About this Research Topic
In the last few years, a wide range of psychotropic substances entered the legal and illegal market of abused substances creating new challenges for health professionals dealing with drug users. Among the rising forms of dependence, we can include those on chemsex drugs, cognitive enhancers, and new psychoactive substances.
Chemsex drugs are a group of psychoactive (e.g. cocaine, methamphetamine, synthetic cathinones, and synthetic cannabinoids and gamma hydroxybutyric acid, GHB) and non-psychoactive drugs (e.g. erectile dysfunction agents and alkyl nitrites) intentionally or non-intentionally used in the context of music parties and sexual intercourse. The reported simultaneous use of more than one substance at a time has been reported to entail medical and psychiatric complications, such as psychosis, aggressive behaviour, and suicidal ideation.
Similarly, cognitive enhancers are used in medical practice to treat specific cognition deficits in mental diseases, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Alzheimer's disease or aging. In contrast, their non-medical use has been spreading worldwide due to their alleged capability to increase mental alertness and concentration, as well as to boost memory, restlessness and energy levels. Although psychostimulating effects of these substances are generally required to treat cognitive impairment, psychiatric effects of their misuse are poorly described.
Generally speaking, unlike what happened in the past century, every year a non-negligible number of new psychoactive substances appear in the illegal market. Their permanence both on the market and on web-based channels only depends on “consumers’ satisfaction”: a balance between number and length of positive subjective effects vs eventual acute side effects. Whereas both outcomes can be reported by the same users, e.g. in web forums, short- and long-term psychiatric effects cannot be specifically identified and described due to the speed at which such substances enter and leave traffic channels.
This Research Topic seeks to provide updated studies, reviews, mini reviews and case reports on psychiatric and psychotropic effects of chemsex drugs, cognitive enhancers and more generally on new psychoactive substances. This collection aims to shed light on this incoming hazard to scientists and health professionals operating in the field of psychiatric damages caused by drug abuse.
Keywords: chemsex, cognitive enhancers, new psychoactive substances, abuse liability, psychiatric effects
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