Concerta abuse in South Africa

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Concerta abuse in South Africa

16 July, 2021Articles, News

Concerta is a medication used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The main medications used in South Africa to treat ADHD are Ritalin and Concerta. They have the same chemical structures (methylphenidate hydrochloride) however Concerta is a slower release, long-acting drug, similar in chemical makeup to other stimulants like cocaine and amphetamine, and the drug is just as addictive. Street names for Concerta include kibbles & bits, kiddy cocaine, pineapple, kiddie coke, smarties and skittles.

Concerta is primarily used as a stimulant medication to increase attention span and decrease hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour. The medication seems to have a positive impact on the treatment of ADD (attention deficit disorder) and ADHD but at the same time has opened up a panacea for potential abuse and there is a lot of controversy around the use of medication to treat the diagnosis of ADD and ADHD. In fact, there is huge controversy about the very existence of the above mentioned disorders, with the scientific experts suggesting a clear neurological basis for the disorders and some other more holistic proponents saying they are not diseases in the chemical sense at all but rather behaviourally based maladaptions. The jury is still out.

The dosage prescribed is based on the severity of the condition and the response to treatment. The drug slowly raises the users dopamine levels in the brain, achieving a therapeutic effect for those with proper ADHD (and similar) diagnoses. However, if individuals who do not have ADHD take these medications, the result will be hyperactivity and overstimulation. Though it helps many people, this medication can be addictive. The risk may be higher if you have a related substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to alcohol). If you suddenly stop using this medication, you may have withdrawal symptoms (such as depression, paranoia, fatigue suicidal thoughts, or other mental/mood changes). Withdrawal symptoms are more likely if you have used methylphenidate for a long time or in high doses.

Signs of Concerta addiction include:

  • Needing higher doses to feel the drug’s effects (tolerance)
  • Experiencing strong urges to use Concerta
  • Finding new ways to obtain the drug—legally or illegally—in order to abuse it
  • Using Concerta even if it’s causing issues with loved ones or responsibilities

Those struggling with an addiction to Concerta are advised not to quit taking the drug without medical supervision. At Crossroads we consult with our specialist medical provider as to the best method for detoxification for the individual.

Some people use the drug recreationally—without a prescription—and those who take more than their prescribed dosage are at risk for developing an addiction to Concerta. It is common for adolescents who are prescribed these types of medications to trade their drugs to other kids who are in fact not in need of them and hence are using these substances illegally. This leads to very severe consequences in terms behaviour as adolescents and eventual addiction to the medication. When abused by older teens or adults – especially if it’s crushed or snorted or injected – the drug is more like other forms of amphetamine, including methamphetamine, that have damaging and addictive psychological and physical effects.

At Crossroads, we have encountered several cases of abuse of the medication either through overuse, misuse or mixing the medication with other substances. We have even come across the mixing of Concerta and Ritalin in the common street drug known as Nyaope.

If you or a loved one needs assistance with Concerta abuse in South Africa – know that help is readily available. The road to recovery is not always an easy one but getting yourself or your loved one the best possible care from the team at Crossroads Recovery Centre, provides you with a map to sober, healthy living. No matter how bad things seem, there is hope and it’s only a phone call away. If you or anyone close to you needs help with an addiction to sex, gambling, substances, alcohol or food, please contact us for a free assessment.

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Stories of Recovery

  • The encouragement, love and support from the team at Crossroads allowed me to eventually see that I was worth something - that my life could be turned around and that I could accomplish the things that had long been a forgotten dream.
    Oliver VG
    Read more
  • On the last day of my stint at Crossroads I could only express gratitude towards all who works there. A wise councillor once commented on my question when one is ready for rehab by explaining that when one is ready for rehab, rehab is ready for you.
    Johan B
    Read more
  • I was lost and my soul was broken until I ended up at Crossroads and was introduced to the Twelve Steps. With the help of their excellent staff and amazing support I have recently been clean for 18 months, I could not have done it without them!
    Carla S
    Read more
  • "Just for today I am more than three years in recovery. I have Cross Roads to thank for this wonderful gift. Cross Roads helped me to set a firm foundation in my recovery on which I can continue to build."
    Angelique J
    Read more
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Substance Induced Psychosis

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Substance Induced Psychosis

02 April, 2021Articles, News

Psychosis is generally a symptom associated with schizophrenia. During a psychotic episode an individual experiences a disconnect from reality, the individual experiences hallucinations and/or delusions and are unable to distinguish between the hallucinations/delusions and reality. During these episodes there is a high risk of the individuals lashing out, hurting themselves or hurting others.

Substance-Induced Psychosis (SIP) or Toxic Psychosis is a result of Substance abuse/use. These can be legal or illegal substances. An individual has been abusing a certain substance, had a severe reaction to mixing substances or is withdrawing from a drug. These episodes are treatable and in most cases they are reversible. The duration of a Toxic Psychosis is anywhere between a few hours to a month.

Common drugs related to Toxic Psychosis:

Alcohol – occurs through chronic alcoholism or withdrawal
Marijuana
Hallucinogens – LSD, psychotropic mushrooms
MDMA
Benzodiazepines
Amphetamines
Cocaine

Symptoms of Toxic Psychosis:

There is an inability to discern reality from delusion; the delusions associated with SIP are usually false ideas based on fear and suspicion, for example, a person or organisation plotting to cause harm to the user.

Other manifestations include hallucinations – visual and haptic, disorientation, disorganised thought processes, anxiety, difficulty concentrating and difficulty communicating.

Managing Substance-Induced Psychosis:

In most cases of Toxic Psychosis, the symptoms do lift over time, but the condition is a serious one and often immediate medical attention is required. There have been cases where individuals have attempted to kill themselves while in a state of psychosis.

An effective treatment plan is important when dealing with Toxic Psychosis. The first obvious step is for the individual to stop taking the substance which caused the condition. Once the detox is complete the initial symptoms will lift. It is imperative that detox and a full in-patient treatment be completed as relapse and a return to psychosis is very possible without the help of an in-patient treatment program. In-patient treatment involves therapy, group sessions and an introduction to support groups. All of this ensures an individual is able to learn the necessary skills to enjoy a drug-free life.

If you or a loved one is possibly in a state of toxic psychosis – know that help is readily available. The road to recovery is not always an easy one but getting yourself or your loved one the best care from the team at Crossroads Recovery Centre, provides you with a map to sober, healthy living. No matter how bad things seem, there is hope and it’s just a phone call away. If you or anyone close to you needs help with an addiction to sex, gambling, substances, alcohol or food, please contact us for a free assessment.

www.crossroadsrecovery.co.za

074 89 51043 JHB

012 450 5033 PTA

References:

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/co-occurring-disorders/drug-psychosis-comorbidity

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substance-induced_psychosis

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248159.php

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Stories of Recovery

  • The encouragement, love and support from the team at Crossroads allowed me to eventually see that I was worth something - that my life could be turned around and that I could accomplish the things that had long been a forgotten dream.
    Oliver VG
    Read more
  • On the last day of my stint at Crossroads I could only express gratitude towards all who works there. A wise councillor once commented on my question when one is ready for rehab by explaining that when one is ready for rehab, rehab is ready for you.
    Johan B
    Read more
  • I was lost and my soul was broken until I ended up at Crossroads and was introduced to the Twelve Steps. With the help of their excellent staff and amazing support I have recently been clean for 18 months, I could not have done it without them!
    Carla S
    Read more
  • "Just for today I am more than three years in recovery. I have Cross Roads to thank for this wonderful gift. Cross Roads helped me to set a firm foundation in my recovery on which I can continue to build."
    Angelique J
    Read more
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ADDICTION IS A BRAIN DISEASE

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What Does It Mean When We Call Addiction a Brain Disorder?

The term acknowledges that addiction is a chronic but treatable medical condition involving changes to circuits in the brain involved in reward, stress, and self-control that could explain the compulsive nature of their drug taking (National Institute Drug Abuse).

These brain changes interfere with how people experience normal pleasures in life such as food and sex, their ability to control their stress level, their decision-making, their ability to learn and remember, etc. These changes make it much more difficult for someone to stop taking the drug even when it is having negative effects on their life and they want to quit (NIDA National Institute on drug abuse).

More than 174 people die every day from drug overdoses. To seek treatment is absolutely essential to prevent escalating numbers of deaths, not to mention reduce the devastation of lives, careers, and families caused by addiction (Dr. Nora Volkow: NIDA March 23, 2018).

Health Consequences of Drug Misuse

Drug use can have a wide range of short- and long-term effects. Short-term effects can range from changes in appetite, heart rate, blood pressure, and/or mood swings, heart attack, stroke, psychosis, overdose, and even death. Longer-term effects can include heart or lung disease, cancer, mental illness, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis (NIDA National Institute on drug abuse).

Every year, the harmful use of alcohol kills 2.5 million people, including 320 000 young people between 15 and 29 years of age. It is the third leading risk factor for poor health globally, and harmful use of alcohol was responsible for almost 4% of all deaths in the world, according to the estimates for 2004 (World Health Organization management of substance article).

Recognizing the Signs of Substance Abuse

When a full-blown addiction develops, it can be extremely difficult to stop using drugs without effective professional treatment. Drug abuse wreaks havoc on the body and mind and can eventually become deadly. When you realize that you or someone you love has a problem, it’s essential to get help right away. There is no shame in admitting that you need treatment for drug abuse; doing so can be life-saving (Drugabuse.com. Signs & Symptoms of drug abuse).

Blog: James Donovan 11-10-2018

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What is “Wet Brain” ?

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What is “Wet Brain” ?

06 November, 2020Articles, News

Wet brain, or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, is a form of brain damage that results from repeated and severe exposure to alcohol. It stems from a thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency. Thiamine is an essential vitamin in the body that doesn’t occur naturally. A person must ingest it to achieve their daily recommended amount. The amount of thiamine in a person’s system diminishes as a result of a poor diet, which frequently occurs in people who abuse alcohol. Alcohol hinders a person’s ability to absorp thiamine, and it diminishes the reserves that are stored in the liver. To complicate matters, alcohol also interferes with the enzyme that changes thiamine into its active state.

All tissue throughout the body requires thiamine. Several enzymes in the brain need thiamine to develop and function and some of these enzymes need thiamine in order to synthesise neurotransmitters in the brain. As a person repeatedly abuses alcohol and a thiamine deficiency develops, brain damage occurs. The National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol abuse declares thiamine deficiency as a rare occurrence in developed countries other than in people with an alcohol abuse issue or conditions such as HIV.

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome consists of two individual syndromes: Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s psychosis. Wernicke’s encephalopathy is a condition that causes neurological symptoms as a result of biochemical lesions of the nervous system. It affects specific portions of the brain, including the thalamus and hypothalamus, which play a role in memory. Korsakoff’s psychosis is a long-lasting condition that tends to develop after the Wernicke’s encephalopathy symptoms go away. Korsakoff’s psychosis arises as a result of permanent damage to the parts of the brain responsible for memory.

What Are the Symptoms of Wet Brain?

The symptoms of wet brain vary depending on whether the person is experiencing Wernicke’s encephalopathy or Korsakoff’s psychosis.

Wernicke’s encephalopathy causes various symptoms, such as

*Confusion
*Loss of mental activity that can lead to a coma or death
*Loss of muscle coordination (ataxia) that may lead to a slow or unsteady gait
*Memory issues

Some people experience changes in vision, such as abnormal, back-and-forth eye movements. They may have double vision, or their eyelids may droop. When Korsakoff’s psychosis arises, people may lose the ability to develop new memories, and they may experience severe memory loss. Both visual and auditory hallucinations may occur. Some people who have Korsakoff’s syndrome may make up stories, which fill the gaps in their memories.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism indicates that approximately 80-90 percent of those who suffer from alcoholism and have Wernicke’s encephalopathy develop Korsakoff’s psychosis as well.

How Common Is Wet Brain?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, up to 80 % of people with an alcohol use disorder have a thiamine deficiency. The National Organization for Rare Diseases states that 1-2 percent of the US population has Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.

Currently, there’s not an exact count as to how many people have Wernicke-Korsakoff as a result of alcoholism since some people who have the condition are homeless or do not seek medical attention. The disorder is more common in men than in women. The age bracket affected includes those between 30 and 70 years old.

Who Is Most at Risk?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reveals the amount of brain damage experienced from alcohol exposure correlates to how much and how frequently a person drinks. The age the person started drinking along with how long the person has been drinking plays also plays a role, as do gender and age.

Genetics can impact if, and how much, brain damage occurs due to alcoholism. Those who have a family history of alcoholism are more at risk for wet brain, and those who were exposed to alcohol while in the womb have a greater chance of developing Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. A person’s overall health will impact whether or not they will develop wet brain.

How Is Wet Brain Diagnosed?

There isn’t specific diagnostic testing used in all cases of wet brain. Generally, a practitioner will suspect a vitamin deficiency based on the patient’s physical appearance, gait, and behaviours. If a doctor is aware of an alcohol problem and the person exhibits symptoms of wet brain, further testing may be conducted.

Since there isn’t a standardized test to diagnose the condition, the doctor will conduct a thorough examination of the neurological system. The physician exams the eyes to determine any issues with eye movement, such as the eyes moving back and forth and misalignment of the pupils. The physician will also examine the person’s reflexes, as those with the condition have abnormal or decreased reflexes.

Those with wet brain tend to have decreased muscle mass and muscle weakness. This is due to thiamine being involved in the development of muscle tissue. The condition alters a person’s gait, so the doctor evaluates how the person walks. Oftentimes, those who have the disease have a rapid heart rate known as tachycardia. Blood pressure and body temperature slow since the disease affects the part of the brain responsible for regulating these functions.

Sometimes, it’s possible for a doctor to look at a person and see signs of malnutrition, but generally, the doctor will conduct certain tests to determine vitamin deficiencies. Through blood testing, a doctor may test a person’s serum albumin, which evaluates the person’s general nutrition. The doctor specifically tests the person’s thiamine level. Those who have thiamine deficiency have reduced activity in the red blood cells, more specifically with transketolase activity.

What Is the Prognosis for People with Wet Brain?

Statistics denoted by Merck Manuals indicate the mortality rate of people who have Wernicke’s encephalopathy is 10-20 percent. Of the people who survive, 80 percent will develop Korsakoff’s psychosis. Without treatment, the condition gets worse and may result in coma or even death.

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome isn’t curable; however, with treatment, doctors are able to slow or stop the progression. Treatments can help with certain aspects of the condition, but some problems like memory loss aren’t always reversible once it progresses. Early detection does have the potential to reduce damage and reverse some of it; therefore, those who suspect they may have the condition should seek treatment as soon as possible to minimize the amount of brain damage done.

How Is Wet Brain Treated?

Generally, a doctor will prescribe medications to control the symptoms, such as rapid eye movements. The doctor will advise the patient on ways to increase levels of thiamine and may prescribe a vitamin supplement. The person may receive vitamin B1 through an oral medication or by intravenous or intramuscular injections.

The supplemental thiamine may improve the symptoms of confusion or delirium. It may also improve muscle coordination and eye problems. However, vitamin B1 will not improve the intellect or memory of people who have Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.

People with wet brain need to seek treatment for their alcohol use disorder if they haven’t already done so, in order to stop or slow the progression of the disorder.

What Complications Can Occur from Wet Brain?

In addition to potential death or coma, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome leads to permanent brain damage, which affects a person’s memory and thinking. A person may have difficulty with social interactions. The loss of coordination and issues with gait associated with the disorder can lead to injuries.Those who have the condition can develop permanent alcohol neuropathy, which affects the nervous system. People with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome tend to have decreased lifespans.

www.crossroadsrecovery.co.za

074 89 51043 JHB

012 450 5033 PTA

RESOURCE
https://americanaddictioncenters.org/alcoholism-treatment/wet-brain

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Stories of Recovery

  • The encouragement, love and support from the team at Crossroads allowed me to eventually see that I was worth something - that my life could be turned around and that I could accomplish the things that had long been a forgotten dream.
    Oliver VG
    Read more
  • On the last day of my stint at Crossroads I could only express gratitude towards all who works there. A wise councillor once commented on my question when one is ready for rehab by explaining that when one is ready for rehab, rehab is ready for you.
    Johan B
    Read more
  • I was lost and my soul was broken until I ended up at Crossroads and was introduced to the Twelve Steps. With the help of their excellent staff and amazing support I have recently been clean for 18 months, I could not have done it without them!
    Carla S
    Read more
  • "Just for today I am more than three years in recovery. I have Cross Roads to thank for this wonderful gift. Cross Roads helped me to set a firm foundation in my recovery on which I can continue to build."
    Angelique J
    Read more
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