Editor’s Note: Please help us welcome brand new guest contributor, Ricky Stanton. Stanton has over 10 years of experience helping people with their holistic drug rehab programs. He hopes to continue to help educate others about the dangers of drug and alcohol addictions.
For decades, young people have attended all night dance parties – also known as raves or trances – to dance, spend time with friends and take mind-altering drugs. Often held in bars, clubs, hotels or even abandoned warehouses, these parties feature loud music, lights and any number of opportunities to engage in dangerous behavior.
Many of the people who take club drugs only do so when they attend these parties, but it is possible to get addicted to LSD, ketamine and especially methamphetamine.
Look at some of the most common club drugs and their effects:
MDMA, or Ecstasy, represents the most common club drug – by far. Similar to amphetamines, Ecstasy causes powerful hallucinations and psychedelic effects for four to eight hours after taking it. While most people recover completely after taking Ecstasy, some people have severe reactions that include depression, insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, seizures, chills, coma and even death, especially when combined with alcohol or other drugs. Taken regularly, Ecstasy can cause permanent brain damage.
LSD, also known as acid, is similar to Ecstasy in that it causes powerful hallucinations and strange perceptions. The effects vary per person, but they generally begin within 30 minutes and last up to 12 hours. LSD can cause increased heart rate and blood pressure, but the major effects of the drug occur in the brain. Overdosing on LSD can cause flashbacks, delusions of grandeur and psychotic episodes. A “bad trip” can cause terrifying visions, and with regular use, LSD can lead to recurring hallucinations and psychotic episodes.
Gamma Hydroxyl Butyrate (GHB) acts as a nervous system depressant. Also known as the “date rape drug”, GHB causes euphoria, sedation and, in some people, an increased libido. The drug works rapidly and usually lasts four to six hours. GHB causes lethargy and can lead to coma or even death. However, it leaves the system quickly, and it’s often undetectable when users or victims end up in the hospital.
Another common date rape drug, Rohypnol, also called roofies, is odorless, tasteless and easily dissolved in both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. The sedative effects act quickly and last for up to12 hours. Rohypnol can cause dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, lethargy and temporary amnesia, and it can result in death when mixed with alcohol.
Ketamine, a horse tranquilizer, is a powerful sedative used in veterinary medicine. After taking the drug, which comes in liquid or powder form, users report hallucinations and dreamlike states, as well as increased heart rate and difficulty breathing. Taking ketamine can result in permanent memory loss, brain damage and death.
The stimulant drug methamphetamine (meth) is highly addictive. When ingested — by smoking, inhaling, pills or injection — meth causes an intense rush, feelings of euphoria, hyperactivity and delusions of grandeur combined with anxiety, irritability and panic. Meth can also cause confusion, paranoia, aggression and permanent heart and brain damage.
While most club drugs are not addictive in the traditional sense, users can develop a tolerance to them and require more and more of the drugs to get high. Thus, it is possible to develop a dependence on these drugs, and for the most part, no standard treatments exist for club drug dependency.
For GHB and methamphetamine addiction, standard drug rehabilitation programs have proven effective. This generally includes a detoxification program combined with psychotherapy and medication to control withdrawal symptoms and heart rate.
Detoxification and behavior modification therapy have also proven effective for Ecstasy dependency. Detox from Ecstasy generally requires sedatives, and the therapy focuses on developing new skills to cope with life’s stresses.
For those who abuse Rohypnol, treatment generally requires controlled detoxification with 24-hour monitoring by medical professionals. Withdrawing from Rohypnol can cause life-threatening side effects, so rehabilitation professionals must handle the treatment carefully.
For ketamine abusers, treatment generally require the intervention team first treat the medical side effects of using the drug, thereby restoring cardiac and respiratory function. Once the user is healthy enough, treatment involves psychotherapy and behavior modification, giving users the skills they need to handle stress and prevent relapse.
Regardless of which club drug a person abused, ongoing support and therapy are imperative for the patient to continue to abstain from drugs. Drug abuse support groups remain important, and support from friends and family help the patient avoid returning to the club drug lifestyle.
Club drugs, especially, appeal to young people because the drugs don’t cost much and people can obtain them. However, they also pose a dangerous health risk with potentially addictive affects that can also cause permanent damage to users’ brains and bodies – and even death. Understanding what these drugs can do – and sharing that information – represents the first step in preventing a potentially tragic situation.
Your turn: Do you have experience with club drugs? Tell us about it below.
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