Nicholas King
Counselling for Harrow, Pinner & Ruislip

(The information below has been reproduced from "Drug Facts" National Institute on Drug Abuse https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cocaine)


Cocaine. Cocaine

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that comes from the leaves of the Coca bush. It is a white powder that is usually snorted (inhaled through the nose) but can also be dissolved in water and injected. Powder cocaine can be chemically changed to create forms of cocaine that can be smoked.

Cocaine is used as a recreational drug but for some people it can develop into a habit that is hard to break and comes to dominate day-to-day living. If you feel you are struggling with an addiction it's probably a good idea to think about getting some help rather than struggle on alone. Whatever problems you are experiencing it makes sense to talk things with someone who can help you consider your options impartially and without judgement. This can be especially true if it feels like you've become dependent on a substance and are unsure how to make some changes in your life.


What effect does cocaine have on the body and brain?

Cocaine produces a high by increasing levels of the natural chemical messenger dopamine in brain circuits controlling pleasure and movement. Normally, the brain releases dopamine in these circuits in response to potential rewards, like the smell of good food. It then recycles back into the cell that released it, shutting off the signal between nerve cells. Cocaine prevents dopamine from recycling, causing it to build up between nerve cells. This flood of dopamine causes cocaine’s high.

Short-term effects include:
constricted blood vessels
nausea
faster heartbeat
extreme happiness and energy
irritability
paranoia


Long-term effects can include:
nosebleeds
malnourishment
restlessness
paranoia


Health issues associated with using Cocaine

Many people who use cocaine also drink alcohol at the same time, which is particularly risky and can lead to overdose. Some of the most frequent and severe health consequences leading to overdose involve the heart and blood vessels, including irregular heart rhythm and heart attacks, and the nerves, including seizures and strokes.

Source: "Drug Facts" National Institute on Drug Abuse https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cocaine


What is the treatment for Cocaine Addiction?

If you are experiencing problems with a cocaine addiction the first step to recovery is to recognize your difficulties and ask for help. Achieving any form of change requires commitment and you need to feel that you are ready to embrace the challenge this will entail. It's worth remembering that achieving change is always much more effective if the motivation comes from within us rather than being insisted upon by those around us but if you genuinely want to break free from dependency there's every reason to feel optimistic about your chances of success. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is often used to treat a range of addictions and can be very effective. CBT works by exploring the thought processes and behaviours we have developed that keep an addiction going. Using techniques and interventions CBT encourages us to challenge unhelpful behaviours and develop new strategies and coping mechanisms to support us in breaking free from habits that may have got out of control. Through regular practice you will find that it is possible to adopt new ways of thinking about your addiction and evolve useful behaviours that will enable you to manage cravings and help you steer a new path.


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