Alcohol addiction

Alcohol is one of the most cunning drugs available to man. It is socially acceptable, encouraged, celebrated with, commiserated with and abused by billions of people.

Most people don’t even realise that they have an alcohol addiction until it’s too late. Alcoholism has been recognised as having a genetic link to previous generations and the life long debate exists as to whether it is “nature or nurture” that causes it. Much like the chicken and egg fable, nobody knows exactly where it starts.
Should you have a grandparent or parents that are addicted to alcohol the chances of you becoming addicted is high. It could stem from how you were raised – if alcohol was available to you from a young age or if your parents tolerated or encouraged the use of it, the more likely you are to enjoy drinking. If you have an underlying psychiatric illness and struggle with emotional health, like depression, are dealing with stress, grief, loss, anger and even anxiety you are more than likely going to develop an alcohol addiction as an attempt to numb the emotional pain.

Drinking is something that is socially accepted and widely available. It is common and affordable in most cultures. A lot of people don’t seem to realise what the difference between social drinking and having a drinking problem is. If your life is affected by your drinking and the consequences are mounting up, this could be a sure sign that you have a problem.

Signs of alcohol abuse

  • Drinking more than you usually do
  • Drinking in order to feel better or calm down
  • Forgetting what happened whilst you were drinking
  • Feeling guilty about drinking
  • Suffering from physical or mental black outs
  • Lying about drinking
  • Sneaking a few extra drinks
  • Having loved ones who are concerned and talking about your drinking habits
  • Drinking more than usual to get the same effect
  • Mood changes when you drink
  • Drinking more than others without getting tipsy or drunk

Possible health effects

Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the person. If you cannot go without a drink for 3-4 days, please seek medical help with the withdrawal. Rapid withdrawal from alcohol can induce seizures and it is highly recommended that you go to an addiction wise medical professional and never withdraw on your own.

  • Needing a drink in the morning to stop the shaking
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Mood Swings
  • Lying to yourself or others about why you need to have a drink

Heroin addiction

An opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin, also know as diamorphine among other names, is an opiate most commonly used as a recreational drug for its euphoric effects.

Street names

Brown Sugar, China White, Dope, H, Horse, Junk, Skag, Skunk, Smack, White Horse.

Identification

White or brownish powder, or black sticky substance know as “Tar Black Heroin”.

Ways used

Injected, smoked, snorted.

Possible health effects

Euphoria; warm flushing of skin; dry mouth; heavy feeling in the hands and feet; clouded thinking; alternate wakeful and drowsy states; itchin; nausea; vomiting; slowed breathing and heart rate. Collapsed veins; abscesses; infection of the lining and valves in the heart; constipation and stomach cramps; liver or kidney disease; pneumonia. Pregnancy: miscarriage, low birth weight, neonatal abstinence syndrome. Risk of HIV, hepatitis and other infectious diseases from shared needles. When used in conjunction with alcohol a dangerous slowdown of heart rate and breathing, coma, death. Withdrawal symptoms include, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhoea, vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumbs “cold turkey”, leg movements.

Methamphetamine addiction

An extremely addictive stimulant amphetamine drug. methamphetamine is a strong central nervous system stimulant that is mainly used as a recreational drug and less commonly as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obesity.

Street names

Crank, Chalk, Crystal, Fire, Glass, Go fast, Ice, Meth, Speed.

Identification

White powder or pill; crystal meth looks like pieces of glass or shiny blue-white “rocks” of different sizes.

Ways used

Swallowed, snorted, smoked, injected.

Possible health effects

Increased wakefulness and physical activity; decreased appetite; increased breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, temperature; irregular heartbeat. Anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood problems, violent behaviour, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, wieght loss, severe dental problems, intense itching leading to sores from scratching. Pregnancy: premature delivery, seperation of the placenta from the uterus; low birth weight; lethargy; heart and brain problems. Risk of HIV, hepatitis and other infectious diseases from shared needles. When used in combination with alcohol it masks the depressant effect of alcohol, increasing risk of alcohol overdose; may increase blood pressure and jitters. Withdrawal symptoms include depression, anxiety, tiredness.

Marijuana addiction

Marijuana is made from the Hemp plant, Cannabis Sativa. The main psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical in Marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

Street names

Blunt, Bud, Dope Ganja, Grass, Green, Herb, Joint, Mary Jane, Pot, Reefer, Skunk, Smoke, Weed, Hashish: Boom, Gangster, Hash, Hemp.

Identification

Greenish-grey mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and/or flowers; resin (Hashish) or sticky black liquid (Hash oil).

Ways used

Smoked, eaten (mixed in food or brewed in tea).

Possible health effects

Enhanced sensory perception and euphoria followed by drowsiness/relaxation; slowed reaction time; problems with balance and coordination; increased heart rate and appetite; problems with learning and memory; hallucinations; anxiety; panic attacks; psychosis; Mental health problems, chronic cough, frequent respiratory infections. Youth: possible loss of IQ points when repeated use begins in adolescence. Pregnancy: babies born with problems with attention, memory and problem solving. When used in combination with Alcohol there is increased heart rate, blood pressure; furtherslowing of mental processing and reaction time. Withdrawal symptoms include irritability, trouble sleeping, decreased appetite, anxiety.

Kat addiction

Kat is a stimulant. It is an amphetamine and has similar effects to Cocaine and Tik. Kat comes in two forms – the original (Cathinone) and artificial form (Methcathinone).

Street names

Jeff, Bathtub Speed, Wannabe-Speed, Kitty, Meth’s Cat, Meth’s Kitten.

Identification

White powder, Whitish rock crystal.

Ways used

Kat is taken into the body by snorting or inhaling. It is water-soluble, and can be taken orally when mixed with a liquid, and can also be injected into the veins.

Possible health effects

Narrowed blood vessels; enlarged pupils; increased body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure; headache; abdominal pain and nausea; euphoria; increased energy, alertness; insomnia; restlessness; anxiety; erratic and violent behaviour; panic attacks; paranoia; psychosis; heart rhythm problems; heart attack; stroke; seizure; coma. Loss of sense of smell; nosebleeds, nasal damage and trouble swallowing due to snorting; infection and death of bowel tissue from decreased blood flow; poor nutrition and weight loss from decreased appetite. Withdrawal symptoms include depression, tiredness, increased appetite, insomnia, vivid unpleasant dreams, slowed thinking and movement and restlessness.

Cocaine addiction

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant druge made from the leaves of the Coca plant native to South America. Although health care providers can use it for valid medical purposes, such as local anesthesia for some surgeries, Cocaine is an illegal drug.

Street names

Blow, Bump, C, Candy, Charlie, Coke, Crack, Flake, Rock, Snow, Toot.

Identification

White powder, Whitish rock crystal.

Ways used

Snorted, Smoked, Injected.

Possible health effects

Narrowed blood vessels; enlarged pupils; increased body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure; headache; abdominal pain and nausea; euphoria; increased energy, alertness; insomnia; restlessness; anxiety; erratic and violent behaviour; panic attacks; paranoia; psychosis; heart rhythm problems; heart attack; stroke; seizure; coma. Loss of sense of smell; nosebleeds, nasal damage and trouble swallowing due to snorting; infection and death of bowel tissue from decreased blood flow; poor nutrition and weight loss from decreased appetite. Withdrawal symptoms include depression, tiredness, increased appetite, insomnia, vivid unpleasant dreams, slowed thinking and movement and restlessness.