The abuse of methamphetamine (or tik) continues to be a very destructive presence in the Western Cape. Thousands of South African families experience the negative impact of this drug on a loved one, watching as physical and emotional changes occur.
Physical symptoms include skin lesions, mouth ulcers, and tooth loss. Emotional symptoms include constantly seeking the next fix, changes in mood, and sometimes paranoia or hallucinations (like hearing voices, seeing strange objects or even feeling objects/insects crawling on ones skin). While initially use of tik may lead to euphoria, it later causes depressed and irritable mood.
Just up the road at Groote Schuur Hospital in Observatory, Dr Nyameka Matross, has set up an evaluation clinic to work with methamphetamine abusers. The evaluation clinic is partly a clinical service, and partly research.
The clinical service is to provide guidance to patients referred from the community; a comprehensive diagnostic assessment is undertaken for each patient. The research aspect involves documenting what the complications of tik are in our community.
Some patients are also offered neuropsychological assessments and brain imaging, as part of an attempt to understand the effects of tik on the brain.
If you have any questions or would like to participate in their research, you can reach Dr Matross at 021-404-5478, 083-5888-995 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.