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Addiction Recovery Centre

DRUG ADDICTIONS

COCAINE ADDICTION

No drug takes you down faster or harder than crack. There are two forms of cocaine, the powdered form that you snort, and crack that you smoke.Cocaine is a stimulant, therefore it causes your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to constrict, which can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. Heart attacks in young patients without a history of heart disease are so caused by cocaine that emergency room doctors are taught to consider it as one of the first diagnoses.

As with all drugs, the most important consequences of cocaine addiction are psychological, social, and emotional. But with cocaine they happen faster and harder than with other drugs.

Withdrawal Symptoms

The withdrawal symptoms of cocaine are emotional.

There are no physical withdrawal symptoms from cocaine, which is why people sometimes trick themselves into thinking they aren't addicted to it. "I'm not physically addicted to cocaine." But there's no physical addiction and non-physical addiction – there's just addiction.

All addiction occurs in the brain.

Even though there are no physical withdrawal symptoms, cocaine still satisfies the criteria of addiction. People have difficulty controlling how much they use, and they continue to use even though it has negative consequences to their life.

The emotional withdrawal symptoms of cocaine are:
  • Tiredness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Moodiness
The prolonged withdrawal symptoms of cocaine are:
  • Mood swings
  • Variable energy
  • Low enthusiasm
  • Poor concentration
  • Sleep disturbances

Alcohol is a common trigger for cocaine use.

HEROIN ADDICTION

Repeated heroin use changes the physical structure and physiology of the brain, creating long-term imbalances in neuronal and hormonal systems that are not easily reversed. Heroin also produces profound amounts of tolerance and physical dependence. Tolerance occurs when more of the drug is required to achieve the same effects. With physical dependence, the body adapts to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms occur if use is reduced abruptly. Withdrawal may occur within a few hours after the last time the drug is taken.

Withdrawal Symptoms

The withdrawal Symptoms of Heroin are:
  • restlessness
  • muscle and bone pain
  • insomnia
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • cold flashes with goose bumps (“cold turkey”)
  • leg movements.

Repeated heroin use often results in addiction—a chronic relapsing disease that goes beyond physical dependence and is characterised by uncontrollable drug-seeking no matter the consequences. Heroin is extremely addictive no matter how it is taken. Once a person becomes addicted to heroin, seeking and using the drug becomes their sole purpose in life.

CAT ADDICTION

Methcathinone (also known as mephedrone) is an addictive psychoactive substance, and abuse of this drug is rapidly increasing in South Africa. A common street name for Methcathinone is ‘Kat’, and its use is mostly associated with the club and rave scenes. It is often used as a replacement for other stimulants such as cocaine and ecstasy. Tolerance develops quickly, and the user may develop psychological dependence with frequent use.

Effects on the user

The effect of Cat/Kat has been described as being very similar to that of cocaine. Unlike cocaine, the ‘high’ effect can last up to six hours, making this a very popular recreational drug. The user may experience:

  • Intense feelings of euphoria
  • Increased energy
  • Increased confidence
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Feelings of love or empathy towards others
  • Sociability and talkativeness

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of cocaine, lasting from two to three weeks or longer depending on the extent of use:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Agitation
  • Hypersomnia (excessive sleeping)
  • Increased appetite.
  • Agitation and aggression from extreme psychological cravings for the drug.
  • Indications are similar to that of methamphetamines, but are not as intense or long-lasting.

Alcohol Addiction / Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a serious medical disease with signs and symptoms that vary depending on the amount and frequency of consumption. Progressing alcoholism will significantly disrupt the lives of users and their families.

Physical signs of alcohol overconsumption and intoxication are recognisable by most adults:

  • Slurred or incoherent speech
  • Poor balance and clumsiness
  • Delayed reflexes
  • Stomach pains, vomiting or nausea
  • Loss of consciousness or blacking-out
  • Redness of the face during or after periods of consumption
  • It is possible for a person to reach a level of intoxication that becomes life-threatening (alcohol poisoning). The respiratory system becomes depressed, and the person will stop breathing.

Untreated alcohol abuse can progress to an addiction to alcohol characterised by physical dependency and/or inability to stop despite serious consequences. Once they begin drinking, alcoholics have little to no control over the amount they consume. Alcohol dependence indicates that the user has made obtaining and consuming alcohol a predominant focus of their life.

Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Tremors, convulsions, or uncontrolled shaking of the hands (or even the entire body)
  • Profuse sweating, even in cold conditions
  • Extreme agitation or anxiety
  • Persistent insomnia
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
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