Craig Davidson, a Canadian novelist, transformed himself into a hard-as-nails hunk by injecting illegal steroids. He loved his new body – but not the hideous side-effects. In this graphic account of being a ‘roider’, he recounts his hellish journey
Craig Davidson Uses Steroids
 Craig Davidson used Steroids and transformed his Body in 16 weeks. Photographs: Graham Davidson and Ailen Lujo

The needle is 21 gauge, 1.5in. A hogsticker. Forty of them arrived in a package from Greece. Ever received a package from overseas? You get that puff of air when you rip it open – air that’s travelled thousands of miles. Foreign, like stepping into a stranger’s house. The syringe wrapper has instructions in Italian, French, Greek and Arabic – not a word of English. But it’s a needle. Operation is self-explanatory. I had put them out on my work desk a few days ago – an unignorable fact. An invitation. A threat.

Buck up, laddie. Fortune favours the brave.

What’s inside looks like oily urine. 1cc of Equipoise – a veterinary drug normally injected into beef cattle – and 2cc of Testosterone Cypionate: 10 times the testosterone a man my size produces naturally in a week.

It was going into my backside; plenty of meat there. But the sciatic nerve radiates from my hips; plus, if I hit a vein I could go into cardiac collapse. I tucked a bag of frozen corn beneath my underwear to numb the injection site. The hash marks on the syringe were smudged away by my sweaty hands. That couldn’t be a sign of quality medical equipment, could it?

What if I died in this shitty apartment in Iowa City? I pictured the landlord stumbling upon my body, rotten and bloated. The newspaper headline: Dumbshit Canadian Found Dead with Needle in Ass.

The needle slid in so easily I wasn’t aware it’d broken the skin. I aspirated and injected into the deep tissue. When I pulled it out a pressurised stream of blood spurted halfway across the room.

A while ago I wrote a novel. A lot of first-time novelists don’t stray far from home: their stories are drawn from their lives. This holds true for me: the main character is… well, me. That’s not quite true: he’s wealthier, pampered, more intolerant and dismissive. But his deep-seated fears, his inborn weaknesses – those things we share intimately.

My character goes down dark roads. For the sake of the book, I thought I’d travel those roads with him. He begins to work out obsessively. I began to work out obsessively. He joins a boxing club. I joined a boxing club. He takes steroids. I took steroids.

The thing is, I’ve never done drugs, so I lacked the ability to spot the dealer in a room. Such was my quandary when it came to steroids. Where to buy? Who to ask? I’d heard your local gym was a good place, but I didn’t have a clue how to go about that. So I typed ‘steroids’ into Google, which promptly introduced me to an internet scam. I bought a bottle of what I thought was a steroid called Dianabol. But what I received was Dianobol, which, for all I know, were rat turds pressed into pill form. I won’t go into detail about how I came to possess real steroids – or ‘gear’, as we ‘roiders call them. The whole thing makes me look as stupid as I was. Suffice to say, the process involved an encrypted email account, a money order wired to Tel Aviv, and weeks of apprehension (had I been ripped off? Would agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration break down my door?) before a package arrived – pill and ampules and six vials wrapped in X-ray-proof paper.

Anabolic steroids hit US gyms in the early Sixties, courtesy of Dr John Ziegler, the American team doctor at the 1954 World Weightlifting Championships in Austria. He watched in horror as his athletes were decimated by a legion of hulking Soviet he-men who, he later found out, received testosterone injections as part of their training regime. Ziegler teamed up with a pharmaceutical firm to create the synthetic testosterone Methandrostenolone, better known by its trade name, Dianabol.

The biological function of anabolic (tissue building) steroids like Dianabol is to stimulate protein synthesis – that is, to heal muscles more quickly and effectively. New muscle is gained by tearing the long, tube-like fibres that run the length of our muscle; protein molecules attach to the broken chains, creating new muscle. While on steroids, your muscle fibres become greedy, seeking out every stray protein molecule.

At first nobody was willing to credit Ziegler’s creation for the amazing gains glimpsed in the first test subjects. Nobody – not least the weightlifters themselves – could get their heads around the idea that a tiny pink pill could be responsible for their newfound strength: lifters added 30lb to their bench press and 50 to their hack squats virtually overnight. These lifters had been taking vitamins for years; they knew the value of pills was minimal. The only thing that convinced them was when Ziegler cut off the supply: the lifters surrendered all their gains and lost the feeling of euphoria experienced while on the programme.

As the Sixties progressed and the results became known, steroids made their way from the hardcore weightlifting gyms of North America into mainstream society, trickling down into baseball clubhouses, Olympic training facilities, and health clubs. Though Dianabol is still perhaps the most popular, today’s users can choose from over 40 steroids in the form of pills, patches, creams, and injectable compounds from A (Anavar) to W (Winstrol). Illegal unless prescribed, it is still estimated that one in every 100 people in North America have experimented with steroids at some point in their lives.

I had a misconception that being ‘on steroids’ involved the ingestion or injection of a single substance, but that was quickly dispelled. Many steroids on their own are either singular of purpose or not terribly effective. This is where ‘stacking’ comes in: you can put on mass (75mg of testosterone), promote muscle hardness (50mg of Winstrol) and keep water retention to a minimum (50mg of Equipoise). This stack is injection-intensive: Testosterone and Equipoise twice weekly, Winstrol daily. Eleven injections a week.

But that’s only steroids – you need other drugs to stave off the potential side-effects, which include: hair loss, gynecomastia (build-up of breast tissue due to increased oestrogen, aka gyno; aka bitch tits), testicular atrophy, cranial and prostate swelling, erratic sex drive, liver impairment, haemorrhoids, impotence, cysts, acne, abscesses, renal failure. Hair loss, gyno and testicular atrophy should be considered absolute rather than potential hazards: you simply cannot expect to alter your body’s chemical make-up without your body reacting.

My own steroid cycle went as follows: Dianabol (10mg tabs, 3 per day for the first 4 weeks); Testosterone Cypionate (500mg per week, 10 weeks); Equipoise (400mg per week, 10 weeks); Nolvadex (anti-oestrogen drug; 1 to 4 pills daily, depending on week); Proviron (male menopause drug, 25mg daily); HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, which is derived from the urine of pregnant women; used during Post Cycle Therapy to restore natural testosterone levels – 500iu twice weekly, administered with an insulin needle).

Believe it or not, it’s a fairly mild cycle. Including diuretics and cutting and hardening agents, professional bodybuilders may have 10-15 substances floating around their system at any given time. Like alcohol or drugs, a body’s tolerance builds up over time; top pros need to inject 2,500mg of Testosterone or more, weekly, to receive any effect.

Three days into the cycle, my nipples began to itch: onset of Gynomastia. Dump enough testosterone into your body and your system counters by upping its oestrogen output, which leads to a build-up of breast tissue. After long-term use, it can get so bad that some users require surgical breast reductions. I woke up on the morning of day four and nearly had a heart attack at the sight of myself in the mirror. My nipples were the size of milk bottle tops, stretched smooth as the skin of a balloon. The skin had formed into swollen pouches that looked like the rubberised nipples on a baby’s bottle. I appeared to have breasts. Pendulous, malformed breasts.

Or was I just chubby and still out of shape? I didn’t know. I gave them a jiggle. I couldn’t tell if it was fluid build-up or actual flesh. Could a person grow new flesh overnight? I didn’t want tits – it went against the purpose of the exercise. I gobbled twice my daily allotment of anti-oestrogen medication. A week’s worth of double Nolvadex doses got the gyno under control. But by then my hair had started falling out.

I have a scalp of unruly, bushman-like red hair. While I’ve never been keen on the colour and its tendency to coil into ringlets when grown out, there has always been plenty of it. Then one morning I was showering, I looked down at my shampoo-foamed hands, and saw dozens of red strands between my fingers. Soon they were everywhere: on my pillow, between my teeth, falling into the pages of books while I read. I became hyper-aware of the way wind felt through my hair: colder on the top of my skull, where there was less protection. And not just my head: the hairs on my arms and legs, even my testicles, were falling out. Not a single follicle seemed firmly moored to my skin.

Then, one sleepless night (the steroids also triggered insomnia) my testicles shrunk. Testicular atrophy is the most well-known side-effect of steroid abuse. It’s an inherent irony: here you are trying to turn yourself into an über-man while part of the most obvious manifestation of your manhood dwindles before your eyes. Female users suffer the opposite reaction: their clitorises become so swollen and hard that, in extreme cases, they resemble a tiny penis.

Basically, you pump so much testosterone into your system that you rob your gonads of purpose, they lie dormant for the duration of your steroid cycle. And while I knew this would happen, the physical sensation was beyond horrible. I felt this rude clenching inside my scrotum, like a pair of tiny hands had grasped the spermatic cords and tightened into fists. It happened that fast – like a door slammed shut. ‘No more testosterone!’ my gonads cried. ‘Closed for business!’ I sat up, gasping, clutching my testicles to make sure they were still there. In a few days time they had shrunk to half their normal size: plump ripe grapes.

Another sleepless night, a week later, I felt a ridge on my forehead. Cranial swelling – most often a neanderthal-like ridge forming above the brow – is commonly associated with the steroid HGH, or Human Growth Hormone, originally made from the crushed pituitary glands of fresh cadavers. But cranial swelling assumes many forms: in addition to ‘caveman brow’, some users find semi-solid lumps forming on their foreheads. Some lumps grow to the size of hard-boiled eggs, at which point they require surgical removal.

The next morning, an inspection in the bathroom: was that a slight swelling across the top of my eyebrows? It seemed impossible – this only happens in extreme cases. My own perceived bulge wasn’t altogether solid, sort of mushy, but as I smoothed my fingers across my forehead I had this terrifying sense that my bone structure had been somehow altered.

This was the primary fear I ran up against: were these changes happening, and would they subside once I quit ‘roiding, or were they permanent? I could handle rampant hair loss, a caveman head, shrunken testicles, hell, even tits – so long as it was temporary. But what if it wasn’t?

My sixth injection goes badly. I’ve been shooting my gluteus and while it’s relatively painless the skin has gone tight and I’m thinking the oil hasn’t quite dissolved. I elect to stick it in my thigh instead.

I get the needle in three-quarters of an inch before I hit a major nerve. My leg bucks uncontrollably, knee nearly striking my forehead. It takes a few minutes for the pain to subside. Blood leaks from the puncture wound down my leg. I decide I’m not a fan of thigh injections. So I try my calf. Sitting cross-legged, ankle propped on knee, I push the needle in. It goes in easy enough but when I aspirate the syringe fills with blood: I’ve hit a vein. I wipe the needle with rubbing alcohol and try another spot: again, blood. I boot the excess onto a paper towel, plug a fresh needle onto the syringe, and try again: more blood. It is coming out of my thigh and now from a triangle of holes in my calf. What, am I all veins?

I end up back at my glutes. But I soon regret it: I feel a perfect bubble of oil the size of a pearl onion an inch under my skin. When I massage it the bubble wobbles under my fingertips, all of one piece. It’s still there come night time: in bed, I roll onto my side and feel it pressed against my hipbone, solid as a ball bearing. Like the princess with a pea, I have a hard time sleeping.

To embark on a steroid cycle is to devote yourself to rituals. Wake up, eat, medicate, work out, eat, work out, eat, medicate, sleep. Repeat daily for 16 weeks.

Eating becomes a ritual. To maximise muscle growth you must eat one gram of protein for each pound of your weight per day. But I pushed my target further, to around 1.5g of protein per pound – or 337.5g daily.

Consider that a great source of natural protein – a can of tuna – has 13g of protein. That means I’d have to eat 25 cans a day. The most I ever managed was 20, forking it straight from the can. Please believe me when I tell you it is sheer lunacy to eat 20 cans of tuna. Eventually I settle on six cans a day, supplemented with five to six protein shakes. I go through four 2.4lb tubs of protein powder a week, 158lb in all. I keep shovelling a limited range of foodstuffs – tuna, bananas, egg whites, boiled chicken breasts – into my mouth with the listless motions of an automaton. Thankfully the Equipoise, developed to increase lean body weight appetite in horses, gives my appetite a much-needed boost.

Injections become a ritual. Run the vials under hot water to warm the oil. Unwrap a fresh syringe. Draw 1cc Equipoise, followed by 1.5cc Testosterone. Tap the syringe to release air bubbles, push the plunger until a tiny bead forms at the pin-tip. Swab the injection site with alcohol and inject s-l-o-o-o-w, massaging so the oil soaks in.

It isn’t much different from the way a heroin addict goes about things: mix the drugs, prepare the needle, find a clean injection site. I reached a point where the careful steps and resultant anticipation became as heady as the rush itself. Those last few weeks, I couldn’t stop shaking as I prepared the needle.

The workout becomes a ritual. If the gym is a temple of the body, I went from casual worshipper to fanatical zealot. I pushed myself and found I possessed limits beyond all reckoning. But I’d push myself past the limit, too – twice I caught the smell of ozone, saw awful stars flitting before my eyes, and came to sprawled on the gym carpet. I’d lift until my arms hung like dead things from my shoulders. I took post-workout naps in the changing room, spread out on a bench, too exhausted to walk home.

The prostate is an organ I associate with old men. Surgical-gloved fingers. Not, in any way, an organ I should be aware of. And yet I was, because the benign little organ had swollen to the point where it felt like a fist-sized balloon pressed against my testicles. This is a fairly common side-effect; some professional bodybuilders get prostatitis to such an extent they require a catheter.

I was urinating 15 times a day. A swollen prostate cramps the urethral tube, making it torture to pee. It also presses against the bladder, making it feel as if you always need to pee, even if there’s nothing to pass: I stood over the toilet for five minutes, coaxing, cajoling, only to produce a squirt. My urine took on a disturbingly rich hue, like cask-aged brandy.

I heard that ‘vigorous manual relief’ helped ease prostate pain. But when I tried this, it felt as though the pipe connecting the sperm factory to its exit had been clothes-pegged: nothing much comes out, and the little that does looks embarrassed to be there.

The key was continual application. I became obsessed with manual relief. Four times a day I was manually relieving myself. All that testosterone in my system, it didn’t take much to get the motor humming. I was relieving myself to photos of muscle-bound woman gracing tubs of protein powder. I even relieved myself to a perfume sample in a magazine; I relieved myself to a smell – vigorously so!

Wake up, eat, jerk off, work out, eat, jerk off, eat, work out, eat, jerk off, eat, sleep.

The question most sane readers will be asking by this point is: why didn’t he stop? Why, despite all the awful side-effects, did he keep plugging needles into himself?

I’m sure my answer is no different to that given by most steroid users: the results.

Once we pass that period of massive physical change – childhood through our teens, puberty and growth spurts – we settle into a sense of our bodies. We understand the parameters and capabilities, what it can and cannot do. And though it’s disheartening to say, at 30, I was already finding evidence of a body on its downslope. While I worked out regularly, I hadn’t made a sizeable gain in years. In gym parlance, I’d ‘hit the plateau’.

Steroids shattered the limitations of my body. I first sensed their effects while bench-pressing dumbbells. I usually peak at 85lb each, or 170lb total. But after 10 repetitions with the 85s I was stunned: it felt like a warm-up! With a degree of trepidation – we’re talking weights that, if mishandled, could break a wrist or some ribs – I picked up the 90-pounders, which I’d never attempted. They went up easily and I ripped out 10 reps. It was an out-of-body sensation: somebody else’s arms were pushing those weights, someone else’s pectorals flexing and contracting.

I went up to 100lb dumbbells – benching roughly my own body weight. I’d been locked at 160-170lb for two years and now, in the course of a single workout, I’d shot up 30lb.

My workout weights rocketed across the board. I was doing wide-grip chin-ups with a 35lb plate strapped to my waist; shoulder-pressing 75lb dumbbells; slapping 45lb plates on the biceps bar to curl 115lb. I was bottoming out Nautilus machines, lifting their maximum weights. My body exploded, 205lb to 235lb in the space of a few weeks – in ‘roider vernacular I’d ‘swallowed the air hose’.

I became a huffer, a puffer, a grunter, a screamer. Anyone who frequents gyms has seen those guys who make ungodly noises while throwing huge masses of weight around. I’d always found these displays childish and tended to look away, as I would from a toddler having a tantrum in a supermarket. So imagine my surprise to find myself bellowing, shrieking and groaning. It was like a silverback gorilla’s mating ritual: I wanted to be seen lifting, wanted everyone to know I was the biggest, toughest motherfucker in the gym. ‘Hoooo-aaahhh!’ ‘Eeeeeee-yahhh!’ Look at me! I’m a big boy!

It was pathetic and I should have known better – actually I did know better, but I didn’t let that stop me. The ‘pumps’ I’d get after a workout clouded all judgment. My glances at the gym mirrors were at first baffled: ‘Is that me?’ double-takes that soon mutated into looks of preening narcissism. I noticed how light played differently upon my chest and arms, the pockets of blue shadow filling my new contours.

The thing is, I knew it was all fake. I hadn’t earned it; it was actually quite freakish. But it’s like a woman with giant fake breasts: everyone knows they’re fake, but damn it if they don’t still draw attention.

That oil I shot into my hip weeks ago had not dissolved. The deep pain convinced me I’d developed an abscess. In effect, I’ve got a pouch of month-old oil inside my hip, walled off by my immune system. If I’m lucky it’s sterile, but if not it is infected, the surrounding tissue gone necrotic.

I decide to drain it myself by injecting an empty needle and drawing out the stale oil. My hope is it’s still liquid; if it’s congealed and lard-like, I’ll need medical attention.

The needle sunk into the pocket of infected tissue. The pain was expected and surprisingly bearable. I drew back the plunger and got only a few drops of clear broth. I disconnected the syringe and left the needle jutting out, applying pressure to the surrounding skin. Blood so dark it was almost black dripped down my thigh. Disgusting and more than a little scary, but the pressure subsided. When I’d squeezed as much out as I could, I filled another syringe with sterile water, attached it to the needle still stuck in my skin, injected it, then unclipped the syringe and squeezed most of the water out.

I figured it was a decent job for an untrained meatball like myself. And it did the trick: a week later I was sleeping on my side again.

Week 12, I peak at 240lb. I’ve packed on 35lb in less than four months. My body has gone through an extreme thickening process. My pectoral muscles are solid slabs of meat hung off my clavicles. My latissimus dorsi muscles flare out from the midpoint of my back: what bodybuilders call a ‘cobra’s hood’. My triceps and biceps have swollen so much my T-shirt sleeves bunch up at my shoulders, too narrow to fit over my arms.

But the list of physical ailments is mounting. Chronic back pain has set in. I can’t walk more than a few blocks before what feels like a fist-sized stone settles upon my lower back. My flexibility has vanished. There are areas I can not reach due to my new size; if I want to scratch my neck I have to go to the cutlery drawer for a fork.

One night I was watching a legal drama on TV – one of those ‘ripped from the headlines’ type shows. A morbidly obese man was suing a snack company, whom he held responsible for his obesity. It was revealed that the main ingredient in the snack was high fructose corn syrup, a compound that inhibited the hormone leptin, whose function is to send a signal to the brain that the stomach is full – essentially, leptin tells us when to stop eating. But if this signal is never received, a person will go on eating past the point of reason.

Steroids are like high fructose corn syrup. Essentially, they fool a body into a sense that it is stronger and more resilient than it truly is. You accomplish feats that, in your heart and mind, you know are beyond your capacities – and yet you feel so good, so strong, that you convince yourself otherwise. But afterwards it is impossible to deny the toll these exertions have taken on you. After a workout my joints felt like they were hyper-extended. They popped and cracked, noises like wheel nuts rattling in a cement mixer. I felt calcified, hardened, and frighteningly old.

My cycle ends. I’ve swallowed every anti-oestrogen pill, injected every cc of Testosterone, Equipoise and HGC. By my best estimate, I’ve eaten 560 cans of tuna, over $750 worth. $1,280 on protein powder. The steroids themselves cost $600.

One morning I wake up and everything has changed. The first thing I notice upon waking is that I feel… well, good. No sluggishness, only minor joint pain. Genuinely refreshed. Then, on my way to the bathroom, I sense a new weight between my legs – my testicles! Fellas, where have you been? Great to have you back, boyos!

The feeling of elation lasts exactly 10 paces: the distance from my bed to the bathroom mirror. I’m staring at a human boneyard. Where are my pecs? I see two shrivelled bags hanging off my chest. My arms – dear lord, my arms! Shapeless shoestrings dangling from a pair of rotten-apple shoulders. My stomach looks like a deflated clown balloon. My legs belong to a coma victim. I step on the scale: 222lb! I’ve shed 13lb overnight.

Now I realise only the most deluded of 222lb men can stare into a mirror and see a skeletal horror staring back. But I’d become so used to my new body that I felt like a scarecrow with a tear in its belly, bleeding its stuffing all over a farmer’s field. The fact that I’d packed on 12lb of raw muscle over four months, that my testicles were up and running again, that I’d woken up feeling better than I had in months – all of this was erased by what I’d lost.

It got worse once I hit the gym. Chest day, which meant dumbbell bench presses. I didn’t even attempt to pick up the 105-pounders, which I’d been maxing out with. I settled on the 90s; if I could lift them, it’d be a 20lb increase over my pre-cycle max.

I could barely get the things off my chest. I struggled through a single rep, arms quaking, and halfway through the second the dumbbells crashed down and I rolled awkwardly off the bench, barking my elbows. I felt like a total fraud. Everyone who’d been watching me the past few months as I heaved massive weight about, bellowing like a steer in rut – all these knowing eyes now saw me as a charlatan.

I’d lost it. Everything I’d gained had been washed away. Popeye without his spinach. Weak and broken and utterly human. All the needles, the gallons of protein I’d chugged, pound after pound of tuna, the urine of pregnant women running through my veins, the fainting spells and sleepless nights, the muscle knots and bitch tits and shrunken gonads and the hair in my food and abscesses and caveman brow – every risk I’d taken, all that sweat and toil for nothing.

I fell into a week-long funk. I cleaned my apartment out: the unopened cans of tuna, the uneaten protein powder – all of it went in the bin. I ordered a large pizza, pepperoni and double cheese. I wolfed it down with gulps of Pepsi. I wanted to get fat and disgusting. I wanted to inflict damage upon myself. The rational part of my mind was going, ‘You did the research – you knew this was bound to happen.’ But the other part of my mind – the part closer to my body, the part now accustomed to the sly weightroom looks and the more defined, somehow burlier cast of my shadow, the part that relished how people ceded plenty of room as they passed me on the city’s narrow pavements – that part of me was not to be consoled.

I headed to the doctor’s. Though I felt much better now that it was over, I was still suffering aches and pains. The results: a partially herniated disc in my lower spine, the result of either bad posture or an accumulation of pressure due to excess body weight. A chiropractic visit was scheduled. An enlarged prostate. I was prescribed Avodart, which worked wonders.Fluid build-up on left knee – again, the result of excess weight. The doctor told me he’d get back to me with the blood test results.

I started out weighing 205lb and ended up at 208. My body looks no better now – if anything, it’s worse. Bloated somehow, like I’d died, my body abandoned in a gassy swamp. The gyno has left nipple-nubbins that poke out when I wear anything tighter than a golf shirt.

Has it been worth it? The question presupposes that I expected to benefit from the experience. I embarked on the steroid cycle in order to bring a level of real-world verisimilitude to my novel. I wanted to feel what my character felt, experience a portion of his life, write with conviction about what he went through.

In a way, I am ashamed of myself. Was it worth it – all for a book? What have I done to myself in the long run? Jeopardised my chances of having a child, perhaps. I worry about that a lot. More than anything else.

Has it been worth it? Somewhere along the line I’d been let off the hook. My grandfather, father, uncles, men of generations past – they didn’t get the free pass I did. Their lives were about poverty, warts, factory floors, untilled fields. They endured. What have I ever had to endure? I felt unworthy of all I’d been so carelessly given. And I loathed myself for taking it.

I currently weigh 170lb. The blood tests showed my liver values were totally out of whack. As I had never been able to convince a woman that I was a viable prospect to make a baby with before, I’ll never know if an inability to conceive, should that be the case, is attributable to steroids or the innate decrepitude of my seed.

Did I take steroids to write a book, or did I write a book as an excuse to take steroids? Often, all you want is to step off the path you’ve carved. And when my body began to fall apart, when the drugs began to destroy me, I persisted in the belief that all suffering on my part was long overdue. I would endure. The eventual understanding that a certain nobility underlay my grandfather’s suffering, whereas mine was not much more than a masochistic stubbornness – I’d like to think that stopped me. And when I’d stared at myself, naked and porcine, in the bathroom mirror, I told myself that if nothing else, I had suffered. I’m ashamed to admit, I took pride in that too.

‘Mr Davidson,’ the doctor asked over the phone, ‘are you on any herbal medications or’ – a pause – ‘bodybuilding supplements?’

‘I was on creatine,’ I told him, creatine being a legal bodybuilding supplement.

‘Mr Davidson.’ Another pause, followed by a heavy exhale. ‘Never, ever take creatine again.’

The doctor hung up on me.

· The Fighter by Craig Davidson is published by Picador on 6 June. To order a copy for £7.99 with free UK p&p go to observer.co.uk/bookshop or call 0870 836 0885

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Addiction to painkillers
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Signs That Someone Has an Addiction to Painkillers

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Unlike the use of many illegal drugs, an addiction to painkillers can go unnoticed for years on end. Many of those that have developed an addiction to painkillers feel as if they are in full control of their life, but they could be doing irreversible damage to their body and mind. With painkiller addictions on the rise, everyone should be aware of some of the signs of these addictions and what can be done to break free from the cycle of substance abuse.

The Rise of Prescription Medication Abuse

Many people are surprised to hear just how big of a problem this has become. The use of illegal drugs is on the decline in many areas, but painkiller abuse is on the rise throughout the country. Some studies show that the non-medical use of prescription painkillers is growing by nearly 12 percent a year. This has become an epidemic for a variety of reasons including the record amount of painkillers being produced and prescribed every single year. Many homes throughout the country have medicine cabinets filled with powerful painkillers, and this means that practically everyone has access to these drugs.

The Signs of a Painkiller Addiction

One of the reasons that these addictions are so hard to identify is the fact that many people are prescribed painkillers by a doctor that they trust. Even those that use painkillers precisely as they are intended can develop a physical dependency without even realizing it. Individuals that have developed an addiction to painkillers often have a distinct change in their personality when they are no longer using their medication.

Some signs of an addiction to painkillers include but are not limited to:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Slurred speech
  • Restless sleep
  • Constipation
  • Impaired coordination
  • Changes in mood
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Isolation and social withdrawal

Those that are addicted will often become angry, depressed, or physically sick when they do not have access to painkillers or other similar drugs. Others will increase how much medication they are taking or continue to seek out painkillers even after their prescription has run out.

When to Find Help for an Addiction to Painkillers

There is no single reason that people become addicted to their medication. Some have issues with past abuse while others have a family history of addictions. Whatever the reason might be, it is vital to seek out help as soon as possible.

Anyone that is struggling with their painkillers or spends their life obsessing over how and when they will use next needs professional assistance. These addictions should never be treated alone as the detox and withdrawal period can be especially overwhelming and even dangerous in some situations.

A rehab specialist can help an addict throughout this process with services such as professional detox, inpatient rehabilitation, and outpatient support. Even after an addict is no longer physically dependent on their medication, they still need to work through the catalysts that caused their addiction in the first place. This is why so many people immediately transition from their detox program into an inpatient program for 30 to 90 days. These programs are designed to explore the root causes of the addiction and provide an addict with the life skills that they need to avoid relapsing.

To learn more about inpatient addiction treatment programs that we offer at A Forever Recovery, call one of our informed representatives. They can answer any questions you may have about our programs or our facility. Make that call now.
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healthy sex
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Healthy sex: When to use sex-enhancing drugs

Healthy sex: When to use sex-enhancing drugs

Can Viagra, testosterone, or other drugs really restore your love life?

Healthy sex in very important because Poor health can put a crimp in your love life. But the reverse is true, too: Good sex may help keep you healthy. Planet Meds supply Pharmacy is here to help.

“A satisfying sex life can foster good emotional health, which in turn can promote good physical health,” says Julia Heiman, Ph.D., director of The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University. Moreover, sex itself may have direct health benefits. For example, orgasm or any loving touch may cause the body to release substances that ease pain, bolster immunity, or elevate mood long after the immediate pleasure passes. Indeed, people who have strong, intimate relationships tend to have fewer chronic diseases and to live longer, some research suggests. So there can be good reasons beyond just pleasure to address any significant loss of sexual appetite or activity, regardless of your age.

The introduction of sildenafil (Viagra) a decade ago has graphically demonstrated that some sexual problems can be eased. But it has also fed the misconception that every sexual difficulty can—and should—be cured by popping a pill. More and more doctors, with little supporting evidence, are now prescribing sildenafil and related drugs not only to men but women too, as well as the hormone testosterone, in an effort to boost libido. And many consumers are buying DHEA (see caution) a potent hormone sold as a dietary supplement that the body converts to both testosterone and estrogen, with hopes of improving their sex drive and performance.

However, psychological issues, not physical ones, are usually the major culprits in the two most common sexual problems—lack of desire in women and premature ejaculation in men. Even with largely physical problems, such as vaginal dryness or erectile difficulties, certain nondrug steps may be worth trying. Furthermore, not everyone who experiences changes in sexual desire and function as they age is bothered by those changes, and shouldn’t be made to feel either abnormal or in need of a cure.

This report will help you talk intelligently with your doctor about when sex-enhancing drugs may be appropriate and when other steps-including leaving well enough alone-are enough.

Boosting low libido

Despite the increasing use of testosterone to stoke waning sexual desire, our consultants say that it’s rarely worthwhile, for several reasons. There is little or no correlation between libido, sexual performance, and the normal age-related decline in testosterone. There’s little evidence of the therapy’s long-term efficacy and safety. And many other factors—from stress and lack of sleep to changed feelings about a partner—can contribute to decreased sex drive.

When low testosterone levels are well below normal, sexuality and performance may be affected. But those declines often stem from correctable health problems, notably pituitary or testicular disorders.

Even when those causes have been ruled out, taking testosterone is still a gamble. In men, while it can boost libido in those who have clearly low levels, side effects include breast enlargement and decreased sperm production. And it may speed the growth of prostate cancer and increase the risk of blood clots.

In women, some research suggests that restoring testosterone to a high normal level can increase sexual desire, at least temporarily. But it can also cause hair growth and acne, and may raise the risk of breast cancer. And other possible risks are largely unknown because of lack of long-term studies.

Moreover, the only testosterone product (EstraTest) approved for women in this country uses a combination that can reduce HDL (good) cholesterol. And while some doctors and pharmacists now compound special testosterone formulations for women, or use creams or gels intended for men, the safety and efficacy of such products or such use is even less well understood.

The reservations about testosterone apply doubly to DHEA, which is still allowed to be sold as a dietary supplement. That’s because there’s even less evidence of its safety and benefits and because it may increase both estrogen and testosterone levels. Further, dietary supplements are largely unregulated, so you don’t know if what’s on the label is in the bottle. And your use of this potentially potent hormone is unlikely to be monitored by a physician.

What to do: Our consultants advise avoiding DHEA entirely, and taking testosterone only after evaluation by an endocrinologist, a specialist in hormone therapy. Even then it should be used with extreme caution. (See “Testosterone Treatment in Men and Women,” below).

Other measures—treating underlying disorders, adjusting drug dosages, reducing stress, or addressing problems in your relationship with your partner, with a therapist’s help if necessary—should generally be tried first. The therapist could be a traditional one, a marriage counselor, or a sex therapist who focuses on negative sexual attitudes or beliefs. And remember that a lack of sexual desire is only a problem if you think it is. A recent study published in the November 2008 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology found, for example, that while 43 percent of women report sexual problems, most commonly reduced libido, only about 12 percent were actually bothered by it.

Testosterone treatment in men and women
Despite its increasing use, testosterone should be prescribed only in very limited circumstances, described below.
Men Women Comments
Consider testosterone replacement therapy if… You have signs of testosterone deficiency, notably bothersome decline in libido and potency, enlarged breasts, loss of body or facial hair, or osteoporosis, particularly before age 65.
AND
Tests show you have low testosterone.
AND
Other causes of low testosterone or the associated problems have been ruled out or addressed.
AND
You understand that long-term risks, especially for men with moderately low levels, are largely unknown.
You have bothersome decline in libido starting after ovary removal or possibly after menopause.
AND
Other causes of low testosterone or reduced libido have been ruled out or addressed.
AND
You understand that long-term risks are unknown.
· Measuring testosterone may not help determine women’s need for therapy since tests aren’t accurate for women and normal levels have not been determined.
· Women should avoid testosterone if they’ve had breast or uterine cancer or liver or heart disease.
· Men should avoid it if they’ve had breast or prostate cancer or have high prostate or breast-cancer risk, major prostate enlargement, or elevated red-blood-cell count.
Treatment options include… Injections (Delatestryl, Depo-Testosterone, Testro-La), patches (Androderm, Striant, Testoderm), or gels (AndroGel, Testim). Estrogen-testosterone combination (Estratest). · Estratest may lower HDL (good) cholesterol.
· For women, some doctors use low doses of men’s creams or gels or create special formulas, though their safety is unknown.

Erectile dysfunction

While anxiety sometimes causes erectile dysfunction, that disorder usually stems from physical problems, often the same ones that cause heart disease.

Sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra) can help improve men’s potency by dilating blood vessels in the penis, to allow for the increased blood flow necessary for an erection. However, such drugs should be used cautiously, since they can cause potentially serious side effects. Those risks may include an increased chance of heart attack or stroke among men already at risk of such events-including those with coronary disease-as well as fertility problems and worsened sleep apnea. In some men, the drugs may also cause temporary vision or hearing problems. And they can interact with many medications, most notably nitrates (used to relieve angina) and certain herbs, including St. John’s wort.

What to do: Addressing coronary risk factors—reducing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and weight, stopping smoking, exercising more, and rigorously treating diabetes—may help correct erectile dysfunction. Therapy or counseling might also help some people. Pelvic-muscle exercises called Kegels—where you tightly tense the muscles that interrupt the flow of urine or passage of gas—may be worth trying as well.

If reducing risk factors and performing Kegels don’t help, men could consider erection-boosting medication. Tadalafil, which lasts for about 36 hours compared with 4 hours for the other two drugs, may be a good choice for men who value spontaneity, though side effects may also be prolonged. Men considering any impotence drug should first have a doctor assess their risk of heart disease and review all of their medications for possible interactions.

Dryness, insensitivity

Reduced vaginal lubrication and clitoral sensitivity may sometimes stem from the same cardiovascular problems that can cause erectile dysfunction. But more often those problems stem from declining estrogen levels after menopause.

Sildenafil (Viagra) and related drugs may improve sexual function in some women, including those who experience side effects from antidepressant drugs such as fluoxetine (Prozacand generic), paroxetine (Paxil and generic), and sertraline (Zoloft and generic), according to preliminary research. Supplemental estrogen can also help relieve that problem as well as vaginal dryness. But both treatments pose risks, so should be used cautiously.

What to do: In theory, reducing coronary risk factors may improve sexual function in women as it does in men. Extended foreplay and nonpetroleum lubricants like K-Y Jelly and Replens can usually provide sufficient moisture. Staying sexually active may also help keep the vagina moist and responsive. Those steps, combined if necessary with treatment of a partner’s sexual problems or of issues that impair libido, may improve a woman’s ability to achieve orgasm as well.

Women who want to try estrogen for dryness or possibly insensitivity can use creams (Estrace, Premarin) or vaginal inserts (Estring), which allow you to use smaller doses that are less likely to increase the risk of breast cancer and heart disease. If those don’t help, consider short-term use of low-dose estrogen pills or patches, provided you’re not at high risk of those diseases.

Women with antidepressant-related sexual problems should try other measures before talking with their doctor about possibly trying sildenafil. For example, they could try a lower dose or switch to generic bupropion, since some research suggests it’s less likely to interfere with your sex life than are other antidepressants.

Curbing early orgasm

There are currently no drugs approved for treating premature ejaculation, the most common form of sexual dysfunction in men. But some doctors do prescribe antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac and generic), paroxetine (Paxil and generic), and sertraline (Zoloft and generic) for premature ejaculation, since one of their common side effects is to inhibit orgasm.

Unfortunately, they probably have to be taken daily, not just before sex, and can cause a number of side effects. Some other doctors prescribe topical anesthetics, such as lidocaine, but the evidence for such use is sparse. So it’s generally best to try nondrug steps first.

What to do: You may be able to ease the anxiety and overexcitement that often underlie premature ejaculation by having sex more often, prolonging foreplay, and trying not to worry during or after sex, regardless of the outcome. Or talk with a sex therapist about other approaches that may train men to gain physical control over ejaculation.

Drugs and diseases that can hurt your sex life

Before resorting to medication or hormones to treat sexual problems, you and your doctor should first consider whether the problem stems from an underlying disorder or a medication you take. In some cases your doctor could ease or eliminate the problem by changing the prescription or treating the disorder.

Note that some side effects listed here may be only theoretical, particularly in women, or based on limited evidence, and that the list may not be complete. If you experience a sexual side effect soon after starting any new medication, ask your doctor if the drug could be contributing to the problem. Note that many of the brand-name drugs listed below are also available as generics.

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