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Drug addiction

Drug addiction in opiates

The opiates include morphine, heroin, and morphine derivatives that are known asstrong pain relievers are used (e.g. Tramal®; in the context of pain therapy, however, usually no dependencies develop).

Opiates lead to onestrong psychological and physical dependencewhich can develop very quickly, especially with heroin: just two to three injections can be addictive!

Opiates are usually injected into the veins of drug addicts, and less often smoked or snorted. Injection not only carries the risk of infection with hepatitis or HI viruses if several drug addicts use the same needle, but also of poisoning, which is not infrequently fatal.

Symptoms of opiate use

Heroin leads to you in about 15 minutesState of intoxication with a strong feeling of happiness, the feeling of detachment and increased self-confidence. This is usually followed by a calming effect with apathy or occasionally irritability and finally slowing down and thought disorders. Overdosing (so-called "golden shot") can result in slowing breathing and unconsciousnesslead to death.

Mental and physical symptoms of opiate withdrawal

Opiates lead to addiction much more quickly than other addictive substances, because both the psychological and the physical symptoms upon discontinuation (opiate withdrawal)very pronounced are. Withdrawal symptoms of opiate withdrawal develop as early as four hours after the last ingestion and increase from hour to hour. They peak after about a day or two and can get overone to two weeks drag on.

  • Mentally With opiate withdrawal, a strong "craving" (desire for the substance, addictive pressure), depression, sleep disorders, anxiety and restlessness occurs.
  • Physically the withdrawal symptoms consist of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, sweating, goose bumps, muscle pain and muscle cramps, pupillary dilation, lacrimation, high blood pressure, increased pulse rate and fever.

The physical withdrawal symptoms usually last a week after the complete and abrupt withdrawal, the psychological symptoms (dysphoria, addictive pressure) can last for many weeks.

Therapy of drug addiction to opiates

The aim of the therapy is complete freedom from addictive substances, which is complicated by the fact that the patients are mostly dependent on other drugs or alcohol. Usually only help with opiate withdrawalLong-term weaning treatments of up to 6 months, with long-term successes being less than 50 percent.

Detoxification in opiate addicts canwith or without medication assistance be carried out in a specialist hospital. If abstinence cannot be achieved for various reasons, substitution treatment with opiates such as methadone can be carried out.

The main goals of substitution therapy areDecriminalization of the addict by reducing drug-related crime, distancing themselves from the drug scene, improving mental and physical health (including reducing the risk of AIDS infection) and reintegration into the workforce.

Ideally, after stabilization, an attempt is made to achieve complete freedom from drugs by slowly reducing the dose.

Drug addiction to cannabinoids

Cannabis (hashish, marijuana; main active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) is mostly smoked (“weed”) or eaten. In 1994 around 17 percent of men and around 9 percent of women smoked cannabis, around a fifth of them almost daily and two thirds at most once a year.

When smoking occurs alreadya state of intoxication within a minute With

  • Happiness,
  • Being detached,
  • Change of space and time experience and
  • Increase in the intensity of optical and acoustic perceptions


The high point of the high is reached after 20 to 30 minutes and lasts about two to three hours. The noise effect is great from person to persondifferently pronounced and also depends very much on the current mood, expectations and personality structure.

Cannabis leads to onemental, but likely not to physical addiction. If taken regularly, a so-called amotivational syndrome can develop. Concentration and memory disorders as well as lack of drive and planning occur, which are supposed to encourage further drug use and the switch to "hard drugs" (Gateway drug!).

Drug addiction to cocaine and other stimulants

Cocaine and amphetamines such as “speed”, “ice” or “ecstasy” lead to strong psychological, but not physical, dependence. They cause a pleasant emotional state ("rush"), which through

  • a higher level of alertness,
  • Euphoria and well-being,
  • a suppression of hunger and tiredness,
  • an increase in performance and drive,
  • Stimulus shielding and
  • a reinforcement of the sexual experience

is marked. This “rush” usually only lasts for minutes.

We know today that these substances are very good, especially when taken regularlyharmful influences on nerve cells to have. In isolated cases there have been deaths while taking ecstasy.

Drug addiction in hallucinogens

The hallucinogens LSD, mescaline and psilocybin cause initially occurring vegetative irritation symptoms such as dizziness, pulse acceleration and nausea as well as inner restlessness during the intoxication phasepsychedelic effectsthat set in within minutes. These are pseudohallucinations, especially in the optical field

  • scenic experiences,
  • Color and shape hallucinations,
  • illusory misjudgments and
  • Intensification of the perceptual content.

A "trip" lasts about six to eight hours and in its final phase ("coming down") can lead to severe depression, which is why a trip is often "thrown out". At the height of intoxication, especially with inexperienced people, it can lead to a "Bad trip“Come with panic paranoid fear, intensely experienced depersonalization and extreme perceptual disorders, which can be the reason for suicidal and aggressive actions.