Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Drug Addiction and Cocaine User free essay sample
It causes feelings of euphoria, pleasure, increased energy and alertness. People under the influence of cocaine often do not feel the need for food or sleep. They also feel energetic and may talk a lot. However, depending on factors such as environment, dosage, and the manner in which the drug is taken, cocaine can have adverse effects such as violent, erratic behavior, dizziness, paranoia, insomnia, convulsions, andÃ heart failure to name a few. Long- term effects of cocaine include, but are not limited to strokes,Ã heart attacks, seizures, loss of memory, and decrease in learning capability (1). People may not always know the exact consequences of the drug they are taking; however, chances are that they do know that the drug is unhealthy for them. Schools across the country educate about the dangers of drug use and abuse through programs like D. A. R. E. , television stations show anti-drug advertisements as a public service, and even city buses blazon anti-drug propaganda. People are aware that very rarely does anything good come from drug use, and still, everyday people fall victim to drugs. Why do people succumb to the urge to try drugs? It feels good why else? When a person takes cocaine, itÃ causes a rush. There is between one or two minutes of intense pleasure. This is followed by five to 8 minutes of euphoria, then as the high comes down, an overwhelming urge for more, which may last for a day. (3) When a user is between cocaine doses or halts usage, the opposite effects occur. The user is depressed and tired (2). Cocaine is attractive to users because it triggers dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is present in many regions of the brain. In normal mice, theÃ introduction of cocaine increases dopamine by 150 percent. Dopamine regulates movement, emotion, motivation, and the feeling of pleasure. In a normal brain, dopamine is released by a neuron into a synapse and then it moves to dopamine receptors on other neurons. It is then moved back to the neuron that transmitted the dopamine initially. When cocaine enters the area of the brain where the dopamine is located, it blocks the reuptake pumps that remove the dopamine from the synapse of the nerve cell. Thus, more dopamine gathers at the synapse and feelings of intense pleasure result. This feeling continues until cocaine is naturally removed from the system (2). Research findings by the National Institute of Drug Addiction (NIDA) demonstrate that cocaine not only affects the level of dopamine in the brain, but also the level of serotonin. In a study using mice without dopamine transporters, the mice were given cocaine and they still experienced rewarding effects. This was obvious because the animals kept on attempting to get or self-administer more. These researchers speculate that more than one neurotransmitter is responsible for the pleasurable feeling cocaine yields (2). Although main hypothesis as to why cocaine is so pleasurable, is that it alters levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, some scientists report that cocaine effects approximately 90 different parts of the brain, not just the two main regions of the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens. However, it is interesting that it is these two regions of the brain that remain active after the cocaine has left the system, and the powerful, uncontrollable desire for the drug has set in. (3)Ã The first time people use cocaine and its effects fade, they want more. Such is the nature of the drug. The main reason cocaine use continues is the need to experience the high and the development of dependence. Dependence is, the need to maintain a level of the drug in the brain to both satisfy the need and stimulate the reward center, and avoid physical withdrawal symptoms (5). There is continual research occurring about dependence and how it can be streamlined. It was recently discovered through newer imaging techniques that cocaine hinders blood flow. This is why is it can cause brain damage or defects. Recent research demonstrates that if a cocaine user even thinks about cocaine, the blood flow is altered. This suggests that the addictive nature of the drug is stronger than we think, because simply thinking about it produces similar results in addicts brains (4). This is likely to be a result of the way in which cocaine changes the structure of an abuserÃ¢â¬â¢s brain. Scientists are working furiously for a way to combat cocaine addiction. They specifically are examining the genetic factors that contribute to the addiction (5). However, even if scientists do identify all of the factors that cause addiction, they are still faced with the dilemma of how exactly to stop the addiction. New hope to end cocaine addiction lies in experimental drugs, such as one that is used to treat epilepsy and holistic approaches such as acupuncture. Although it may seem like science knows a great deal about addiction and the effects of cocaine, scientific knowledge still cannot make the cocaine problem disappear. There is no sure cure for cocaine addiction. Once you try the drug, addiction strikes randomly, like a bullet in a game of Russian roulette. There is no cure for the addiction. Before trying the drug, really think; is a moment of pleasure worth a lifetime of pain? Treatment for Cocaine is very complex but just like treatment for any other drug it is possible. Cocaine abuse and addiction is a problem involving biological changes in the brain as well as social, family, and environmental factors. Therefore, treatment of cocaine addiction is complex, and must address a variety of problems. Like any good treatment plan, cocaine treatment strategies need to assess the psychobiological, social, and pharmacological aspects of the patients drug abuse. As far as pharmacological changes there are no medications currently available to treat cocaine addiction specifically. Consequently, NIDA is aggressively pursuing the identification and testing of new cocaine treatment medications. Several newly emerging compounds are being investigated to assess their safety and efficacy inÃ treating cocaine addiction. For example, one of the most promising anti-cocaine drug medications to date, Selegeline, is being taken into multi-site phase III clinical trials in 1999. These trials will evaluate two innovative routes of Selegeline administration: a transdermal patch and a time-released pill, to determine which is most beneficial. Disulfiram, a medication that has been used toÃ treat alcoholism, has also been shown, in clinical studies, to be effective in reducing cocaine abuse. Ã¢â¬ (7) Because of mood changes experienced during the early stages of cocaine abstinence, antidepressant drugs have been shown to be of some benefit. In addition to the problems of treating addiction, cocaine overdose results in many deaths every year and medical treatments are being developed to deal with the acute emergencies resulting from excessive cocaine abuse. Many behavioral treatments have been found to be effective for cocaine addiction, including both residential and outpatient approaches. Indeed, behavioral therapies are often the only available, effective treatment approaches to many drug problems, including cocaine addiction. However, integration of both types of treatments is ultimately the most effective approach for treating addiction. It is important to match the best treatment to the needs of the patient. This may include adding to or removing from an individuals treatment a number of different components or elements. Ã¢â¬Å"For example, if an individual is prone to relapses, a relapse component should be added to the program. A behavioral therapy component that is showing positive results in many cocaine-addicted populations is contingency management. Contingency management uses a voucher-based system to give positive rewards for staying in treatment and remaining cocaine free. Based on drug-free urine tests, the patients earn points, which can be exchanged for items that encourage healthy living, such as joining a gym, or going to a movie and dinner. Ã¢â¬ (7) Cognitive-behavioral therapy is another approach. Cognitive-behavioral coping skills treatment, for example, is a short-term, focused approach to helping cocaine-addicted individuals become abstinent from cocaine and other substances. The underlying assumption is that learning processes play an important role in the development and continuation of cocaine abuse and dependence. The same learning processes can be employed to help individuals reduce drug use. This approach attempts to help patients to recognize, avoid, and cope; which then helps to recognize the situations in which they are most likely to use cocaine, avoid these situations when appropriate, and cope more effectively with a range of problems and problematic behaviors associated with drug abuse. Ã¢â¬Å"This therapy is also noteworthy because of its compatibility with a range of other treatments patients may receive, such as pharmacotherapy. Therapeutic communities, or residential programs with planned lengths of stay of 6 to 12 months, offer another alternative to those in need of treatment for cocaine addiction. Therapeutic communities are often comprehensive, in that they focus on the resocialization of the individual to society, and can include on-site vocational rehabilitation and other supportive services. Therapeutic communities typically are used to treat patients with more severe problems, such as co-occurring mental health problems and criminal involvement. Ã¢â¬ (7) I chose cocaine as my research topic because I was not too familiar with this drug. I know people in my life who have used this drug; however, I did not know the details and treatment methods behind this addiction. Cocaine like any other addiction is very hard to overcome.