What is a drug addiction?

Drugs are fairly well established in our society and seem like a harmless way to amp up the party vibe every now and then or to soften the edges. But drugs aren’t harmless as they can be addictive.

A drug affects the central nervous system. It can be a medicine, but also a psychoactive substance with a drugging, narcotic, stimulating or hallucinatory effect. As soon as the “occasional ecstasy” or “bit of cocaine now and then” is no longer enough, you are on the way to drug addiction. Just like alcohol, drugs sneak into your life like a thief in the night. Until you can't stop.

Drug addiction is found among all social classes. Certain drugs, such as cocaine, are even more common in higher social classes. Intense social pressure, competition in society, accumulated stress and anxiety, and so on, certainly play a role in the development of an addiction.

What are the symptoms of drug addiction?

Unfortunately, it can take quite a while to realise that you’ve gone from using drugs recreationally to being addicted. Or maybe you feel that something is wrong, but you’ve convinced yourself that it’s not that bad. You tell yourself that you have it under control and that you really can stop if you want to. 

Problematic drug use is often swept under the carpet by the user. Usually, it is family and friends who are concerned and speak to the user about it –. which triggers denial and lies.

My girlfriend told me I had a problem and she wanted me to stop. I tried to, but I just wasn’t able to. Then I started lying even more and doing everything secretively. I lied about everything. About money, about where I’d been, everything.

What are the consequences of drug addiction?

There are different consequences depending on the drugs you use. However, all of them involve mental, physical and social problems.

As your body gets used to the drugs, you will need more and more to achieve the same effect. You build up a tolerance to them. Long-term use damages the brain, which causes hormonal imbalances, among other things. But you can also get physical problems such as heart disease.

What types of drugs are there and what are the consequences of each one?

All drugs are addictive, but there are differences in how they work and what they do. Find out more about some of the most common drugs.

What is cocaine?

Cocaine, also known as coke, charlie or blow, is extracted from the leaves of the coca plant through a chemical process. It is used in different ways:

  • snorting or sniffing (lines)
  • smoking
  • injected (dissolved in water)

This white, crystalline powder gives you an immediate feeling of euphoria and energy that can last for several hours. It blocks the reuptake of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, which modulate the reward system in your brain, and it increases your heart rate and blood pressure. 

Cocaine is highly addictive and is often used by clubbers or people with a busy schedule, a hectic life and high pressure to perform. 

What are the consequences of cocaine use?

Smokable cocaine is also known as crack. When you smoke it (or ‘chase the dragon’), you experience an intense high. This effect disappears quickly, increasing the urge for the next high. This is what makes cocaine so psychologically addictive.

Cocaine can have the following effects on health:

  • lung problems from smoking crack
  • heart problems: an increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, and more strain on the heart, which can lead to a heart attack
  • cocaine gives you a feeling of self-confidence that makes you more prone to taking risks
  • restlessness

How does Affect2U help you quit drugs?

The first and most important step is admitting you have a problem. The moment you cross that difficult threshold, a multidisciplinary and experienced team is ready to guide you.

Together we will find the most appropriate solution for you. You can be helped on an outpatient basis or opt to be admitted to our homely environment. 

Recover is an action verb. You have to pay constant attention to it and take action to work on it – together with others. Affect2U couldn’t give me any guarantees that I would “never use again”, but they did give me lots of tools to help make this happen.

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