What is CAT?
It’s known as South Africa’s most recent new drug threat, the cheaper alternative to Cocaine and Ecstasy, a drug synonymous with the rave and party scene and one of the most dangerous and addictive psychoactive substances in the world. But what is CAT?
Methcathinone derives from cathinone, a naturally occurring stimulant drug, found within the khat plant, Cathula edulis. Cheap and easy to manufacture, tolerance develops quickly, and the user may develop also psychological dependence with more frequent use. Today it can be made in home kitchens using relatively common ingredients.
Methods of cat use
Methcathinone can be consumed by snorting or inhaling. It is water-soluble, and can be taken orally when mixed with a liquid, and can also be injected into the veins.
How does CAT addiction begin?
It could have begun at a party, just trying it out or a friend offering it to you. Cat drug addiction begins insidiously but like the path of addiction, it is a progressive, chronic illness which can end fatally. The thrill and excitement of that first contact with Cat is not worth the habit it can transpire into; a habit which steals relationships, finances and eventually lives.
CAT is cocaine’s cheaper ‘equivalent’ so users are often ex-cocaine addicts. Cat also comes in incredibly large amounts. A rock the size of a R5 coin can be at a portion of the cost of cocaine. Incrementally higher amounts at cheaper prices means increased usage for longer periods of time.
Binges are common.
As CAT addiction progresses, weekend usage typically turns into weekday usage, affecting everyday responsibilities such as work and relationships with loved ones.
How it affects you
The effects of CAT intoxication are similar to those of produced by amphetamines, crack, and cocaine.
These effects last 4-6 hours and can include
- Feelings of euphoria
- Increased alertness
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Dilated pupils
Negative effects of cat can include
- Irregular heart rate
- Muscle twitching
Long-term effects of using Cat
- Anxiety followed by depression
- Tremors and convulsions
- Anorexia, malnutrition, and weight loss
- Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance
- Stomach pains
- Nose bleeds and eventual
- Destruction of nasal tissue
- Elevated blood pressure
- Elevated heart rate
- Body aches
- Permanent brain damage
Withdrawal symptoms from Cat
Withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of cocaine, lasting from two to three weeks or longer depending on the extent of use. Symptoms include:
The rollercoaster of CAT addiction
In active CAT addiction, the addict begins to obliterate all aspects of their life that stand in the way of their drug. Relationships deteriorate and the user only turns to other CAT addicts for friendships and relationships.The mental game that CAT addiction plays is that using never seems that bad to the addict, particularly if they are functional. When users put down the drug, they look in the mirror and internally and externally see a completely different person to the one they were before the addiction.
What to expect in recovery
Recovery means reassessing all aspects of your life and starting over which can be overwhelming. However, after enough time has elapsed, you will begin to notice a number of positive changes in your life:
- Your moods will lighten and become more regular
- Your ability to cope with high-pressure situations will enhance
- Interactions with people will become second-nature
There is no doubt that recovery is a challenging journey but the benefits of living a clean and sober life far outweigh the destruction of being in active addiction.
If you or someone you care about has a problem with CAT, we are experienced in treating recovery from this addiction. Contact us by calling the number at the top of the page.