Who Invented Methadone

Who Invented Methadone?

In a speech by President Richard Nixon in 1971, he pointed to drug addiction as the public’s number one enemy. The problems then included an increase in drug use, the concern of returning soldiers who have become addicted to it, and the lack of effective treatments. As a solution, the President shifted the federal government policy regarding opiate addiction far from the punitive philosophy. He ordered the first federal program to be created for the treatment of opiate addictions with the use of methadone.

What effects are the most common amongst methadone users?

  • Relaxation
  • Sedation
  • Euphoric Feelings
  • Drowsiness

Methadone has the ability to create heroin-like effects, but with lesser intensity and prolonged effectivity that often last for 24 hours. In comparison, the effects of heroin are extremely short-lived, the most occurring in only 2 hours.

Methadone was first synthesized by German scientists back in the World War II.

In history, morphine was supplied to German troops as a pain reliever. Post-dosage testing in high levels, the adverse effects of the drug were discovered. Following the negative effects amongst users, the German military completely abandoned methadone use; however, failed to realize the full potential of its availability.

Post-war, Americans began to take control of the prescription medication for treatment from addiction. In 1960, Vincent Dole M.D. from Rockefeller University had won the New York City Health Research Council Grant for the purpose of studying heroin addiction. Eventually, Dole developed a protocol for daily dose without reaching the ceiling “high” effects.

To this day, methadone is still controversial in a few circles.

Only around 500,000 individuals have participated in methadone maintenance program around the world. Critics of methadone use are still considering this treatment as just another way of legalizing addiction. As such, these people still favor opiate addiction treatments that are based on complete abstinence.

Methadone maintenance treatment has already become a billion-dollar industry not just in the U.S., but in many countries all over the world.

The practice is continuing to expand in the U.S., Europe, and Canada. In other places, this practice is expanding and is continuing to give profit to drug companies. Along the process, addicted individuals wanting to get off the drugs and make better changes in their lives are still using methadone. This is the reason why many still defend methadone use as a genuine treatment for opiate addiction.

In Russia for instance, methadone formulations continue to center social discussions. Treating with methadone to combat opiate addiction is not just illegal. The promotion of methadone use and talking about maintaining methadone drugs in favorable conditions remain to be prosecutable according to law. For this reason, narcotic addicts in Russia continue to enroll in narcotic detox and rehab programs.

The United States is a home to a number of methadone clinics. In a 2011 survey, approximately 245, 000 individuals have already been enrolled in opiate detoxification programs. Half of this population needed continued detoxification and maintenance services and around 20% were those that needed treatment against the use of opiates. Methadone is the first line of treatment for these programs.

 

What Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

What Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD? Psychiatric Disorder Caused by a Trauma Event, an Outside Influence

Psychiatry had emphasized the deficiencies of individuals as the source of mental problems. Before the 1970s, combat veterans, crime victims and other trauma survivors were usually blamed for their symptoms and regarded as weak. The high rate of psychiatric disorders suffered by Vietnam vets led to research by the Veterans Administration, which helped to establish the validity of PTSD. According to the DSM IV TR, a person has to experience a traumatic event that there was threatened death, serious injury to oneself or others which involved terror, extreme fear and/or helplessness.

PTSD and Reliving the Event

The event is constantly replayed in one or more ways. There can be continual memories of the trauma which includes thoughts, images or perceptions. There can be nightmares of the incident.

Some PTSD sufferers feel the event is recurring and are re-experiencing it and may also have flashbacks, hallucinations and illusions. There can be intense psychological distress and physiological reactions to cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the event.

PTSD and Avoidance

A person avoids cues associated with the trauma and emotions are numbed in several ways. There can be attempts to avoid thoughts, emotions, talking, people, places or activities that evoke memories of the event.

Some patients with PTSD may repress important memories of the event, have less interest or taking part in formerly important activities or feel detached from others. There can be a limited gamut of feelings or a sense of doom.

PTSD and Other Symptoms

There can be indications of PTSD that were not present before the traumatic event. Some examples of these other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder include insomnia, short temper, increased startle response, decreased concentration and hyper-vigilance, over-alertness.

PTSD and Intervention

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) is a therapy offered to people within two days following a civilian or combat trauma. It is intended to avert the development of PTSD.

The PTSD treatment usually has four stages: describing the traumatic event, sharing emotional reactions to it, discussing symptoms and reassurance that these are normal responses, then, a discussion of coping methods.

PTSD and Psychotherapy

There are several psychotherapy methods used to treat PTSD. These methods include:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy – There are two methods are desensitization which attempts to decrease the symptoms of PTSD by addressing the fear and anxiety management training, which teaches strategies for reducing anxiety. Strategies include relaxation training, biofeedback, distraction techniques or cognitive restructuring.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy – This helps the patient improve a sense of self, learn new ways of coping and how to deal with emotions related to the trauma.
  • Discussion Groups – These groups are usually designed for survivors of specific traumas. They help people recognize that others who had the same experience have identical emotions and reacted in similar ways.
  • Family Therapy – This is recommended for people whose family has been affected by their PTSD symptoms.

The Prognosis for PTSD

Those who receive CISD as soon as possible after the event have the best prognosis for total recovery. A combination of peer-group meetings and individual psychotherapy are often successful. Treatment may require several years and the individual is likely to relapse.

For some people, PTSD becomes a chronic disorder that can last for decades or the rest of their lives. They have the poorest prognosis for recovery. Unfortunately, some don’t respond to any of the current treatments for PTSD.

Preventing PTSD

Some traumas, such as disasters and accidents, can never be eliminated. Traumas caused by people’s intention, such as mass murders, would require major societal changes to reduce their occurrences and brutality. At present, the use of CISD and psychotherapy appear to be the best form of prevention for these survivors while for those who are under the influence of drugs, heroin centers miami can help.

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?: The Signs, Symptoms and Treatment of GAD

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) affects 4 to 6.8 million Americans, making GAD one of the most common anxiety disorders in the United States. While symptoms can be severe, with treatment generalized anxiety disorder can be successfully controlled.

Anxiety is a normal, and often helpful, response to stressful situations. Anxiety motivates people to drive safely, get to work on time, and be extra vigilant in dangerous circumstances.

People with generalized anxiety disorder, however, live in a state of constant worry and anxiety even when no cause for anxiety exists. Anxiety associated with GAD interferes with daily life on multiple levels. Signs of anxiety disorders can make day-to-day functioning almost impossible.

GAD and Symptoms of Anxiety Attacks

Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms are chronic: while there may be days when symptoms worsen or lessen, symptoms are almost always present. The sudden onset of anxiety that many people associate with symptoms of anxiety attacks bear more resemblance to panic attacks than GAD.

GAD is characterized by constant worry, tension and anxiety. People with generalized anxiety disorder are often aware that their anxiety is unwarranted or out of proportion to stressful events, but this knowledge does little to diminish the effect of the anxiety disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder causes a range of mental and physical symptoms, including:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Excessive anxiety
  • Frequent urination
  • Headaches
  • Hyperalert startle reflexes
  • Irritability
  • Muscle aches
  • Sleep disturbances.

Causes of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Exactly what triggers generalized anxiety disorder is unclear. Gender certainly increases the risk of GAD: twice as many women as men are diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.

Genetics , chemical imbalances in the brain and lifestyle / environmental factors have all been suggested as possible causes of generalized anxiety disorder. Onset of GAD can occur at any stage of life, but the disorder develops most often between childhood and middle age.

Depression, Anxiety Disorders and GAD

Generalized anxiety disorder is often seen in combination with depression, anxiety disorders other than GAD, and substance abuse. GAD may present with obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attack symptoms, social anxiety or phobias.

Cocaine, alcohol, and marijuana abuse have all been linked to generalized anxiety disorder. A diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder without accompanying depression, anxiety disorders or substance abuse is considered unusual.

Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Fortunately generalized anxiety disorder symptoms respond well to proper treatment. Generalized anxiety disorder treatment includes the use of anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants. Talk therapy for generalized anxiety disorder teaches people coping strategies for dealing with anxiety and reducing stress levels. if GAD presents with depression or other secondary conditions both disorders must be addressed for relied of anxiety disorder symptoms.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Tools for Managing Anxiety

There are a wide variety of mental health problems where research has suggested sufferers are likely to benefit from undertaking a course of therapy. Examples of commonly used therapy approaches include the following: Cognitive Analytical Therapy (CAT), Family Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT).

This article aims to explore the condition and treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder with key areas to be examined listed below.

  • What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
  • Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • CBT tools for anxiety management

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Generalized anxiety disorder, usually abbreviated to GAD, belongs under the umbrella of anxiety disorder which include conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and different phobias. This disorder is widely regarded as the most common form of anxiety disorder and sufferers will often have immediately after one worry which gets resolved another to take its place and so the worry cycle continues.

At the core is the need for recognition that it is not the specific events or circumstances which cause the worry and anxiety but the way the sufferers actually perceives them to be threats or problematic.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The key difference between generalized anxiety disorder and other anxiety disorders is that while many disorders are about specific issues such as health, socialising, animals, GAD is not about any single fear. Sufferers of GAD will feel intense levels of anxiety and severe worry which continues to negatively impact their life over a long period of time.

Distress and interruption to the sufferer’s life is very common and may have impacts in terms of employment, maintaining relationships and achieving goals or aspirations. High levels of anxiety are also likely to have major impacts upon one’s ability to interact with others and limit the enjoyment one would otherwise have been able to gain through engaging in social activity. Eventually severe worry and anxiety will also take a heavy toll on one’s emotional, physical and psychological health and well-being.

CBT Tools for Anxiety Management

There are several key tools and techniques within the framework of CBT that may provide valuable support and help to those affected by GAD. Wilding & Milne have identified the following main approaches for anxiety management: distraction exercises, overcoming avoidance through graded exposure therapy and relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.

Mindfulness meditation is another skill that may provide an additional tool to overcoming anxiety.

let go of the addict

Let Go of the Addict in Your Life

An addict has no reason to change his or her destructive ways if they never have to suffer the consequences of their own behavior. By enabling an addict, you are not only allowing them to further practice their addiction, but you are holding them back from getting the help that they need. Enabling is not helping and it is not a way of showing someone love. You are simply allowing the addict to live irresponsibly because they depend on you to take care of them and get them out of tough situations.

Don’t Blame Love

When you truly love someone, you want what is best for them. It takes time and dedication to break away from a codependent relationship, whether it be with a significant other, a family member or a close friend. It is especially difficult when you know that the person you are trying to separate from has an addiction and you are the person who has been watching out for them and trying to keep them safe.

By holding the hand of an addict, you are only helping them to progress even further into self destructive behaviors. It is crucial that you detach yourself from the addict, leaving him or her vulnerable and on their own to deal with the consequences of their decisions. Fight through the difficult times by realizing that this is what is best for them and if they ever find wellness and recovery, they will appreciate you for letting them go.

Enabling Hurts You

By enabling an addict, you are not only hurting them but you are hurting yourself. Caring for an addict can control your life in a physical sense, and can cause severe emotional damage and trauma to those around who love, care for, and worry about them twenty four hours a day. You can easily justify all of the reasons why you are helping an addict. ( You love them, you don’t want them to loose their job, you would never let them live on the streets, you need to protect them….) But in the end, you will be the one who has to live with the stress and guilt of knowing that you helped the addict to use again.

Stop Lending Money

Addicts are professional swindlers. When they need money to get their fix, they will come up with any story they can and make you believe it. If an addict tells you that they need milk or groceries, offer to purchase them for him or her. If an addict tells you that they need gas money right away or else they won’t be able to get to work, offer to go with them to the gas station or offer them a ride.

You can still be reasonable without handing out your money and chances are, they will deny your alternative kind gesture because that is not what they actually intended on using the money for.

Guilt Trip

An addict will often make you feel guilty if you refuse to help them or give them money. They will say things like “You never believe me…“ “You are always accusing me…“ “You don’t trust me…“ to try and get you to buckle. Do your best not to fall for this technique. It is okay for the addict to get upset and angry with you because, even if they don’t like it, you are doing what is best for them. If you are finding it difficult to simply say no, try and find alternate turn down methods. Tell the addict that you need the money for an unexpected car repair or that you already loaned the money to someone else.

Finding Help

There are many ways for you to try and find help for your loved one. You can bring them to groups where they can talk to other addicts, you can read pamphlets and buy self help books, but if the addict in your life does not want the help, these methods are usually unsuccessful. These groups can often introduce the addict to other people with the same weakness and it is possible that their friendships could bring them both back to using.

Let go of the addict. Stop enabling them, stop covering for them and let them hit “Rock Bottom”. It is the only way that they will accept the help that they need into their lives. We would all love to think that there is something we can do to fix this, but the addict has to do this on their own. You can still be there to support them on their way to wellness when the time comes.

what makes an addict

What Makes An Addict?

When one hears the word “addiction” the immediate thought is most likely to include “drugs”. This is only natural, as newspaper and television reports constantly refer to drug addiction in some form or another. The World Health Organisation (WHO) refers to substances like heroin where heroin centers Miami come in, as well as opium, cannabis, alcohol, amphetamines and tranquilizers when they talk about addiction, and a search on PubMed is more likely to yield results including these drugs than anything else, if only because they are the most studied means of addiction.

Certainly the WHO defines addiction as “using a substance repeatedly, despite knowing and experiencing its harmful effects”, and this is by and large true. Yet there are non-pharmaceutical addictions which can have equally harmful effects, be they social or health-related; gambling, sex and food spring to mind. It may be correct to use the term “substance-dependency” for drug use, but physical and psychological dependence are both intrinsically linked to each other and share the same biochemical patterns.

Dopamine and Addiction – What Makes Us Addicted?

There is evidence emerging that all types of addiction lead to the same changes in the brain. Certainly chemical dependence causes rewiring of the brain’s dopamine and serotonin pathways (Siegel A and Sapru HN, Essential Neuroscience, pub. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 517-520), simply because the substances taken artificially alter dopamine levels. Yet gambling has been shown to do the same, as has food. Essentially, anything that causes a “feel-good” response will cause dopamine and serotonin to be released.

So addiction ought to be defined as any substance or behaviour which leads to a dependence on dopaminergic alterations in the central nervous system; this would cover all bases with regard to drugs, food, gambling and so on. Even the mere thought of the substance or behaviour is usually enough to elicit cravings and a response; one study by Heinz et al showed that certain cues could elicit a neuronal response in alcoholics.

Heinz’s study used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) to show changes in the dopamine pathways: recovering alcoholics have fewer dopamine type 2 receptors (D2) than healthy subjects and this is closely linked to a high relapse rate. Similar changes have been shown by other groups using PET and MRI in other forms of dependence, such as food and gambling (see previous links).

Psychological Dependence and Dopamine – the Same as Physical Dependence?

What causes this change is the release of a protein known as cocaine-amphetamine-related-transcript (CART), so called because cocaine and amphetamine were the first stimulants to be implicated in its production. Busto et al have linked CART release in the hypothalamus (the region of the brain commonly linked to reward behaviour) to several drug-seeking changes in the brain, especially that of dopamine stimulation. The authors note that some genetic alterations to CART may predispose individuals to addiction.

The best treatment by far is detoxification and abstinance (sometimes with the aid of less-addictive substances), but as yet no study has shown any kind of reversal of the brain signalling pathways. In other words, an addict remains an addict for life. A sufferer has to abstain from the substances or behaviours that led to their addiction or risk relapse.

This makes food addiction all the more tragic: while it might be possible for someone to never drink another drop of alcohol or smoke another cigarette in their entire life, try telling someone who was morbidly obese to never eat again. Even with diet and exercise (and a great deal of hard work) a person who loses weight can find it all too easy to relapse and begin overeating – after all, food is readily available in the western world and we need it to survive. But the temptation will be there, and in all likelihood stronger than that for alcohol, say, or tobacco.

It is all too easy for people to pour scorn upon any addict – whether they are substance abusers, alcoholics, obese – but were it not for circumstance the roles could be so easily reversed. That addict could be anyone. It could even be you.

Chatroulette

Chatroulette – What is it and Why is it Addictive?

Chatroulette is an online activity which brings together two random people face to face via webcam. It derives its name from Russian roulette which is a game of chance. In chatroulette, the “players” never know who they’re going to meet online next, which is part of the allure and addictiveness of chatroulette.

According to comScore, more than 4 million people accessed the website of chatroulette in February 2016 alone. And that number is growing daily. But is chatroulette just the latest internet fad or a service that provides some value to its users?

Chatroulette History and Growth

The website was developed in November 2009 by a 17 year old Russian student, Andrey Ternovskiy who wanted to chat with interesting people using Skype-like video and audio. He coded chatroulette in 2 days and within a month the site had a few hundred visitors without any marketing whatsoever. By January 2010 it had 944,000 visitors and in February 2010, just 3 months after its launch, it drew in 3.9 million unique visitors. Today approximately 500,000 people access the site on a daily basis. These numbers put chatroulette firmly on the map of the latest trend to strike the internet.

Chatroulette Playing Interface

Chatroulette’s user interface is simple, even sparse. Visitors who access chatroulette don’t require a login or any other kind of verification. Once they’re on the site, the service prompts them to enable their webcam. Once their webcam is enabled, the user is able to see other users of the service in a completely random order. If the user doesn’t like what is being shown on their partner’s web stream, they simply click “Next” and move on to another chat partner. This phenomenon is called “being nexted”.

Chatroulette’s Addictiveness

The lure of chatroulette is the same as the lure of gambling – to see what the next roll of dice will bring, or in chatroulette’s case, who it will bring. Part of chatroulette’s attraction is to see who else is using the site and what they’re doing. Participants often try to outdo each other in an attempt to see who can be the most entertaining personality on the Web and avoid getting “nexted” the longest. Another lure is the chance to peek into a complete stranger’s life and see what happens. The thrill of the unknown and the unpredictable are a huge factor in chatroulette’s success and addictiveness.

Chatroulette Demographics

Chatroulette has been criticized as being a haven for perverts and depraved people due to its incentive for voyeurism. One study describes the chatroulette demographic as 89% male, 9% female, and 13% perverts. Parents should be advised that if their child is using chatroulette they have a good chance of coming across inappropriate content.

Is chatroulette a passing fad or can it be used for more useful pursuits, like social networking or dating? Even terminologies about it differ – some call it a game, some a service, while others dub it a cultural phenomenon. Only time will tell if this website will evolve or fade out, but experts agree that the service will explore future benefits that may be extracted from it. One thing’s for sure – chatroulette is not for the faint of heart!

how to face addiction

Facing the Habit – An Addict’s Tale: Magnolia Martin Documents the Struggle of a Heroin Addict

This is not a flattering story, but one that is brutal, raw, and honest. Using interviews with friends, family, and other addicts, Martin weaves together a very rough fabric that will capture the viewer. How does a handsome, successful, young millionaire stockbroker watch his life circle the drain as his out-of-control addiction overtakes his life? Called a Kiefer Sutherland look-alike, he would seem to have everything: a high paying job, a handsome look and pleasant demeanor, citizenship in one of the world’s wealthiest nations – why would he become addicted? Once addicted, though, the drug becomes a leveling force and all users are taken down. His habit requires him to “boost” or steal due to the enormous cost of maintaining a habit that only grows worse as he becomes more resistant to the effects of the drug he craves.

Magnolia Martin Captures the Tragedy of Addiction in Her Film

Even for 50 minutes, it is difficult to witness the world of this one young heroin addict, as he turns himself into an angry, demanding, dysfunctional human being. Nodding off after shooting up or injecting the drug, Dave begins to slur his words and slowly leaves the world of feeling, functioning adults. He becomes an organism who needs a chemical to avoid pain and suffering, and that pursuit is all that matters and motivates him. This organism even harrasses his aging mother in order to steal fresh needles from her – she, a diabetic woman struggling with her own daily injections–although hers are for her very survival, rather than self-destructive. She shares early photos and memories of her handsome son and the viewer can only imagine the nightmare in which she, too, has been plunged due to his ugly habit.

Facing the Habit Puts a Very Human Face on Addiction

Profiling a controversial new treatment modality using Ibogaine, a drug from West Africa, several former addicts are interviewed for their perspective on the treatment. While not a polished film, this film appears to be deliberately spontaneous and raw, brutal in parts, in showing the reality of some of the ugly side of addiction. Perhaps most poignant of all is the final few moments of the film, when the viewer learns the fate of all those people interviewed. Magnolia Martin should be congratulated for this short documentary about an issue that extracts a huge human toil; it is an amazing short documentary about a painful topic. Most remarkable of all is that this film was ever made.

  • Oppenhunter Films
  • 50 minutes
  • Movie site
  • San Francisco Frozen Film Festival, Best Documentary Short
heroin

The Effects and Dangers of Heroin Abuse

Heroin is a widely-used, fast-acting and highly addictive illegal substance. Heroin is classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency as a Schedule I drug, meaning this drug possesses extremely addictive qualities and is highly dangerous when used regularly. Heroin is derived from opium, a natural juice extracted from the seed of the poppy plant.

Pure heroin is a white powder that can be smoked, snorted or injected intravenously. Heroin purchased on the street may vary in color from white to dark brown, depending on the purity. The drug has a sedative effect and is sometimes used following the use of other drugs, such as Ecstasy or speed, in order to relieve the comedown from an invigorating high. Heroin in classified in the same drug family as codeine and morphine and has the same “chill-out” effects.

The Side Effects of Heroin Abuse

The human body is filled with receptors for endorphins, the natural pain-killing substance produced by the body to alleviate shock or physical pain. Heroin is a natural painkiller that can attach to endorphin receptors and provide a pleasurable sensation and sense of well-being. Heroin amplifies the receptors’ painkilling effects, so the sense of pleasure is much stronger than the body is typically accustomed to.

Intravenous injection is the best method for providing a quick onset of pleasure. The peak of euphoria can be reached in seven or eight seconds. Smoking or snorting heroin will produce a peak in approximately ten minutes. Users may experience the following symptoms at peak onset:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • dry mouth
  • warm, flushed skin
  • heavy feeling in the extremities
  • drowsiness
  • clouded or impaired mental functioning
  • severe itching
  • difficulty breathing

Once the peak has subsided, the user will feel very relaxed and comfortable, since the central nervous system has been sedated. The individual will also be left feeling drowsy for several hours and may have an appearance of being asleep while actually awake.

The Dangers of Heroin Abuse

Frequent use of heroin can lead to dependence on the drug. Research estimates that 23 percent of regular heroin users become dependent. A regular user can experience withdrawal symptoms in as little as two or three days after a use. As an individual becomes dependent, tolerance is established, and each use requires an increased amount of the substance to reach an acceptable peak. Tolerance increases the risk of overdose. Most users buy heroin that is mixed with other substances. At times, heroin is sold on the street in a pure form. If a dependent user with a high tolerance uses a pure form, overdose will occur and will most likely be fatal. Chronic users can also develop the following complications:

  • collapsed veins
  • infection of the heart lining
  • abcesses
  • liver, kidney or pulmonary failure
  • clogged blood vessels causing permanent organ damage

Since heroin is most commonly injected intravenously, the risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis B or C is extremely high. Many individuals share the needles used to inject the drug, so contagious diseases are often spread on the needles. Substances that heroin is often mixed with, such as talcum powder, starch or chalk, may contain bacteria. The bacteria will then spread throughout the user’s body and cause infections.

Treatment for Heroin Abuse

Heroin addicts who seek treatment will begin with detoxification. The user may be treated with medications like methadone or buprenorphine to ease withdrawal symptoms and allow the addict to feel the same sense of pleasure produced by heroin without the dangerous side effects. Typically, users are treated with a combination of drugs and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Therapy helps modify an addict’s behavior and build coping skills. Treatment can help reduce cravings, eliminate the focus on the drug and improve the addict’s overall physical health. Heroin is one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs distributed in the United States. With proper assistance, addicts can overcome dependence and help remove the “chill-out drug” from the streets of America.

cocaine abuse

The Effects and Dangers of Cocaine Abuse: Cocaine is Harmful, Dangerous and Comes with Serious Side Effects

Cocaine is a well known stimulant drug that comes with intense euphoric and addictive potential. It is classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency as schedule two, meaning it has high potential for abuse but may be distributed by a doctor for legitimate medical uses.

Cocaine is not a new drug. Pure cocaine is one of the world’s oldest known drugs and was first extracted from the leaves of the coca bush in the mid-19th century in areas of Peru, Colombia and Bolivia. In the early 1900s, cocaine was widely used to treat a variety of illnesses. Cocaine is a white powder that is typically snorted through the nose. However, the “high” can be achieved more quickly if the powder is dissolved in water and injected intravenously. Crack, a well known form of cocaine, is created by heating a mixture of cocaine and baking soda. Crack vapors are smoked, and euphoria can be reached within five minutes.

Side Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine is a nervous system stimulant which causes users to feel alert and energized. Effects of snorted cocaine can be felt immediately and fully wear off within 20 to 30 minutes. A cocaine user feels excited, sociable, talkative and possibly sexually aroused. Physically, the blood pressure and body temperature rise as the cocaine causes an excess of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, to be released in the brain. The comedown from cocaine is unpleasant, leaving the user feeling restless with dulled senses. Common after effects of cocaine use include:

  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • irritability
  • depression
  • lethargy

The after-effects are typically minimal at first and worsen with continued cocaine use. Regular users may eventually experience tremors, vertigo, paranoia, seizures or cardiac arrest, which can lead to sudden death. As an individual uses cocaine regularly, he or she will build a tolerance. This will cause the user to need a greater amount of the substance with each use to reach a typical high. Developing a tolerance to the drug creates dependence, which provides more opportunities for cocaine-related deaths.

Dangers of Cocaine

The most common physical danger of regular cocaine use is septum damage due to snorting. The nasal septum is the partition of bone and cartilage that separates the nasal cavities at the top of the nose. At first, regular users suffer constant nosebleeds, bloodied mucus and chronic nasal congestion. After continuous, long-term use, cocaine will begin to have a corrosive effect and may dissolve the septum completely.

The greatest danger of regular cocaine use is the potential for overdose. Most deaths associated with cocaine use are caused by accidental overdosing, usually when cocaine powder has been dissolved in drinks. Mixing the powder in liquid can cause the user to lose a sense of the amount of cocaine being consumed. An overdose is painful and traumatic. The victim suffers convulsions, heart failure or respiratory failure due to the depression of centers in the brain that control vital bodily functions such as breathing. Failure of these functions most often leads to death.

Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine use does not result in addiction for every individual. Personalities and lifestyles often determine the responses to the drug among different people. However, cocaine is an extremely addictive drug. Cocaine causes a sense of pleasure and self-confidence that users often cannot find through other resources. When the euphoria wears off, the user craves that feeling again, and the compulsion to use the drug continuously is reinforced. For some individuals, occasional use may be completely harmless. For others, occasional use can turn into regular, long-term abuse as the cravings intensify. Regular abuse may then result in cocaine psychosis. The psychosis is a perpetual state of cocaine cravings, insomnia, paranoia, and mood swings. A drug treatment program may help an individual relieve the effects of psychosis and end long-term cocaine abuse.

Coke: Good Feeling, Bad Result

Approximately 2.4% of the American population uses cocaine on a regular basis. Users span a wide range of ages and are found among all ethnicities and levels of socioeconomic status. Every year, hundreds of those users are arrested on drug-related charges. Some users are not so lucky, experiencing physical damage from continued use or suffering painful deaths from overdosing. Individuals become addicted to cocaine due to the euphoria and feelings of pleasure the drug induces. When not high on cocaine, individuals exist in a world of misery with fatigue, headaches and depression. Cocaine is a trap. The drug lures users in with the promise of happiness, and then always leaves them wanting more.