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Paracelsus Recovery is a haven for ultra-high-net-worth individuals and their families. Our treatment programs are the most advanced and comprehensive worldwide. This means our team consists of expert counselors in any and all specific addictions, including a performance enhancement specialist. Our PED expert psychotherapists will help you understand your psychological need to abuse PEDs and help you to overcome these issues. We will also help you create strategies to adopt a healthy lifestyle for meeting your goals that would not adversely affect your health.

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The drive to win for professional athletes is immense, making it obvious why someone would want a ‘competitive edge.’ Then, for non-athletes, the rise of social media apps intends there is also a newfound pressure on everyone to look their best at all times.

Our lifestyle and societal norms have also become intrinsically ambitious. So, even the most secure persons may find themselves Googling ‘smart drugs’ as a way to get ahead in school, the workplace, or society. While performance-enhancing drugs may seem like a ‘quick fix’ for these issues, the risks far outweigh the benefits.

What are PEDs?

In general, performance-enhancing drugs are substances designed to enhance our physical representation, cognitive ability, or our endurance. We can classify PEDs as, appearance and performance-enhancing drugs (APEDs), physical-PEDs, and cognitive-PEDs and each one of these comes with its own set of hazards.

Nonetheless, when used in regulation and under medical supervision, PEDs aren’t necessarily fatal. But like any artificial supplement, they can be fatal when abused. Talk to a consultant or professional before appending steroids to your workout routine or taking stimulants for focusing concerns.

At Paracelsus Recovery, we have seen an exponential increase in the number of PED-related substance abuse upshots. For the majority of cases, lack of information and education played a substantial role in their abuse of PEDs in the first place. As we adopt a minimally invasive approach to substance abuse cases, we asked our experts to answer each and every FAQ below: 

PEDs Examples

Examples of PEDs, and the risks they pose, include:

Anabolic steroids are synthetic steroid hormones that resemble testosterone. They are used to grow muscles and enhance strength. Still, their most common side effects are blood pressure issues, liver problems, kidney failure, heart disease, aggression, and decreased fertility. Steroid precursors, such as androstenedione (andro) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), are also prevalent.

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Blood doping involves boosting red blood cells to enhance oxygen supply to the muscles. It can be done via a blood transfusion or by using drugs like erythropoietin (EPO). However, using this medication when it is not medically indicated is highly vulnerable, often leading to blood clots and demise.

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Human growth hormone (HGH) is designed to treat childhood growth disorders. It works by stimulating cell division and regeneration, which means athletes looking to gain that ‘edge’ misuse it to expedite their recovery time. However, complications include organomegaly, heart failure, diabetes, and other endocrinological diseases, to name a few.

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Amphetamines are a form of cognitive PED, commonly referred to as nootropics or smart drugs. Examples include central nervous system (CNS) stimulants such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Modafinil. However, when used for nonmedical reasons, these substances can enhance focus, concentration, and memory. CNS stimulants not only increase your risk of overdosing, but they are also very addictive.

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These drugs are often abused to enhance appearance as they decrease visceral fat and promote leanness. Examples include xanthines, sympathomimetics, and thyroid hormones, each of which poses a significant risk to our cardiovascular and nervous systems.

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Anabolic steroids
Blood doping (EPO)
Human growth hormone (HGH)
Psychostimulants (Smart Drugs)
Cosmetic Procedures

Anabolic steroids

Anabolic steroids are synthetic steroid hormones that resemble testosterone. They are used to grow muscles and enhance strength. Still, their most common side effects are blood pressure issues, liver problems, kidney failure, heart disease, aggression, and decreased fertility. Steroid precursors, such as androstenedione (andro) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), are also prevalent.

Read more

Blood doping (EPO)

Blood doping involves boosting red blood cells to enhance oxygen supply to the muscles. It can be done via a blood transfusion or by using drugs like erythropoietin (EPO). However, using this medication when it is not medically indicated is highly vulnerable, often leading to blood clots and demise.

Read more

Human growth hormone (HGH)

Human growth hormone (HGH) is designed to treat childhood growth disorders. It works by stimulating cell division and regeneration, which means athletes looking to gain that ‘edge’ misuse it to expedite their recovery time. However, complications include organomegaly, heart failure, diabetes, and other endocrinological diseases, to name a few.

Read more

Psychostimulants (Smart Drugs)

Amphetamines are a form of cognitive PED, commonly referred to as nootropics or smart drugs. Examples include central nervous system (CNS) stimulants such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Modafinil. However, when used for nonmedical reasons, these substances can enhance focus, concentration, and memory. CNS stimulants not only increase your risk of overdosing, but they are also very addictive.

Read more

Cosmetic Procedures

These drugs are often abused to enhance appearance as they decrease visceral fat and promote leanness. Examples include xanthines, sympathomimetics, and thyroid hormones, each of which poses a significant risk to our cardiovascular and nervous systems.

Read more

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FAQs

Performance-enhancing drugs (PED) are synthetic substances used to improve human performance. Examples include physical performance-enhancing drugs used by athletes and bodybuilders and cognitive performance-enhancing drugs used by students to improve academic attainments. The vast preponderance of PEDs is prohibited due to the immense risks they pose to our vitality and well-being.

Popular PEDs include anabolic steroids, human growth hormones, erythropoietin (EPO), beta-blockers, stimulants, and diuretics. Steroid precursors, such as androstenedione (andro) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), are also common. Central nervous stimulants, such as ephedrine, are also used. 

Appearance and performance-enhancing drugs (APEDs) are most often used to gain muscle mass. Some athletes abuse performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), like anabolic steroids and stimulants, to help them perform better. Some students and professionals may abuse cognitive PEDs to enhance focus, concentration, and memory.

No, but there are safe performance-enhancing supplements. These include Hydroxymethylbutyrate (HMB), Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), Carnitine, Chromium, and Creatine. These supplements are naturally produced in our body and taken to strengthen muscles, gain muscle mass, or enhance recovery. 

Risks include dependence, heart palpitations, dysrhythmia, organomegaly, weight loss, tremors, high blood pressure, hallucinations, stroke, heart attack, increased anger, paranoia, perilously high body temperatures, diabetes, blood clots, depression, anxiety, and many more.

Reasons to outlaw performance-enhancing drugs from sports include recognition that natural talents are the point of sport and the prospect of an ‘arms race,’ in athletic performance. PEDs are also vulnerable, and it would be extremely damaging if PEDs became the norm, as every athlete would essentially need to risk their health to keep up with the competition.

Beta-blockers are a highly debated type of PED. They enhance performance insofar as they mask the effects of anxiety. For instance, propranolol comes from a class of drugs known as beta-blockers, which lower blood pressure by blocking particular sympathetic nervous system receptors. These receptors also become activated in times of anxiety. Without nerves or fear, our attention, and focus increase.

Doping by professional athletes has been a problem since the 1960s, and it is consistently worsening. For instance, according to one study in 2017, up to 57% of several thousand world-class amateur athletes confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs in that year. 

Yes, worryingly so. For example, PED abuse by both children and teenagers has skyrocketed in the past decade. In one study in 2012, 3.3% of high school students admitted to abusing anabolic steroids. In another, 8% of girls and 12% of boys confessed to using substances to improve appearance, muscle mass, or strength.

In the case of physical-PEDs, they simulate our endocrine system. Firstly, our body naturally produces hormones in our glands, which are circulated around the body in our bloodstream. When a hormone encounters a cell with receptors that fit, it binds to that cell. This binding leads to a chemical change in the cell, thus causing changes in biological capacities.

So, if PEDs mirror this system, definitely I could take a drug that simulates a hormonal effect I would like to produce, i.e., I want to be bigger, so if I take anabolic steroids (testosterone), they will bind to the target cells and lead to increased muscle mass? Not exactly. The hormonal system is highly complicated and complex. This means it is impossible to seek out one effect without triggering a range of other possible outcomes, most of which are fatal.

In the short term, hormones or steroids strengthen muscles, bones, and tendons. But, in the long term, they cause impotence, worsening acne, baldness, and ‘steroid rage.’ PEDs also cause growth issues in children and adolescents.

More severe effects include cardiovascular illness, liver impairment, and blood clots. For example, the heart is a muscular organ, and it isn’t intended to have excessive testosterone stimulations. So, it will malfunction in response to this excessive hormonal stimulation. The liver also metabolizes testosterone, so if it is excessively exposed, it may cause liver injury.

Research in 2018 suggests that about 32% of people who abused performance-enhancing drugs had become addicted to them. Although steroids won’t produce a typical “high” or sense of euphoria, those who regularly abuse these drugs are at risk of developing withdrawal symptoms which are quintessential signs of dependency. These numbers skyrocket when it comes to brain-enhancing drugs, as both Ritalin and Adderall are highly addictive.

The main type of forbidden substances includes anabolic steroids, peptide hormones, and growth factors (such as HGH), beta‑2 agonists, diuretics, and illicit drugs.

It depends on the drug in question and the reason of it being abused by someone. For instance, if someone starts taking anabolic steroids because they suffer from body-image issues, it will exacerbate these dilemmas, leading to deeper vulnerabilities and body dysphoria. Steroids can also increase aggressivity and paranoia. Cognitive performance enhancers, such as Ritalin and Adderall, also negatively influence our feel-good neurotransmitters, leading to depression or anxiety.

Yes, but not without perils. Low-dose stimulants lead to increased arousal, concentration, and cognitive enhancement. Moderate doses of stimulants will increase the responsiveness of euphoria and stamina and set the stage for addiction or cognitive impairment. Then, very high doses lead to psychosis and circulatory collapse.

Some studies (2004, 2016) show that modafinil may benefit specific communities, such as sleep‐deprived doctors and shift workers. But, in our viewpoint, the challenges that nootropics improve a healthy person’s cognitive performance do not outweigh the side effects and health hazards.

It depends on the substance in question, the dose and the route via which it was taken, and for what duration. For example, anabolic steroids will show up in the urinary system for up to 14 days if taken orally. If taken intravenously, it can show up for up to one month. HGH is detectable for up to three weeks, while EPO only remains in the body for two days. Amphetamines can be detectable for up to three months.

The withdrawal symptoms from steroids occur due to the low levels of natural testosterone in the body. Although the physical side effects are rarely critical, many users develop major depressive episodes and suicidal ideation. Amphetamine withdrawal symptoms include agitation, irritability, nightmares, slow reflexes, twitches, fatigue, etc. Always speak to a professional before coming off any medication, prescribed or otherwise.

If you want to naturally improve your cognitive performance, focus on stress mitigation and exercise. For instance, make sure to incorporate some form of mental stimulation and physical exercise into your lifestyle. Mindfulness, yoga, and meditation are unique methods of clearing your mind and improving your focus. Eating a healthy diet and avoiding tobacco and alcohol will also improve brain execution. Supplements such as fish oils, resveratrol, Ginkgo biloba, and creatine may also help.