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Psychotic side of tik emerging

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Psychotic side of tik emerging

by Staff Reporter
20 Jun 2006
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

Since 2003, the Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre has seen the proportion of clients reporting methamphetamine related problems increase from five percent to between 44% and 48% of the total treatment population. Tik has become a very real problem, but its psychosis-inducing effects are only really being discovered now.

"Many people are aware of the tik pandemic at present. What most people don't know, however, is the very negative effect that this drug has on the brain," says Carry Bekker, Programme Director at Stepping Stones Addiction Centre in Kommetjie. Bekker says that an increasing number of tik addicts with psychosis are being admitted to Stepping Stones.

"Psychiatric intervention is necessary to medicate the psychosis, which is not always easy to identify. Our experience is that the patients are often paranoid with auditory hallucinations. These symptoms may be of a relatively short duration but can vary to a longer period of time," says Bekker. Bekker says that patients with psychosis do not engage in a group easily, while some of the more intense or evocative groups can worsen the psychosis.

Bekker says that the emotional and mental defects that methamphetamine users suffer from have important implications for their treatment and care. The role of the family doctor becomes a very important one, namely to admit the patient to a suitable treatment centre. The treatment centre must be registered with the National

Department of Social Development and provide a structured programme based on evidence-based models of treatment. It is also important that the centre has a good mix of professional and paraprofessional staff.

The treatment centre should be able to deal with co-occurring mental health problems that the patient might have. For example, people with methamphetamine-related problems may experience lasting depression and anxiety that should be managed as part of an effective treatment strategy. The failure to manage these mental health problems may result in a relapse.

On Saturday, 24 June, Stepping Stones will be holding its annual Open Day to coincide with the United Nations' International Day Against Drug Abuse (on 26 June). The UN's theme this year is "Drugs are not child's play".

Speakers and gurus in the world of addiction, Peter Powis and Carry Bekker, will be giving talks on the power of addiction and the destructive muscle it has over ones family and friends. For information, phone Stepping Stones on (021) 783 4230.

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