All drugs are addictive by nature, but some are certainly more addictive than others. And while all forms of substance addiction should be avoided at all costs, it’s not unfounded to warn potential users of which drugs are most addictive and the effects of their use.

Tik, or crystal meth as it’s otherwise known, is one of these alarmingly dangerous drugs. One of the most widely reported substances abused in the Western Cape, Tik is an insidiously addictive substance that affects people from all walks of life, and most alarmingly, people of all age groups.

Here are some of the reasons Tik is more addictive than other substances:

It’s easy to get a hold of

Tik is an unsettlingly easy drug to produce and acquire, with recipes and ingredients readily available. This means tik labs spring up all over the Western Cape, even in peoples homes, and the drug is sold cheaply, compounding its addictive nature.

It causes extreme highs

All drugs produce a high when taken. This high is produced when the substance stimulates the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for your joy and pleasure. But with tik, in particular, the flood of dopamine is 13 times stronger than normal. Compared to other drugs which increase dopamine levels up to 4 times, this is a clear indicator of Tiks strength.

However, this effect will steadily diminish the more an addict abuses meth. This is because the brain builds up a tolerance to meth, and the addict has to take higher and higher doses to get the same high. This makes the situation all the worse.

It brings with it extreme lows

With the high that all drugs deliver, there is always a low when the drug wears off. And with tik, that low is even more crushing. Due to the severity of the dopamine release, your dopamine levels will run critically low after, and you’ll feel depressed, paranoid, angry and irritable. After the already addictive high and the boost in confidence, this drop makes it even more compelling to use again.

It severely damages the brain and how it functions

The pre-frontal cortex of the brain is where the magic happens, the part of the brain that makes up our ‘selves’. This is where our personality comes from, our rationalizations and our abilities to plan, make judgements and decisions, feel empathy, and allows us to follow social norms and behaviours. This is linked to the amygdala, which is where we store our long term memories and generate emotions such as pleasure, fear, and anger, to name a few emotions.

Tik damages both these sections of the brain, destabilizing function in the PFC (Pre-frontal cortex). The damaged pre-frontal cortex disrupts the amygdala, which results in the chaotic mood swings and erratic behaviour we see in Tik addicts. They become paranoid, violent, and angry, and will even homicidal.

This is only made worse by what is known as methamphetamine-induced psychosis, which makes tik addicts delusional and violent. They experience auditory and visual hallucinations and lose their grip on rational thinking and judgement.

The results? A deadly spiral of addiction and substance abuse

This deadly concoction of psychological chaos is what makes crystal meth, or Tik, so addictive. Against the drug’s highs and its catastrophic lows, it’s incredibly hard to fight against. And the damage it inflicts on the brain is by no means short-lived. Tik addicts will likely suffer from brain damage for the long term, likely even the rest of their lives.

But by pursuing rehabilitation and recovery, an addict can save their life and the lives of others. They can stop this dangerous course, a course that more often than not hurts themselves and those around them.

If you suspect someone close to you is abusing tik, or you yourself want to free yourself from your addiction, don’t hesitate to contact us.