Types of Addiction

‘Sugars’ is the street name of a popular drug in South Africa which is a heroin-derivative where heroin is mixed with small amounts of residual cocaine. It is then used together with other drugs like cannabis (marijuana, dagga) or inhaled on its own. The drug mix is cut with other substances that give it bulk and may make the effects more potent – the most common of these bulking agents being rat poison. Like tik (crystal meth) it has become a popular drug among teens and it is highly addictive.

Crystal  Meth/Tik
Crystal meth has become a well known drug due to the explosion of this narcotic on the South African drug scene. Known locally as ‘tik’, crystal meth use has spread throughout South Africa and is growing as the drug of choice among teenagers. Crystal meth belongs to a category of drugs known as methamphetamines and is more addictive than other popular drugs like cocaine.

Dagga is extremely dangerous. It hampers the physical development of a child and can lead to psychological defects. The greatest danger of Dagga is that it is a forerunner for harder drugs, therefore it is known as the “Gate Way Drug”.
Further effects include:

  • Brain damage
  • Amnesia
  • Sterility
  • Emphysema / Lung deceases
  • Emotional and Spiritual problems
  • Lowered Libido
  • Weakened Liver functions
  • Overall deterioration in health
  • Addiction

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug. The powdered hydrochloride salt form of cocaine can be snorted or dissolved in water and then injected. Crack is the street name given to the form of cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal, which, when heated, produces vapors that are smoked. The term “crack” refers to the crackling sound produced by the rock as it is heated.

Abusing cocaine has a variety of adverse effects on the body. For example, cocaine constricts blood vessels, dilates pupils, and increases body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. It can also cause headaches and gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea. Because cocaine tends to decrease appetite, chronic users can become malnourished as well.

Regardless of the route or frequency of use, cocaine abusers can experience acute cardiovascular or cerebrovascular emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke, which may cause sudden death. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizure followed by respiratory arrest.

Heroin can be injected, snorted/sniffed, or smoked—routes of administration that rapidly deliver the drug to the brain. Injecting is the use of a needle to administer the drug directly into the bloodstream. Snorting is the process of inhaling heroin powder through the nose, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal tissues. Smoking involves inhaling heroin smoke into the lungs. All three methods of administering heroin can lead to addiction and other severe health problems.

Heroin abuse is associated with serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, and—particularly in users who inject the drug—infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, and liver or kidney disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health of the abuser as well as from heroin’s depressing effects on respiration. In addition to the effects of the drug itself, street heroin often contains toxic contaminants or additives that can clog blood vessels leading to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain, causing permanent damage to vital organs.

Eating Disorders
Eating disorders refer to a group of conditions characterized by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual’s physical and emotional health, binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and over eating  being the most common specific forms of this addiction.

While proper addiction treatment can be highly effective for many of the specific types of eating disorder, the consequences of eating disorders can be severe, including death  (whether from direct medical effects of disturbed eating habits or from comorbid conditions such as suicidal thinking.

Gambling Addiction
Gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling, is a type of impulse-control disorder. Compulsive gamblers can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when they know their gambling is hurting themselves or their loved ones. Gambling is all they can think about and all they want to do, no matter the consequences. Compulsive gamblers keep gambling whether they’re up or down, broke or flush, happy or depressed. Even when they know the odds are against them, even when they can’t afford to lose, people with a gambling addiction can’t “stay off the bet.”
Gamblers can have a problem, however, without being totally out of control. Problem gambling is any gambling behavior that disrupts your life. If you’re preoccupied with gambling, spending more and more time and money on it, chasing losses, or gambling despite serious consequences, you have a gambling problem.

Sex Addiction
Sex addiction is no laughing matter. Instead of having healthy sexual relationships, a sex addict uses the activity as a way to get a rush, deal with stress, or escape from negative feelings. They get caught up in fantasizing about sex and in sexual activities to the extent that it interferes with their everyday lives.

Sex addicts may be having a lot of sex, but that doesn’t mean they are enjoying themselves. They are using sex as a coping mechanism instead of a way to connect with their partner. Not all sex addicts are visiting prostitutes or having affairs; some of the behaviors may involve looking at porn, excessive masturbation, or going to strip clubs. The difference between an addiction to sex and a healthy sex drive is when the person continues to act out in spite of negative consequences.

Symptoms of sex addiction are varied, and may include the following:

  • Cybersex or phone sex
  • Excessive masturbation
  • Exhibitionism
  • Extramarital affairs
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Visiting prostitutes
  • Voyeurism

Family history may influence whether a person becomes a sex addict. Having a parent who acted out sexually increases the likelihood that the child will grow up thinking the behavior is appropriate. Growing up in a home where parents were distant or abusive may set the stage for a sexual addiction as well.

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