Amphetamines are psychologically addictive. Users become dependent on the drug to avoid the “down” feeling they often experience when the drug’s effect wears off. This dependence can lead a user to turn to stronger stimulants such as cocaine, or to larger doses of amphetamines to maintain a “high”. People who abruptly stop using amphetamines often experience the physical signs of addiction, such as fatigue, long periods of sleep, irritability, and depression. How severe and prolonged these withdrawal symptoms are depends on the degree of abuse.
That boost we get from that morning cup of coffee is the result of the caffeine that naturally occurs in coffee. Caffeine is a common stimulant and is found not only in coffee and tea, but also in soft drinks and other foods. It can also be bought over-the-counter in tablet form. Too much caffeine can cause anxiousness, headaches, and the “jitters.” Caffeine is also addictive and a person who abruptly stops drinking coffee may experience withdrawal symptoms.
Sedative, drugs used to reduce extreme nervous anxiety or induce sleep. Often referred to as hypnotic drugs, these substances generally have a calming and relaxing effect on the central nervous system and muscles when taken in small doses, and a hypnotic, or sleep-producing, effect when taken in larger doses. They are restricted to short-term use and the lowest dose to control symptoms is recommended.
For centuries alcohol and opium were the only substances known to produce similar calming effects, but in recent decades over 50 other substances have been discovered, each differing slightly in its effect on the user. Among the sedatives prescribed for calming patients are the benzodiazepine group of tranquillizers chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride (Librium) and diazepam (Valium), which are also used to relieve emotional stress. Drugs administered to produce sleep in cases of intractable insomnia include barbiturates, and, for temporary insomnia, benzodiazepines and newer compounds, known as cyclopyrrolones, which are less likely to affect REM sleep. Sedatives are habit-forming and can promote drug dependence.
WHAT ARE PAINKILLERS? Painkillers (ANALGESICS) are substances that give temporary relief from pain without causing a loss of consciousness. There are two major categories of painkillers: non-narcotic and narcotic. The most commonly used nonnarcotic painkillers are aspirin and other salicylates, acetaminophen, and nonsteroidal anit-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, which are available in both prescription and non-prescription forms. Nonnarcotic painkillers are by far the most commonly used of all medications. In addition to controlling pain, these analgesics also lower fever and counter inflammation.
Narcotic painkillers include opiates and opioids, which are natural or artificial forms of opium. Codeine, propoxyphene (e.g. Darvon and Wygesic), meperidine (Demerol), and morphine are common examples. These drugs are usually used on a short-term basis to control severe pain. SIDE EFFECTS The most common side effect of aspirin and the stronger nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory is gastrointestinal irritation. This can be minimized by taking them with meals or milk. Acetaminophen does not cause as many intestinal side effects as aspirin, but it should be used with caution by persons who have liver or kidney disorders. The combination of aspirin and acetaminophen is especially damaging to the kidneys, as is heavy alcohol consumption and long-term acetaminophen use to the liver.
Codeine often causes nausea, dizziness, and constipation. A more serious problem, however, involves the tendency of codeine and other narcotics drugs to produce drowsiness. Thus, these agents should not be taken by anyone who must remain alert. In addition, narcotic drugs should never be taken by anyone who must remain alert. In addition, narcotic drugs should never be taken in combination with alcohol, antihistamines and other allergy or cold pills, anticonvulsants, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, or any other agent that depresses the central nervous system. Narcotics increase the effects of these drugs on the brain, and a fatal overdose can result from their combined use. The potentially addictive effect of opiates and other narcotic agents is the major drawback to their long-term use. However, over concern about addiction has resulted in their underused in the control of severe pain.
ALCOHOL VISION: Alcohol relaxes your ciliary muscles, which is responsible for properly focusing images. AS a result, the drinker’s vision becomes blurry and unfocused. Alcohol affects the muscle in the eye used to enable the eyeball to rotate in the proper direction to focus on an object. The result is double vision. The driver sees two cars coming towards him. Which does he steer away from? Also, the proper spacing of images between the two eyes enables the brain to estimate the distances.
This is known as depth perception. When the two eyes are not working in tandem, depth perception is altered, affecting the driver’s accuracy in changing lanes, passing another car, and many other driving tasks heavily dependent on distance judging. Alcohol affects the peripheral vision and a drunk driver will not notice a person walking out onto the road, or a car turning into the road from another street. Seeing potential dangers like these are crucial to safe driving.
CONCENTRATION: Driving requires the driver to pay close attention to many different things, and make adjustments, all at once. Alcohol impairs the rate at which the brain can process information, and thus making it difficult for the brain to manage the divided tasks properly. OBSERVATION SKILLS: The slowdown in mental processes also affects all of the individual tasks needed to drive properly. It affects how the driver observes the situation around him, including keeping watch for other cars, road markings, signs, turns, traffic lights, pedestrians, cyclists, and parked vehicles.
TRACKING SKILLS: When you follow the curves of the road with your steering wheel, your brain is doing a function called tracking. Alcohol can affect your ability to co-ordinate the movements of your hands with the image of the road you are receiving. Typically, the drunk driver makes periodic gross corrections in direction rather than keeping a smooth constant tracking task going. REACTION TIME: Alcohol lengthens the reaction time of a driver, thus making any potentially dangerous situation much more so.
EFFECTS OF ADDICTION
The effects of drug addiction are felt on many levels: personal, friends and family, and societal. Individuals who use drugs and alcohol experience a wide array of physical effects due to their drug and alcohol addiction that they had never anticipated. One such example is the depression an individual feels following their use of cocaine. Additional effects of drug addiction include tolerance, withdrawal, sickness, overdoseage, and resorting to a life of crime.
Family and friends feel the effects of drug addiction as well. The user’s preoccupation with the substance, plus its effects on mood and performance, can lead to marital problems and poor work performance or dismissal. The effects of drug addiction can disrupt family life and create destructive patterns of co-dependency, that is, the spouse or whole family, out of love or fear of consequences, inadvertently enables the user to continue using drugs by covering up, supplying money, or denying there is a problem.
The effects of drug addiction on society manifest itself through lost work time and inefficiency. Drug users are more likely than nonusers to have occupational accidents, endangering themselves and those around them. Over half of the highway deaths in the United States involve alcohol. Drug-related crime can disrupt neighbourhoods due to violence among drug dealers, threats to residents, and the crimes of the addicts themselves. In some neighbourhoods, younger children are recruited as lookouts and helpers because of the lighter sentences given to juvenile offenders, and guns have become commonplace among children and adolescents.
EFFECTS OF BEHAVIOUR
Hallucinogens, also known as ‘psychedelic’ drugs, are drugs that change the way a person perceives the world. Hallucinogens affect all the senses and cause hallucinations-seeing or hearing things that do not exist or are distorted. A person’s thinking, sense of time and emotions can also be altered. Most psychoactive drugs change a person’s mood or behaviour. Sometimes these changes are negative or harmful, both to you and to other people. Behaviour caused by drug use can also get you into trouble with the law.