ibnlive » Health

Jun 07, 2007 at 06:18pm IST

On a high? Please mind your health

New Delhi: What can drugs do to your system? Well, an hour after cocaine is used, the risk of a heart attack goes up by 24 times. And cocaine addicts are seven times more likely than non-users to suffer heart attacks. And once the level of cocaine reaches a toxic level in the body, the entire system simply shuts down.

Mainly it hits the heart — arrhythmia — and then the respiratory system, when the lungs shut down. The third is an effect on the skin, called laser constriction. All skin and extremities are cold and clammy, which affect the brain directly. It leads to bleeding in the brain and finally the kidneys stop functioning — which means a shutdown of the all body functions.

Club drugs like ecstasy are usually thought to be relatively harmless. They are meant to improve the users' mood and help them keep dancing all night. But the flipside lies in the side effects, which include paranoia, amnesia, nausea, hypertension and, of course, hallucinations.

Another commonly abused drug is LSD or 'acid' — immortalised by rock stars. However, it's slightly less glamorous in real life. It causes unpredictable behaviour and can have severe side effects — which include numbness or weakness, nausea, increased heart rate, lack of appetite as well as flashbacks and even sleeplessness.

There are long-term health issues to worry about as well — like an impaired memory, anxiety and depression. The big problem is also that individuals react differently to these substances. Sometimes all it takes is one hit for a fatal reaction.

(With Amrita Tripathi)

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