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Addictive behaviour in children part 3 | Participatory Awareness

By Dr Dr Raoul Goldberg

South Africa has become a major drug haven for world drug markets. As a result our children and youth are increasingly exposed to old and new types of drugs. They are freely available on many street corners, in schools and malls, at parties, discos, raves and in drug houses. Drug contacts can be found readily and needy teenagers and adolescents are easy prey. These drugs become dangerous and illusory gratifications for vulnerable young people, wreaking havoc in their lives and those of their families.

In part 2 (SA Journal of Natural Medicine, issue 29 pp: 100 – 104) of this series reference was made to two broad categories of children. The one type may be called the earthly child, the other type the cosmic child. The earthly child is usually a pale, small-headed child with a firm dry body, and long limbs who has lost his childhood softness. He cannot concentrate well, is restless and lacks creative fantasy. He is good at arithmetic and reading but hopeless in the arts and composition. He lives strongly in his body. The cosmic child has a large or domed head with a child-like roundish face, soft warm body and weak short legs. He generally has a warm pleasant disposition, an active imagination, leading to dreaming and fanciful ideas; he experiences the world more in pictures and is therefore a good artist but weak in analytical activities (arithmetic, grammar). These children live strongly in their soul and spirit.

Part 2 described how all drugs affect the human constitution, bringing about distinct changes in the body/soul/spirit continuum. Certain drugs lift the soul out of the body; we may call these the cosmic drugs. They may be used by a cosmic child because it corresponds to their current needs. Other drugs draw the individual’s soul nature more into his body; these may be called the earthly drugs. Such drugs may be used more by an earthly child because they feel at home with these earthly effects. On the other hand, a cosmic child may feel instinctively that an earthly substance like coffee balances out his nature and brings him down to earth, just as an earthly child may find that a cosmic substance like sugar lifts him out of his heaviness.

Cosmic drugs
Cannabis – marijuana (grass, weed, pot, dagga, ganga) / hashish
Cannabis, derived from the hemp plant cannabis sativa, is probably the most widely used illicit drug in the world. In 1995, 77% of illicit drug users were using marijuana or hashish. In the past decade the rate of use among adolescents has more than doubled and the age of first use is becoming younger (8 – 9 years). For several hours the cannabis user is transported into a reality where he perceive things from a higher vantage point (feeling high), loses contact with accustomed earthly realities and is transported into a world of heightened sensitivity and intensified feelings. This opens up vivid imaginative experiences rich with inner personal meaning and the release of intense emotions, e.g. overwhelming love for the world, religious experiences of the divine in all things, or negative emotional experiences such as fear and suspicion. Higher doses can lead to distortions of objects and even hallucinations. This heart knowing is at the expense of sober logical head knowing, becoming more associative, expansive, creative and free of earthly restraints. Indeed many young people who use cannabis reject the materialistic Western way of thinking, seeking a return to nature, community living, ecological awareness and Eastern spirituality.  They join together in close feeling bonds and deep friendships to the exclusion of non-users. The ‘joint’, the cannabis cigarette that is handed around in a group, becomes a symbol of joining together with other like-minded individuals who are striving for similar values Cannabis lifts the soul and Self out of the body leading to a waking-dreaming consciousness; the physical body then becomes part of the outer world, feels heavy like a stone (feeling stoned), and becomes more difficult to use (will weakness).

Hallucinogenic / psychedelic drugs
There are more than 100 known natural and synthetic substances which induce a loss of contact with normal earthly reality, heightened consciousness and hallucinations. The most well-known naturally occurring hallucinogens are psilocybin derived from certain mushrooms, and mescaline derived from the peyote cactus. The classic synthetic hallucinogen is LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) derived from the parasitic fungus ergot that grows on and destroys the flowering part of the rye cereal.  As a prototype it will be described below. Ecstasy (MDMA) is also a hallucinogenic drug but will be discussed under the amphetamines.

LSD  
A normal dose takes effect within an hour, peaks in 2 – 4 hours, and lasts 8 – 12 hours. Sensory perceptions become unusually intense, vivid and more conscious as the soul separates from the body; colours are richer and more brilliant, shapes and textures are more striking, tastes and smells are intensified and sounds are magnified. Sense impressions flow one into another (synaesthesia) – colours may be heard and music seen. The life body that in life prevents physical disintegration (death) also loosens itself from the physical body producing short-lived experiences of near-death.

Descriptions of thousands of LSD experiences are very similar to the cases documented by Raymond Moody and Elizabeth Kubler-Ross of individuals who appeared to have died or who almost died.

Violent shocks are known to separate the life body from the physical body; the former fuses with the soul life so that its memory content comes to awareness in soul imagery. A typical experience is the life panorama where flashbacks to life events, e.g. prenatal or postnatal, come to consciousness in a very vivid way. Repressed or forgotten memories of past traumas, e.g. concentration camp syndrome may be powerfully re-evoked. The dissolution of inner and outer boundaries, with the feeling of blissful light-filled oneness with everything, is a common experience as the life forces merge with their cosmic origin. Alterations in body shape, distortions of time and space, awareness of internal organs and functions as well as visions and hallucinations may also occur, all as if in a waking dream. Intense emotional, religious and mystical experiences accompanied by deep inner reflection are common. Many users claim that significant personality changes such as enhanced creative capacities, deep insights, and relief from neurotic and psychosomatic symptoms have taken place through a single LSD experience.

Opiates / Opioids – Opium, Morphine. Heroin
The words ‘opiate’ and ‘opioid’ derive from the word ‘opium’, the milk sap of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum , which is taken from the unripe capsule of the plant. Opium contains approximately 20 opium alkaloids, including morphine. Opiates are any preparation or derivative of opium (morphine, heroin, codeine); opioids are synthetic narcotics that resemble an opiate in action but are not derived from opium (wellconal, pethidine, methadone, demerol). All these narcotic drugs have similar effects but because heroin is the most commonly used narcotic in young people it will be described below.

Heroin is synthesised from morphine but is about twice as potent. Users typically start in their teens, even as young as 10 years old, and usually in communities where substance abuse is rampant.  Fifty per cent of urban heroin users are children of single parents or divorced parents and are from families in which at least one other member has a substance-related disorder. In South Africa there are no accurate epidemiological figures of heroin use in adolescence. Heroin is so addictive because of the overwhelming euphoric high (rush or flash) that occurs, especially when administered intravenously. An expansive blissful feeling of warmth associated with deep relaxation and peace frees the user of all tensions, worries and cares (the life forces separate from the physical body); he can completely escape into a light floating world where he is totally alone with his heroin Goddess, his greatest lover, losing almost all connection with body and soul. Heroin’s fire powerfully drives the Self out of body and soul. The user remains only connected to his thinking which becomes cold, distant and calculating; fear is driven away. Gradually he becomes quiet, soft and tender, anaesthetised from all pain, passing into a dreamy sleepy state. The soul separates from the body (release from pain, fear and consciousness). The euphoria and sedation are soon replaced by the fear of withdrawal accompanied by emptiness and depression which drives the user to find his next fix. He becomes completely controlled by the 4 – 6-hour rhythm of opiates in his blood, to the exclusion of all other needs. His physical and psychological condition deteriorates. Heroin loosens the user from earthly realities.

Mandrax – Methaqualone, Buttons, MX, whites, pille
This minor tranquilliser is smoked widely in South Africa, together with cannabis in a broken bottle neck. As the soul nature separates from the body intense euphoria, heightened perceptions and sensations and reduced inhibitions occur.

Earthly drugs
Cocaine – Coke /Snow/ Girl / Lady
Cocaine is one of the most addictive and dangerous of illicit drugs. It is an alkaloid derived from the leaf of the cocoa plant (Erythoxylon coca), which native Americans chewed for thousands of years. It is an expensive drug, used mainly by affluent people, but increasingly used by all socio-economic groups. The white powder is inhaled (snorting – least dangerous), smoked or injected (freebasing – most dangerous), is felt almost immediately, and lasts only 30 – 60 minutes. Psychological dependence can develop after a single dose because of its personality-strengthening effects.

In the mid 1980s a much cheaper variation appeared on the world market. Crack is cocaine boiled with bicarbonate of soda which cools down and forms a sediment that can be broken into ‘rocks’ and smoked or injected. It has an extremely powerful and short-lived effect (3 – 5 minutes) causing extreme euphoria, overconfidence and aggression and is highly addictive. While cocaine use is generally on the decline due to increased awareness of risks, crack use especially among disadvantaged groups is on the increase and is used most commonly by younger age groups.

Cocaine is taken primarily for its euphoria-producing and simulating effects. The heightened feeling of self-confidence, self-esteem, fearlessness and daring gives users the euphoric perception of being capable of enhanced mental, intellectual, creative and physical achievements. This increased energy and power can quite easily develop into violent and emotional behaviour, exhibitionism and over-stimulated sexual desire. This false sense of self pushes away feelings of insecurity, fears, doubts and pain which may explain why cocaine is an effective anaesthetic agent.

Cocaine appears to block real human feelings, calling up instead icy-cold cynical feelings. The blocked expression of the heart may explain why the major pathological effects are on the rhythmic organs of heart, circulation and respiration (increased heart and respiratory rate, hypertension, risk of heart attack, strokes, cardiac arrythmias, nasal and lung infections, respiratory and cardiac arrest). The soul forces are rearranged in the body; they move out of the sensory organs (anaesthetising effect) and the feeling/heart realm (blocked feelings) and engage deeply into the thinking and will activities of body and soul. The user becomes cut off from his higher spiritual nature and is thrust deeper into his lower material self where his intellect and his utilitarian nature become dominant.

Amphetamines and related substances
– Speed / Ice / Crystal / Crystal meth (Tic)
These are chemical stimulants with effects very similar to those of cocaine but with a longer action (4 – 8 hours). They increase performance (used by athletes), induce euphoria and alertness and are used to combat exhaustion (students studying for exams, long-distance journeys). They are used therapeutically for a variety of clinical disorders including attention deficit disorder (Ritalin), narcolepsy, depressive disorders and obesity. Use of amphetamines appears to be on the increase worldwide. In South Africa metamphetamine (Tic) abuse has increased dramatically in all socio-economic groups, especially in certain regions where its use among the 12 – 17-year-old age group is at an alarmingly high level. Latest reports indicate that 10% of high school children in South Africa use tic. The stimulating and euphoric effects are, as with cocaine, due to the soul engaging more strongly with certain parts of the body, mainly the nervous system (increased cognitive activity) and the metabolic / will functions (enhanced stamina, power). In order for the body to regenerate its spent forces, the soul normally disengages with it during sleep which allows for restoration of vitality.

This however does not happen when amphetamines are taken, leading to widespread and progressive breakdown and degeneration of the body. There is no space any longer for the ‘I’ nature to embrace the higher self; it is forced to function almost completely and permanently through the soul forces and the body.

Metamphetamine (Tic / Ice) can be inhaled, smoked or injected intravenously. Its psychological effects are powerful and last for hours. Unlike crack cocaine which must be imported, tic is a synthetic drug that can easily be manufactured locally. It produces an intense and long-lasting euphoria (24+ hours) followed by heavy hangover and depression which leads to rapid addiction.

Amphetamine-like substances that are cheap and easily available over the counter are ephedrine used for nasal congestion and propranolamine used as an appetite suppressant.  Although less potent than classic amphetamines they are potentially dangerous since 3 – 4 times the normal dose can lead to life-threatening hypertension, psychosis and death.

Modified amphetamines. These include Ecstasy (MDMA, XTC, Adam), MDEA (Eve) and STP (DOM), of which Ecstasy is the most widely available and best studied.

Ecstasy 
This substance was originally derived from nutmeg oil, was synthesised in the 1960s and used in the 1970s psychotherapeutically to help patients get in touch with their feelings. Since the 1980s its recreational use has increased dramatically. It has become popular with young people at parties, raves and discos where it promotes warm feelings and increased stamina for dancing, as well as with affluent and professional people in social and communal get-togethers where it engenders openness and expressiveness. Ecstasy combines the hallucinogenic effects of Cannabis /LSD with the stimulant effects of amphetamines. One part of the soul seems to separate from the body, leading to an expansion of consciousness with tremendously heightened sensory and feeling experience – feeling free, relaxed and deeply at peace with the world and oneself, dissolving in euphoric oneness with a highly luminescent world and fusing in blissful loving warm union with other people. At the same time, another aspect of the soul connects powerfully with the body leading to a desire for movement, dancing or other actions or for company, conversation or personal interaction.

Designer drugs (substituted amphetamines) 
These are fairly recent drug creations designed on the drawing board to manipulate consciousness in a variety of different ways (earthly or cosmic). Most begin as legal substances which are modified slightly to produce a specifically desired alteration in consciousness. By the time they have been researched, found to be harmful and banned as illegal drugs, they have already found a wide clientele; through their cheap and simple manufacture in clandestine laboratories they are widely distributed through drug cartels. These substances are extremely potent, with small quantities producing extremely powerful effects. They include:

Fentanyl compounds: 10 – 7 500 times as strong as Morphine
MPTP: a derivative of the painkiller Demerol
PCP (Phencyclidine, Angel’s dust): this is a highly toxic drug that can behave like a hallucinogen. stimulant or narcotic and can lead to the most horrific experiences resulting in insanity and suicide.
Inhalants/solvents – benzene, petrol, glues, paint thinners

These substances are inhaled, depress the central nervous system and produce effects similar to alcohol. They are usually used by children and adolescents who have ready access to these products.

They drive the soul nature further into the body.
Health may be seen as the balance between heaven and earth, between cosmic / spiritual and earthly material forces, ill health as a disturbance in this relationship. If the tendency towards hardening, mineralisation, contraction, drying out and cooling down is balanced out by processes that create softening, dissolution, expansion, moisturising and warming, then homeostasis is maintained. Organic systems are so constructed that when too much contraction occurs, regulatory processes kick in that lead to expansion. When a child’s body cools down to a certain degree, fever results which restores the healthy body temperature. In nature there are substances which are governed more by earthly forces (earth, water), others more by cosmic forces (air, light, warmth). The illicit drugs are all powerful one-sided substances that possess either one or other or both tendencies. As such they are the antithesis of healthy substances; they are instruments of disease tendencies, carrying forces that promote one-sided tendencies. These drugs are highly dangerous to all children before puberty for the same reasons mentioned in the previous article on alcohol misuse. Furthermore those children who have tendencies in one or other direction (earthly or cosmic) will be especially vulnerable to the effects of these drugs.

Sensitive solutions
How can we help teenagers and adolescents who have succumbed to the seductive effects of drugs? The approach that I adopt for drug addiction is essentially that put forward in Part 1 of this series (SA Journal of Natural Medicine, issue 28 pp: 84 – 88) with certain modifications specifically for drug addiction.

Illicit drugs may be regarded as agents of two cultural forces in our times that coercively and unnaturally pull vulnerable youth more into their bodies (material dominance) or push them out of their bodies (spiritual dominance). In both cases they subvert the guiding power of the developing I.

Young people easily succumb to the temptation of these substances because of their vulnerability and unconscious longing to satisfy unfulfilled needs. These seductive substances, like false prophets, may take control of young bodies and souls creating unimaginable chaos and destruction in their lives and in the lives of those who care for them. However, they may also serve as messengers revealing the human potential that every young person is capable of reaching through his or her own efforts.

Understand the nature of addiction as a cry for help. The drug, as the false saviour, becomes the outer statement of vulnerability and inner needs that have not been met.
Assess the degree of your child’s addictive behaviour. Parents need to be able to detect warning signs of substance misuse or abuse (chronic tiredness; unusual eye symptoms such as red eyes, dilated or constricted pupils; changes in appetite and sleep patterns; sudden shifts in emotions and moods; fall-off in performance and loss of motivation and interest). We also need to have some idea of the seriousness of the drug habit; is it youthful exploration, peer pressure, an addictive tendency or full-on addiction. When does it take place?
Change one’s attitude to the addicted child and to oneself. This requires honest self reflection about our own values, prejudices and attitudes and the way they are expressed in our behaviour and parenting. Can we expect our children to adopt healthy values when we ourselves cannot carry them out. ‘Why should I stop smoking and drinking when I see my parents doing the same’. There is no place any longer for denial, guilt, fear, or lecturing about drugs. Can we learn to accept the child for who she is and try to meet her needs where and when needed?
Understand your child and his needs as those of a sensitive person who may have specific one-sided tendencies (earthly, cosmic). The home environment is usually the first place of understanding, safety and support for the young child.
Effective communication. Only on the basis of mutual trust and respect can new insights, accurate  assessment and clear perspectives for effective care and management be acquired.

Effective management: 
•    Create a partnership with the dependent person.
•    Engage the higher truth and conscience of the child.
•    Where possible, the whole family, therapeutic team and school need to be involved.
•    There should be clinical and detox management. A holistic multi-dimensional contractual therapeutic programme involving the young client, parents, health practitioner, teachers and therapists, offers a rational and effective approach to drug addiction and addictive tendencies. This may include individual dietary and nutritional interventions, individually prescribed natural and dynamic medication, and a range of therapeutic options, the details of which go beyond the scope of this article. Counselling is an essential part of the process.
•    Psychophonetic Counselling and Life Coaching are especially effective in dealing with drug addiction.
•    Referral to specialist care and rehab centres. This may be unavoidable in specific cases.