Do you think by taking narcotics for a prolonged period of time, the brain's chemistry (endorphins..seretonin uptake... all that lingo) is altered permanently or is it reversable?
I have been on and off narcotics for 12 years. I know withdrawl gets tougher phsycholgically but what about physically? Can I ever hope for normal pain/pleasure receptors...etc.. ?
Is that what also makes withdrawls so much harder (the brains inability to respond to pain normally)?
I hope you can make sense of this.
Interesting question and response. I agree that we are something less than human when we abandon reason as a governing force in our lives. In my own case, however, the use of reason leads me to question just how much of a recovery I can achieve by reasoning alone.
I'm trying to recover from 30 years of almost constant opiate abuse, punctuated by two horrific years of benzo addiction. With the exception of a one-day slip, I have been off of all drugs for 4 months. While I am beginning to feel like what I dimly remember as my old self, there continues to be a sort of "background hiss" of dysphoria in my waking life.
My reasoning mind is familiar with some of the brain studies indicating persistent, possibly irreversible adaptation to opiate abuse. Consequently, my reasoning mind wants to know what you think of opiate agonist therapy as an adjunct to rational recovery techniques for junkies with habits as long as mine.
P.S. I have investigated and rejected methadone maintenance as even a partial solution. I did so, not because I consider methadone itself to be a bad approach, but rather because I believe that today's methadone clinic system is a punitive, stigmatizing, dehumanizing, unethical and utterly mercenary application of what could be a life saving medicine. I
I try not to use the Comment section because it would be overwhelming and it would deprive many of an opportunity to particiate and contribute and they contribute measurably.uable.
I have to agree with you about the Methadone industry; it's analagous to the situation respecting Religion. Every Religion was founded by an individual with vision and love for his fellow man but what happened with time is the hierarchy or bureaucracy that developed prostituted it. We can see that every day as we survey the scene. Likewise with methadone, Vincent Dole was an outstanding scientist when he and his coworkers developed the application of Methadone, but once the tunnel-visioned entrepeneurs got hold of it it developed into the kind of entity you describe. it is sad.
Respecting your question about combining an opiate agonist and a cognitive-behavioral approach, we in Smart Recovery aver that ours is an abstinence program and our goal is to provide the information and support for the individual to develop a program that is suitable to him/her. Hopefully that is abstinence but if the individual concludes after reality check and soul searching, and exhausts all measures and repeatedl conducts cost-benefit analysis , then a harm reduction approach is indicated and that's what you're asking. That cost/benefit analysis includes your asking the five questions that Maxie Maultsby always poses: 1. What are the facts, i.e. as close to a camera view of situations as is humanly possible? As an example of that-I can't stand this craving, when this is not true because it has been stood many times before. 2. How does the usage affect short term and long term goals-job wise,economics, retirement, profession? Am I getting a quick fix and losing out on greater gains in the future? 3. How does usage affect my health now and in the future-nutritional, neurologically,liver etc.? 4. How does my usage affect my interrelationships with those important to me and not to be ignored the law? 5. How does usage affect how I feel daily?
A rational choice would be that at least three of the five parameters are not adversely affected. A review process somewhat similar would be to weigh the negatives of quitting and the positives. We have found that you must repeat these cost/benefit analyses over time because perspectives change with time and circumstances.If you do these kinds of analyses repeatedly , you can then arrive at a course of behavior that is customized to you as a unique individual. I hope that this helps some.
I don't see where those questions would fit in with methadone maintanence. Methadone, when used therapeutically, does not harm the body and it is legal. I know when I am through the physical withdrawals and in the after period, there is a whole lot more than just craving going on also. I just have a thing about general, blanket comments.
It's been a while. Very nice to see a medical source who has more than cracked eggs in his carton. So thanks RB Banks - very interesting discussion. No the question is, how long will you last?
Second. Thomas, I too am clean, brutally so, after a barbic rehab which I may post about one day. But the 15-20 vic a day habit it gone as are the zanax, soma and booze. I have detested AA all my life and now I find I can barely go a day without a meeting. Yeah, yeah, yeah - I am reading the book, hell I read it twice. Of course, some general tenets apply, not unlike Smart Recovery. Take a moral inventory; get back in touch with your spirituality, one day at a time. Very simple, very effective.
Thomas I have followed you from site to site, or let's just say our paths have crossed, (I am Lysanders in another virtual incarnation). I watched closely as you approached your decision to get on methadone. If anyone had hit a brick wall and examined it, you did. I have studied the program, seeing probably over 500 cases (medical insurance files, and consulting with MDs on the abusers) of individuals on methadone. I have limited personal experience, except to work with folks detoxing from it on a voulnteer basis at our county hosp. Yes, it is a godsend for _some end stage users like you and I_. No, it really doesn't solve the problem for many. If it prevents us from stealing or pissing away our savings on netdrugs and street drugs, and we can function at work, than hallelujah, pass it out. There is just one nasty little caveat, one I suspected you discovered. Of the 500+ cases I have seen (I have reviewed the medical files, not seen the patients other than as noted above and I have been researching and chatting about this on the net for > 2 years) I would say most never get off. The Problem? If our Banks is an MD he should know this, once you taper down to 40 mgs you can't go any lower - the psyche and the psychological mechanism simply won't allow it. I have seen personally many detoxes, and a methadone detox is a nasty affair, very nasty. I can only compare it to junk or the ethanol abuser who is on massive amounts of benzos - that is a long drawn out hellish event. I only know of one individual who stopped methadone did it on her own and she crossed into psychosis, was treated with resperdil (sp)and required two weeks of in pt psy. therapy.
So Michael, while I too do not like blanket statements (is not that not one?), the stuff is bad ju ju except for the sickest amongst us who can show up 360 for the rest of their lives with their hands out. If one can avoid it I seriously suggest alternatives.
Thomas, I have two months. My bride valium is gone and now my every four-hour angel of vicodin 50 mg no longer pulls my strings. The crazy thing is that I feel better than I have in 15 years. Lots of work ahead, but today is another one wherein I will go to bed reading my New Yorker, not passed on soma, vic, zanax and whatever little nite nite cocktail. Life is just too damn short.
My apologies for the ramble. Like I said, it's been a while,
Thanks so much for thinking of me--day 20 here and standing strong!--My husband and I just got back from a charter fishing expedition that he had booked several months ago--We really had a great time! How are you doing? I really like the question Amber posed to the doc. Very interesting and controversial stuff!--Our air cinditioner leaked while we were out of town and I'm waiting for the repairman-I'll check back with everyone a little later--Take it easy-- Thanks so much for caring!--Peace/Prayers--Mystere-N.O. Lady
Congratulations on day 20! That's great. How was the fishing expedition? Sounds like fun. I was born in New Orleans, and would love to be back there right now. I need to get away. I'm doing well with staying off the opiates, but still have this really weird, disconnected feeling, and not much get up and go. Time, time, time. It all takes time, I know. And, I have no business feeling sorry for myself because I'm off the damn things!
i can tell you my experience with drug addiction and brain chemistry, or i should say that i will try to!
i have been in treatment 14 times, that is in-patient treatment. the detox in 1999 was the worst experience ever.
but even after as sick as i was i did get back to feeling quite normal. physically, emotionally and mentally.
at 4.5 months off of opiates i again feel physically, emotionally and mentally "normal" (normal is relative isn't it! lol)
if it were true that my brain chemistry were permanently altered and that i would suffer for the rest of my life from irreversible damage i sincerely doubt that i would time after time bounce back to feeling as good as i ever did, sometimes even better!
perhaps my body/mind is just so grateful to me for giving in a respite from narcotics and alcohol that i am pink-clouding but i don't think that is it. i have worked at feeling well again and it starts with waking up in the morning NOT DOPE SICK! and as you all can testify to that is the greatest feeling in the world, next to sex which you even begin to have an interest in again! ;-)
as far as methadone goes, what is important to me is quality of life! and for those who find that methadone is the answer i support them in that! not for me to judge. better methadone than the continued use of street or prescription narcotics... now, using methadone and using other narcotics while on methadone is not kosher in my book, but it does happen and it doesn't mean that the person doing that will always do that!
i don't think anyone that has never been on methadone can judge anyone else deciding to do the clinic. for me, NO, no methadone today, thank you very much, lol! hate methadone W/D worse than anything!!!!!!
beating yourself up b/c you haven't surrendered to your higher- power? oh suzie! i hope the doc sees this and gives you some words of wisdom!! just wanted you to know that i read your post and am holding you in my thoughts!!
Hi Suz - try to hang in there honey. You're doing so great, and by facing and admitting your fears that you're afraid you're going to use again, just gives you more power in this fight by staring it in the face. YOU are in control now, not the drug, and it'll do anything to get you back under ITS control. Just take it day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. I'm thinking of you. Love, Lisabet
I've been taking 2 Xanax per night since May 1st.(10 days) and my script was intended to last one month (beats using opiates and beats wd's) and they were all stolen/taken by guests that I had at a get-together. So, in distress I went to CVS and asked them to re-fill it explaining the situation -- I have 2 refills.
The lady looked at me 100% ****-eyed! I am not abusing it at all! Are they going to altert my doc or something or cancel my script -- it has been helping so much .. I am pissed.
Been trying to quit narcotics this seems to be working well!
order another pizza and climb into a hot bath. That will help with the RLS. Do it as often as needed. Also, any good source of potassium will help, such as bananas. Flexiril combined with the hot soak should be very effective at bed time. Good luck.
You mentioned that you are not abusing the Xanax AT ALL....but, you ARE. You are taking two at night, and you said the script indicated one per night. Abuse? No.......but not taking as directed, and that can lead to trouble.
Man you are really awesome. I am sorry for again complementing you but you appear so wise and open minded...Rare in my experience in the medical field professionally interacting with oodles of physicians. Your religion comment too proved how insightful and abstract your thinking is. Again.. i must say how very fortunate we are to have u here!
Thank you, thank you...
I am really strugglin now with my recovery. day 70 clean but i still would use my d o c if i had access. But at least i am not seeking access! I think i am teatering on the edge of relapse hell. Evidentally have not surrendered to the God of my understanding. Do u have any ideas for this baby in recovery for first time after 10 years straight of addiction to stadol. Used one bottle every 1 to 4 days for ten years. Had headaches daily. and was put on stadol of course way before they knew it was addictive.
We went fishing out of Cocodrie--Real Cajun Country--it was great except a little windy--We did manage to catch some large Redfish in the marshes. To tell you the truth I'm really not the "outdoors at one with nature type." My idea of roughing it is when there is no mini bar in the hotel room--But my husband really wanted me to go and to be honest I really enjoyed it. I can relate about that "disconnected feeling"--There have been several times I would feel intense anxiety--not really knowing what to do with myself--Thankfully it passed as soon as I got busy DOING something. I have been having transient thoughts about getting another refill of the hydrocodone but so far I've managed to keep the Beast at bay. I'm so glad you are doing well Burn--We just have to keep the faith that it does get better with each passing day--This permanently altered brain stuff almost makes you want to say ah F#$# it--but I really have to believe that we can return to a normal HAPPY life! Take care Hon Thanks so much for caring--The support on this board means so much! Peace/ Prayers Mystere-AKA N.O. Lady
Darlin', you don't have a clear picture of what the deal is on those refills. Yes, you have until October to use up the two refills. But a Schedule IV Drug will be dispensed w/ rigid dosing and refilling. Simply put: you are expected to take one a day and that will last you 30 days. AT THAT TIME, you may get another refill. NOT BEFORE. Ditto w/ the remaining refill. So, you cannot just go in and "cash in" the refills. Does that help?
So whether you went there "bent out of shape" or wearing a ****-eatin' grin, you were NEVER going to get those pills that early. :-) They will make you play by the rules, even if, like you say, the Xanax is helping you get off of opiates.
And I would be remiss if I didn't remind you that using a benzo for any length of time to get off opiates is like going from the wading pool to an unending abyss.....DON'T GO THERE> Use them for a couple weeks and then be done w/ them. If you use all those refills in succession? Ninety days will have gone by (maybe less) and you will have a cute dependency cookin'. Just be forewarned, and DON'T assume if your doctor didn't mention anything, that it must be okay. There are thousands of people on these addiction boards who entered into their addictions just as blindly.
So, good luck, and let us know how you're doin'!! Best wishes--Peazy
Hi--I worked as a pharm tech so here's how things went where I worked---though your place may operate differently: Once you have a legitimate script, it is NOT up to the pharmacist to decide, on his whim, which RX's to fill, and which ones to DENY....That is not in his scope of operations. What he CAN do or MIGHT do is call your MD and voice his reservations about why you may have wanted the script filled so early. (Surely you understand that refilling a benzo twenty days early is not exactly the same as asking for keflex early.....) If you have not been in the habit of requesting early refills, I would bet the pharmacist would tell you that you have to wait, ( insurance won't let you have them early, but, even w/ out insurance, you cannot hoard benzos!!!) but at the allotted time he would, indeed, fill it. Was the " woman who looked at you cockeyed" a clerk, tech, or pharmacist? That is crucial to the understanding of your predicament, because, like anywhere else, she may just be a judgmental *******( I call 'em like I see 'em) and not have any REAL authority.
What was the final disposition? Did they tell you to come back in twenty days or what? Peazy
The lady I talked to was indeed a technitian - the pharmacist did
not seem too happy either. Anyway - I gave her my insurance card and
my ID. She does her stuff on the computer then says, "this is too
early". I was really taken back because it very clearly states that I
have 2 refills before 10-28-03.
Here I am 18 years old, clean off of all optiates since April-27, doing
something to help my self the legal way and these people are really
messing it up!
I say to her, "Your kidding, there is no way I can fill this?" -- she
says "Nope, not without a police report or another script from your MD
its too early!" -- Anyway, I wish I understood what went wrong better,
its not like I went in there bent out of shape!
Your advice has been very helpfull,
Thank you so much!
I have never taken methadone, but I was in a relationship w/ someone that went into a methadone clinic as a means to end her 4 year/15+ per day pain pill addiction. What she learned was that methadone was way more addictive. It was never explained to us that it is extremely difficult to get off and is even a life long commitment for many. It was explained to us as a detox program for opiates, and it included a doctor-regulated weaning off part. It sounded like the answer to our prayer. But after the 7 month stabilization period, she tried to wean off and it was a no go. Even going down as gradual as 1 mg per two weeks. She tried again after a year, and agian could not. She got down a whole 3 mg and it freaked her out.
There is a site out there (an organization) that is trying to combat the stigmatism of methadone treatment. They view and promote it as a medication such as an antidepressant or insulin and "one would never expect someone detox from their antidepressant or insulin". The site has alot of facts & information on the topic, and if you have adopted the mindset about it being a maintenance drug rather that a detox drug, you may find it interesting. Basically they view opiate addiction as a disease (rather than an addiction) and methadone is medication for it. I am abivalent on the subject. I understand that for some people it is the best solution. But part of me also feels (and I think this is part of the stigma) from a rational standpoint - it's an addictive drug and merely accepting the addiction forever doesn't sound like the answer. But if opiate adiction does cause some kind of entrophy in the brain, then people need to be educated so they don't see it in the same category as all other drug addiction. I guess that is what that website is trying to do. http://www.atwatchdog.org/ Just a warning, don't go in the forum and talk about detoxing, alot of people there worked hard to get themselves to be able to be OK with staying on it forever, and they don't like to hear it's possible to get off of it. I left the forum there because they told my girlfriend to stay on it and even to increase her dose when she went there looking for support when she was tapering. I didn't think that was right.
I am curious what is in that stuff that makes a person go thru so much BS to get it. The clinic being an hour away in a bad part of the city put a huge strain on our relationship (esp with her having 3 young children). Personally I would have struggled with the detoxing no matter how hard it was to get it out of my life. I take pain pills and when I am ready to quit I will try anything and everything else before I go near methadone because of how diffictult is is to get off. It's a pretty hefty ball and chain to have in one's life. I also wonder about the adverse effect it could have on the body. I know it is said to have none, but I have a hard time believing that taking a morphine-caliper drug every day has no down side.
This is just my opinion, but I feel if you get addicted you can get unaddicted. The body does heal, and if you let enough time pass while off it you will get to a point where you can look back and say "damn, I can't believe I used to need that stuff". I was able to quit a 4 year cocain addiction in my past. I have not tried to quit the pain meds yet, so I am not exactly talking the talk . But with the support from everyone here and modifying my life a little, I think I'll be able to do it.
Currently almost through day 20 CT off Perc, Vicodan, loreset,
Whatever. Dosage when I quit was any where from 16 to 20 +daily.
I am holding up pretty well considering I have a houseful of lazy people and 2 weeks worth of laundry for 6 kids in my basement.
I am having an extremely hard time with the RLS mid evening until I finally fall asleep.
When If ever can I expect some relief from the muscle cramps.
They are absolutely horrible.
by far the flu feeling was much preferable by a long shot.
I almost caved today because of the back pain. I held in there and though not much is getting accomplished and we having been having pizza alot (dont feel much like cooking let alone eating.)
Im praying every day gets a little easier.
not sure what im going to say to my doc i have to go this week I am almost completely out of flexeril I currently take about 50 to 60 mg a day. I will definitely need some thing for pain but I dont want to go back to pill hell again
I have never suggested methadone is for everyone. I don't think it would have been a good idea for Thomas. People take methadone for different reasons and it isn't always the stereotypical situation you suggest. The good doc posted a couple of false statements (in my opinion) and I commented on it. And, I am not talking about his whole post....just the opioid agonist part. I have explained my stance on methadone until I damn near turned blue in the face over the span I have been here and I still get the same comments. I certainly don't think a person taking 20 vics a day should go running to the clinic.....not at all. Never said it. But, generally saying methadone treatment is bad or whatever is not right either. It is an absolute life saver for some. And, that spans all of its uses....addict, pain patient, both.
I take it for pain management. That is where I stand on it. And, for that use, it is an EXCELLENT med. Besides constipation (not all of the time), I have no side effects either. And, my tolerance is almost the same a few months away from being a year after starting it (august). I believe methadone to be an option of last resort for those trying to get off of opioids.....LAST RESORT. But, for some, it is a very viable option. There are some who would wind up dead otherwise.
I have been on (clinic) m/done for aprox 2 weeks (50 mgs) and its awesome not to wake up with that dope sick feeling. After hearing all the horror storys about detox from m/done I am having 2nd thoughts!!!Yes, went from oxys to herion. I've detoxed from herion and it was bad, detoxed from oxys and it was BRUTAL. To hear m/done is just about impossible, already has depression/anxiety setting in. I feel now that I have made a hasty decision. I didn't plan to use methadone for life. This subject, I know, is very complicated because there are so many factors to consider. I have my Sunday carry from the clinic sitting right here next to me (50 mgs), wondering wether I should drink it or not? What do you guys think?
are you kidding? Take it! Never cold turkey off methadone. One thing that hasn't been mentioned in this thread, some methadone patients taper down to 30 mgs or so, then transition to some form of buprenorphine, probably suboxone. Apparently, a slow taper off bup is much easier than going to nil with methadone.
It is just absolutely NOT TRUE that methadone is impossible to detox from. That is also another role for bup. There are a lot of misconceptions about methadone. If you ever have any questions about it, email me at ***@**** and I would be happy to answer them. Even though it is very relevant, I just feel more comfortable discussing it on the side.
Sorry Thomas03 if I misled you, I wasn't planning on c/t but more on the lines of skipping todays dose and start lowering my doses tomorrow as I have only been on methadone for about 2 weeks. Methadone stays in my system longer that any other narcotic that I have used and I feel that I could go a day without dosing, w/o getting sick. I know tapering from from opiates stronger than oxy are brutal for me, let alone c/t. I can take the physical part of the detox but the mind games are relentless. The lack of sleep turns seconds into hours, and hours into days. Thank you both for your response..mrmichael67 I will be e-mailing you, I have alot of questions for you. And Thomas03, DrRock will talk to you soon. Thanks again..afriend
I also think in this day and age, it is not necessary to suffer through a detox. With buprenorphine or methadone, it can be made much easier. Fear is the only thing stopping people from using methadone to detox. And, that fear is from statements made all over the place. How it "gets in the bones". "You can't taper any lower than 40mg on it" (have NO idea where that came from. I know a few currently on lower). And, many more where they came from. I have also seen some comments from someone in this thread that are absolutely absurd (no thomas 050, it wasn't you). If it is used for a very short period of time (a few weeks), methadone can be used safely to detox. So long as the person's head is right and they stay focused, they can have a much more comfortable detox with the two meds I mentioned. No detox is without any discomfort, but hellish? I am sure there are cases, but I have seen otherwise. Not as hellish as cold turkey. Thomas 050, I want to comment on your statements about getting off of methadone because I think you are right. I firmly believe a person can detox and get off of methadone. Or, use it to get off of another opiate or opioid. If someone makes a decision to stay on it for the remainder of their life, that is fine and dandy. But, they shouldn't encourage others to stay on it. I just think people shouldn't generalize it because of something that might have happened to them. Because of a bad experience, it is the methadone that did it. Because it is in a bad part of town, it is the methadone that is bad. My clinic isn't in a bad part of town. And, all of it feeds into the fear that is completely unfounded.
I dunno....its all so rational and I have never been 100% rational.
Thanks for all that responded to my neverending question. All I can say is I DID kick heroin & meth after and stayed clesn 7.5 years. Now i'm at 25mgs of meth due to a percocet plunge and its easy...it holds me for the most part and I am treated well by my doc...I walk up to my local pharmacy and am treated with respect. No problem there. Its all about being at peace with it and obviously I am not. I am also really not up to withdrawls after 17 years of fighting with an abusive brain. Guess I'll have to gear up for the next fight and forge ahead sooner or later. I'm sick of this war.
Good luck to all
What happened to me and my g/f was that we were a bit naive with the methadone clinic and I partly blame us for not researching methadone more and I also blame the clinic (but perhaps because it was a private institution (made money only by it's clients) maybe that's why they didn't inform us of how difficult it is to get off).
Mrmichael67, please don't get me wrong. I do fully understand that for some it is the best answer. It's just that after what i went thru with her trying to detox from that stuff, I just really want to let people know that side of it. Because we didn't know that and I think perhaps if we did we would have explored some other options. We thought it (and it was presented to us that way) was a nice little detox program, the answer to our prayers. But we later found out it was also a severe addiction, ever bigger than the pain pills. Trading a monkey for a gorilla so to speak. Getting to the clinc put a huge strain on our lives, esp with her 3 young children. You can't miss your doses. But yea, later you get more take home privelages, that's good I guess, but that doesn't help the matter that you would like to eventually get free of it.
It's funny, when I speak of methadone that way people on it often tell me "no, it's totally possible to detox from it". I wish they would go to that watchdog site and tell that in the forums there. Because there they tell people not to even try to go off it. And that sux for people who go there that are seeking support in their effort to taper. Telling them it is possible and providing proof, while it may **** off some of the regulars, it would be very inspirational to others.
I go there now and again. Definitely not a regular. Maybe I should go more often. If they make a decision to stay on it for life, then that should be THEIR decision. They can't say what another poster should do as nine out of ten times, they aren't telling all anyway. So, the person has no info to go on. I think that is terribly irresponsible. It does people an injustice as does allowing the myths about methadone to go unchecked. People should go in with their eyes open and armed with the FACTS, not bs.
For the guy trying to get the benzo script filled early.
1- You should not be hanging around with drug users. People places and things. Your meds should be well gaurded anyway.
2 - Benzo withdrawl is extremely dangerous with siezures a possibilty
3 - call your doctor, explain the situation and ask that he write you a script for a different benzo. The pharmacy can't tell you no for a different benzo, they can still refuse to fill a script for the same one, even if you get a new paper script (which benzo's can be called in anyway they are not sched 2)
please forgive me for not taking the time to read through all the posts to get the answer to this question, I have been visiting another board that advocates methadone, and I'm doing all the research that I can, I would like to know how do you get your methadone? do you go to a clinic or is it prescriped to you from a pain doctor or your pcp? again sorry for not taking the time to read through all..
No problem at all. I get it from a clinic now. In the past, I did get it from a pain doc. I was in a very tight spot last August and had not much choice. Now that I am where I am, I am doing wonderfully. Luckily, I found a good clinic. My body tolerates methadone extremely well. The only problem I have and it's a mild one is constipation. I remember morphine had me all tightened up, but methadone is much less for me at least. I do know many get pretty bound by methadone. But, other than the very slight constipation, I have no side effects from methadone whatsoever. I will, sometime in the future, look into getting the methadone from a pain doc. For now, the clinic is working fine.
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