Category: Addiction News

Addiction Treatment Centers in Gauteng


Addiction in us all

drug addiction-in-us-allThere’s possibly a bit of addiction in us all

While the ‘big boys’ of addiction, opioids and alcohol grab the spotlight most of the time, the sneaky little drug called marijuana is getting its own encore of late. But as we look at the overall issue of addiction doesn’t it start to look like there is an addiction, a compulsion or a disorder for every soul that walks on this blue and green planet? Isn’t safe to suggest that there’s possibly a bit of addiction in all of us.

Shock and horror! What a broad statement. Continue reading “Addiction in us all”


The Signs of Functional Alcoholism

How to recognise the signs

functioning-alcoholicWhat is functional alcoholism? How can you tell when someone is a functional alcoholic? These are important questions that need answering however it’s not one that has a cut and paste answer. Spotting the traits of functional alcoholism is tricky and can be difficult to spot. Continue reading “The Signs of Functional Alcoholism”

Alcohol. The most deadly drug of them all.

Alcohol Abuse

alcohol abuse rehabilitation Don’t kid yourself. Alcohol, booze, the devil’s juice – whatever you call it, alcohol is a deadly drug and is the leading protagonist when it comes to death.  If you want (or need) proof as to why alcohol is the most deadly drug around, read on.

Booze in its many forms has been around for thousands of years. Almost 10 000 years to be exact. Although we are not saying it should be wiped out and banned from being drunk (it’s not a prohibition speech, promise) we are here to let you know that there are a few truths that need to be told to you about alcohol. In the end you need to be fully aware of everything before you make a choice. Knowledge is power after all. Continue reading “Alcohol. The most deadly drug of them all.”

My husband – Sober for one year

I honestly did not think this would ever happen after approximately 30 years of drinking, the last 15 yrs heavily.

I do believe if he hadn’t gone to Houghton House rehab when he did our family would not be together today. So a big thank you to everyone there, and to Andrew who runs the Saturday Houghton House support group meetings, who helped me from the beginning of my journey, To understand that I had no control over my husbands addiction, and I needed to let go of the guilt I felt and the feelings of “what was I doing wrong” that I couldn’t get him to stop no matter what I did. Continue reading “My husband – Sober for one year”

gaming addiction

Gaming Addiction A Winning Addiction?

Video games: Gaming Addiction

Gaming Addiction
Ever since the early 70’s video games have captured the world’s imagination. America is considered the birth place of commercial video game activity and research paints the real origin of the world of gaming to be as early as the 50s – borne out of research needs from eager scientists who wanted to find new ways to discover and use simulations to further their work. Although the work back then on video games can be seen as primitive compared to present day technology , Continue reading “Gaming Addiction A Winning Addiction?”


Stop Smoking Give up. Quit.

Stop Smoking


The words are easy enough to say, but to actually put that last cigarettes out and break the habit is not something to scoff at. It’s hard. And not just because we say so. Did you know that 7 out of ten smokers you meet want to stop smoking but only 7% actually stop on their first attempt? Scary stats. We know. But there is a silver lining. The moment you put out that last smoke your body starts changing. And it’s an incredible change. Continue reading “Stop Smoking Give up. Quit.”


Addiction Drugs and Codependency

Codependency is a controversial concept for a dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.

Have a loved one with an addiction? You could be doing more harm than good!


No one can dispute the connection and deep emotional love you have for your loved one is unlike any other love that you have ever experienced. What you may not realise however is that the same love you share with your loved one can have a negative impact on them if they have an addiction and your love takes the form of codependent behaviour.

The effects of co-dependency can not only be dangerous but also long lasting, as it forces reliance on another person rather than self-reliance. There are many people who experience codependency as a result of their loved one’s addiction.

In this article we are speaking directly to you, the loved one of an addict, so heads up. Don’t take offence as the following conversation we have to have with you won’t be easy, but will give you the information to ensure you and your loved one doesn’t endure the negative effects of codependency.


Firstly what is a co-dependant?

Codependency is a type of learned behaviour which can be passed down from one generation to another. It is a behavioural and emotional condition that affects a person’s ability to have a normal healthy, mutual relationship. It is therefore no surprise that it is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependent behaviour often form relationships that are one-sided, often abusive and mostly emotionally destructive. Codependent behaviour is learned by watching and imitating other loved ones who display this type of behaviour.

Here is a list of some of the characteristics of co-dependent people:

  • Difficulty identifying feelings
  • A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time
  • An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
  • Chronic anger
  • Lying/dishonesty
  • A compelling need to control others
  • Poor communications
  • Lack of trust in self and/or others
  • A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue
  • A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts
  • An unhealthy dependence on relationships.
  • An extreme need for approval and recognition
  • A sense of guilt when asserting themselves
  • Fear of being abandoned or alone
  • Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change
  • Problems with intimacy/boundaries
  • Difficulty making decisions

Right, so what are the negative effects of codependency?

When your loved one is an addict, you may not know how to give them the life that you always dreamed for them. Instead, you try to do what your instincts as a loved one tell you.  Although “natural,” these instincts, if listened to and acted on, can cause you to enable your loved one’s addiction more than it can lead to them finding sobriety and treatment.

Here are a few examples of the negative effects your behaviour can cause your loved one:


When your loved one has an addiction there is a good chance that they will (if they have not already) make some really big life-altering mistakes while under the influence of a substance. As a loved one when you make excuses and try to cover for your loved one and their behaviour you are preventing them from being held accountable for the consequences of their actions, which in turn teaches them that they can use a substance without suffering any personal side effects.


A massive and common mistake you may make (or perhaps already have made), is giving your loved one money or providing any financial assistance. You may think that by giving your loved one money to buy drugs or alcohol that you are stopping them from committing a crime like theft. Often people with an addiction get involved with groups or people which do dangerous and illegal things to make money to pay for their habit. In certain respects you are right, you may stop them from committing a crime but you are also sending your loved one the very loud message that their addiction is okay to you, pushing them farther away from getting needed addiction treatment.

Backing off:

Your loved one is most likely going to go through a rollercoaster of emotional mood swings that can result in negative behaviours such as recklessness, violence and aggression. If you the loved one choose to look away or ignore these behaviours by say, walking away from confrontation or not allowing your loved one to be held accountable through consequences from their actions, you are enabling them to act in that manner. You might instinctively think that you need to stand down and back off from your loved one because you believe that they will run away or desert you or do something to hurt themselves. This is a massive red flag of codependency.

There are several factors leading to codependency:

  • Lack of love and nurturing
  • Rejection and abandonment
  • Family addiction
  • Any and all forms of abuse (sexual, physical and emotional)
  • Mental and/or physical illness.Let’s be really frank here for a minute. Codependency in many ways is similar to an addiction. You feel the need to constantly feed your needs with your loved one by doing things like giving them financial assistance, hiding and covering their mistakes or backing off to avoid losing them. These are all traits of an addict.

If you are battling with codependency tendencies and behaviours which is allowing your loved one (note: enabling them) to continue their downward spiral with addiction then we suggest you find treatment to address the codependency treatment. By getting treatment you can learn how to cope with your impulses and find new ways show your loved one love without enabling them.

The first step in changing unhealthy behaviour is to understand it. It is important for co-dependents and their family members to educate themselves about addiction and how it extends into relationships.  Bottom line is, if you put an end to your codependent behaviours, you are closing the door on your loved one’s addiction, one small step at a time.

For more information on dealing with codependency or addiction or any other form of abuse abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Family Support Group for patients of Houghton House occurs every Saturday at 12.30 

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa


quit smoking

Tips to Quit Smoking Cigarettes

You know why you should Quit Smoking.

quit smoking

You know what happens to your body when you Quit Smoking. But still, as you read this your palms become sweaty and your anxiety levels are on par with your blood pressure levels. Imagine having to give up that packet of smokes lying in front of you. Maybe it’s been something you have done for years. Maybe you have tried to give up several times. It doesn’t matter. Let’s just focus on the right here and right now.

It can be said that possibly not enough recognition is given to the fact that nicotine dependency is a serious addiction! Smoking is often seen as a really bad habit, and smokers should be able to drop that and Quit Smoking in a much simpler way than say cocaine. Add to that the many gums, sprays and patches available to help you wean yourself off cigarettes and the general consensus is that it’s something you can ace alone. Right? WRONG. It’s not just a case of a bit of a struggle for a few weeks and you are good to go. There is, on the whole none of the medical and moral support and understanding given to other substance abusers (e.g. alcoholics, heavy drug users etc.)

So, then, what do we do about it? If you want to Quit Smoking Well read on. We may have a bit of a push, a bit of a shove and a bit of a helping hand for you if quitting is what you want to do. Disclaimer: It’s not going to make it easier – but if you are serious, the following tips and advice may help in a real way.

Firstly ask yourself. Why do you want to give up? Like all addictions you must be the person that wants to quit. Peer pressure, awkward family conversations and someone else telling you to quit equals a recipe for disaster because you need to do it for you.

Let’s talk facts for a second:

Facts about the devastating things smoking can and will do to you is a great motivator towards quitting. Ponder upon these facts for a moment:

– Smoking is the most important risk factor for cancer and heart disease. If you dont Quit Smoking you are about three to five times more likely to contract cancer or heart disease than non-smokers.

–  Tobacco smoke contains more than 4000 chemicals and 50 of these have been identified as carcinogens. Gross.

– Smokers have increased rates of other cancers, including cancer of the mouth, larynx, throat, liver, kidney, bladder, oesophagus, pancreas, cervix, stomach, colon and rectum. Smokers are also at greater risk for leukaemia.

– Smokers are twice as likely to die from cancer as non-smokers.

– Smoking contributes significantly to the development of high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries.

– Smoking causes chronic lung disorders like emphysema, asthma and bronchitis.

–  Smoking causes impotence and erectile dysfunction in men and low libido in men and women. It can also contribute toward difficulties in falling pregnant and birth defects.

And it’s not just medical:

here are some aesthetic issues you will have to deal with as if you are a smoker and you don’t Quit Smoking:

– Smoking causes premature wrinkling,

– Smokers have yellow teeth, and foul-smelling breath, hair and clothes.

– It costs a lot. But that’s obvious. Often our wallets are the loudest reminders that smoking isn’t a good idea.

Oh and smoking is quite selfish.  Smoking is bad for your family and those around you

  • Children of smokers are far more likely to develop asthma and other chronic respiratory infections than those of non-smokers.
  • They are also more prone to colds and flu and lose more time off school.
  • Exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke on a daily basis, children also have higher risks of developing all the cancers, disorders and other medical conditions mentioned earlier in this post.

So here are a few tips to get you started:

Get hold of Houghton House Addiction recovery Centres and chat to them about their Smoking Cessation Programme. Talking to a professional is half the battle. Remember, you don’t need to Quit Smoking and fight this battle on your own.

  • Think of a day to Quit Smoking. Make sure it’s around a month from when you decide to make a date. This gives you four weeks to prepare for nicotine withdrawal.
  • Make a list of all the reasons why you want to stop smoking and read this list every day.
  • Stick post its of these reasons everywhere. On your fridge, dashboard of your car, your computer screen, the mirror. Everywhere.
  • TELL PEOPLE. No really, tell a dozen people around you that you are going to stop and on what day that will be.
  • Find and make a note of the times and places which you associate with cigarettes. Think lunch breaks, first thing in the morning, after work etc. During the first four weeks leading up to your day when you decide to Quit Smoking don’t smoke at those times or at those places. This helps you to break the ‘habit smoking’ while still allowing you to smoke.
  • Get moving!  Start an exercise program and maybe find a new hobby.  The exercise will improve mood and motivation levels and also gets you feeling healthy and more confident.  Try doing it every day for at least 30 minutes. Take up an interesting hobby, preferably one that you can do with your hands but don’t be too fussy. Throw some money at it and remember, once you Quit Smoking you will have some extra cash!

We strongly advise that if you want to Quit Smoking seriously, get hold of us so we can guide you towards the best path for your new life. Smoking is a difficult addiction to quit, but it can be done with a little perseverance and help!

For help or more information, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 476 1223

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa
designer drugs

Designer Drugs:  An ugly truth

What’s in a name: Designer Drugs and their effects

designer drugsDesigner drugs. You may have heard the term in passing conversation, or know someone who is on them. You may even be on them and need help getting off them but don’t know what they are. A designer drug is a synthetic substance that is sold (mostly) illegally as a way to get high. Bath salts, synthetic marijuana, and synthetic hallucinogens are examples of designer drugs. They are not classified as being the same as the drugs they are supposed to mimic and are much more variable, unpredictable, and as a result, dangerous. It is vitally important for anyone who uses these drugs to stop, and for those who cannot stop to get help before the adverse effects cause real and lasting damage.

What do we mean when we say a designer drug is synthetic? Well, designer drugs are man-made substances that people use to get high. Most are illegal, but some fall through the legal loopholes. The ingredients and potency in products like synthetic marijuana, bath salts, and others are impossible to know and result in dangerous, unpredictable effects on those who use them. Any use of a designer drug is risky and potentially life-threatening. The actual term “designer drugs” refers to substances that are made by a process of chemical synthesis – i.e., they are designed to mimic another drug. They are mostly made in a laboratory – but don’t let that fool you, a lab isn’t always a room full of scientists, it can be a back alley room full of dodgy drug dealers and manufacturers with no background in science or lab work.

They are created to be sold for people who want to get high, often mimicking natural substances and drugs. Take for instance synthetic marijuana products like K2 or Spice which are created in labs based on the structure of natural cannabinoids, the compounds found in marijuana.


Designer drugs are manufactured in a laboratory

But to say that they are the same or even similar to their natural counterparts is misleading and often a source of more headaches (and heartache) than you could ever imagine.  They are often very different and can cause a wide range of effects and adverse reactions. Because they are illicit, unregulated substances, and because they often change chemically from one product to another with the same name, designer drugs and how they will affect a user are highly unpredictable.

And here’s the catch. Some designer drugs are legal. Designer drugs are often referred to as legal highs. The substances created to make these products are new and not yet specifically listed as illegal.  Some laboratories make these products to tweak the compounds and produce something that is not technically illegal. This can make designer drugs particularly harmful because people, especially teens and young adults, may falsely believe that something legal must be safe to use.

So, how are designer drugs classified?

Did you know that there are said to be over 300 known designer drugs, each belonging to one of three types of new psychoactive drug (NPS) classifications. An NPS is, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes a “substances of abuse, either in a pure form or a preparation, that are not controlled by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs or the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, but which may pose a public health threat”. The term “new” does not necessarily refer to new inventions — several NPS were first synthesized 40 years ago — but to substances that have recently become available on the market.

Here are the three main categories that NPS drugs (Designer drugs) are classified under:

  1. Synthetic cannabinoids.

These are designer drugs that are supposed to mimic the natural compounds in the cannabis plant, also known as marijuana. There are many different street names for these products, including Spice, K2, Bliss, and Scooby Snax. They can cause a range of adverse effects, including anxiety, violent behaviours, seizures, hallucinations, and paranoia.

  1. Synthetic cathinones

Cathinone is a natural substance found in plant called khat. Designer drugs that are supposed to mimic this substance are stimulants, similar to cocaine, MDMA, and methamphetamine. The most common street name for these drugs is bath salts. Potential adverse effects of bath salts include paranoia, hallucinations, seizures, chest pains, suicidal thoughts, and violent outbursts.

  1. Synthetic phenethylamines.

Phenethylamines made in a laboratory are designed to mimic hallucinogenic drugs. N-bomb and smiles are two of the street names for them and they can be found as liquids, powders, and papers soaked in the liquid solution. These designer drugs may cause seizures, heart attack, and respiratory failure.

designer drugs containing synthetic cannabinoids.
Many synthetic designer drugs are sold semi-legally online with a wide array of names and labels. Credit: B. Christopher/Alamy Stock Photo

The adverse effects of designer drugs may seem glaringly obvious to some, but to others, they are not and need to be highlighted.

Designer and synthetic drugs are dangerous for a few reasons.

One of the most important reasons is that they are unpredictable. It is impossible for the user to know what exactly is in one of these products or how it will affect them. The actual compounds can vary as can the amount. There may even be contaminants, as was recently the case in hundreds of samples of synthetic marijuana, as dangerous as rat poison. Some of the potential effects these drugs have been reported to cause include:

  1. Psychosis, including paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions
  2. Violent and aggressive behaviours
  3. Depression and anxiety
  4. Muscle tensions and spasms
  5. Increased heart rate and chest pains
  6. Addiction
  7. Seizures
  8. Suicidal thoughts and behaviours
  9. Kidney failure and even death.

Final thoughts on designer drugs:

Any use of designer drugs, even just one time, is risky, at best.  Some people become addicted to these substances and they are at an increased risk of adverse effects.  It is possible to get help, though. The most important realisation you may need to make either for yourself or a loved one is that there is no real science behind these drugs, no matter what the reasoning behind the synthesis is. The drug is created to mimic an already devastating drug, and at the very best, you will feel those effects. The best advice we can offer is to seek out a professional to guide you through what is a solvable and dangerous maze.

Nearly all of the designer drugs in the world are addictive and can take a massive profound toll on the body and mind. If you or someone you know is struggling with designer drug addiction, do not wait to seek help.


For more information on dealing with designer drugs or any other substance abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa

Addiction and how families deal with addicts.

If there is one thing the world needs to shout loudly about addiction,
it is this: Addiction doesn’t only affect one person, the addict,
but also their entire family.

Being addicted to alcohol or drugs deteriorates the physical health of the addict. It spoils the spirit and impairs their mental activities. It also eats away and destroys relationships in their life and makes it quite difficult to maintain steady employment, meet financial obligations and participate in social activities. Genetics play a part in addiction, but there things which of course are role players in the disease. A single person in the family suffering from addiction can alter the family dynamics so you can imagine when two or more family members with addiction can do to a family, not just now, but for generations to come.

All the family members of an addict are affected by substance abuse.

This abuse affects the finances, health and wellbeing of the family. Families of the past were often directed by the grandparents but are now inclusive of multiple generations.  Single-parent households are more severely and adversely affected by an addiction than the larger family units more popular decades ago. Children exposed to addiction are more likely to develop an addiction themselves. They tend to begin using substance at an earlier age than other children and the substance abuse lifestyle is more familiar to them and seen as acceptable as it is seen as part of the family dynamic.

Every addict is different and has a different story and reason behind their addiction.

It can be difficult to assign a connection between alcoholism and family roles. For the most part, people who grow up in families of addiction are more likely to develop addictions themselves. You are not the cause of someone else’s addiction or alcoholism, you cannot cure it and you can’t control it but there are ways that you may be contributing to the problem. Before we place the blame for all the problems in your home at the feet of the addict, it might be wise to look at how the other person’s substance abuse may have affected you, and how you have reacted to it. How do we do this? We look at some of the roles we play while we deal with an alcoholic within the family unit.

Here are some of the roles we play while dealing with an alcoholic or addict:

The Hero: The rescuer doesn’t let the incident become a “problem”.  They will like, cover up and protects them from the world. They often deny that there is a problem at all.

The Victim: Many addicts feel guilt, shame and remorse for the pain they are causing their families. Some become angry and disrespectful. They can also blame the family for their suffering and live in  in total denial of their addiction and problems.

The Mascot: They use their humour to handle the uncomfortable nature of the house. They know their humour can bring a sense of comfort and relief to the family and use this role to accomplish that sense of comfort and balance.

The Head Enabler:  This person is usually closest emotionally to the victim and serves as the protector of the family. They appear self-righteous, super responsible, sarcastic, passive, physically sick, or even martyr like.  Beneath the surface they are however often full of anger, hurt, guilt and low self-esteem.

The Lost one:  Often alone and isolated from other family members, the odds of them developing big troubled relationships when they’re older is great. Often they feel awkward in social gatherings and find ways to escape family engagements.

The Scapegoat: They have a habit of misbehaving and showing unnatural and annoying tendencies in front of everybody. They also get into trouble at home and in school. When these youngsters move get older  they’ll most likely have issues with the law.


What you need to realize is that the enabler takes care of all things, makes sure to handle all social, financial and business issues. They work to hide the addiction so the addicted member of the family doesn’t feel bad. They make excuses and clean up messes and ensure the addict does not face any consequences. If you recognize yourself in any of these roles you should consult a professional for help in dealing with the addict. Remember, addiction is a family affair and if you are not stopping the problem, you could be contributing to it.


For more information on dealing with alcohol abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa
someone in recovery

Healthy holiday gift ideas for someone in recovery

Holiday shopping can be super tricky for someone in recovery.

someone in recoveryWe all have that someone who is difficult to shop for. Now imagine someone who is going through the journey of addiction recovery – it can be a HUGE hiccup when festive season shopping. If you happen to have a loved one who is on the road to recovery and you are unsure about the ideal Christmas gift, stress no more, we have a bunch of ideas for you to take inspiration from.

Remember that you want to choose a gift they will enjoy while also encouraging their continued sobriety and avoiding any triggers and emotions which could test their ability to stay sober. So what could you choose as a perfect gift that matches their interests and which is sensitive and supportive of their decision to make healthier choices and to remain sober?

Here are a few of our top picks of gift ideas for loved ones going through recovery:

  1. Music lessons.

Countless studies have proven that music is a great complement to therapy for men, women, and adolescents who are in recovery for addiction. Be it drumming or piano lessons or even the good old six string, there are many ways that someone in recovery could work music into his or her recovery.  Buy a loved one a musical instrument or lessons and if you don’t want to fork out cash for lessons – the internet is a great place for free instructional lessons on almost every single instrument known to man!

  1. A personalised gift.

Giving someone an acknowledgment of their sobriety and the efforts they have gone through to stay the course is never a bad idea. Think of keychains with powerful verses or messages engraved on them or a piece of jewelry with key dates of their journey etched on the inside. A gentle reminder of the power of their decisions is a beautiful thing. Gifts such as mug, notebook with the Serenity prayer are also great for someone in recovery looking for acceptance.

  1. Faith based Gifts

Studies have shown that faith in a higher power can actually stress, fatigue, anxiety, and depression while adding and improving overall quality of life. In addition, research has shown that religious faith or spirituality helps those in addiction recovery stay on the sober track. Why not celebrate your loved one’s faith or someone in recovery with a religious or spiritual gift?

  1. Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and meditation are great complementary therapies for those going through addiction treatment. It is well documented that  yoga, meditation, prayer, and other mindful, spiritual practices have incredible healing factors. Yoga and meditation can help someone in recovery learn to cope with triggers, cravings, and difficult feelings so they can stay clean, sober, and healthy and live a beautiful and happy life. Think of gifting your loved one a class package at a local studio or a DVD that will guide them through these incredible practices.

The holiday season can bring up seriously hard and difficult emotions in all of us. Healthy holiday can help your loved one celebrate the hurdles they’ve overcome and the amazing leaps in recovery they have achieved in order to get clean and sober. Just as importantly,  your well thought out gifts are a physical constant reminder that they have your support every step of the way as someone in recovery finds themselves walking down the path of rehabilitation.


For more information on dealing with alcohol abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa


synthetic marijuana

Understanding Synthetic Marijuana (Spice, K2, Mojo)

Everything you need to know about Synthetic Marijuana

The chemicals in synthetic marijsynthetic marijuana k2uana are designed to have similar qualities to that of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Most commonly spice is ingested via smoking but it can also be added to drinks or added to food as an edible drug.

Marijuana is a drug which comes from a plant right? Yes. Well sort of.

There is a version of marijuana called synthetic marijuana and it is a far cry from the soil based drug you have heard of. Nicknamed Spice or K2, Synthetic marijuana is a chemically modified herbal substance that produces mind-altering effects similar to or more potent than marijuana. (link to Marijuana info on HH)

Now, although you may not have heard of it in SA, Spice is fairly common in the USA and the UK where it is sold in petrol stations, various shops and importantly, online. This is where you need to listen up. A person in SA can order Spice and have it delivered, in as simple a process as ordering a pair of shoes. As well as buying from other local channels within South Africa. In the USA and UK Spice is promoted as a “safe” and legal alternative to marijuana despite significant evidence to the contrary.

The drug is marketed as incense or potpourri. It often carries the warning “not for human consumption.” Worryingly, this marketing loophole allows the substance to be sold legally.
One of the issues that you should also consider is that the packaging, name and ingredients of synthetic marijuana are inconsistent and can change based on the seller. As a result of this the drug is a moving target for both health officials and police enforcement hoping to cut down on its negative effects.

What are the street names of Synthetic Marijuana?

Aside from the commonly used names Spice and K2 there are a range of other names synthetic marijuana goes by. These include: Mojo, Black Mamba, Genie, Cloud 9, Yucatan Fire, Moon Rocks, Skunk, Zohai, Bliss, Blaze and Fake Weed

One of the main reasons you are reading this here is that, along with the current discussions around marijuana, Spice is a drug that has found its ways into our country and you should know as much as you can about it as it creeps into our streets. Remember synthetic marijuana is not actually intended to be smoked or ingested and using it in those ways is considered abuse.

It is commonly understood that many teenagers and young adults are drawn to synthetic marijuana because they believe that it is safer than marijuana, or astonishingly that they won’t get in trouble for using it because it can be purchased legally. There is another danger. Synthetic marijuana doesn’t show up on most drug tests, making the drug an easy and obvious choice for those worried about getting caught.

What about the effects of synthetic marijuana?

Good question. The high associated with spice are similar to those of the drug marijuana.synthetic marijuana

The so-called positive side effects include:
• An altered perception of reality
• Feelings of relaxation
• Moods are good and happy.

The actual makeup ( ingredients) in synthetic marijuana differ in every batch. What you should realise is that the chemicals used to produce the drug’s effects were originally formulated to be used in anything from fertilizers to cancer treatment.

These chemicals have not been approved for human consumption, and there is no way to know what adverse reactions a user may have.  A user will literally be gambling with their life every single time they buy and use spice!

What about the negative side effects?

Minor side effects of synthetic marijuana are similar to those of real marijuana. There are however a few more effects which are worrying. They include :
• Rapid heart rate
• Paranoia
• Confusion
• Hallucinations
• Nausea/vomiting
• High blood pressure
• Anxiety
• Seizures
• Profuse sweating
• Heart attacks
• Kidney damage

Right now, synthetic marijuana ( spice) use is not at epidemic proportion. It is, however, a growing problem and should be on everyone’s radar… And people need to be thinking about it, and how we’re going to deal with it.

For more information on dealing with drug abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa


What Happens At Rage Stays At Rage


That’s in a perfect world. What happens at Rage goes on Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, Twitter the types of social platforms goes on and on. Pictures of you doing things that may embarrass you for years to come will be out there on the internet forever. Not to mention the live options that we are all using these days. When you’re intoxicated and feeling fab, live is the way to go, right? Wrong, you’ll regret it tomorrow…

You’ve waited 12 years of your school career to have this 10 day jam packed party paradise at Rage, don’t mess it up by not being able to remember any of it, or by being arrested using or selling drugs which will mark your future for years to come. Rather let this be a fabulous memory of your last days of Matric before the final results come out.

Be aware of guys with faces that are too hairy and muscles to Dac 4 Vac – this is probably their 4th time at Rage and they’re preying on the young innocent new Ragers.What Happens At Rage Stays At Rage

It’s too late to tell you about accommodation and passports, because that is usually done in January, so if you’re Raging in 2019 sort out your accommodation and passports now. The passports are a way of staying safe as your movements are tracked when you go in and out of the various gigs or jams or transport systems.

So Take Care

Have your wits about you all the time.

Don’t carry cash, rather buy the tokens offered by the organizers.

Keep your phone and room card safe.

Be sure to party with a buddy system.

Have your best friend there to hold your hair or man bun back while you throw up, rather than taking photos of you or doing a live video of you!

Even at Rage here is the possibility of your drinks being spiked… even if you knowingly spiked them yourself.

Always have an emergency contact number in your memory or safely stashed in your pocket, not on your phone, when you’re in that state you’re bound to have already misplaced or have had your phone stolen. Let this contact person be aware you will call at any time of day or night if there is a crisis, or you’re not coping with the reaction to alcohol or especially drugs are causing.

Don’t be afraid of crowds or smelly people – at Rage there will be loads of them crammed into a tent with mud underfoot. You will lose your shoes, don’t wear your Jimmy Choo’s, or your New White Nike’s. Trainers and flops are the way to go.

redfrogsBe on a lookout for the red frogs, they are there to help if you’ve had too much to drink or the drugs you’ve taken are having a bad effect on you, they will be outside all the  Rage events & venues to help.

Work on a daily budget and stick to it. Make sure food is a priority and not only booze and drugs are included.

3 things not to forget

Sunblock.  It’s gonna be hot in the sun in that pool – you don’t want to spend the next 3 days in agony. 

Toothpaste. After a night on the tiles  … a fresh mouth is the best!

Condoms. Yeah. 

Oh and the 4th thing not to forget.

Do your parents a favour by touching base on a daily basis, this is probably their hard earned cash you’re splashing around and they deserve to know that you’re safe and having a good time. 

Most of all Rage Safe and come home with magic memories… and epic photo moments.

Rage Out!

Suckers for Pain – Lean

Why Lean is Uncool – Downright Dangerous – and will Kill You

lean Cough syrup contains codeine Last September rapper Lil Wayne once again had to cancel a show when he was hospitalized for multiple violent seizures. While Weezy has struggled with epilepsy throughout his life, it’s no secret that his addiction to Lean (also known as “Sizzurp” or “Purple Drank”) is largely to blame for his repeated seizures. It’s not the first time either: the star was also hospitalized in 2012 and 2016.

In a 2011 interview, Lil Wayne admitted to abusing Lean, a mixture of cough syrup, sweets and cooldrink, which was popular on the New Orleans scene, partly to emulate his hero Pimp C.

Pimp C died of an overdose in 2008.

In spite of the documented dangers of Lean, it’s still considered cool in some circles, especially on the South African hip hop scene. Artists like AKA sing about “Coming to you live from the third world. Getting high on the purple.” Youngsters who are easily influenced by their heroes make the mistake of trying it for themselves, often with disastrous results.

So, what is Lean? And why are so many people – especially school kids – using it?

What’s in it?

Cough syrup contains codeine (an opiate that is used as a painkiller) and promethazine (a neuroleptic with sedative effects). Used according to a doctor’s prescription, it can be an effective medicine. Unfortunately, when it’s mixed with cooldrink and drunk as Lean, it’s a dangerous cocktail with potentially lethal effects. Typically, half a bottle of cough syrup is mixed with 2 litres of fizzy cooldrink (Sprite being the most popular). Local brands that contain codeine include Broncleer, Myprodol and Mybulin, Benylin C, Syndol, AdcoDol, Tensodol, Sinutab C and Sinumax Co. As abusers become used to the mix, typically they will opt for stronger concentrations. In some cases, they may be ingesting doses exceeding the prescribed dosage by up to 25 times, putting their health at major risk.

What does Lean do?

Drinking Lean produces a somewhat euphoric state – you feel a bit dizzy and extremely laid back. This is the combination of the painkiller and sedative effect of the codeine and promethazine. In Jamaica, where Lean/Sizzurp abuse has become a major problem among young people, it’s also known as “Liquid Heroin” because of the way it dulls your mind and impairs your motor function. After drinking it, you’ll be drowsy and lethargic. You will struggle with coordination. In fact, a user has pointed out that the name Lean can be tied the way it “dampens” your walk.

The side effects of Lean are far less “chilled.” Excessive doses of codeine can damage the liver and may cause heart and respiratory problems.


Risk of Seizures

Promethazine affects the central nervous system. Consuming way more than the recommended dosage can put a person into a hyper-excitable stage which increases the odds of potentially suffering a seizure. Promethazine alone is risky enough, but if you combine it with other narcotics, including alcohol, it’s a recipe for trouble.

How Addictive Is Lean?

The trouble with Lean is that abusers start off using it for its anti-depressant or de-stressing effects. But when the effects wear off it can lead to depression and anxiety – which causes a craving for more Lean. Codeine is one of the most commonly used opiates and can lead to serious opioid addiction. How serious is opioid addiction? Deadly serious. In the US, between 1999 and 2015, 183,000 people died from overdoses related to prescription opioids – 59,000 last year alone.

The School Epidemic

The Lean craze has spread quickly in South Africa, with reports of pupils as young as 10 addicted to the mix. One of the reasons Lean is so popular is it’s relatively cheap and very easy to get hold of. Prescription cough syrup is readily available and winds up in medicine cabinets in homes everywhere. Over-the-counter cough mixture is even easier to get hold of. It contains lower doses of codeine but still creates a similar high – which teenagers in the US call “robo-tripping” after the popular Robotussin brand. As regular users become used to the effect, the chances of them seeking a more powerful high (prescription cough syrup or other opioids) become more and more likely.

Symptoms of Lean abuse

Parents and family members are urged to keep a lookout for the following warning signs:

  • Drowsiness and lack of coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Regular, continual use of cough medicines even when the user is not sick

Other indications of abuse are behavioural changes brought on by craving codeine. Teachers have noticed that pupils may display hyperactivity, irritability, lack of concentration and aggression.

Don’t be a “Sucker For Pain”

As Lil Wayne battles with his addiction, keep in mind the rapper’s own words: “I don’t do this to be cool. I did it because I was sick.” If you, your family members or your friends are drinking Lean, it’s important to know exactly what you’re in for –  and to get help right away.


More info on  Houghton House  Halfway Houses Halfway Houses link

If you or a loved one wants the best chance of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, Houghton House provides two outstanding Halfway Houses – both within close proximity to their Inpatient and Outpatient facilities.

We recommend this as a continued form of reintegration back into society.

 Contact us for more info.

Office: 011 787 9142   Emergency:(after hours) 079 770 7532

Why halfway houses help keep addicts clean

Life is Tough

Especially when you’ve had your crutch taken away.
That’s why halfway houses exist: to offer the support and structure needed to rebuild your life post-addiction.

All names have been changed to protect their anonymity.

Houghton House halfway Houses.

Shaun couldn’t shake his addiction to cocaine. “I tried. Multiple times. Was in and out of rehab for as long as I can remember. Kept relapsing every time. Sometimes, after a few weeks. Sometimes, a few days. The last time, pretty much the moment I got out the gate.”

Relapsing after treatment for drugs and alcohol is relatively common. There are many Shaun’s out there.

Treatment in a rehab center may help hinder the cycle of drug and alcohol abuse. But this is largely from being confined in an in-patient programme or being regularly tested in an outpatient programme. Going back into the real world can be tough: suddenly an addict has the freedom to do what they want… just being aware of that can cause cravings for drugs or alcohol.

“It got me every time. Knowing I could call the merchant [colloquial for drug dealer] whenever. I was never accountable to anyone,” says Shaun. “Well, yeah, I was, I guess, to family, to my boss, but never immediately, never ‘right now’. Living at home, being able to cut lines [preparing powdered drugs for inhalation], with no one looking over my shoulder… [it was] too easy to get away with stuff.”

It’s not that rehabs are ineffective. Rehabs like a Houghton House use techniques considered by medical science as pivotal to addiction treatment.

Such as psychotherapy, in the form of individual and group settings – which help uncover the issues that led to addiction. Lectures give the addict an understanding of the nature of their addiction, to allow them cognisance into their self-destructive behaviors.

Rehabs also use the principle of ‘one addict helping another’, as found in various Recovery Fellowships, like Alcoholics Anonymous. This principle is about forming a community of people who aim to achieve the same goal: staying clean.

Humans are social animals: who we spend time with impacts our thoughts and, consequently, our actions. This can be destructive, as in ‘a mob mentality’, or positive, as in a charity organisation where members bring out each other’s best qualities.

A philosophy of kinship is best expressed by ‘sticking with the winners’. Simply put, if you spend time with bad influences, you’re likely to relapse on drugs or alcohol. Conversely, through developing strong bonds with recovering addicts dedicated to keeping clean, your chances of relapsing drops drastically.

“Things changed for me when I went into a halfway house,” Shaun says. “Suddenly I was in a place where I was accountable. To everyone there.”

A halfway house is a community who look out for each other and encourage each other to keep clean.

Harry, a current resident at Houghton House’s Aspen, says, “Living with other addicts [and alcoholics] who understand your plight and won’t take your bull has helped me a lot. While here, I had a [romantic] relationship end in a bad way. If it wasn’t for the guys and their support, I might have started drinking again.”

A halfway house helps in another way too: it provides firm structure to the daily lives of its residents.

Such as set times the residents have to be out the house. This ensures productivity. Especially necessary for an unemployed addict or alcoholic. It’s easy for anyone, but particularly someone with an addiction disorder, to slide into despair without structures in place. Before they know it, they’re sleeping late, not taking care of themselves, and deep in depression. But structures keep them moving one foot in front of the other. And with the continued support of the house, it isn’t long before they’ve gained traction in their lives.

Then there’s regular testing. “I have to admit, there were some dicey moments when I first got back to the big bad world,” says James. “Like, times I just wanted to call the dealer and pick up a bag of cat [a methamphetamine-like drug]. But knowing I’d come back to the okes wasted, that they’d spot me a mile away… hahaha, yeah would’ve been awkward.” Because it’s harder to deceive other addicts, and halfway houses know the most efficient way to administer tests – to prevent cheating – they’re able to provide a stronger incentive for addicts to keep clean.

This could be the one thing that keeps an addict from using drugs at their most desperate time.

So, it’s no surprise that there’s a massive disparity of clean time counts between halfway house residents and non-resident addicts. The rate of halfway house addicts still clean after six months is 68%, up from a baseline of 11%, according to a study called What Did We Learn from Our Study on Sober Living Houses and Where Do We Go from Here? []

Another reason is this support system has an authority figure who cares. A house manager, who ensures residents do the minimal amount required to stand a chance of recovering.

For instance: going to NA or AA meetings; doing step work; finding a sponsor and maintaining contact with them, etc.

Many house managers are recovering addicts themselves, with multiple years of clean time behind them. As such, they’re able to provide emotional support guided by personal experience.

“I see myself as more than just a house manager. I’m their on-site sponsor: whenever they need any help, my door is always open,” says Tamara.

This culture of kindness is one of the many reasons rehabs recommend halfway houses.

Because day-to-day, halfway house residents receive a scaffolding of support, one that finally allows them to rebuild their post-addiction lives.

More info on  Houghton House  Halfway Houses Halfway Houses link

If you or a loved one wants the best chance of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, Houghton House provides two outstanding Halfway Houses – both within close proximity to their Inpatient and Outpatient facilities.

We recommend this as a continued form of reintegration back into society.

 Contact us for more info.

Office: 011 787 9142   Emergency:(after hours) 079 770 7532

Halfway Houses contact

Porn Addiction

Porn Addiction – The XXX Factor

Is porn addiction such a big deal?

The arrival of the Internet has not only changed the way humans communicate, study, do business and shop; it’s also changed our sexual behaviour dramatically. In fact, the consumption of porn online has mushroomed beyond control with more Porn Addiction sufferers that ever before.

A study in 2016 showed that a whopping 35% of ALL internet downloads consisted of “adult” material.

On the world’s largest porn site, people watched 4, 599 million hours of porn. That adds up to a staggering 525 000 years’ worth of hardcore porn viewing on a single web site in one year alone!

But, isn’t everybody else doing it?

Porn AddictionPornography is nothing new. For literally thousands of years, people have created erotic images – paintings and statues – for titillation and entertainment.

As humans, we are sexual beings, with a complex range of emotions and thought processes that dictate not only how we go about achieving procreation (a basic condition for the survival of any species), but also how we can enjoy sex for its own sake.

In the late 1880’s the first known soft-core erotic film was produced in France. Fast-forward to roughly 100 years later: Modern porn has been consumed world-wide in books, magazines, film and video.

Then the internet arrives – and the ease of access to porn (previously self-limiting) sends consumption off the charts.

In 1997 there were around 1 000 porn sites. By 2015, that figure skyrocketed to over 2,5 million. It’s estimated that around 65% of people aged 13-25 seek out porn at least once a week. With mobile devices as well as computers, it’s literally at your fingertips within seconds.

So what’s the harm in watching porn?

Attitudes towards porn have changed over the years. Many less conservative people see it as essentially harmless, a “victimless” crime (although the back-story of “actors” being badly exploited is no secret). The trouble is, excessive porn viewing has been shown to have many negative spin-offs that mirror the side-effects of severe addictions like alcohol or drugs.

What are the side-effects?

The most critical damage is seen in the breakdown of interpersonal relationships – with spouses, family members and at work.

Excessive porn viewing has been linked to stress, irritability and depression.

Desensitisation to pornographic images can result in real-life sexual problems: dissatisfaction with partners; a compulsion to experiment with different sexual practices and/or partners; difficulty with maintaining intimacy and increasingly, erectile dysfunction in men. Failure to reach orgasm is not uncommon.

Ironically, the initial sexual thrill of watching porn becomes subverted to a compulsive need that can destroy your sex life!

That’s scary stuff; how can addiction happen?

Our brains can be our own worst enemies. In the case of addiction – any kind of addiction – the brain follows a similar pattern of reprogramming itself to seek and prolong a “high.”

We know that drugs and alcohol produce a pleasurable rush of the neurotransmitter dopamine, along with other biochemicals, such as oxytocin, serotonin, adrenaline and endorphins.

However, substance abuse isn’t the only way to achieve this rush. In fact, sexual stimulation to the point of orgasm results in a massive release of dopamine etc. The brain craves the pleasurable sensation and so it demands more stimulation. The more it gets, the more it wants. But, as with substance abuse, the addict builds up a tolerance over time, which requires increased doses to achieve the same thrill.

Eventually, the addict is no longer watching porn for pleasure; he or she is simply trying to avoid the depression and stress that accompanies the craving. That’s where their online addiction negatively spills over into real life.

Does it qualify as a real addiction?

In the US the jury is still out when it comes to porn addiction. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence, some authorities don’t recognize it as a “proper” addiction. In more tech-savvy countries like South Korea, China and Japan though, where “tech addiction” is already recognized, pornography addiction is listed as a subcategory. Interestingly, Online Gaming addiction is also listed, as the neurological effect is virtually identical.

Among the defining factors of any type of addiction are, the development of tolerance to the addictive substance, resulting in an irresistible compulsion to increase the frequency and amount of dosage.

 On that count alone, porn addiction is as real as any other type of addiction out there. 

How do I know if I’m addicted to porn?

 In this day and age, it’s nearly impossible to avoid porn completely. It’s not just out there, it’s everywhere. Popular culture, including music, film and advertising, has always thrived on sex. And the line between what’s acceptable titillation and porn has become increasingly blurred.

That said, here are some signs that you may have a porn addiction:

  • Do you feel powerless to stop viewing porn?
  • Do you spend more time or money on porn than you intended?
  • Have you tried unsuccessfully to cut down/stop viewing porn?
  • Do you spend a lot of time viewing porn, thinking about porn, or engaging in activities that will give you access to porn?
  • Do you neglect family, social, or work obligations to view porn?
  • Have you experienced negative consequences (e.g. getting into trouble at work, fighting with your partner, sexual dissatisfaction) as a result of watching porn?
  • Have you continued to use porn in spite of these?
  • Do you consider giving up other activities up opportunities to have more time to use or view porn?
  • Do you go to great lengths to conceal your porn use?
  • Do you feel anxious, stressed, or irritable if you can’t access porn?
  • Do you find you seek more and/or harder porn to get aroused?
  • Have you found yourself wanting to act out porn, e.g. by seeking out other relationships either online or in real life?

If you answered yes to two or more of these questions you may be addicted or becoming addicted to porn.  

Kenneth Wilson on Workplace AddictionKenneth Wilson ( shown Left ) is currently the Director of Houghton House Outpatient Services.

As a registered Counselling Psychologist he deals with Love addiction and sex addiction. Which are seen as are intimacy disorders and needs for control, power, love or affection. Like all addictions, intimacy disorders like sex addiction and love addiction are progressive in nature. More Details at 

The good news is, your addiction can be reversed.

Just as your brain can be programmed into addiction, you can reprogramme it to overcome the addiction.

The first step in getting help is admitting that you have a problem. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s one of the most difficult things – porn may be everywhere but it still carries a social stigma. You may feel embarrassed or ashamed. Rest assured though, you are not alone.

Find a therapist who is familiar with porn and sex addiction. These professional counselors are there to help you, not to judge you. Individual and group therapy is recommended, depending on the individual (you might feel uncomfortable discussing your addiction with others at first – that’s perfectly normal). They will also be able to offer the most effective

effective methods of reversing porn addiction, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

  What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

CBT is different from other types of therapy that typically examine how your past experiences are affecting your present.

CBT focuses on the immediate problematic behaviour. You’ll look at what is triggering emotional discomfort and the desire to escape through porn and sexual fantasy. Together, you’ll figure out how to short-circuit the patterns that result in you acting out your Porn Addiction.

There are so many possible triggers: boredom, stress, loneliness, unexpected arousal (seeing an attractive person in the street or on a TV show), travel, relocation, relationship problems, substance abuse (which lowers inhibitions), financial worries… the list goes on.

The main thing with Porn Addiction is to be aware of your personal triggers and train your brain (the old dopamine seeker) to derive pleasure from alternative sources. This could be simply talking to a friend, working out, building or fixing things around the home, meditating; basically anything that keeps your brain focused on something (besides porn) that will make you feel good. As these good behaviours are reinforced over time, your neurological patterns reset themselves and they become your norm.

How do I know if my partner has Porn Addiction

It’s in every addict’s nature to conceal their addiction – often until their condition is critical. You might be totally unaware that your partner, friend or family member is a porn addict.

So, here are a few warning signs of Porn Addiction to watch out for:

  • Personality and behaviour changes including, aggression and irritability, loss of interest in hobbies or pastimes, decreased enthusiasm for things they used to enjoy.
  • Secretiveness and anti-social behaviour including, spending more time alone, changes in money spending, covering up devices, erasing browsing histories, blocking access to phones, laptops etc.
  • Acting hostile or defensive when asked to stop. If you catch your partner watching porn, it might not be anything to worry about. However, if they get upset when asked to stop or denied access to their device, that could indicate a problem.
  • Inability to stop, even after getting into trouble. If your partner has been disciplined (or worse, fired) for porn in the workplace but still keeps using it, seek help.
  • Increased usage. If someone is spending more and more time viewing porn, and especially if they seem to be seeking out harder or kinkier porn, this may indicate that they are building up a dangerous tolerance to porn.

Act now

If you think you may have porn addiction, or are becoming addicted to porn, or you are concerned about someone close to you, it is important to act fast. Porn addiction can have disastrous effects on a person’s emotional and physical health, but it can be overcome.

Professional therapy and support is available on either an outpatient or on a full-time basis. For more information, contact Houghton House addiction rehab in jhb


Article: written by Alistar Mathie