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The Problem of Addiction in India

One thing is certain; the problem of addiction is increasing day by day in India. And it is a very disturbing trend. Alcohol has always had social acceptability in our society and is very common substance of abuse and the percentage of alcoholics has remained more or less the same, even though it is the most commonly abused substance by all strata of society. Youngsters start with beer and graduate to stronger stuff.

The next most abused substance in my opinion is weed or ganja. Marijuana is being made legal in more and more countries. Earlier, only Holland was the only country where it was legal. Now, Canada has made it legal and a few states in U.S. have made it legal even for recreational use. There is talk to make it legal even in India. Bhang thekas have been legal in many states in India. And it is possible to get weed or hash from these outlets. Marijuana has a very strong historical, cultural and religious association in India. But these days if you take a walk in the evenings, you are very likely to get a whiff of the smoke of Marijuana. The youth today is smoking it left, right and center. It has gained in social acceptability tremendously. Under the guise of being herbal or organic the concept of it being illegal is swept away. Every person who smokes is not an addict, just like every person who drinks is not an alcoholic. In fact if 100 people drink alcohol, only 12 of them are alcoholics. Similarly, if 100 people smoke marijuana, in my opinion, only 5 are addicts. They are people who continue to smoke even after experiencing adverse effects of Marijuana. Adverse effects can include Amotivation Syndrome and Cannabis Psychosis. Besides the fact that Marijuana is a gateway drug, which means that people who have tried smoking weed are more likely to experiment with other drugs.

The next area of concern is prescription drugs. Because they are available with the chemist and have a pharmacological function their harmful effect tends to minimized. The most common prescription which is abused in my opinion is cough syrups. The extent of cough syrup abuse is astonishing. The spectrum includes college students and even housewives. The active ingredient in cough syrups is codeine, which is made from opium. So, codeine is an opiate and codeine addiction is similar to opium addiction. Another commonly abused opiate is dextropropoxypene, which is the active ingredient of Spasmo-Proxyvon. Again, students and even people who have been prescribed by doctors get addicted to it. Sleeping tablets are also very commonly abused. They include Valium or Calmpose, Alprax, Ativan, Nitrest and a whole lot of other benzodiazapenes. A drug which is freely available with chemists and is very popular in China but for some reason has not taken off in the same way is Ketamine. Ketamine is used by vets and is used for dissociative anesthesia by doctors and is commonly used to cut cocaine by drug dealers. Since all the cocaine comes from South America and is very expensive, Ketamine is used in its place by many.

Another area of concern is designer drugs like Meow – Meow. Youngsters are getting smart and are using uppers and party drugs in abundance. They work hard through out the week and party hard on weekends. Most of them are only psychologically addictive like cocaine but addiction is likely to occur. These drugs are mostly used by the more affluent section of the society. Rave parties are another area where such drugs and drugs like Ecstasy are more often used. These drugs are mostly made in labs and newer and newer variants are constantly flooding the market. Because they are made in labs and are expensive there is no standardization and the quality and the adulterants vary a lot. The harmful effects are not only due to the drug but also due to the adulterants. These are very common in Metropolitan cities and are also called designer drugs.

Last but not the least is inhalants like thinner, petrol, balms like iodex etc. They are commonly abused by school children and rag pickers. Erasex which was most commonly abused earlier is not so readily available anymore, so people abuse the organic solvents like sulochan. Hazing can cause total liver cell failure besides damage to lungs.

With more affluence the drug use is increasing in India. The youth have no jobs. Punjab is a typical example where drug addiction is rampant.

The government needs to tackle this epidemic of addiction on a war footing.

Detoxification Centre in Delhi

Biological Risk Factors in Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

It is the way the brain responds to alcohol and drug use that determines the Biological Risk Factors. In High Risk Patients the brain responds differently as compared to the brain of Low Risk Patients. High Risk Reactions of the brain make the person feel good and not using it makes them feel bad. Mainly, there are five biological risk factors that make a person feel good when he or she consumes alcohol or takes drugs. They are:-                       1. Euphoric Recall                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     2. Positive Personality Change                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 3. High Tolerance                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. Hangover Resistance                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             5. Brain Damage Sensitivity                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Now, let us look at each one of them in a bit of detail.

Biological Risk Factor # 1: Euphoric Response: The first Biological Risk Factor involves the euphoric brain response to the use of alcohol and drugs. If alcohol and drugs make you feel “really good” then you are really at risk for developing alcoholism and addiction. When high risk people use any mood altering substance they have an addictive brain response. In other words, alcohol or drugs cause their brains to be flooded by pleasure chemicals and to be deprived of warning chemicals. The flooding of the brain by pleasure chemicals makes the person feel good by creating an intense feeling of euphoria. Normally, the brain also makes warning chemicals whenever we are in a dangerous situation. The job of these warning chemicals is to make us feel uncomfortable so that we can assess what is the danger. When the brain stops making these chemicals we are not concerned about any dangerous situation. As a result good judgement goes out of the window and we can start doing dangerous things without even realizing it.

Biological Risk Factor # 2: Positive Personality Change: The second Biological Risk Factor is Positive Personality Change when using alcohol or other drugs. The euphoric effects of alcohol and drugs intensify positive personality traits and tone down negative personality traits. This means that it is possible to improve our personalities by using mood altering substances. As a result of this, the Addictive Brain Response can turn mood altering substances into a means for changing the mood and personality of the person. The only problem with this is that the change is only temporary. The positive personality change will last only till the effect of alcohol or drug lasts. When you stop using alcohol or drugs the negative personality traits will tend to come back which causes the person to use more and more of the substance to correct the problem.

Biological Risk Factor # 3: High Tolerance: The third Biological Risk Factor is High Tolerance. High Tolerance means the ability to use the mood altering substance in large quantities without becoming overly intoxicated or dysfunctional. Intoxication is a protective factor against addiction. If a small amount of the mood altering substance will make the person intoxicated or dysfunctional, he or she will stop consuming it before they can become addicted. People with High Tolerance can use large amounts of the mood altering substances to get physically dependent while still remaining functional. As a result of High Tolerance they end up using larger quantities which ultimately harms their bodies and brains more than people with low tolerance.

Biological Risk Factor # 4: Hangover Resistance: The fourth Biological Risk Factor is Hangover Resistance. Hangover Resistance is the ability to consume large quantities of alcohol or other drugs without feeling bad or sick the next morning. They feel fine the next day and do not experience any harmful effects of the substance. Some may feel even better  the next day after a night of heavy drinking or drugging. The combination of all the above risk factors makes it appear to the High Risk person that they can use alcohol and drugs without any adverse consequences. They, thus, erroneously conclude that drinking and drugging is safe and may even be good for them. They think they are immune to the harmful effects of alcohol and drugs. Therefore they are likely to use more and therefore get addicted.

Biological Risk Factor # 5: Brain Damage Sensitivity: Brain Damage Sensitivity: The fifth Biological Risk Factor is Brain Damage Sensitivity. The brain of High Risk People is more vulnerable to disruption of biochemical processes due to alcohol and drug intake. This leads to progressive brain dysfunction. High Risk People tend to experience more brain dysfunction as compared to Low Risk People when consuming  the same amount of substance, at similar frequency and for similar period of time. The brain of High Risk Person will show more neuropshychological impairment for longer duration after a bout of drinking or drugging. These symptoms of brain dysfunction cause problems when a person stops using his or her substance of choice. They cannot think clearly and get easily confused. They experience mood swings and become emotionally labile. Because of all these things they cannot control their behavior. When they start using the mood altering substance again, the symptoms of brain dysfunction temporarily disappear leading them to erroneously conclude that alcohol and drugs are good for them.

All this is explained in detail to the patients at SAHYOG Detox and De addiction Clinic and that is why it is the Best Rehabilitation Center in Delhi.

Why do People Drink and Use Drugs?

It is clear from my previous blogs that alcohol and drugs are dangerous and at some level everyone knows it, then why do people drink alcohol and use drugs even though it causes them negative consequences? And even after people realize that mind altering substances are dangerous why do they continue using them? Why are they willing to take that risk? To answer these questions we have to look at why people start using alcohol and drugs in the first place and then why do they continue using them.

People start using alcohol and other mood altering drugs for three reasons, namely, curiosity, social pressure and automatic cultural responses. People who start using out of curiosity want to see what drinking alcohol and using drugs does to them, so they experiment. They want to try it first hand and see what it does to them. They try to see if they like it and if they do, they tend to continue using them. Many young people do not trust the information given to them by other adults regarding alcohol and drugs. Many young people do not even have a trustworthy relationship with adults they can ask. Kids tend not to believe other sources of information like news or government sources. Kids generally tend to get their information from other users of alcohol and drugs and then decide to try it out for themselves. This is called experimental use of alcohol and drugs and many kids fall prey to it.

People who start using because of social pressure wrongly believe that they have to drink alcohol and use other drugs to belong or fit in. They tend to see alcohol and drug use as a ticket to social belonging and social success. They falsely believe that drinking alcohol and using drugs will help them get along with other people. They also falsely believe that if they don’t use alcohol and drugs they will be rejected and left out. Fear of being left out and not belonging are two major fears of young people. These fears can override reason, risk of adverse and negative consequences and even personal knowledge and information.

People who start using alcohol and other drugs out of an automatic cultural response are usually part of a subculture that views alcohol and drug use as normal. Drinking alcohol and using drugs becomes a part of everyday life because it is so common that most people do not even notice it. This is likely to happen to people who grow up with families and friends who regularly use alcohol and other drugs. Drinking alcohol and using drugs becomes a ‘normal’ thing. The problem happens if they become addicted to any substance. If they happen to go to any culture where addiction to any substance if considered wrong they become disoriented and want to go back to their original culture where it is not considered a problem. Drinking alcohol and using drugs becomes a part of life and they cannot even imagine a life without alcohol and drugs. They see drinking alcohol and using drugs as humdrum as breathing air.

So, people start using alcohol and other drugs for three basic reasons:-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 1) Curiosity                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2) Social Pressure                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3) Automatic Cultural Response

People start using alcohol and other drugs for one of these three reasons and then continue using them for other reasons.

Why do people keep using alcohol and drugs after they start? There is only one simple answer that alcohol and drugs work and it works every time. Alcohol and drugs guarantee that if you use them they will make you feel in a particular way. That is the seduction of alcohol and drugs. It is guaranteed to work every time. No human relationship can give that guarantee. Whereas, with alcohol and drugs a person can feel the way they want to feel, anytime. They provide a sense of well being, competence and freedom from fear that can be called euphoria. If alcohol and drugs do not give them the feelings they want and need , they won’t keep using them. Not only do alcohol and drugs work every time, it works quickly and reliably. They can get the effect they are chasing NOW. They then come to depend on it for their high and that is why they continue using alcohol and other drugs.

All this is explained in therapy sessions at Sahyog Detox and De addiction Center and that is why it is the Best Rehabilitation Center in Delhi.

Detoxification Centre in Delhi

Harmful Effects of Alcoholism and Addiction

The main problem of any alcoholic or addict is stated very nicely by the phrase, “self-will run riot”. It is the self-will of the alcoholic or addict which lands him or her in trouble every time. The main question before the alcoholic or addict is quite simple. What is his/her will? We shall deal with it in a simple fashion to avoid the many complexities we would otherwise encounter. The truth is that their will is to drink and use drugs when and where they choose, resigned to the consequences of their drinking and using drugs. The fact that they have lost the power of choice narrows down the purpose of their to will to one choice, namely – to drink or use drugs.

This flat statement of an alcoholic’s or addict’s will relates to his or her unpredictable drinking or using behavior and is open to argument. Few of them drank or used drugs all of the time. Some served their communities. Others held responsible positions contributing to the welfare of their families. But only by bluff, lies, imposition and the co-operative support of friends and families did they manage to conduct much important business.

Therein lies the rub, for when the urge to drink or use drugs came, families, religion and business were neglected and disregarded in favor of alcohol or drugs. Medicine and psychiatry seek scientific reasons for their drinking or drug use. But not Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. They admit the results, surmounting them with their spiritual way of life. For this reason new members to A.A. and N.A. are advised to remain laymen. They tend to not remain clean and sober when they try to become able doctors or clergymen overnight. Knowing that members will try it, the stress is on avoiding it.

The will of the drinking alcoholic or using addict seems to point in one direction – towards the bottle or drugs of their choice. Perhaps one should briefly consider their drinking or drugging attitude. There is no identical pattern of behavior to which alcoholics or addicts conform. There is fixed ratio of binges, however, for those who swear off for certain periods of time. The new binges are always in proportion to the resolution to stop drinking or using drugs. That is how the will of the alcoholic or addict functions.

Even while drinking or using drugs they are not sure for how long they’d be using it. They know exactly the number of days they have been clean or sober, but have no idea of when they might take that first drink or drug. They claim that they want to quit drinking or using drugs. They think they mean it. But the truth is they only wished that they wanted to. What they actually want is to be able to control the amount they consume, at least enough to keep them out of trouble.

The word trouble has a wide range of meaning for the drinking alcoholic or using addict. Physically, it can refer to anything from an upset stomach to an alcoholic death. Between these two extremes they are subject to many other infirmities, all because of their unconscious will to drink and use drugs without restraint. For example, there may be anemia, mineral and vitamin deficiency, wet brain. jitters, cold sweats, pneumonia, liver and heart conditions, alcoholic neuritis, low blood sugar, chronic alcoholic poisoning and kindred ailments. The greater the affliction, more the alcoholic will leans toward the bottle or drugs.

Any one, or a combination of these maladies, can mean trouble for the alcoholic or addict. Blackouts, D.T.’s, insanity and other sickness adds to their difficulties. They all resulted in mental and bodily discomfort and loss of valuable time. Because of them they may even require hospitalization. At times, they sweat them out at home, but not without someone’s aid and tolerance or without loss to their business interests. Drunkenness begets drunkenness. It dulls their judgement and finer sensibilities. Financial difficulties appear. Creditors become bothersome. Sometimes they brawl, landing in jail or institutions. At times they are arrested for intoxication, drunken driving or other legal infringements. Divorces and sex problems mess up their lives. On most occasions their will to drink or use drugs amounted to an obsession and always ended in trouble.

All this is explained at Sahyog Detox and De addiction Clinic in therapy sessions and that is why it is the Best Rehabilitation Center in Delhi.

Substance Abuse Counselling

Harmful Effects of Addiction

Addiction is a DISEASE and there are no two ways about it. And to top it all, it is a very nasty disease to have. It is the only disease that denies its own existence and resists treatment. Secondly, the medical definition of addiction is that it is a chronic and relapsing disease. Chronic diseases are like diabetes; you can control it but cannot cure it and relapsing refers to the fact that an alcoholic or addict can revert to drinking or using drugs even after staying clean and sober for some time. Third reason why it is a nasty disease is that the success rate is very low. It is the road less traveled. Some estimate that even after completing treatment in a rehabilitation center, only 20% of the patients will remain clean and sober. When we talk about the success rate we have to talk about a timeline. At the end of 5 years the success rate drops to 2-5%. From this discussion we can see that Recovery from alcohol and drugs is very elusive and unless the person is willing to go to any length to stay clean and sober he or she will not succeed. From all this discussion it is obvious that addiction and alcoholism is a very-very nasty disease. It affects the person at all levels. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially and socially, in fact there is no area of ones life that remains untouched by addiction.

I have written in detail about the harmful effects of Marijuana, Brown Sugar and Alcohol on the human body. Today let us look at the harmful spiritual effects. When we talk about spirituality, we don’t refer to religious practices. Like going to the temple, mosque, church or gurudwara or keeping fasts etc. These are not being spiritual but only following rituals. Spirituality is more than that. Religion is for people who do not want to go to hell and spirituality is for people who have been to hell and back. In my opinion spirituality refers to relationships. A person has three important relationships in life. The first and foremost is relationship with oneself. If one does not have a relationship with oneself then one cannot have a relationship with others. Having a relationship with oneself starts by looking after oneself. Taking care of health and hygiene is for starters. Then it entails getting rid of resentments, jealousy, past pains, regrets etc. Balancing all the addictive behaviors. Basically, being at peace with oneself and feeling comfortable in ones own skin. The voices in your head will no longer irk you. You will no longer mind solitude. You will then have what is called a fit spiritual condition or have a good relationship with yourself.

Life is all about relationships. Man is a social animal and family is the unit one has to start with. Addicts and alcoholics treat strangers with more courtesy than they do their own family members. This is a bitter truth. Family comes first. That is the harbor where I can come to rest and recuperate after facing the storms of day to day living in the outside world. It is not necessary for me to like my family, after all it is an accident of birth, but if I can not even be polite then my recovery has no meaning. It is worthless. After immediate family comes friends. Friends are the family we chose for ourselves. We share things with them without any hesitation and they can give us the appropriate feedback. Next comes relatives or extended family and then society at large.

The third and most important relationship is with the God of your understanding. The 12 Step Program gives you complete freedom in choosing the God of your own understanding. It is a very important relationship. It offers hope, strength and succor in times of difficulty. God can stand for many things; Good orderly Direction; Group of Drunks or Drugees etc. It is not necessary to believe in a religious God. People who do find it easier but even agnostics and atheists can benefit from the program of 12 Steps. Even Pascal’s postulates logically explain why it is better to believe in God than not. If there is a God and you do not believe in it then you are depriving yourself of a source Great Power. In any case the term used in the 12 Step Program is Higher Power.

All this is explained at Sahyog and that is why it is the Best Rehabilitation Center in Delhi.

Harmful Effects of Alcohol

Like I had written earlier, 1 blog is not sufficient to list all the harmful effects of alcohol. That just goes to show how harmful alcohol is. It effects all the organ systems of the body but the main harmful effect is felt by the gastrointestinal tract and in that too liver is the organ which suffers the most. Liver is a very important organ. Besides digestion of food, clotting of blood, converting proteins to urea is all done in the liver. It is an important part of reticulo-endothelial system associated with the filtration of blood. The condition which occurs in the liver because of alcohol abuse is cirrhosis. There are other causes of cirrhosis but alcohol is the one we are concerned with. Cirrhosis has got 3 Stages. Stage 1,2, and 3. In Stage 1 there is fatty enlargement of the liver. The liver is normally behind the ribs on the right side of the body and except in very thin individuals one cannot palpate the liver. If the liver is palpable that means that it is enlarged and the doctor will write that it is enlarged by so many cms below the costal margin.Liver is associated with the fat metabolism and even a bout of single night of heavy drinking will result in fat droplets to occur in the plasma making it milky. This fat accumulates in the liver leading to fatty liver. In Stage 2 of cirrhosis of liver the structure of liver is  altered but the microscopic structure is maintained. In Stage 3 of cirrhosis of liver even the microscopic structure is damaged beyond repair. In Stage 2 if a person stops drinking the liver will heal itself but in Stage 3 even if a person stops drinking the liver will not revert to its original structure. All the blood from the intestines comes into the liver via the Portal Vein. This is called the Portal Circulation. Due to cirrhosis the pressure in the Portal system is increased resulting in accumulation of plasma in the peritoneum called ascites. The accumulation can be of many liters per day. The doctor may drain the ascitic fluid but due to the cirrhosis it accumulates again.

All this is explained at Sahyog and that is why it is the Best Rehabilitation Center in Delhi.

Rehabilitation Centre Near Me

Harmful Effects of Alcohol

Since one blog is insufficient to list all the harmful effects of alcohol this is in continuation of the previous blog. In the previous blog I had listed all the harmful effects of alcohol on the Central Nervous System. But since alcohol is drunk the most harmful effects are on the gastrointestinal tract. However, I have seen one patient who used to inject alcohol when he was unable to drink it because of vomiting, but that was an exception. Mostly alcohol is drunk, In the esophagus or food pipe it causes heartburn, which has got nothing to do with the heart but a burning sensation in the chest because of acid reflux from the stomach. Because of alcohol the cardiac sphincter of the stomach becomes loose and the acid present in the stomach is able to come into the mouth also. The lining of stomach is used to this concentrated Hydrochloric acid but the lining of the food pipe is not and it literally gets burnt as a result of the acid reflux causing pain in the chest called heartburn. There may be sour eructations also present. Because of vomiting alcohol can also cause Mallory Weiss Syndrome which is nothing but a tear in the mucosa of the food pipe and is a medical emergency. In the stomach, it causes an increase in the secretion of Hydrochloric acid. In fact to diagnose acholorydia – a condition in which there is a congenital absence of the secretion of Hydrochloric acid, a little alcohol is given through the nasogastric tube to ascertain the diagnosis. The increased acid may cause gastritis.  Small quantities of alcohol increase the appetite but large quantities can suppress it totally. Some alcoholics only drink and I frequently see patients who have not eaten for days. The next main organ to suffer from the harmful effects of alcohol is the pancreas. Pancreas are an important organ of digestion and glucose metabolism. It has an endocrine part which secrete insulin and glucagon and an exocrine part which secretes digestive juices to digest proteins and fats. Acute pancreatitis is a very painful condition and one of the main causes is alcohol intake. It is not dose dependent,i.e., if a person is a heavy drinker it is not that it is more likely to occur. It can occur even in moderate drinkers. Repeated attacks of acute pancreatitis can lead to chronic pancreatitis which can lead to diabetes due to the scarring of the pancreas. There is a condition called acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis in which the pancreas burst and all the secretions go into the abdomen. It is the most painful condition known to medical science. The digestive juices of the pancreas start digesting the lining of the abdomen from inside. It is as if a piece of metal is being eaten by acid corrosion. It is a medical emergency in which the pain is the most important feature. On a scale of 1-10, if the pain of a lady giving birth for the first time is 9 then the pain of acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis is 10. The pain is so severe that the person goes into shock because of the pain itself. Alcohol can cause or aggravate IBS, i.e., irritable bowel syndrome. IBS is a chronic and debilitating disease which can be quite uncomfortable. But the organ most affected by alcohol intake is the liver. Liver is a very important organ doing a lot of functions which are essential for good health. It is a well known fact that the liver of alcoholics gets affected in a bad way. You don’t have to be a doctor to know that. But liver has tremendous capacity to heal itself also. If in a healthy person you cut off the entire liver and leave a matchbox size portion, it will grow back, provided you don’t insult it on a daily basis by drinking alcohol. The condition which occurs in liver because of drinking is called cirrhosis. There are many causes of cirrhosis but alcoholic liver disease is chief cause of cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is a morphological diagnosis, that is to say, the diagnosis is made by observing the liver. In olden days dead bodies were dissected to know about the anatomy of the body and its parts. They found that the liver of alcoholics was gnarled and lumpy and in many cases shrunk. These days we make the diagnosis ultrasonically.

All this is done in detailed medical inputs at Sahyog and that is why it is the Best Rehabilitation Center in Delhi.

Substance Abuse Counselor

Harmful Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol has so many Harmful Effects that 1 blog is not sufficient for it. Alcohol is a legal drug that has been causing so much grief for so many people around the world. Everybody who drinks is not an alcoholic,  in fact if 100 people drink, on average only 12 are alcoholics; rest are social drinkers. An alcoholic is a person who is not able to guarantee how much he is going to drink or who cannot guarantee his behavior after drinking. People generally know how much they are going to drink but an alcoholic has no brakes and is not able to stop. They do not get into trouble every time they drink but every time they get into trouble they have been drinking. Whether it is fights, brawls, disagreements at home, legal trouble, the list is endless. The behavior of every person changes a little bit after drinking alcohol but in an alcoholic the change is quite stark. Most people become garrulous, jovial or in some case even maudlin but the alcoholics can become antisocial too.

Now let us discuss what deleterious effects alcohol has on the human body. Let us start by the harmful effects on the Central Nervous System. The Central Nervous System consists of the brain and spinal cord. The first and most apparent effect is loosening of inhibitions. There is sort of brake in our prefrontal cortex part of the brain which stops us from doing stupid things like using abusive language in front of elders, looking left and right before crossing a road etc. Even with small quantities of  alcohol this brake is removed. Because of this a person may seem more excited than usual, whereas it is a known fact that alcohol is a depressant and slows down the neuronal activity. A person under the influence looses his inhibitions and may end up doing things he would not even imagine doing in a sober state. The next harmful effect of alcohol is seen on the memory. Both short term and long term memory is affected. Some times the alcoholic comes out of a black out without any remembrance of the previous night. He may not even remember how and when he got home and what all he said at the party. Alcohol directly effects the nerve cells by killing them but memory is not a function of the number of neurons, in fact it is a function of the connections between the nerve cells. Due to this fact the memory deficit can be overcome by doing mental and memory exercises, but the loss of neurons may lead to cerebral atrophy, which is a common finding in alcoholics who are growing old. Next harmful effect of alcohol is very interesting, the damage is caused by drinking but the effect is not seen until the person stops drinking. Till the time he is drinking he is fine but on stopping alcohol he may develop Wernicke’s Encephalopathy or Korsakoff’s Psychosis. These two conditions are named after the people who first described it. Earlier they were thought to be different diseases but now they are considered to be two ends of the same spectrum. The main cause is Thiamine deficiency and in Wernicke’s Encephalopathy the persons brain becomes soft and is also called ‘wet brain’. In Korsakoff’s  Psychosis the person has visual and auditory hallucinations and may be delirious. Luckily the effects are reversible with medication, otherwise they may even be fatal. The next harmful effect of alcohol on the CNS is the effect it has on reflexes of the person. The reflexes become slow. That is why the old adage that don’t drink and drive. One can devise an experiment on a simulator where a person slams on the brake after seeing a child on the screen in front. After drinking even legally permissible quantities of alcohol the time is greatly increased. The next harmful effect of alcohol is on the secretion of anti diuretic hormone. It suppresses its secretion. Anti diuretic hormone is secreted by posterior pituitary gland. As a result, the person urinates more after drinking alcohol.

All this is explained at Sahyog and that is why it is the Best Rehabilitation Center in Delhi.

Harmful Effects of Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar or Smack is the adulterated form of Heroin. Because Heroin is so expensive it is adulterated with many things like talcum powder, lactose and many-many other things to increase its bulk. Pure Heroin is white in color but because of adulteration the color changes to brown and since lactose or glucose is a common adulterant the name Brown Sugar came about. Heroin is made from opium and opium comes from the poppy plant. Poppy plant has very beautiful flowers and at the base there is a pod called ‘dodha’. A cut is given at the base of the flower and the milky juice that exudes from it is allowed to turn black on exposure to air. This is then scraped off and becomes raw opium. Opium is called the mother of all drugs as many medicines are made from it. It has been used as a medicine since ancient times.

Opium and all its products including Brown Sugar are highly addictive. This is the main drawback of opiates. The addiction liability is very very high. In toxicology opium is classified as a somniferous poison.

The common opiates which are abused are raw opium, heroin and brown sugar, cough syrups containing codeine, Spasmoproxyvon capsules containing dextropropoxypene,  morphine and pethidine, fentanyl etc.

Opiate addiction has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. and thousands of people die because of overdose. There the most common opiates are prescription based.

The most prominent effect of opiates is euphoria. This effect is what makes the opiates so addictive. Even though there is rapid tolerance to this effect, i.e., a person stops feeling euphoria after a few times but the brain remembers it and the person keeps on taking it because of euphoric recalls. During the withdrawals there is intense dysphoria.

The next effect is analgesia or pain relief. Opiates are still considered the gold standard as far as pain relief is concerned because not only do they increase the pain threshold but also modify the emotional reaction to pain. During withdrawals there is bone pain and because of this the addict goes back to using his substance again.

There is vomiting initially because smack stimulates the chemo receptor trigger zone in the brain resulting in vomiting of central origin. It is effortless and projectile. In contrast the alcoholic retches and his vomit is not projectile. But the body soon becomes tolerant to this effect and vomiting ceases. There can be vomiting during withdrawals as well.

One effect which remains constantly is constipation. The smack or heroin addict is perpetually constipated. The person never becomes tolerant to this effect. The constipation is because of three reasons. All the sphincters go into a spasm thereby reducing the propulsion of food. The secretion of all the digestive juices is reduced causing constipation and the speed of peristalsis is also reduced. All contributing to constipation. During withdrawals there are loose motions.

Another organ which never becomes tolerant is the pupils of the eye. They become constricted and are typically described as pin-point. During withdrawals they dilate.

Under the influence of opiates the blood vessels dilate resulting in excessive sweating. During withdrawals there is piloerection and cold sweats are common.

Opiates suppress all secretions and during withdrawals they are reflexively increased.

All this is taught in medical inputs at Sahyog and that is why it is the Best Rehabilitation Center in Delhi.

 

Substance Abuse Treatment in Delhi

Harmful Effects of Marijuana

Marijuana or Cannabis or Ganja is the opening batsman, i.e., many people start using drugs from Marijuana. It has been made legal in many countries, not only for medicinal use but also for recreational use too. Many states in the U.S. now permit its use. That is not to say that it is harmless. It has got its own harmful effects. Many youngsters say that it is now legal, but then so is alcohol. And alcohol has been legal for such a long time and so many people suffer deleterious effects of alcoholism which cause so much morbidity and mortality.

Marijuana is derived from the hemp plant. It is commonly known as weed or grass. Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa is the Latin name for the plant. Ganja is the flowering top of the plant. Hashish or Charas is the resinous extract of the plant and rest of the plant is called Bhang. Whatever the form, the active ingredient in all three is the same, namely, Tetrahydrocannibinol or THC in short. It grows wild in many parts of Asia and Americas and Africa. But people cultivate it now for their own personal use. Cultivation is also done since it has become legal. THC content has nearly doubled over the past few years as hybrid and high yielding varieties are now cultivated. It is most commonly smoked but it many also be eaten like Bhang or Hash Cookies etc. THC is the psychoactive chemical found in Marijuana.  While THC is not physiologically addictive it is definitely psychologically addictive as evidenced by the drug seeking behavior of addicts when they do not get their dose. It has no withdrawal symptoms except mild headache, insomnia or lack of appetite. Mood swings may also occur.

Pharmacological effect of THC is that it opens the gate at the level of the spinal cord which regulates the inflow of sensory information to the brain. As a result of this increased sensory input lot of people have this misconception that they become more artistic after consuming Marijuana. Colors seem more vivid and music also takes on a different sensory perception because of this. It is one of the few psychoactive substances which has no known lethal dose, that is to say you cannot die because of overdosing on Marijuana.

While it may not be lethal Marijuana is not without serious side effects. THC is a psychoactive substance and has been found in the fatty tissue of the brain even eight years after the person stopped using Marijuana. The most serious harmful effect of Marijuana is that it causes Amotivation Syndrome. The person who uses Marijuana lives in a dream world of his own and never gets down to actually doing the physical action required for work. It is an ideal nasha for two kinds of people, a king or a beggar. People who do not have to work in life. For everybody else it is a strict no-no, especially for addicts. With any substance there is use, misuse and then abuse. Abuse of Marijuana is very common. Very few people are able to use it and do their day to day work.

Next deleterious effect of Marijuana is that it is a “gateway drug”. People who use Marijuana are more likely to use other drugs also. It is as if weed is the opening batsman and the other substances follow soon after.

The most harmful effect of Marijuana is that it may cause Cannabis psychosis. It does not cause it in everyone who uses it but it is a distinct entity. It is not dose dependent, that is to say more use does not seem to increase the incidence but more of an allergic reaction. A single joint may flip a person. Anti-psychotics and total abstinence from Cannabis is required and the treatment is long drawn. Whether it causes psychosis itself or precipitates a preexisting underlying psychosis cannot be determined. But its accumulation in the fatty tissue of brain is well known.

So, Marijuana may be herbal but it is not without its harmful effects. If you were to come to know before a flight that the pilot has had a few joints of Cannabis, would you feel safe to fly in that flight? While it is better than most other intoxicants it is not safe for addicts and people who have to do some work or study in life.

All this is explained at Sahyog Detox and De addiction Clinic and that is why it is the Best Rehabilitation Center in Delhi.