Tik Addiction- how to identify it.
Crystal methamphetamine is one of the most commonly abused illicit drugs in South Africa. It is often known by its street name “tik”. Tik is a manmade stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Users report a sense of euphoria shortly after using the drug. Tik can be smoked in a glass pipe, injected or snorted. The drug takes the form of a white crystal-like substance that looks similar to glass, or in the form of smaller blue-white rocks.
When using tik a person may have trouble sleeping, this effect may last for days, this is because of the stimulant aspects of the drug. Tik causes spikes in energy levels because of the production of dopamine and adrenaline while under the influence. People using tik also report feeling more confident and self-assured while taking the drug. This side-effect leads people to put themselves in dangerous situations as the person using tik becomes unable to recognise the dangerousness and seriousness of a given situation.
Tik is a seriously addictive drug, with many users reporting an intense desire to seek out the drug compulsively even after the first high. In addition to being habit-forming, as using progresses, a tolerance builds up within the user’s system- meaning that people seek out larger doses of tik in order to obtain the same high. The increased amount of tik being consumed, puts users at a higher risk of developing adverse effects, addiction and an increased likelihood of overdosing on it.
Though tik does not have severe withdrawal symptoms, users suffer from a serious “comedown”, which can be compared to a hangover after indulging in large quantities of alcohol. This “comedown” is particularly intense, resulting in physical symptoms such as muscle pain, weakness, headaches, decreased appetite, insomnia and fatigue. In addition to the physical symptoms of withdrawal, users of tik also experience mental and emotional consequences such as hopelessness, sadness, depression and anxiety. This leads to an escalating cycle of compulsively seeking out the drug.
If you are seeking help for yourself or possibly wondering if you are in fact addicted to tik, acknowledging this cycle is key. Those who are addicted to tik will find themselves trapped within cycles of use, come down and drug-seeking, unable to separate themselves from it. Another big indicator of addiction to tikis managing to go through the comedown, and being able to maintain abstinence for a length of time but eventually picking up again, completely forgetting the difficulties they had experienced with the drug previously. The compulsive need to seek out and use tik, despite the negative consequences in ones personal, professional and social life, as well as ignoring health consequences are indicators of tik addiction.
If you find yourself reading this blog and you are concerned about the well-being of someone, the easiest way to determine if they are actively abusing tik is to look for external warning signs. It may be helpful to ask yourself the following questions:
- Are they maintaining their overall personal health? This includes personal hygiene, sleep patterns and seeking medical help when they are unwell.
- Is their performance at work and school suffering?
- Have their habits and patterns changed? Have they made new friends and are they leaving home and going out at odd hours?
- Have their eating habits changed? This would be particularly notable if they avoid food and go on binges from time to time. Rapid weight loss can also be an indicator of addiction.
- Are they financially struggling where previously they were coping? Have items in the home suddenly gone missing? These can be items as large and notable as televisions or as understated as an old pair of shoes.
- Are they frequently complaining of physical ailments? Lack of sleep, headaches, muscle pains. Do these symptoms persist despite the passage of time, do they avoid seeking medical attention?
- Are they prone to rapid mood changes? Are they aggressive? Are they paranoid or verbalising conspiracy theories about the people around them?
- Have they been isolating from people close to them such as their spouse, family, friends or children? Do they spend time alone or with new acquaintances?
- Have you seen substances around the house that resemble tik? Have you seen drug paraphernalia such as pipes, straws, injections or plastic bankies?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions your loved one may be suffering an addiction to tik, or perhaps other substances. The next step should be a confrontation, this is tricky and often individuals are not equipped with the knowledge to do this with skill and tact.
At Crossroads Recovery Centre we can help. Please call +27 74 895 1043 (Johannesburg) or +27 72 631 9095/ +27 82 653 331 (Pretoria). If it is not the use of tik, it could potentially be another substance, and some form of intervention could be needed. 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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