Drug: Street vs. Prescription vs. Behavioral
Addiction is the inability to abstain from consuming a substance or controlling a behavior. Addiction can vary from the intake of drugs and alcohol to behaviors such as gambling or shopping. The brain’s craving for these activities consumes one’s life and can lead to severe deviant behavior and lack of control. Often times the addict has every intention of “cutting back,” back their attempts continually fail. It is important to be aware of all the resources available to aid in recovery; remember you are not alone.
DMT: DMT is the common name for N,N-dimethyltryptamine. This hallucinogenic drug is typically smoked and common side effects include increased heart rate, blood pressure, and dilated pupils. DMT puts the user into a hallucinogenic state of mind. Typically one feels as if they have entered into another world and cannot differentiate between what is real and what is not.
Marijuana: Marijuana contains the psychoactive chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and is generally smoked but can be ingested as edibles in food as well. Marijuana is the most common illegal drug used in the United States today, and marijuana’s potency has dramatically increased over the years, sending more people than ever to the emergency room regarding marijuana-related visits by pot smokers. Within the first hour of using marijuana, one’s risk of a heart attack can be up to 5 times more likely. There are also many short term effects that come along with using marijuana including, loss of coordination and distortions in the sense of time, vision and hearing, sleepiness, reddening of the eyes, and increased appetite. Long term effects of marijuana propose more serious health risks including psychotic symptoms, and damage to the lungs/heart. Some common street names of marijuana include ganja, grass, hemp, herb, home grown, kiff, mary jane, pot, reefer, weed, dope, chronic, ETC.
Heroin: Heroin is an extremely addictive drug that is typically injected but may also be consumed by smoking or sniffing. Heroin causes a rush of euphoria over the user and has a high overdose rate because the user rarely knows how potent each batch is. Dependency on this drug is high, and a tolerance may be developed causing the user to require more of the drug each time they use. Some side effects of heroin include warm body temperature, dry mouth, and heavy extremities.
Ecstasy (MDMA): Ecstasy is most commonly taken in a pill form and interferes with the brain’s neuron serotonin. Serotonin regulates your mood, aggression, sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity to pain. In high doses, ecstasy can increase one’s body temperature to lethal levels. Some side effects of using this drug include confusion, depression, and sleeping problems along with high levels of anxiety.
GHB: GHB is commonly known as the date rape drug. It can be odorless and colorless and is usually mixed into a drink for consumption. Psychomotor impairment is typically the effect it has on someone who has consumed the drug. It is available in both liquid and powder form and its side effects include sweating, loss of consciousness, nausea, hallucinations, vomiting, and amnesia.
Cocaine: Cocaine is typically referred to as a party drug due to its potential for short term euphoria, energy, and talkativeness. Cocaine is made from the leaves of the coca plant and is often mixed with other dangerous chemicals to consume including baking soda. Cocaine is typically snorted but can be dissolved in water or injected directly into the bloodstream.
Crack Cocaine: Crack cocaine is cocaine in its purest form. Crack is processed in a crystal rock and heated for the purpose of producing vapors to inhale. The term crack was formed in order to describe the crackling sound that the rock produces as it is being heated. Most cocaine and crack users administer the drug in binge patterns because the effects come on strong and dissipate rather quickly.
PCP: Phencyclidine (PCP) was originally developed as an anesthetic for patients but was quickly taken off the market due its side effects of hallucinations, delirium, and mania. It is most commonly taken by pill or crushed into a powder and snorted. Sometimes PCP is added to marijuana joints and smoked, most commonly known as “killer joints.” PCP causes the user to feel detached or estranged from their environment and can cause numbness and slurred speech along with the feeling of super strength.
Bath salts: Bath salts include any drugs that have been combined with cathinone. Cathinone produces similar effects to that of ecstacy and is found naturally in the khat plant. After consuming bath salts the user is most likely to experience agitation, hallucinations, chest pain, and increased pulse and blood pressure. A major side effect of this drug is suicidal thoughts that may continue even after the drug has worn off.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms are a hallucinogenic drug that is consumed orally through food or drink. The toxins in the mushroom cause both auditory and visual hallucinations that can last for many hours. Mushrooms disrupt the neurotransmitter serotonin and in turn disrupt the way one processes information. Many times while hallucinating on mushrooms the user cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy.
Speed: Speed is the street name for the drug amphetamine sulphate. This drug is typically used in order to keep the user alert and energized and is typically in powder form that can be mixed into a drink. Other ways of administering the drug is intravenously, snorted, or smoked. The initial rush the user experiences are described as euphoric and pleasurable which only lasts a couple minutes. Side effects of this drug are decreased appetite, violent behavior, and hallucinations.
Percocet: Percocet is a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone that is typically used as a pain reliever prescribed by your physician. Some side effects of this drug include stomach pain, chills, dizziness, nausea, and unusual tiredness. It is very important while taking this medication to be overseen by a doctor because overdose potential is high and very dangerous.
Codeine: Codeine is an opiod that is used in pain management medication. It is most commonly mixed in syrup but can be administered in pill form as well. Codeine can slow or stop your breathing so careful dosage is especially important. A major side effect is constipation so drinking at least 6-8 cups of water daily is pertinent.
Oxycotin: OxyCotin (also known as oxycodon) is used to treat pain for extended periods of time. OxyCotin is used on a regular basis to treat pain and is not safe to use on an “as needed” basis for pain. After stopping use of this medication withdrawal symptoms are common so it’s important to consult a doctor on how to wean one’s self off of OxyCotin.
Methadone: Methadone is most commonly administered to patients trying to detox off of heroin. It is used as a pain reliever to minimize withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to narcotic drugs without providing them with the recognizable “high” feeling. Careful supervision of this drug is required and is only available from certain certified pharmacies. Harmful side effects may include difficulty breathing, blurred vision, dizziness, or bloody urine and a doctor should be consulted immediately upon recognition of these side effects.
Xanax: Xanax (also known as alprazolam) is most commonly prescribed for anxiety disorders and belongs to the class of drugs called benzodiazepines. Xanax works by slowing down certain chemicals in the brain that reduce nervous tension or anxiety. Xanax is a highly addictive drug and should only be used on a relatively short term basis.
Valium: Valium (also known as diazepam) belongs to the drug class benzodiazepine, as it is used to treat anxiety disorders. Valium may also be recommended to help treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and muscle spasms. Some side effects of this drug may include unsteady coordination or sleepiness.
Adderall: Adderall is a mixture of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Adderall affects impulse control and hyperactivity by stimulating certain chemicals in the brain. It is used to treat ADHD and in some cases narcolepsy. When taking this medication without needing it one may experience side effects such as rapid heartbeat, anxiety, and loss of appetite.
LSD: LSD is a very potent mood-changing drug. It is developed from lysergic acid which is found in certain fungi on grains. The main effect LSD has on the brain is a disconnection from reality. Many users experience a “trip” where they see and hear things that are not actually happening, and can last up to twelve hours. Often times this “trip” is not a pleasurable experience and is referred to as a bad trip.
Vicodin: Vicodin contains both acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Typically Vicodin is prescribed as a pain reliever and typical side effects include dizziness, lightheadedness, and drowsiness. Vicodin is taken on an as needed basis and shouldn’t be used as a long term treatment.
Ritalin: Ritalin is a drug very similar to Adderall as it is also used to treat ADHD as well as ADD. Ritalin affects the central nervous system and helps control impulses and hyperactivity. Common side effects are rapid heartbeat and chest pain. Ritalin is often combined with counseling therapies to help those suffering from ADHD and ADD.
Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine is an extremely addictive and potent drug that is known on the streets as crystal meth. It is typically in the form of powder that is white and odorless. Methamphetamine can be taken in a variety of ways including smoked, snorted, injected, or swallowed after being dissolved in water. The effects are almost immediate and produce an intense euphoria. Meth increases dopamine in the brain which leads to increased levels of motivation and reward centers.
Gambling: an addiction to gambling is also known as compulsive gambling. When someone is suffering from compulsive gambling their impulse control center is unmanageable. Although they know they are hurting themselves or loved ones they cannot control their behavior. Immense financial loss is a big indication that someone is suffering from an addiction to gambling. No matter how much “in the hole” the gambler is, they cannot refrain from betting more.
Shopping: An addiction to shopping is often times referred to as shopoholism. An addiction to shopping stretches far beyond occasional trips to the mall with friends. Those suffering from a shopping addiction suffer with sustaining relationships and their finances are directly affected by the inability to refrain from spending money on things are not needed. Similar to other types of addiction, shopaholics will try to hide their addiction (for example hiding recent purchases).
Sexual activities: A sexual addiction is a disorder of intimacy where the individual suffering is overwhelmed with sexual thoughts and actions. A sexual addiction can range from excessive masturbation and use of pornography to deviant and illegal behavior. Treatment usually involves helping the addict distinguish between healthy and unhealthy sexual behavior since they cannot distinguish it themselves.
Exercise: An addiction to exercise is a compulsive behavior that cannot be regulated. Exercising consumes the addict’s behavior and thought processes. Without adequate rest an individual’s health becomes a risk and must be addressed and monitored. Many of those suffering from an exercise addiction make excuses because exercise can be very healthy when done correctly. The individual cannot distinguish between what is a healthy amount of exercise and what is not.
Video gaming: Video game addiction has become increasingly common due to the recent advances in technology. Playing video games, whether on the computer or TV, consume the addict’s life, making them unconcerned with anything else. Many of those with a video gaming addiction have difficulty holding a job or a relationship because video games guzzle their daily activities. Often times an initial detox from video games is suggested, and although it may sound extreme, it has proven necessary.
Eating disorders: Eating disorders include but are not limited to anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. These disorders are very serious and can cause serious physical and cognitive deficits. Those suffering from eating disorders exude behaviors that are dangerous to themselves because of their obsessive thoughts surrounding weight and food issues. In order to successively treat an eating disorder the cognitive counterparts of the eating behavior must be addressed and resolved. The relapse rate for those with eating disorders is high, so continuous monitoring and treatment plans are essential.