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Jay Koovarjee

 92 Pitt St
Sydney NSW 2000
ph: (02) 9221 0091
fax: (02) 8880-8326

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:: In Brief


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:: Alcohol & Drugs
Healthy Lifestyle - Alcohol - Drugs
  Healthy Lifestyle
  Alcohol & Drugs 

A drug is any substance (with the exception of food and water) which, when taken into the body, alters the body's function either physically and/or psychologically. Drugs may be legal (e.g. alcohol, caffeine and tobacco) or illegal (e.g. cannabis,cocaine,heroin and ecstasy) Psychoactive drugs affect the central nervous system and alter a person's mood, thinking and behaviour.

Psychoactive drugs may be divided into four categories:

  • Depressants: Drugs that decrease alertness by slowing down the activity of the central nervous system (e.g. heroin, alcohol and analgesics)
  • Stimulants: Drugs that increase the body's state of arousal by increasing the activity of the brain (e.g. caffeine,
  • nicotine and amphetamines)
  • Hallucinogens: Drugs that alter perception and can cause hallucinations, such as seeing or hearing something that is
  • not there (e.g. LSD and 'magic mushrooms')
  • Other: Some drugs fall into the 'other' category, as they may have properties of more than one of the above
  • categories (e.g. cannabis has depressive, hallucinogenic and some stimulant properties)

People use drugs for a variety of reasons. Young people often use drugs for the same reasons that adults do.
Some of these include:

  • to have fun
  • to relax and forget problems
  • to gain confidence
  • to socialise
  • out of curiosity
  • as a form of escapism to lessen inhibitions
  • to remove personal responsibility for decisions
  • to celebrate or commiserate
  • to relieve boredom

With regular use, tolerance to and dependence on drugs can develop. Withdrawal symptoms may also be experienced
if the drug is reduced or stopped.

Tolerance: A person needs more of a drug in order to achieve the same effects they felt previously with smaller amounts.
Dependence: Use of the drug becomes central to a person's life, and they may experience withdrawal symptoms if
they stop using the drug.

Withdrawal: Describes a series of symptoms that may appear when a drug on which a user is physically dependent is stopped or significantly reduced. The withdrawal symptoms vary depending on a range of factors including the drug type and tend to be opposite to the effects produced by the drug. The body is always trying to maintain a state of balance. When the body has become accustomed to the drug for normal function and use is ceased, the body will try to counterbalance for the change producing withdrawal symptoms.


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