alcohol abuse1

Common stimulants and how they affect you

Mthandazo Ndlovu

In the workshops and community talks l have been running in the past months advocating for drug-free, healthy and productive communities, I realised that most people went into substance, alcohol and drug abuse to be stimulated and escape from their boredom.

For instance with alcohol, the first sip is a stimulant and as you increase the quantities taken it then becomes a depressant and more than enough becomes poison. It can kill you, coffee also has similar effects because of the caffeine it contains.

Stimulants are sometimes referred as to as a�?uppersa�? and make you less tired both physically and mentally and this is what our youths and adult groups are chasing after. The most common stimulants in use are nicotine found in tobacco, and caffeine, an active ingredient in coffee, tea, some soft drinks and many non-prescription medicines.

Used in moderation these substances tend to relieve malaise and increase alertness, although the use of these products has been accepted in our culture as modes of survival the recognition of their adverse effects has resulted in the increase of caffeine-free products and also the large noise in discouraging smoking.

Some of these stimulants can be obtained through legal channels and others are manufactured for the illegal markets through clandestine laboratories, posing a great health risk as substances used remain unknown. Stimulants can be taken orally, smoked, sniffed or injected.

The smoking, sniffing and injecting produces a sudden sensation known as a a�?rusha�? or a a�?flasha�? is abuse commonly associated with binge use. Heavy users are found wanting the substance every few hours, until they have reached a point of either exhaustion of the substance , or they themselves have reached a point of delirium,A� psychosis and physical exhaustion.

We find today that energy drinks have become the in-thing among scholars as they say they are preparing for their examinations and also among the adult groups that say we want to keep alert and complete a certain task.

We have seen our brothers and sisters that cannot stay a while without lighting up and smoking a cigarette stating that it increases their concentration and keeps them alert. After the said tasks have been completed we find them unable to stop using the substance.

This is because tolerance can develop rapidly and you become physically and mentally addicted and dependent upon the substance.

Stopping abruptly is commonly followed by depression, anxiety, craving and extreme fatigue. This is the stage when withdrawal signs kick in and if not handled properly one gets hooked.

Overdose of these stimulant substances, unless there is medical intervention, results in high fever, convulsions and cardiovascular collapse which may precede death. Knowing the effects of these substances and avoiding them will keep one healthy, drug-free and productive. To be continued . . .

Join the Rechabites in creating drug free, healthy and productive communities.

Mthandazo Ndlovu is a drug prevention and rehabilitation specialist. For more information and help contact 0026772399734 or email mthae4jesus@gmail.com