Denial in Addiction

The reality of one person might be the illusion of another.
At Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre we know how damaging an addiction can be to a person and their families. Addicts often refuse to admit that they have a problem and some never do. The dictionary defines denial as the refusal to admit the truth or reality. At Eden we believe denial is the willful doubt in the face of overwhelming and credible evidence.

Denial is the addict’s only survival tool to ensure future substance use. A person that abuses one or various substances cannot deal with the realities of daily life, hence why they turn to a chemical coping strategy. This over time then becomes their realities. The denial is used as a defense mechanism to reject any reality that they are not comfortable with. At Eden we know that addicts often have very little insight into their own condition and this can lead to a very rigid form of denial that can be extremely difficult to penetrate. At Eden Recovery we know addicts are masters of justification. We see this time and time again where families confront the addict on their behavior. The addict then replies with plenty justifications often very believable ones to why their life is such a mess. At Eden we believe that it is vital to educate the families and spouses on matters like denial and even possible excuses. For example: “I drink because I can’t find a job” or “Everybody is doing it”. Ultimately there is no real justification for abusing substances. At Eden Recovery we ensure that the families are aware of this because without the knowledge an addict can easily manipulate their way out of a situation. This behavior ensures that they will never consider the real source of their problem.

At Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre we often talk about Type A denial and Type B denial. Type A denial is when a person sees, understands and knows that they have a problem. However when they are confronted regarding their problem they will strongly deny it, knowing that it is true. This type of denial is usually accompanied by a lot of lying and dishonesty regarding various topics. Type B denial is when a person is partially or totally blind to their problem. This is a more severe form of denial where the addict refuses to accept the reality. Through a magnitude of justifications, rationalizations, self-deception and excuses the person will actually believe they do not have a problem. At Eden we believe an addict like this is being honestly dishonest. Denial can often be very sensitive and even tricky to deal with because the addict is not even aware of its existence at times. At Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre our Addiction Counsellors help the addict come to terms with their problems. They use various techniques to help the person gain insight and grow therapeutically. Every addict deserves a second chance and at Eden we are honored to be part of a persons journey. Second chances are not given to make things right, but are given to prove that we could be better even after we fall.

-Shaun Pyper, Counsellor, Eden Recovery Centre (011) 244 9916

Trauma and Addiction

At Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre we know addiction is far more complicated than people often believe. Addiction doesn’t occur overnight it is a process that often occurs years before going to rehab. Addiction slowly creeps up on you over weeks, months and even years. It waits for you, for that one weak moment you are not paying attention; it is by all definitions very patient. At Eden we believe that people use substances for many reasons. One of those reasons is to mask the pain that they feel on a daily basis.

It’s often said by addicts that they are not addicted to the substance but rather addicted to the momentarily relief of pain that the substance offers them. I once worked with an addict that explained addiction to me as, “imagine living without air, and now imagine something worse”. As non addicts we often are quick to judge and label their actions, but rarely do we stop and wonder why? We are so conditioned to criticise the addiction without asking why the pain that lead to the addiction. By no means does this justify all their past actions, but understanding needs to be present.

The link between trauma and addiction is strong and rooted in research, particularly childhood trauma. At Eden we firmly believe that pain is often a great determining factor for potential addiction in adulthood. Psychological trauma is defined as a type of damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event. Psychological trauma is often the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope, or integrate the emotions involved with that experience. Physical trauma is defined as a serious injury to the body. Often physical trauma leads to psychological trauma when not properly dealt with at the time, for example Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Each person has their own unique way of dealing or succumbing to trauma.

Therefore trauma whether, physical or psychological, is always defined by the person experiencing the pain. The definition is entirely subjective, if you thought it hurt, then it did. I once asked an addict why you use, knowing how damaging your addiction is. He said that he once read the story of a woman that suffered from Anorexia and why she kept starving her body knowing what it is doing to her health. He said, “I used cocaine not for the high or the thrill, I used it because it provided me with a release from the reality of my emotional pain. The pain this addict was referring to was the loss of his child years ago. He continued saying, “Even knowing that I am damaging my body, my soul with each line that I consume, the compulsion to use more and escape a little further consumed me”. There is often a misconception that psychological trauma must constitute a massive life event, which is not true. As mentioned previously trauma is subjective, and any event that is experienced as shocking or painful can be traumatic for that person. Rape, Divorce, job loss, child abuse, war, emotional abuse, physical abuse or even Bullying can lead to trauma. Events like these, along with a vast variety of others factor may leave individuals with scars that run much deeper than the surface we are exposed to.

With the advances in Neuroscience and more research studies being conducted we now know more about the link between trauma and addiction than ever before. During times of high stress your brain’s executive control center, the cortex becomes interrupted by survival-orientated instincts deep inside your inner brain. These instincts overrule logical thinking, diminished cognitive processing and decrease your ability to inhibit behaviour.
The amygdala, your brain’s threat detection center can become overactive. This over activity can create a state of constantly looking for, seeing and or assessing threats. Logically if you are in constant state of processing events, it can leave you intensely anxious, fearful and vulnerable.

The hippocampus is at the helms of your memory processing center and this then becomes underactive due to the trauma. Instead of placing the memories in the outer-layer of your brain for long term storage, the memories get hung up in a present day loop. This leads the individual to experience and re-experience intrusive, disturbing and uncomfortable recollections. The addiction is then seen to help reduce the sensation that post trauma changes create. The brain is there to ensure the survival of the individual. It puts these traumatic events outside your conscious awareness for a brief period. This is to ensure that one can function and get to a safe place. The problem comes in when we don’t ever then address these problems and at Eden it is our privilege to be able to help you with this healing. The healing process is not easy nor is it fast. . Michele Rosenthal once wrote, “Fear drives all post-trauma related behaviours, healing focuses on resolving the fear”. In other words it’s often the trauma of the past that is driving the addiction of the present.

-Shaun Pyper, Counsellor, Eden Recovery Centre (011) 244 9916

Emotional Eating: Consuming your life piece by piece

At Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre we deal with many addicts on a daily basis.  However society has created an image that rest in our minds of a stereotypical addict. This stereotypical addict is generally addicted to either alcohol or drugs. But what happens when the person is neither addicted to alcohol or drugs? What happens when the individual is addicted to eating? As a society we have grown accustomed to criticizing addiction. The sad reality is that our understanding of what addiction is, is often very limited. It’s with this limited view we criticize the drug addict and embrace the food addict. The sad and unfortunate reality is that emotional eating is socially accepted. There is no difference between one individual that uses food to cope with stress and one that uses cocaine. Both parties rely on a substance for relief regardless of what that substance is.

Emotional eating or often referred to as  stress eating is using food to make yourself feel better, eating to satisfy emotional needs, rather than to satisfy physical hunger. The effects of certain foods can lead to addiction in a matter of time. Sugar is found in a vast variety of food products and is one of the worst culprits. The reason for this is because sugar possesses great addictive properties and because it is legal, cheap and socially acceptable. Furthermore it has massive effects on the reward centre of the brain, this involves neurotransmitters like dopamine.

Experts agree that sugar can potentially be just as addictive as cocaine. When the drug addict uses a substance, dopamine is released in the brain leading to a euphoric sensation, sugar does the same. Researchers in France found that the consumption of sugar can be experienced by the brain as even more rewarding and attractive than the effects of cocaine. Unfortunately emotional eating is not seen as a problem until the person reaches a state of obesity. It is argued that obesity is the direct result of binge eating and food addiction. Dr Gabor Mate, author of “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” believes that the roots of addiction are all the same. He argues that addiction can take any shape or form, any activity can be addictive.

From the compulsion to collect stamps to the need to enjoy copious amounts of sweets, addiction is present. Ashley Gearhardt the creator of the Yale Food Addiction Scale believes the struggle individuals face with food addiction compared to those faced by let’s say alcohol or drugs are very similar. In both cases the addict will often break their own rues “I’m not going to drink today or I’m going to eat healthier today”. As soon as they start drinking or eating the intensity of the substance is just too powerful and controlling it in that moment becomes virtually impossible.

At Eden we often see family and friends criticize the addiction and very rarely ask why the addiction is present. It is a well-known fact that past traumas and addiction go hand in hand. Just like with any addiction, food addiction can be caused by traumas that occurred in the individual’s past or day to day struggles. These individuals tend to connect food with comfort, power, safety and generally other positive emotions that they need. This vicious cycle fuels the emotional eating pattern. They eat because they are stressed and then stress because they have eaten so much and so the cycle continues. These individuals are also sensitive to changes in their daily life and any added stress will lead them finding comfort in their substance of choice. At Eden we believe that people use substances for many reasons. One of those reasons is to mask the pain that they feel on a daily basis. It’s often said by addicts that they are not addicted to the substance but rather addicted to the momentarily relief of pain that the substance offers them.

At Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre we believe regardless of what the individual is addicted to they need intervention. Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle-Napoleon Hill.

-Shaun Pyper, Counsellor, Eden Recovery Centre (011) 244 9916

Over-the-Counter Medication: Addictive Epidemic

At Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre we understand that we live in an age that is dominated by advance medicine that can solve a problem instantaneously by consuming a wonder tablet. We are conditioned to trust the “system “and consume whatever is available to us without questioning anything or anybody. But where do we draw the line when the misuse of medication is ultimately because of us and not a physician. OTC medication is affecting a large number of the population and has developed into a serious problem over a number of years in South Africa. At Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre we talk about substance misuse or abuse. This refers to the use of a drug that deviates from approved social or medical patterns usually through self-administration e.g. using painkillers, readily available at pharmacies, grocery stores and even online stores.

Codeine is one of the most destructive culprits in South Africa and is considered highly addictive. Codeine, found in tablet form or cough mixtures, is a narcotic pain-reliever and cough suppressant similar to morphine and hydrocodone and is part of the opioid family. When an individual consumes the medication containing codeine, it enters the body and eventually makes its way to the brain. Here the codeine binds to receptors in the brain that are responsible for transmitting sensations of pain through-out the body. The fast acting affect quickly decreases any level of discomfort and reduces the pain. Codeine is found in a number of medications including Myprodol, Mybulen, Benylin C, Synodol and Sinutab C to only mention a few. According the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in America there are more than 300 000 OTC products on the market. This is a massive amount of potential addictive substances. At Eden we know that many people use OTC medication to gain a “legal High” if you will. They consume massive amounts of tablets or bottles containing cough mixtures. But we also know that many people don’t know what they are really taking. A large number of these individuals act on advice from friends or family or abide by acceptable social constructs, so they believe. When these individuals take various kinds of substances together the way they affect the body can change. This theory is called drug-drug interaction. The theory postulate that a person taking different medications will have an increased risk for side effects and the main interaction types are: Duplication, Opposition and Alteration.

Duplication occurs in the body when you take two types of medicines that have similar active ingredients. Essentially it can give you “way more than you bargained for. This can result in damage to your kidneys. Opposition occurs when consuming medicines with opposite effects. For example using OTC decongestants may raise your blood pressure and this can act on medication that lowers your blood pressure. The final interaction type is known as Alteration. Here one medicine can potentially change the way your body absorbs, spreads, or processes other medicines.

Regardless of how these substances work in our bodies, one is clear they are extremely addictive and potentially deadly. They can lead to symptoms like, but not limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Decreased libido
  • High blood pressure
  • Migraines
  • Addiction

Guideline to follow when taking OTC medication:

  1. Always try to limit the consumption of OTC medications. Essentially only take them when you really need them.
  2. Explore alternative more natural options for pain. For example ginger, turmeric, lavender and sage to mention only a few.
  3. Always talk to your physician or pharmacist first and do your own research. Don’t forget to ask as many questions as you need, ultimately the medication will enter your body not the physician’s.
  4. Don’t take medicine with alcoholic drinks.
  5. Always follow the directions on the package.

At Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation our dedicated team of professionals aim to assist any individual and their families that may have fallen victim to OTC medication addiction. This is a serious problem in South Africa and at Eden we aim to fight the battle each and every day with commitment, knowledge and dedication. We believe if you treat the disease you won’t be as successful as treating the person.

Are Tattoos Addictive?

tattooAt Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre we frequently get asked whether tattoos can be addictive or not.  Tattoos are an ever more present occurrence in our modern age. Views and opinions regarding tattoos have steadily changed over the last 40 years.

Since the dawn of man people have been etching tattoos into their skin. These marks served as status symbols, amulets, and signs of religious beliefs or love, punishment and even for medicinal purposes. Traditionally tattoos carry with them a negative stigma. This is due to the fact that majority of a given population associated tattoos with evil, criminality and deviant behaviour. Recently more and more people decide to get a tattoo or continually return to the needle for more ink. Some believe this is due to a younger generation that view tattoos as a way to control their identities and express their creativity.

Reasons why a person might be addicted to a tattoo?

Physiological Theories

At Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre we often hear myths or well justified arguments why people believe that tattoos are addictive. One of the arguments explains that based on a physiological level people get addicted to the pain they endure during the process of a tattoo. There is no real scientific proof to substantiate this argument; however people can get a natural “high” from the adrenaline and endorphins being released by the brain. The release of these chemicals is in response to the pain caused by the needle. Another compelling physiological argument is called the pain substitution theory. This theory states that a person might be drawn to a tattoo time and time again due to the self-mutilation factor. It states that a person will engage in this practice, because they find a sense of control when causing themselves pain. At Eden Rehabilitation we believe that this is used in a therapeutic capacity where one would use physical pain to relieve emotional or mental stress.

Psychological Theories

When we talk about tattoo addiction at Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre we always consider possible psychological theories. These theories provide us with valuable and potential substantiation as to why people choose body art. Many psychological theories suggest that attention and self-expression can play a vital role in acquiring a new tattoo. The vast majority of people that are “inked” use tattoos as a form of artistic expression. Each tattoo has a meaning which is significant to the person wearing it. In some cases it can be as simple as “I thought it was beautiful”. At Eden Recovery Centre we understand that regardless of the intent behind the tattoo, the owner of his or her new ink finds it possible to use artwork on their bodies as a satisfying way of expressing who they believe they are.

More psychological theories include the aspect of spirituality. For decades Japanese artists considered their work to bring about spiritual awakening. In modern times people can use religious icons to express their devotion to their beliefs. For a part of the population tattoos can serve as a therapeutic tool after traumatic events. During this process a tattoo is used to commemorate or celebrate an event or a person in their life. This tattoo can then lead to therapeutic growth. In a qualitative study done in 2016 it was found that tattoos can serve as a form of therapy.

Other Theories

Less well known theories can add their weight to the discussion on whether tattoos can be addictive or not. One such theory suggests that people become addicted to the collection of tattoos. This suggests an aspect of compulsive hoarding. Other theories believe that people often get tattoos because it is seen as an organizational obligation. This means that it might be mandatory for people who form part of prison gangs or biker groups to get new ink.

At Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre we believe that addiction is a compulsion which a person has no self-control over. Most of the time addiction is not the reason why many people get several tattoos. Most individuals get body art because they want to get them and not because they need to get them.

All the theories give compelling reasons why any individual might want to get a tattoo or more tattoos. But these theories do not provide any scientific proof that a tattoo can be addictive. However what people can get out of a tattoo for example pain, reactions, acceptance, self-expression or even healing can be considered as potentially addictive. The argument regarding tattoo addiction is ongoing. The simple answer is that we don’t know whether tattoos are addictive or not. At Eden we believe that it is too early in terms of research to say whether a tattoo can be seen specifically as an addiction.

The Dangers of Prescription Medication

Prescription MedsAt Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre we understand that we live in an age ruled by the prescription pad and dominated by our need to satisfy a hunger within us. We are conditioned to trust the “system “and consume whatever is prescribed to us without questioning anything or anybody. For a large portion of the population this has become more than a daily struggle, but a way of surviving. The use of prescription medication has developed into a serious problem in South Africa, and is more common than most people would like to believe.

What is Prescription Drug Abuse?

At Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre we talk about substance misuse or abuse. This refers to the use of a drug that deviates from approved social or medical patterns usually through self-administration e.g. using painkillers, prescribed by your physician.  Many people who consume prescription medication are blissfully unaware of what they put into their bodies. Others with more experience of the effects of a particular substance know exactly what that substance can do for them. There is a general belief that abusing prescription medication is not as bad as using street drugs like Heroin. This however is a common misconception. Due to this popular misconception many people test the theory believing they know better and that one more will not hurt. It is this naivety that ultimately leads to an addiction.

What most people don’t know?

Many prescription drugs that we have readily available on a daily basis are more harmful to our bodies and minds than we actually know. This includes Dexedrine and Ritalin, stimulatory substances as well as painkillers like OxyContin and Pethidine. The reason why many of these man-made or synthetic substances are so dangerous is due to the high potency of synthetic ingredients. Ritalin is a common drug that is used to treat learning disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. What makes this drug potentially dangerous is that the tablet contains tiny particles of insoluble fillers. These solid materials and other stimulatory effects can potentially harm the body. Prescription drug effects can include:

  • Blocking the small blood vessels
  • Liver, Lung and Kidney damage
  • Loss of appetite
  • Convulsions, seizures and death from high doses
  • Erratic, bizarre and sometimes violent behaviour
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Permanent damage to the blood vessels of the heart and the brain
  • Strong psychological dependence

The fact of the matter is many substances were once prescribed without a concern for patient safety, only later to be banned. The substances were banned because the evidence of harmful effects could no longer be ignored. These prescription medications once included Cocaine, Ecstasy, LSD, Methamphetamines and Heroin. All regarded today as hard street drugs.

How to prevent prescription drug addiction?

Many people today use prescription medication because they believe it is well justified. They believe that it is needed to either function or sleep well. Recognise them for what they are- lies. What drug prevention strategies can one employ to avoid addiction? The first step to avoiding addiction or even dependence is to educate yourself on what medication you are using. This does not mean to check the spelling of the brand, but rather what it does to your body and mind.

Before taking any medication know what you use it for and the potential effects it may have on your body and mind. Mandela once wrote “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. You don’t need to change the world, but it can help you to change your world. Explore alternative methods that you can utilize to achieve a specific state e.g. sleeping by listening to music. Always look for alternative methods before taking medication that will alter your natural brain chemistry. Do not self-medicate, always follow the instructions of the physician exactly as prescribed.

Do not share or give medication away. Your script was intended for you and your presenting complaint, not your neighbour next door. Get out more, exercise regularly, eat healthy and enjoy the conversation and laughter of the people you treasure. This is a big stress relief and is obtained through a natural process.

At Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation our dedicated team of professionals aim to assist any individual that may have fallen victim to prescription medication. At Eden Recovery and Rehab Centre we do not believe in just helping the addict, but insist on supporting the family. An addict might be the one that is infected, but it is the family and close friends who are affected by the addiction. The sad reality is that addiction doesn’t just kill the addict. It kills the family, kids and people who tried to help.


Recognizing the Signs of Abuse and Addiction

At Eden, we have seen time and time again how drug and alcohol abuse not only affects the addict, but how it rips families apart and breaks down communities. Drug abuse affects people from all walks of life and all socioeconomic statuses. Whatever the reason a person starts taking drugs, tolerance and dependency can develop quickly, before the user even realizes the pattern of addiction taking hold. When tolerance becomes full-blown addiction, it can be extremely difficult to stop the pattern of abuse.

Breaking free from the hold of addiction often requires outside help and that’s where Eden steps in. When you realize that you or someone you love may have a problem, it’s essential to get help right away. If you or someone you know needs treatment for drug abuse, we can help.

So how can you tell if a loved one is on drugs?

In order to recognize the signs of abuse and addiction – you will need to look out for physical or behavioral symptoms that will most likely include:

Physical Symptoms

Some of the most noticeable symptoms of drug abuse are those that affect the body’s inner workings. For example, your body’s tolerance to a drug occurs when a drug is abused for long enough that increased quantities or strengths are required to achieve the previous effects. This desire for a more intense high, achieved through these means, is extremely dangerous and can easily lead to overdose.

The diminishing effects set in after the first time, and the user constantly tries to replicate the first high he or she gets from the drug by taking increasing amounts. This is extremely dangerous and can quickly lead to overdose.

Changes in appearance can be additional clues to possible drug use and may include:

  • Bloodshot or glazed eyes.
  • Dilated or constricted pupils.
  • Abrupt weight changes.
  • Bruises, infections, or other physical signs at the drug’s entrance site on the body.

Disruption to normal brain functioning, changes in personality, and heart and organ dysfunction can be signs of long-term drug abuse. Signs will vary based on the substance. Click on any drug above to learn more.

Behavioral Symptoms

Drug abuse negatively affects a person’s behavior and habits as he or she becomes more dependent on the drug. The drug itself can alter the brain’s ability to focus and form coherent thoughts, depending on the substance.

Changes in behavior, such as the following, can indicate a problem with drug abuse:

  • Increased aggression or irritability.
  • Changes in attitude/personality.
  • Sudden changes in a social network.
  • Dramatic changes in habits and/or priorities.
  • Financial problems.
  • Involvement in criminal activity.

Learning to recognize the physical or behavioral signs of drug abuse can help prevent the problem from progressing further. For information on Eden Recovery Centre’s Treatment Programmes and advice, please feel free to contact the Eden Recovery Centre. You can depend on full discretion.

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5 Reasons Why We Experience Drinker’s Guilt

Did I say something stupid? Did I behave like an idiot? Did I offend anyone? Did I ruin my image? Is everyone mad at me? These are the kinds of thoughts that plague people who suffer from drinker’s guilt. Some people can wake up after a night of debauchery and drink some coffee, eat some bacon and move on with their day. Other people pay for the night before, so intensely that they promise themselves never to drink again, every time. Why do some of us wake up with a moral hangover even when we didn’t do anything to deserve it? These are five reasons you suffer from hangxiety:

  1. You’ve “Let Yourself Down”

While cutting back on drinking might not have been a forefront plan, knowing that you drank a lot means that you willingly crossed a line the night before, forfeiting the following day. Basically, you’re mad at last night’s self for putting this morning’s self in trouble.

  1. You’ve Jeopardized Your Health

The second you wake up in the morning and feel that soreness behind your eyes, the dryness in your mouth, the slosh of acid in your stomach and the ache in your joints, you know you’re hungover. Once you’ve made that assessment, you immediately become disappointed with yourself for not taking better care of yourself.

  1. You’ve Had Too Much To Drink

The more you drink, the worse you feel. That’s science. Sometimes the anxiety you feel in the morning is an added alert you’re giving yourself to let yourself know that you’re drinking too much. The anxiety acts as a self service almost, wedging its way between you and your drinking habits. It tries to deter you from drinking away your hangover from last night. The anxiety tries to steer you onto a different path.

  1. Dehydration Makes You Anxious

Alcohol reduces the amount of “anti-diruectic” hormones in your body, meaning it lets your body rid itself of much more water than it does when you’re sober. Your bathroom breaks are leaving you dehydrated. The effects of dehydration in the body lead to more than thirstiness and headaches — it can also lead to faintness, dizziness and confusion.

  1. You’re Drinking The Wrong Drinks

Drinks with higher congener content like bourbon, scotch, dark beers and red wines will leave you with stronger hangovers. The high sugar content on top of the dehydrating effects of alcohol are going to seriously mess with your blood sugar, which will only add to the amount of panic and cloudiness you will experience in the morning. So if you want to drink but you don’t want to deal with the morning freak out, drink light, low-sugar drinks, punctuated by lots of replenishing water, and try not to overdo it.

If you are worried about the amount you are drinking or for information on Eden Recovery Centre’s Treatment Programmes and advice, please feel free to contact the Eden Recovery Centre. You can depend on full discretion.

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Krokodil Drug – The Same high as heroin. Only cheaper

Krokodil could possibly be the worst drug in the world. Worse than cocaine, worse than heroin, worse than meth, worse than acid. According to Eden Recovery Centre, the drug is named after crocodiles because of the scaly appearance gangrenous skin takes on. It even makes crack look appealing, and that’s insane.

Krokodil’s origins are amongst Russia’s poorest communities where it arose as a cheap alternative to heroin. The substance can be concocted by crushing codeine tablets, which are widely available, and mixing them with substances like petrol, red phosphorous and hydrochloric acid.

Sound dangerous? Doctors estimate that from the point an addict first takes krokodil, their life expectancy is a little over two years.

According to people who have taken it, the drug has approximately the same effects, the same high, as heroin, but for as little as a tenth of the price of the real thing. Eden Recovery explains why this is such a terribly worrying concern for parents of the youth of SA.

The street price of heroin in South Africa is around R50 a gram which isn’t that expensive, but the costs can add up as addicts require stronger and more frequent doses, says Eden Recovery.

In Russia’s factory towns, a raging heroin habit can decimate a person’s funds, hence increasing numbers turning to Krokodil.

South Africa has a huge amount of low-income heroin addicts, making the rise of Krokodil almost inevitable. While the high might be good, the side effects are anything but. The drug literally rots human from the inside out, and in serious users it isn’t uncommon to see large expanses of exposed bone and muscle.

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction and would like us to guide you on treatment programmes available, please contact the Eden Recovery Centre at or contact +27 11 244 9916. Our qualified staff are trained to assist you in taking the first steps to breaking free from addiction. You can depend on full discretion.

The Effects of Drug Abuse on Fertility

It’s no secret that substance abuse can be damaging to your health, but one of the ways that an addiction to a drug or alcohol can be most harmful is in hindering your ability to become a parent. At Eden Recovery Centre, we describe how cigarettes, heroin, alcohol and marijuana can have an impact on reproductive health – as proven by research.

How Tobacco affects fertility.

Besides harming almost every organ in the body, smoking can have disastrous consequences for fertility says Eden Recovery Centre. In one study published in the journal Human Reproduction, women who smoked and were trying to get pregnant were 42% more likely to experience a delay in conception of more than one year compared with non-smoking women; in fact, the smokers had double the risk of infertility problems of non-smokers in the study.

How Marijuana affects fertility

Although it’s often seen as a relatively harmless drug, marijuana can have a profound effect on reproductive health, especially in men. In a study of almost 2,000 British guys, researchers found that those 30 and younger who reported smoking marijuana at least once in the past three months were almost twice as likely to have sperm whose shape and size was abnormal. Study author Allan Pacey of the University of Sheffield suggested that “cannabis users might be advised to stop using the drug if they are planning to try and start a family.”

How alcohol affects fertility

While having an occasional drink likely won’t lower your odds of getting pregnant explains Eden Recovery Centre, it’s a different story if you’re drinking a lot. In a Fertility and Sterility study, researchers compared sperm quality in moderate drinkers with that of 66 alcoholic men who drank about six ounces or more of alcohol daily, or nearly so. The researchers detected abnormalities in the alcoholics’ reproductive hormones and found that their sperm count and motility (how well the sperm could move through the female reproductive tract) were significantly lower compared with the non-alcoholic control group.

How Heroin and Cocaine affects fertility

When it comes to hard drugs like heroin and cocaine and their impact on fertility, the prognosis is, unsurprisingly, pretty grim says Eden Recovery Centre. Men who use heroin, for example, may experience sexual dysfunction that lasts even after they quit, suggests a study published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology. Heroin affects the quality, and especially the motility of sperm, according to a study of 80 heroin-addicted men.

The potential effects of cocaine on fertility have mostly been evaluated in animal trials. In one study of female monkeys researchers found that cocaine impaired ovulation and ovarian function. Similarly, a study in male rats showed that cocaine affected the development of the animals’ sperm cells.

If you are worried about how your drug addiction could be affecting you chances of becoming a parent, please contact the Eden Recovery Centre’s for treatment programmes and advice.  You can depend of full discretion.