Most Common Addictions by Dr Dan Gallant
Addiction can come in many different forms and delivery systems. When most people hear the word addiction they usually think of either the extreme drugs like Heroin, Cocaine, or Crystal Meth, or they picture an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. While alcoholism is indeed one of the most commonly seen forms of addiction, it often goes hand-in-hand with other forms of substance abuse.
There are literally thousands of drugs on the market, both legal and otherwise, and it may surprise you how many of them are commonly abused. Some are mostly known by the general public, such as LSD, Methamphetamine, PCP, Heroin, and Cocaine. These drugs are commonly mentioned in media and TV because of their extreme nature, dramatic effects, and high profile.
LSD, also known as Acid, is a hallucinogen made from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a type of fungus that commonly grows on grains such as rye. LSD is a particularly powerful hallucinogen that distorts a person’s ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy. This affects the ability to think rationally and make sound decisions. Other symptoms and short-term effects of LSD include dizziness, insomnia, elevated heart rate and body temperature, rapid mood swings, dry mouth, loss of appetite, numbness, weakness, sweating, and enlarged pupils.
The long-term effects of LSD, are more severe. Paranoia and extreme mood swings are common, thinking can become disorganized, and disturbances in vision can become a consistent issue. Long-term users of LSD also suffer from terrifying flashbacks commonly known as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD).
Methamphetamine, as well as crystal meth, is a stimulant amphetamine drug that is extremely addictive and one of the most dangerous drugs that are commonly abused. According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 4.7 percent of the population, over 12 million people, have used methamphetamine. Meth causes extreme awareness, wakefulness, and increased physical activity. This burst of energy and enhanced perception are small benefits in comparison to the negative effects of this drug, the least of which are decreased appetite and irregular and increase in the user’s heartbeat, breathing, blood pressure, and body temperature. The long-term effects of Meth are extremely damaging, both physically and psychologically, as well as socially.
Users suffer from confusion, anxiety, insomnia, violent and psychotic behavior, weight loss, severe dental problems also known as “meth mouth”, delusions, and skin sores from severe itching and hallucinations. Studies have also shown that Methamphetamine abuse has been directly linked to increased crime rates, child abuse and neglect, and unemployment.
PCP, which is an abbreviation of phencyclidine, was originally used as an intravenous anesthetic. The dissociative drug was discontinued, due to its extreme adverse effects. Dissociative drugs are hallucinogens that make the user feel disconnected from reality and can be extremely dangerous.
Even in the short term, PCP has dangerous effects on the user, such as anxiety, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, and difficulty in thinking. Even in low doses, PCP can cause increased blood pressure and heart rate, numbness of hands and feet, and problems with movement and coordination. In higher doses, PCP can cause dangerously low blood pressure, breathing rate, and pulse; vomiting, blurred vision, loss of balance, violent behavior, seizures, coma, and death.
The long-term effects of PCP can include anxiety, weight loss, memory loss, depression, and problems with thinking and speaking. Because of the disconnect from reality and loss of coordination, PCP is also often linked to personal injury and for some people PCP use can be lethal.
A common addiction, although a fairly controversial one in today’s social climate, is Marijuana. Supporters of Marijuana continue to fight to legalize the plant for medical and recreational uses. Arguing that Marijuana should not be illegal because it isn’t even a drug and has no negative side effects, unlike alcohol or heroin. With the controversy of the health benefits of medical Marijuana still up in the air, statistics show a large portion of the population using Marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes. Unfortunately, Federal laws still classify this as a schedule I drug even though numerous states like California, Washington, and Colorado have legalized the plant at a state level.
Check out Dr. Dan’s video on the most common addictions and comment below on what you think are the most commonly abused drugs.