Addictions: Drugs

Whilst drug use often begins as a recreational pastime and an individual makes a conscious choice to use drugs, the addictive properties of drugs quickly turn into a craving and constant need to remain high with the possible belief that they cannot have a good time without using them.

After continuous use, the body becomes less and less stimulated by the drug; the individual will then begin to use higher doses to obtain the same high.  The compulsion to use becomes uncontrollable and can then start to interfere with an individual’s everyday life, affecting work, home life, relationships and health.

Drug Addictions

Most people do not understand how or why a person becomes addicted to drugs.  They mistakenly view drug abusers as morally weak or they cannot understand why they cannot just stop taking them if it’s becoming a problem.  The truth is that drug addiction is a complex disease; where at some point, whist using drugs, changes occur in the brain that causes the drug abuser to become drug dependent.

Despite harmful consequences to the drug abuser, once the change in the brain occurs, they find they are unable to stop or resist using even if they want to.

Drugs work by stimulating various parts of the body, including the brain producing short term effects like, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, dizziness, tremors mood changes and paranoia.  In high doses, the risk for far more dangerous effects increase like, potential heart attacks, strokes, respiratory failure and coma.

In the long term, drug abuse may lead to mental health and physical effects including paranoia, psychosis, immune deficiencies and organ damage.

If the body receives a level of drugs that it cannot tolerate, overdose will occur.  Overdoses can occur in a single use of a drug, not only on someone who continuously uses.  Common signs of a drug overdose are, losing consciousness, fever or sweating, breathing problems, abnormal pulse and change in skin colour.

Virtually any substances that can result in a euphoric high are open for abuse.  Most people are aware of legal substances, like alcohol or illegal drugs like marijuana and cocaine, but there are also many less know substances such as inhalants like household cleaners.

 

The following are types of drugs that are commonly abused and/or result in dependence:

  • Alcohol – see ALCOHOL
  • Amphetamines – This group of drugs comes in many forms, from prescription medications like Ritalin and
  • Adderall to illegal drugs such as meths. Overdose of any of these substances can result in seizure and death.
  • Anabolic Steroids – This is a group of substances generally abused by body builders or athletes, which can lead to psychological effects like aggression, paranoia, infertility and organ failure.
  • Cannabis – or marijuana is commonly mixed (“cut”) with other substances so that drug dealers can make more money selling the diluted substance, or expose the drug user to more addictive drugs (ie baby powder, embalming fluid, PCP, opiates and cocaine). Negative effects can produce paranoia, lack of motivation and infertility.
  • Cocaine – Cocaine stimulates the nervous system, it can be snorted in powder form, smoked in the form of Crack Cocaine or injected when made into a liquid. Cocaine use can lead to heart attacks, strokes, lung and respiratory problems, ulcers or even perforation of the stomach, kidney failure and depression.
  • Ecstasy or MDMA – creates a sense of euphoria and love or desire. It can cause muscle tension, jaw-clenching, nausea, blurred vision, chills or sweating. In overdose it can increase the body temperature to the point of being fatal.
  • GHB – also known as Liquid XTC, G, Blue Nitro has the effect ranging from mild relaxation to coma or death. GHB is often used as a date-rape drug.
  • Hallucinogens – Examples include LSD, Mescaline and so called natural hallucinogens like certain mushrooms. Dangers including their ability to alter the perceptions of reality, for example perceiving danger when there is none, to dangerous behaviours such as jumping out of windows because they believe the can fly.
  • Inhalants – contained in household cleaners like ammonia, bleach and other substances that emit fumes. Effects of using an inhalant just once or over the course of time can result in brain damage even to the point of death.
  • Ketamine – also known as K or Special K is an anaesthetic that can be taken orally or injected. It can impair memory and higher doses can cause amnesia, paranoia, hallucinations, depression and respiratory problems.
    Opiates – This group of drugs include drugs like Heroin, Codeine, Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan. Use of these drugs severely increases the functioning of the nervous system. Fatal doses occur as the result of the abuser having to increase the amount they use to achieve the same level of intoxication, causing respiratory arrest.
  • PCP or Phencyclidine – is a potent anaesthetic used in veterinary medicine. This drug can cause the user to become quite aggressive, extremely paranoid and have unusual amounts of physical strength, potentially making the user quite dangerous to others.
  • Sedative, Hypnotic or Antianxiety Drugs – all these substances suppress or weaken the nervous system, if the person taking these uses the drugs in overdose or mixes them with other drugs including alcohol the can cause death by respiratory arrest.

With substance abuse there are prospective psychological problems including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia as well as other personality disorders.

Questions you can ask yourself to see if you have a drug addiction or drug problem?

  • Do you worry about where your next drug is coming from? Planning your days, social, family and work events around your using?
  • Do you ever think you won’t be able to have a good time or fit in with others if you don’t use?
  • Have you had any problems with family, friends, work, or legally in the last year?
  • Have you had any health problems related to your drug taking in the last year?
  • Have you used drugs other than those required for medical reasons?
  • Have you abused prescription drugs or have you ever lied to a doctor to obtain prescription drugs?
  • Do you abuse more than one drug at a time (including alcohol)?
  • Do you use drugs more than once a week?
  • Have you tried to stop using drugs and were not able to do so?
  • Have you had blackouts or flashbacks as a result of drug use?
  • Do you ever feel bad or guilty about your drug use?
  • Have you been in trouble at work or have you ever lost a job because of your drug abuse?
  • Have you gotten into fights while under the influence of drugs?
  • Have you engaged in illegal activities in order to obtain drugs?
  • Have you ever been arrested for possession of illegal drugs?
  • Have you ever experienced withdrawal symptoms (sickness etc) when you stopped taking drugs?
  • Do you avoid people or places that don’t approve of you using drugs?
  • Do you tell yourself you can stop drinking whenever you want to, even though you find yourself drunk when you didn’t mean to?

If you find you answer YES to four or more of these questions, you may have an drug dependence.

 

Cortijo Care are here to help.

cannabisTreatment at Cortijo Care is set up to help anyone suffering from an drug dependency; Our 24 Hour Acute programme is there to help those suffering from withdrawals,  giving a medically controlled detox programme; Our Rehabilitation programme then treats the psychological issues surrounding the addiction, enabling clients to learn how to cope with life without the need to use drugs, getting to the root of the whys and wherefores of the drug dependence and learning how to handle emotions and anxieties in a safe place.  Please call us for a no obligation chat about how we can help you or your family member or friend.

Please call us on (34) 952 780 181 for a no obligation chat about how we can help you, your family member or a  loved one or complete the contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.