The deadly and dangerous cocaine lures drug users and imprisons them with addiction. This euphoria-inducing drug is one of the common, illicit drug in the US; though the intoxication comes with dire consequences for the suffering addict.
If an individual is uncertain if he or she is addicted to cocaine, the answer is probably yes. The highly addictive substance has serious consequences, meaning that even casual users are at risk.
How to Identify Addiction
Anyone who suspects that someone close is using cocaine may look for several signs. Often, a person may disappear for a short time, and return more agitated, excited and talkative. An increase in sexual appetite and loss of sleep are also indicators. Long-term use may cause nosebleeds, and sometimes white traces of powder is visible around the nose after snorting the drug.
Cocaine changes the brain chemistry, and thus poses neurological risks. Cocaine-induced behavior and dangers include erratic behavior, disinhibition which may lead to unfortunate events, and psychotic symptoms.
Cocaine abuse may be deadly, and pose dire threats to the physical health. Heart muscle damage may occur, as cocaine may induce cell death and inflammation of the inner tissues of the heart. Users face an increased risk of heart attacks and cardiac arrhythmias.
Also, addicts have an increased risk of brain damage, stroke and even kidney damage. If cocaine abusers digest, rather than snort or inject, the substance and intestinal damage may occur.
National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) findings from 2012 indicate that nearly 4.7 million Americans used cocaine in the past year, while 38 million have tried it at some point in their lives. The statistics show that the drug is the second-most popular after marijuana. How did something so dangerous, become so desirable?
Cocaine was once widely used as medication and included in treatments for cholera and morphine addiction. It was available in drugs store and added to beverages such as Coca-Cola. The company released a cocaine-free edition in 1903, and even today a drug-free extract of coca leaves is still used in the drink.
During the 20th century, the adverse effects of cocaine started taking their toll. The drug become illegal for physicians to prescribe in the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914, and importation became illegal in the Narcotic Drugs Import and Export Act of 1922.
In the 1970s, cocaine became the favored drug among the rich and the wealthy, who considered it an expensive yet glamorous drug. Over the years, the price decreased, and the cheap “crack” cocaine spread into poor, urban areas.
The Way Forward
The first step towards recovery is seeking adequate treatment. The addict should choose a treatment that is best suited his or her needs and preferences. Some alternatives include inpatient or outpatient, group meetings, and counseling.
When deciding upon rehabilitation center, there are some important questions to ask; will it cover any particular needs? It the price and duration appropriate? How about life after treatment; will the rehab center offer any assistance with aftercare?
It is never too late to embark on the journey to sobriety; though it is essential that the addict receives help. Fortunately, successful treatments provide hope to suffering cocaine users, that even they may free themselves from the shackles of addiction.