Cocaine works by preventing the blockage of dopamine in the brain, the chemical that stimulates the nucleus accumbens, which is the center of the brain that is responsible for pleasurable feelings. Feelings of euphoria are commonly experienced once the cocaine is absorbed into the bloodstream, which can last from a few minutes to a few hours. It can be snorted, smoked or injected intravenously as a solution. While the feeling of euphoria will be tremendous during the first use, subsequent use will generate less euphoric effects as the brain increases the dopamine transporter levels to clean up the dopamine from the body. Those who are addicted to cocaine will then usually attempt to ingest more amounts of cocaine in an attempt to capture that initial high they’ve experienced.
Addiction to Cocaine Versus Crack Cocaine
Cocaine hydrochloride used to be a rich man’s recreational drug, but the introduction of crack cocaine in the mid-1980′s opened up a huge market among the lower economic classes. Crack cocaine are rock-like pieces that are smoked, providing a cheap, instant and effective high. Social factors contribute heavily to the path to cocaine addiction, as the rewarding effects of cocaine provide a welcome release from work and home related stress among men. Altogether, cocaine and crack cocaine are the major drugs of abuse among many across the economic spectrum.
Cocaine abuse happens when cocaine use begins to interfere with the user’s job performance, lifestyle and health. Addiction then occurs when the user is unable or unwilling to stop or reduce his cocaine intake. More time is spent under the influence of cocaine or the “hangover” in the hours following a cocaine session, which is accompanied with stomach aches and fatigue. Cocaine addicts no longer want to hang around their friends or loved ones or engage in their favorite pastimes or social activities. Even when the drug addict continually experiences depression during cocaine use, it will be already difficult to quit by then. More and more money is spent buying cocaine, and when the savings are used up and various properties are sold or pawned, the cocaine addict may resort to stealing, prostitution and drug dealing in order to continue his drug abuse.
Addiction To Cocaine Causes Health Problems
Prolonged addiction to cocaine is the source of many health problems, as well. Snorting cocaine will damage the nasal passages, causing nose bleeding, scarring, runny nose and taste and smell impairment. Reduced mucous production will also limit cocaine absorption in the bloodstream, requiring larger doses over time and further increasing the nasal damage.
Prolonged cocaine dependence will also damage the heart, lungs, brain and bowels.Those who are addicted to cocaine can develop “crack lungs”, which can lead to asthma-like wheezing, painful breathing, coughing and mucus build-up. Chronic cocaine use can also reduce blood vessel diameter, increasing blood pressure as well as the chances for a heart attack or stroke. Sores and scars will develop along the mouth and throat, while involuntary muscle contractions, such as head jerking, eye blinking and chewing, will turn frequent.
It is estimated that 1.2 grams of cocaine, taken orally, can be fatal for humans, as is 800 milligrams when taken intravenously, all of which can lead to a life-threatening seizure or stroke. A non-lethal overdose will also leave users with the feeling of being watched and monitored. Cocaine addicts or their loved ones should watch out for the effects of overdosing, which include fever, agitation and excessive heart beats, as ignoring these symptoms can lead to death. It is recommended that users who overdose immediately proceed to a hospital emergency room or call for an ambulance.
Furthermore, those who act as cocaine couriers or mules in order to finance their drug lifestyle may be forced to carry packets of cocaine in their stomachs using condoms suspended via a thin cord. If the membrane should break, the high amount of cocaine can leak into the stomach and cause an overdose and even death to the courier. Cocaine traffickers may also receive severe penalties when caught by the law, such as extended prison sentences or even capital punishment in certain countries.
Cocaine usage while in a state of pregnancy can create harmful effects to the fetus, such as an underdeveloped brain, heart or digestive system. Pregnant cocaine abusers are also more likely to miscarry or prematurely give birth, and surviving infants may display withdrawal symptoms after birth such as seizures, vomiting and overreaction to noises and sudden movements. Children who survive their gestation with a cocaine-using mother may suffer from chronic health and mental problems throughout their lives.
Women who use cocaine during pregnancy are: A. twice as likely to have a premature baby; B. More likely to have a low birth-weight baby; C. More likely to have babies born with smaller heads and smaller brains proportionate to body size. Source
Employers Combat Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine is also one of the drugs routinely tested for when applying for many forms of employment. There are several forms of the test, with differing levels of sensitivity when detecting traces of cocaine or its components in the system. For example, tests which detect the presence of benzoylecgonie, a by-product of cocaine use, will be able to trace usage up to a month in the past. Urine tests, on the other hand, will detect cocaine components for up to twelve weeks, and hair drug tests will detect usage for months longer.
Those who finally wish to quit their cocaine dependence will have to undergo detoxification, a difficult period which will generate physical, physiological and psychological effects in the weeks during withdrawal. Untreated withdrawal can cause involuntary bowel disruption, seizures, shaking in the hands, hallucinations, sweating, mood swings, aggression, increased heartbeats and sleep disorders.
Rehab Treatment For Cocaine Addicts
Rehabilitation from cocaine addiction may take the form of inpatient or outpatient treatment and last from one to several months. Inpatient treatment requires the use of medication, vitamins and counseling to get the patient clean and is recommended for patients with severe addiction. Outpatient treatments usually involve one-to-one or group sessions. There are many clinics and treatment centers that cater specifically to battle drug addiction and choosing among them is a matter of severity, income range and preference. Regardless of which treatment and rehab approach is taken, a strong support system of friends and loved ones is essential to keep a recovering addict on track on his road to recovery. Post-detoxification counseling is also necessary to make sure the patient doesn’t fall back into addiction.
Researchers are developing an experimental vaccine that may be used to treat addiction to cocaine. WebMD reported that this experimental cocaine vaccine raises the blood levels of cocaine antibodies that battle the drug’s ability to exert effects on the brain. The results of the study showed that cocaine users who achieved high antibody levels in response to the vaccine were twice as likely to reduce their cocaine use by half, compared to their control counterparts who received a placebo or developed insufficient antibody levels.
Drug rehab clients may also avail of specialized caregivers, who will perform an extensive physical and psychological history on the client before they will treat them. Experiences of abuse, neglect, violence, substance abuse, depression, suicidal tendencies and others will be factored in when deciding on the best course of addiction treatment. With enough determination and support, most cocaine addicts will get clean and live a great life.
Cocaine addiction is a widespread problem, which is also why there are many available solutions nowadays. Nothing is hopeless especially to those who are willing to change.
New Hope For Cocaine Addiction – On The Web
Scientists report new insights into the mechanism by which repeated exposure to cocaine induces addiction. The studies in mice demonstrate that cocaine downregulates the active form of Rac1, a small GTPase known to control actin remodelling, and that this leads to enhanced actin turnover, and increases the density of immature dendritic spines on nucleus accumbens (NAc) neurons in the brain’s key reward center.
Addiction To Cocaine Accelerates Aging – In The News
A new study by researchers at the University of Cambridge suggests that people who are addicted to cocaine age dramatically faster than their non-drug using peers. According to the results of the study in which the brains of people with similar age, gender and verbal IQ were scanned, the cocaine users lost about 3.08 ml brain volume per year, compared to only about 1.69 ml brain volume lost per year by healthy volunteers.
If you or someone you know are addicted to cocaine call Hawaii Island Recovery at 866-515-5032.