Cocaine Abuse and Addiction, A Blot on Mankind

Senin, 19 November 2012

Cocaine is a stimulant of the central nervous system and an appetite suppressant, which is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. Cocaine readily passes into the brain when ingested into the body. In the brain, causing a buildup of dopamine, which high levels in continuously stimulates nerve cells, causing the euphoria, or the 'high' we hear about.

Even though it is considered illegal by possession, cultivation, and distribution of cocaine for non-medicinal and non-government sanctioned purposes in virtually all parts of the world, it is one of the most freely commercialized products in the world. Ever since its discovery, it has destroyed many lives all through history due to its addictive properties.

The use of Cocaine is a cancer that is prevalent across all socioeconomic strata and is no respecter of age, demographics, economic, social, political, religious, and livelihood.

Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is the world's most powerful stimulant of natural origin known to man. In the form of fine white powder, it sold on the streets. Cocaine can be absorbed, inhaled, injected, sniffed or taken orally.

The powdery type being one of the two primary forms of cocaine, is used for snorting up the nose. The second is freebase, better known as crack cocaine, used for smoking.

No matter the form or type of cocaine you take, addiction is swift to follow and dependency evolves in less than 2 weeks. Did you ever imagine that a habit you started casually, maybe to fit in with your peers or maybe due to stress would make end by you being so totally addicted and in danger of losing your life? No mercy is shown by this addiction and is swift to act.

As it lacks the physical withdrawal symptoms seen in alcohol or heroin addiction, addicts like to believe that cocaine is not addictive. Cocaine has powerful psychological addictive properties. Cocaine is addictive, no matter which ever way you put it, "If it is not addictive, then why can't the user stop using?"

Methods of Cocaine Abuse People should be aware that Cocaine is presently the most abused major stimulant in the world and has become the drug most frequently involved in emergency department visits. It is not a new drug of abuse but has come to be termed the caviar of recreational drugs.

Addiction, severe health problems and death are lead to cocaine abuse. In failed attempts to recreate the pleasurable sensations of their first exposure to cocaine, abusers are trapped in a vicious cycle of increased cocaine abuse. The intensity and duration of cocaine's effects, which include increased energy, reduced fatigue, and mental alertness, depend on the route of drug administration commonly used for cocaine: snorting, injecting, and smoking. Snorting is the process of inhaling cocaine powder through the nose, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal tissues. Injecting is the use of a needle to release the drug directly into the bloodstream. Smoking involves inhaling cocaine vapor or smoke into the lungs, where absorption into the bloodstream is as rapid as by injection. Other severe problems and addiction are lead by using these methods.

Health Risks from Cocaine Abuse and Addiction

Different adverse effects are produced by different methods of cocaine abuse -make no mistake - they are severe and life-threatening. " Snorters loose their sense of smell, suffer nosebleeds, have problems with swallowing, hoarseness, and a chronically runny nose. " Ingesters suffer severe bowel gangrene as a result of reduced blood flow. Injecters bring about severe allergic reactions and run increased risk for contracting HIV and other blood-borne diseases. " Bingers lay themselves open to irritability, restlessness, anxiety, and paranoia.

What we should realize is that prolonged Cocaine abuse may lead to a temporary state of full-blown paranoid psychosis, wherein the abuser loses touch with reality.

Regardless of the method or frequency of cocaine abuse, you should know that you are only hastening your own end. Each one of us should have a sense of purpose in our lives to enable us to avoid the lure of Cocaine.

What To Do When Your Partner Is Suffering From Substance Abuse And Addiction

As a couples therapist, I have witnessed that a common cause of relationship problems is alcohol and drug abuse. In order to address this complex issue, I'm going to show you how to recognize addictive behavior, learn the available treatment options and what you can do to help your addicted partner, and finally how you can help yourself by learning about the personal and emotional aspects of choosing to remain with an addicted partner.

Defining The Problem: How Much is Too Much?

Your partner might have problems with alcohol or drug abuse if:

-He has trouble at work, school, or home because of drinking, being hung over, etc.

-He has been in situations where could have been hurt or could have hurt someone else because of his drinking or drug use, such as drunk driving.

-He has legal problems caused by drug or alcohol use.

-He kept using or drinking when he knew it was creating problems with family and/or friends.

Has your partner experienced three or more of the following problems in the last year?

-The need to drink much more than he once did in order to get the same effect, or when using the usual amount, the effect is less than before. These are indications of increasing tolerance, and should raise a red flag.

-When he doesn't drink, you notice withdrawal symptoms such as shakiness, sweating, or trouble sleeping, or he drinks or uses in order to prevent withdrawal symptoms. These are indications of physical addiction, and should raise a red flag.

-He drinks and uses more often, or in larger amounts, than he wants to; this is a sign of escalation due to lack of control.

-He has tried unsuccessfully to quit or reduce his drinking and drug use.

-He spends a lot of time drinking and recovering from drinking.

-He has given up other activities that are important to him, or ignores family obligations, in order to drink.

The Good News: Substance Abuse And Addiction Are Treatable

Many people who are suffering from alcohol or drug problems are successful in other areas of their lives, and they might even be able to hide their problem for years. Such functional addicts can be difficult because they often staunchly deny that they have a problem at all. The good news is that when they admit to themselves and others that they have a problem and make a commitment to change, most are able to cut their drinking back to a safer level or to quit altogether. Addiction to alcohol is not a sign of weakness and does not mean they lack willpower. Alcoholism is a long-term condition, just as treatable as asthma or diabetes.

Treatment depends on the extent of the problem. Some people are able to reduce usage with the help of a counselor. However, people who are physically addicted require more help. Alcohol addiction is particularly risky because attempting to quit cold turkey places one at increased risk of seizures. Therefore, a brief stay in a hospital or treatment center is necessary to medically monitor the detox, and medications are used to prevent seizures and ease the overall process.

Once detox has occurred and withdrawal symptoms have passed, the second stage of treatment is to work on maintaining abstinence and sobriety. This is a lifelong process, and most require continuing support to help remain clean. This can come in the form of counseling and support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcohol and drug use also harms family relationships, therefore education and family therapy are often part of the recovery process.

How You Can Help

Keep in mind that with any personal change, it only works when someone really wants to change. That said, here are methods to try:

-Encourage him to seek counseling. Therapy will help him break negative and harmful patterns and help him understand his motivation to use. In treating addictions, a vital question to answer is: What is the drug use in service to? In other words, why does one abuse drugs or alcohol in the first place? Is it to overcompensate for being introverted, such as relying on alcohol to loosen up and become more social? To numb emotional or physical pain? Very often, substance abusers are suffering from untreated depression, anxiety, or some other mental illness and use chemicals to alleviate the symptoms. Counseling will help determine the root cause of addiction, and there is almost always a healthier way to compensate for all of these problems other than turning to drugs or alcohol. In my years of clinical experience, I've discovered that people don't simply become an addict by accident - there is almost always a clear explanation.

-When you're at the end of your rope, give him an ultimatum, and don't make it an idle threat. Keep in mind that an ultimatum is only as effective as the consequence it represents. For example, if you find a vodka bottle in the linen closet or smell liquor on his breath, you have to take immediate action. Otherwise, he'll continue to drink knowing you'll do nothing. Let's face it: people don't often change harmful behaviors (such as smoking, for example) until they experience negative consequences (such as respiratory problems.) In the case of alcoholics or substance abusers "hitting bottom" often means losing family, friends, a job, a house, or car due to their drug and alcohol use.

-If he fails the ultimatum, perhaps it's time to leave.

Leaving an alcoholic can be emotionally difficult because, despite your misgivings, the addicted partner often becomes the center of your life. Any change is a diversion from the status quo and can knock you off balance, so be prepared for a range of emotions from relief to extreme guilt. In order to ease the process, set up a support network that includes a therapist, close friends, and support groups such as Al-Anon.

Why Do People Stay With Addicts?

People remain in negative or unhealthy relationships for many reasons. Most common are fear and/or perceived financial necessity. While difficult, it is important to consider why you remained in the relationship as long as you did. Otherwise, you're likely to repeat unhealthy relationship patterns. Were you dreaming of being his "savior?" Did you enjoy being in control? These are the signs of dangerous enabling, because they are not healthy for you or your partner.

If you think you can save, then heed the following important relationship advice: You must recognize that people with addiction problems are, by definition, not capable of healthy relationships. Their addiction is so all-consuming that there is little room for anything or anyone else. They are simply not available.

Another vital nugget of relationship advice is this: You can't change your partner's behavior, and the only person you have control over is yourself. People in recovery have many ups and downs, and relapse is common in the recovery process. That's why you've got to do what makes the most sense for you.

Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Abuse and Addiction

How to spot heroin use?

In the beginning stages, look for:

Dry mouth, causing excessive thirst. The user will keep a liquid at all times and sip often.

Constricted pupils is another indication. Many drug of abuse can cause this, but it will be present with heroin.

Being sleepy at odd times is another indication of heroin abuse. Drowsiness and drifting into stupor even during conversations is in indication of a recent dose.

Wakefulness and marked alertness can be seen with smaller doses, but these will usually be short-lived and soon give way to the lack of attention and sleepy demeanor.

Nausea is a very common side effect of the abuse of heroin. Vomiting and other digestive troubles such as diarrhea and stomach cramps are common and even expected by heroin addicts. Eventually, as a result of frequent vomiting, stomach acid, deposited on teeth can cause rapid dental decay and tooth loss.

When abuse gives way to addiction, the signs will be:

Lethargy and an apathetic attitude toward activities which were formerly considered important.

In personal hygiene, a marked lack of care. Carelessness also in personal relations and in handling personal possessions. Belongings which were once kept close will become neglected and ignored. The addict's car or motorcycle will go un washed and uncared for.

Injection marks on arms, legs, between fingers and toes, just about anywhere a vein can be accessed will show holes and infected bumps and suppuration, the forming and discharge of pus. These wounds can and do become serious and life-threatening at times due to lack of attention and the pain killing effects of the drug.

More signs include:

  • Presence of drug paraphernalia
  • Changes in attitude
  • Changes in friends
  • Changes in performance in work or school
  • Dishonesty and theft
  • An inability to face people and consequences

These are by no means the only signs of heroin abuse, but some of these will be present when your suspicions of the use of heroin are correct.

The answer is to get this individual into treatment, now. Addiction to opiates such as heroin can escalate rapidly and getting this person to treatment today will definitely be his or her best chance for a speedy and complete recovery.