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Mental Health Conditions


Addiction Disorders

Why do people use drugs / alcohol? Different people use different drugs or alcohol for different reasons. There are of course legal drugs which we all come across every day. For example, you may take medicine when you are sick, alcohol to help you relax or coffee to help you stay awake. However, use of these drugs or alcohol should be differentiated from abuse or dependence. We are talking about are drugs / alcohol in this booklet. You may experiment with drugs / alcohol out of curiosity, because your friends are doing it or to escape boredom or worries. You may take certain drugs or consume alcohol to change how you feel. You may believe it’s a fun or fashionable thing to do. You may continue to use a drug / alcohol because you enjoy it, or because it’s part of your social life or culture. This is often called ‘recreational’ use. Sometimes drug or alcohol use can become an important part of your life. This may bebecause of emotional, psychological or social problems you are experiencing. Some drugs can make you addicted or dependent, where you lose control over your drug use and feel you cannot function without the drug. Some people use more than one drug at the same time – this is known as ‘poly-drug use’. Mixing drugs can be dangerous because the effects and side-effects are added together. This includes mixing illegal drugs with legal drugs such as alcohol or medication. For example, taking alcohol with cocaine increases your risk of irregular heart rhythms, heart attacks and even death. Know the facts about drugs There are no easy answers to the problems caused by drug or alcohol use, but knowing the facts can help you deal with drug or alcohol issues. Myth 1: “All drugs or alcohol are addictive” Fact: Some drugs / alcohol can create addiction or dependence much quicker than others. There is no evidence that people get ‘hooked’ after one or two uses, or that everyone who tries a drug will become addicted. Using a drug or alcohol even once can cause serious problems. Addiction depends on the what, who, why, where and how of use. Myth 2: “Only drug addicts or alcoholics have a problem” Fact: Addiction or dependency is not the only problem drugs or alcohol can cause. Some people have problems the first time they use a drug or alcohol, or problems may develop as you use them more often. Drug or alcohol use can affect your physical and mental health, your family life, relationships and your work or study. Using illegal drugs can also get you into trouble with the law or cause money problems. Myth 3: “Young people are tempted to try drugs by pushers” Fact: Most young people are introduced to illegal drugs by a friend or someone they know. In many cases drugs are ‘pulled’ rather than ‘pushed’ – the person asks for it themselves, often out of curiosity or because others are doing drugs. Myth 4 : “All illegal drugs are equally harmful” Fact: Different drugs can harm you in very different ways. Some drugs, such as heroin, are regarded as more dangerous because they have a higher risk of addiction and overdose, or because they are injected. However, each drug has its own risks. Drugs are often described as being either ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ but it’s not as simple as that. Myth 5: “My teenager is moody and losing interest in school – they must be on drugs” – a parent asks. Fact: Parents often ask how they can tell if their child is using drugs. But you should be careful of lists of signs and symptoms. Many of the possible signs, such as mood swings or loss of interest in hobbies or study, are also normal behaviour for teenagers. It is better to talk to them before jumping to conclusions. If you find that your child is taking drugs, don’t panic. Find out the details of their drug taking – what they have taken, for how long and why. Speaking with a trained professional can help you decide what action to take. It’s good to talk...and listen! Talking about drugs and drug use can be difficult. You may feel uncomfortable talking about drugs because you don’t know enough about the subject. You may not be confident that you can talk to and influence the other person. You don’t have to do this alone, you can get further information and support. If someone you know is taking drugs or you think they are taking drugs: • Listen to them – it is important to understand and respect how they feel; • Keep the lines of communication open; and • Look for more information before you do anything. Where can I get more information and support? – Dr. Matcheswalla’s Holistic Mental Health Care Contact No. (+91 22) 61841265 / 64537171 / 9820081884 / 9821119603 Web: If you or someone you know needs immediate help: If you find someone drowsy or unconscious:  Stay calm.  Phone the emergency services at Dr. Matcheswalla Holistic Mental Health Care on (+91 22) 61841265 / 64537171 / 9820081884 / 9821119603  Make sure their airway is clear.  Turn them on their side and try not to leave them alone. Take care when turning them to avoid contact with needles or sharp objects.  Give any powders, tablets or other things you find to the ambulance staff.  Contact your local doctor  Go to or phone the Casualty department of the nearest hospital. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DRUGS There are five main kinds of drugs that can change your mood or how you behave. Most of these drugs come under a law called the ‘Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985’ and the NDPS (amendment Bill) of 2014 . Drug laws are enforced by the Food and Drug Administration, the Narcotics Control Bureau or the Anti-narcotics Cell of the local police. They are known as ‘controlled drugs’ and are listed in different groups called schedules. Certain drugs come under the purview of the ‘Misuse of drugs act (1971)’. The schedules group drugs according to how useful they are and what is needed to control their use. For example, a schedule covers drugs that have no medical use –drugs such as Heroin, LSD and ‘designer drugs’ such as ecstasy. • DEPRESSANTS, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines (tranquilizers), can be used to calm the mind, relieve anxiety and can cause sleepiness. Sedatives and minor tranquillizers include the benzodiazepine drugs, such as valium. These are often prescribed to calm you down or to help you sleep at night. They have the same general effects as depressants but they cause addiction in a different way. • OPIATES / NARCOTICS, also known as narcotic analgesics, are strong painkillers that produce feelings of euphoria (happiness) and sleepiness. The opiates include morphine, heroin and methadone. • CANNABINOIDS such as marijuana change your perception of time and space and cause irreparable changes in your personality. • STIMULANTS are drugs that make you feel more awake, alert, energetic and confident. Stimulant drugs include cocaine and amphetamines. • HALLUCINOGENS are drugs that produce strange and intense visions called hallucinations. These drugs include LSD (acid), Phencyclidine Phosphate (PCP) and Magic Mushrooms. Depressants and sedatives are sometimes called ‘downers’ and stimulant drugs are sometimes called ‘uppers’. Many drugs don’t belong to just one type. For example, cannabis can have depressant effects as well as cause euphoria and ecstasy has both stimulant and hallucinogenic effects.

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