Cocaine Addiction, Counselling, and Treatment, West Sussex.
Is your cocaine use causing you problems?
In a recent news article in the Guardian newspaper, it reported that according to a European wide survey the UK has the highest use of cocaine in Europe.
Across Europe, approximately 1.9% of young adults between the age of 15 to 34 admitted to using cocaine in the last year. According to the report, 4.2% of the U.K.’s population, between the ages of 15 to 34, have used cocaine within the last year.
In the past decade, cocaine use has increased in popularity and has become “the cool drug to use”. Once thought to be the drug of the champagne society and celebrities, in the past 20 years, cocaine use has quadrupled in the UK.
Undoubtedly, The use of cocaine has changed, and cocaine has lost its elitist label. Cocaine is one of the most widely available drugs in the UK; even though it is a class A drug.
According to a recent survey carried out by the UK government’s drug advisory board, revealed that there seems to be a two-level system operating in the UK; where the pure high-grade cocaine goes to the people who can most afford it “the rich and the famous”. Conversely, low-grade, high impurity, cocaine going to the general public; This is often called” pub grub” by users. Often when low-grade cocaine is seized, by drug enforcement agencies, it is found to be around 10% pure cocaine with the rest of the powder bulked out with anything from baby powder to caffeine.
Undoubtedly, cocaine is a powerful stimulant, In which use can often start out as a fun and exciting thing to do, but soon the user can find themselves using increasing levels of cocaine and frequently this takes over their life.
Is cocaine addictive?
There is lots of evidence to support that cocaine is psychologically addictive. Something takes place called “neuro adaption”. Essentially, our brains are made up of billions of nerve cells, which make up networks. Each nerve cell has what is known as a “synaptic gap”. It is across this gap that information is passed via an electrical impulse from nerve cell to nerve cell. Between these gaps, there are chemical’s called neurotransmitters which help the electrical impulse flow from one nerve cell to another. One network is dedicated to pleasure; impulses are passed to this area when we do something which is essential for survival such as eat, drink or have sex. During normal functioning, when we do something good, a chemical messenger called dopamine is released into the brain, rewarding us for doing something which is essential to survival. The synapses then absorb this neurotransmitter, ready for us to do something good next time.
The way that cocaine works is that it hijacks the reward area of the brain, which is deep in something called the limbic system. The way that cocaine works is that it induces more dopamine production. Furthermore, a secondary effect cocaine has it for dopamine to be blocked from being re-uptaken by the synapses. Fundamentally, Cocaine induces the brain to hold dopamine, flooding the brain with feel-good chemicals. With this much dopamine in the brain, The brain goes into overdrive producing a sensory euphoria, giving the user the feeling of invulnerability, and power for male users, while female users often talk about the feeling of satisfaction warmth and relaxation while using cocaine. Extensive research has found that repeatedly taking a drug such as cocaine will over time cause neural adaption; In essence, Cocaine hijacks the brain’s reward system and in turn, neuro adaption takes place. Undoubtedly, after repeated use the physiological effects of cocaine dwindle and to obtain a high one has to increase the amount of cocaine used. As the amount of cocaine consumed and the duration of the binge increases, the pleasurable effects are often replaced by unpleasant side effects.
Cocaine: Side effects: Physiological.
Linked negatively with cocaine use is the inflammation of the sinuses. It has been well documented that when cocaine is refined from coca leaf’s, in makeshift “laboratories” chemicals are used to extract the pure cocaine from the leaf; often these are caustic soda, sulphuric acid, and kerosene; some makeshift “Laboratories” add cement, to the mix. It is easy to see that snorting these chemicals, with cocaine can cause severe damage to the delicate issues of the sinus membranes LINK (a short video on how cocaine is made)
Another physiological side-effect of cocaine is that it triggers something in the brain called autophagy. In essence, your brain starts digesting the synaptic connections it feels it does not need, because of the increased levels of dopamine production. Autophagy is the body’s way of sweeping out unused and redundant synaptic connections which it feels it will not need again; this happens during puberty when the brain goes through what is called synapses pruning. It is not known, whether this cannibalisation of the brain is reversible, though there are strong indications to say that it is. LINK (A short video on autophagy)
An added side effect that cocaine has is the physiological effects on the body. Mixing cocaine with alcohol produces something called Cocaethylene which is formed in the liver when alcohol and cocaine are mixed. Cocaethylene stays in the body longer than cocaine, on its own thus increasing stress on the heart and the liver. Cocaethylene has been linked with sudden deaths sometimes 12 hours after taking cocaine. LINK ( link to the facts Cocaethylene)
Added to the above physiological effects, during cocaine use, the users will often feel anxious or panicky. A phenomenon often reported by regular users of cocaine is that they will often pace or fidget and generally feel restless; other side-effects often noted by users is grinding of the teeth, insomnia, loss of sex drive, and neglecting personal hygiene.
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Cocaine Side Effects: Psychological.
An additional side-effect of cocaine is dysphoria: depression, discontent, discontentedness, discontentment, many users report anguish when they are coming down from using cocaine. It is not unheard of for users of cocaine have high levels of anxiety, suspicion and paranoia (Platt, 1997). An added side-effect of dysphoria is the inability to concentrate or maintain thoughts while having a conversation. Cocaine users have reported a general preoccupation with personal problems.
A little-known side effect of long-term cocaine use is tactile hallucinations, in which the user reports insects crawling under their skin; in some extreme cases, users have been known to try to cut out the insects with a knife.
Cocaine use during pregnancy
During pregnancy, if a woman was to use cocaine she would be putting her unborn baby at serious risk. In normal use, cocaine enters the bloodstream, normally through ingestion through the nasal passages it then enters the bloodstream. When a woman is pregnant the mother and the baby share the same blood supply so in effect the baby would be absorbing cocaine. Furthermore, Cocaine collects in the embryonic fluid surrounding the baby. Since an unborn baby is constantly ingesting this fluid the baby is also ingesting cocaine. Cocaine affects the flow of blood around the body, effectively reducing this. There are concerns that using cocaine during pregnancy can cause birth defects due to irregular blood flow. LINK ( a short video on using cocaine during pregnancy)
How can we help manage your cocaine addiction recovery?
At Eleos counselling we have many years’ experience helping people with cocaine addiction in the Crawley, Horsham, Haywards Heath and East Grinstead West Sussex area. Furthermore, Eleos counselling has been helping people in the Horley and Redhill Surrey area. We also offer therapy to support your addiction recovery helping you become self-supporting on your journey to recovery.
What do I do now?
If you would like to know, more you can click on one of the local links in the side menu, and you will go to a unique page for your area. Click Horsham or Crawley, East Grinstead & Haywards Heath, West Sussex. Alternatively, Horley and Redhill Surrey, to go to the page for that area.
One of the exclusive features Eleos counselling offers is that you can now book your appointments online so that you can choose a time for your session, which is convenient for you. Just go to the bottom of the page and press the book now button
Platt, J. (1997). Cocaine Addiction; Theory, Research, and Treatment