How quickly a potential drug addict does become addicted to a drug depends on many factors including the biology of their body.
All drugs are potentially harmful and may have life-threatening consequences associated with their use.
There are also vast differences among individuals in sensitivity to various drugs. While one person may use a drug one or many times and suffer no ill effects, another person may be particularly vulnerable and overdose with first use. There is no way of knowing in advance how someone may react.
Here are four questions to help determine if someone is at risk of becoming an addict.
- Have you ever felt you ought to cut down on your drug use?
- Have people ever annoyed you by criticizing your drug use?
- Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drug use?
- Have you ever had a drink or taken a drug first thing in the morning to steady your nerves?
If a person is compulsively seeking and using a drug despite negative consequences, such as loss of job, debt, physical problems brought on by drug abuse, or family problems, then he or she is probably an addict.
Seeking help through a treatment center such as Narconon Rehab should be considered as soon as possible so matters do not get worse.
The physical signs of being an addict can vary depending on the person and the drug being abused.
CRACK COCAINE – Illegal Drugs
Crack is a form of cocaine. Crack cocaine got its name from the crackling noise it makes while being smoked. It is highly addictive. Crack is powered cocaine that has been processed with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water, and heated to remove the hydrochloride.
Because crack is smoked, the user experiences a high instantly.
Crack cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant that interferes with the reabsorption process of dopamine, a chemical messenger associated with pleasure and movement.
The buildup of dopamine causes continuous stimulation of “receiving” neurons, which is associated with the euphoria of crack cocaine.
Physical effects of crack cocaine use include;
- constricted blood vessels
- dilated pupils
- increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.
The duration of crack cocaine’s immediate euphoric effects, which include hyper stimulation, reduced fatigue, and mental clarity, depends on what method the drug was taken.
Crack cocaine use can result in a period of full-blown paranoid psychosis, in which the user loses touch with reality and experiences auditory hallucinations.
Illegal Drugs – Other complications associated with crack cocaine use include;
- disturbances in heart rhythm and heart attacks
- chest pain and respiratory failure,
- seizures and headaches
- gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea.
Because crack cocaine has a tendency to decrease appetite, many chronic users can become malnourished. Regularly smoking of crack cocaine can lead to hoarseness, chronic coughing and lung cancer.
Different means of taking cocaine can produce different adverse effects.
Regularly snorting cocaine, for example, can lead to loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, problems with swallowing, hoarseness, and a chronically runny nose. People who inject cocaine can experience severe allergic reactions and increase their risk for contracting HIV and other blood borne diseases.
HEROIN – Illegal Drugs
Heroin is an extremely dangerous and powerful opiate. This powdered, crystalline substance is used by injecting, snorting or smoking it.
Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder. Street names for heroin include “smack,” “H” or “junk.”
Heroin Addiction – Illegal Drugs
With regular heroin use, tolerance develops. As higher doses are used over time, physical dependence and addiction develop. With physical dependence, the body has adapted to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms may occur if use is reduced or stopped.
Withdrawal Symptoms Include:
- drug craving
- muscle and bone pain
- diarrhea and vomiting
- cold flashes with goose bumps
- kicking movements and other symptoms.
Effects of Heroin Addiction and Abuse – Illegal Drugs
Heroin addiction is associated with serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion and collapsed veins. Chronic users may develop infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, cellulites, and liver disease.
Heroin abuse during pregnancy and lack of prenatal care have been adverse consequences including low birth weight, an important risk factor for later developmental delay.
Heroin abuse quickly destroys the addicted person’s health and finances. And, of course, dramatically impacts the people around them. Abusing heroin starts off with the euphoria of the initial pleasure. It soon turns into a nightmare of cataclysmic proportions.
MARIJUANA – Illegal Drugs
Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States. Marijuana is addictive. When a user begins to seek out and take the drug compulsively, that person is said to be dependent on the drug or addicted to it.
The main active chemical in marijuana is THC.
The membranes of certain nerve cells in the brain contain protein receptors that bind to THC. Once securely in place, THC kicks off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the high that users experience when they smoke marijuana.
Long-term marijuana use leads to an addiction.
Marijuana smokers end up using the drug compulsively even though it interferes with family, school, work, and recreational activities. Drug craving and withdrawal symptoms can make it hard for long-term marijuana smokers to stop using the drug.
Marijuana is a dry, shredded green/brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves of the hemp plant, cannabis sativa. It usually is smoked as a cigarette or in a pipe.
It also is smoked in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana, often in combination with another drug.
There are countless street terms for marijuana including pot, herb, weed, grass, widow and ganja. – Illegal Drugs
Depression, anxiety, and personality disturbances have been associated with marijuana addiction. Research clearly demonstrates that marijuana has potential to cause problems in daily life or make a person’s existing problems worse.
Because marijuana compromises the ability to learn and remember information, the more a person uses marijuana the more he or she is likely to fall behind in acquiring intellectual, job, or social skills.
Long-term marijuana users show signs of a lack of motivation. Their problems include not caring about
what happens in their lives, no desire to work regularly, fatigue, and a lack of concern about how they look.
As a result of these symptoms, some users tend to perform poorly in school or at work.
CRYSTAL METH – Illegal Drugs
Crystal methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth, is a powerfully addictive stimulant. There can be serious health conditions including; memory loss, aggression, psychotic behavior, and potential heart and brain damage.
Crystal meth addiction is an extremely serious illegal
drug and growing problem.
Chronic crystal meth abusers exhibit symptoms that can include; violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, and insomnia.
They also can display a number of psychotic features, including paranoia, auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances, and delusions, the sensation of insects creeping on the skin resulting in paranoia that can lead to homicidal and suicidal thoughts.
The drug releases high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine into the part of the brain regulating feelings of pleasure.
It usually causes increased activity, decreased appetite, and a heightened sense of well-being. It can be smoked, snorted, orally ingested or injected directly into the blood stream.
This illegal drug is easily manufactured anywhere with basic, over-the-counter ingredients. Crystal meth, a form of methamphetamine, is also known as speed, chalk, ice, crank or glass. It is a white, odorless, crystalline powder.
Crystal meth’s structure is similar to amphetamine with more of an impact on the central nervous system. Crystal Meth has a very toxic effect on the human body.
It is very dangerous and can cause convulsions, permanent severe body damage or death.
ECSTASY [MDMA] – Illegal Drugs
Ecstasy or [MDMA] is a synthetic amphetamine-like (speed-like), mind-altering drug that can cause the user to hallucinate.
Ecstasy possesses chemical variations of the stimulant amphetamine or methamphetamine and a hallucinogen, most often mescaline.
Ecstasy is a white, crystalline powder in its pure form. It is most often available in tablet form and is usually ingested orally. Ecstasy is rarely consumed with alcohol, as alcohol is believed to diminish its effects.
It is most often distributed at late-night parties called “raves”, nightclubs, and rock concerts.
Users of this illegal drug say that it produces profoundly positive feelings, empathy for others, elimination of anxiety, and extreme relaxation.
Ecstasy is also said to suppress the need to eat, drink, or sleep, enabling users to endure two and three day parties. Consequently, ecstasy use sometimes results in severe dehydration or exhaustion.
Ecstasy can cause other adverse effects including…
- increases in body temperature
- involuntary teeth clenching
- muscle cramping
- and blurred vision.
Ecstasy users also report after-effects of anxiety, paranoia, and depression.
ROHYPNOL [Date Rape] – Illegal Drugs
Rohypnol is a strong sedative which is similar to the drug Valium, but is 10 times stronger than Valium. Rohypnol is a small white tablet that is single or cross-scored on one side and has the word “Roche” on the other side.
Drug street names are often known as: roofies, rophies, roche, rope, R2, and trip-and-fall.
Rohypnol dissolves easily in juice, coffee, carbonated and alcoholic beverages. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless when dissolved in any liquid.
The effects of this drug are enhanced when mixed with alcohol causing; sedation, loss of a inhibitions, relaxation, blackouts and amnesia. It can also cause respiratory depression, coma and even death.
The drug takes effect after about 20 to 30 minutes and effects may last as long as 8 to 12 hours. When combined with alcohol, Rohypnol causes severe disorientation and the classic “blackouts” that it is known for.
Blackout periods are typically 8 to 12 hours long.
The victim may or may not appear “awake” during this time. This drug is especially dangerous. The drug’s amnesiac effects usually leaves the victim with little or no memory of any assault.
Rohypnol Use Signs and Symptoms – Illegal Drugs
- Quick intoxication
- Bloodshot eyes
- Impaired judgment
- Memory loss
- Simultaneous hot and cold flashes
- and difficulty in speaking and moving.
GHB [Date Rape] – Illegal Drugs
GHB is Gamma Hydroxy Butrate. It is a powerful synthetic drug that acts as a depressant on the central nervous system. It is a newer drug to the streets than Rohypnol.
GHB is an illegally manufactured drug, so it is very dangerous since it is made by “kitchen chemists” and there is NO quality control like with an FDA
Its effects can be felt within 15 minutes after ingestion.
It is used the same way someone will use Rohypnol on an unknowing victim. GHB is usually found in liquid form that is colorless and odorless, and has no taste when mixed in a drink or water.
Sometimes there is a salty aftertaste, depending on how it was produced. Since the actual amount of GHB is unknown, the risk of toxic effect is great.
Street names for the drug; G, Grievous Bodily Harm, Gook, Easy Lay, Vita-G, G Juice.
GHB Signs And Symptoms
Dizziness, Nausea, Vomiting, Unconsciousness, Memory loss, Difficulty breathing, Seizures & Coma.
Heroin Addiction – Illegal Drugs
Those who suffer from heroin addiction are at risk of developing a number of ailments, including heart and liver disease.
While all drug addictions are inherently hazardous to your health, heroin addiction is at the top of that list, with its myriad of ill effects.