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The Effects of Cocaine on the Brain

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Cocaine Addiction Tonya Hall Research Writing/COM 220 May 16, 2010 Felecia Squires Cocaine addiction affects an entire family because a person’s drug abuse can have a deep impact on the lives of the people close to them. Cocaine Addiction Before the decision is made to experiment with drugs does the abuser stop to think? How many children have gone hungry because they have parents who are addicted to drugs? How many parents have stayed up at night wondering where their drug addicted child is? Drug addiction has torn families apart.

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Children are forced to switch roles with their drug addicted parents and parents are forced to cut ties with their drug addicted children. Families are held hostage to an addiction because of a loved ones decision to abuse illicit drugs. When a person abuses drugs, it not only affects his or her live but the lives of everyone around him or her. Drug addiction is not an individual thing, it is a family thing.

Cocaine does not discriminate it effects people from every walk of life. It does not care about race, sex, or religion.

Cocaine does not concern itself with how wealthy a person may be. Cocaine does not care where a person lives. Cocaine addiction can strike anywhere and anytime and once a person becomes addicted to cocaine it will take over their life. Jimmy came from an all American family. As a child he excelled in every sport he participated in. His family and friends always knew he would be successful no matter what path he chose to travel. When Jimmy received a full scholarship to attend The University of California no one was surprised because he was just as intelligent as he was athletic.

With such a promising future how did Jimmy go from an educated college graduate that everyone loved and adored to a lying cheating thief no one wanted to be around. It wasn’t that his family and friends stopped loving him they just couldn’t stand to see him throw his life away for his new love. Jimmy was addicted to cocaine and his addiction was tearing his family apart. In her hometown of New Brunswick Tyesha was envied by all the mothers in the community. She had the perfect husband, well mannered children, and a body to die for.

Tyesha was well respected within her community. She was the owner of Doe Communications, president at her son’s school, cheerleading coach at her daughter’s school, and founder of Drug-Free-Zone, a group who educates teenagers about the dangers of prescription drugs. From the outside looking in it seem like Tyesha had it all but what people didn’t know was Tyesha and her family was hiding a secret, a deep dark secret they could no longer contain because Tyesha’s cocaine addition was spiraling out of control and her family didn’t know how to help her.

It seem like Chad was destined for trouble no matter how hard he tried to avoid it trouble always found him. He started experimenting with drugs when he was 10. By the time he was 14 he was already snorting cocaine. He lies all the time, steals money from his mother’s purse and take items from the house. He does all of this to feed his addiction to cocaine. His family doesn’t want to give up on him but they are divided about what to do to help him overcome this addiction. His addiction has split the family down the middle some wanting to continue enabling him and others wanting to let him go completely.

The one thing they do agree on is if Chad continues down this path of destruction his actions would result in his death. A person’s cocaine addiction creates disorder and chaos for the entire family. When a person succumbs to the addiction of cocaine family responsibilities are pushed to the back burner. The addiction then becomes priority over everything that was once important. Children are neglected, abandoned, and in some cases mentally and physically abused (Nazario, 1997). Cocaine addition causes a person who once enjoyed spending time with family to become isolated and withdrawn because they would rather e doing drugs with other addicts. Drug use is very harmful because it will eventually take over a person’s life. When a person becomes desperate to use drugs he or she, will do anything to get them. They will steal money or items to sell to get their hands on drugs (Winkel, 2009). A drug addict will do just about anything including lying, stealing and cheating to feed their need to abuse drugs. This type of behavior can change a family’s financial status very quickly. The addict will not think twice about damaging relationships with loved ones if it meant they would be able to get high.

Any drug abuse can end in disaster but cocaine is the most addictive drug on the illicit drug market. If you suspect someone close to you is using cocaine there are warning signs to look for. If a family member or friend goes from being a responsible, energetic, outgoing, fun to be around individual to a person who become withdrawn, loss of interest in hobbies, have behavior changes, or need money more often then it is likely that they are using cocaine. Even though it may be hard to distinguish if a person is addicted to cocaine there are warning signs to look for.

The most common warning signs of cocaine abuse are: nose bleeds – cocaine destroys the membranes inside the nose causing the nose to bleed and feel runny; low energy – after excessive cocaine use, users are will sleep for long periods at a time; change in finances – Cocaine is an expensive habit and many people will quickly diminish their cash flow to support the addiction; withdrawn from family and friends – cocaine addiction will consume the life of the addict, things that were important take second place to the addiction; change in friends – constantly changing friends to stay around other addicts; and panic attacks – Cocaine changes the way the brain functions this change can lead to psychological symptoms, which may cause panic attacks or paranoia (7 Ways to Spot Someone with a Cocaine Addiction). Like any extreme use of drugs long term cocaine abuse can lead to serious health problems. Excessive use of Cocaine will eventually cause physical harm to the body.

Cocaine disrupts the brain’s reward system by blocking the dopamine transporters, preventing them from taking up the dopamine for recycling (Stimulant addiction: stimulants, such as cocaine, present serious health risk–they can damage the brain and the body, 2009). Dopamine is a neurotransmitter formed in the brain. Increased levels are caused by cocaine, narcotics, and alcohol. An increased level also causes the euphoria and excitement (“high”) experienced by addicts. Continued use of cocaine keeps the brain from storing and using chemical messengers that create these good feelings. Because you lack a way to use these natural chemical messengers, at times you may feel depressed. As a result, you build up a craving for more cocaine and the good feeling that follows the consumption of it (Cocaine dependence. (Women’s Health Advisor 2009. 3)(Disease/Disorder overview), 2010).

At some point you become dependent upon cocaine. It is this dependency that causes long term use and eventually health problems. According to (N. S. , 1999) Cocaine abuse sends more people to hospital emergency rooms than any other illegal drug. Some health complications that may occur from abuse of cocaine are: heart attack, stroke, damage to skin on the inside of the nose; permanent runny nose, contraction of diseases, such as hepatitis C and HIV if needles are shared; frequent bloody noses and seizures. With any drug use there are side effects but when a person chooses to abuse cocaine it increases the risk of some very serious heath problems.

If someone you know is using cocaine there are places he or she can go to get help with his or her addiction. There are treatment centers committed to providing private treatment to individuals and their family members suffering from addictions. They have treatment programs geared toward recovery, philosophy, and psychology. Patients are educated in balancing a rewarding lifestyle through, healthy eating, spiritual reflection, and managing stress (Casa Palmera, 2009). Most of the treatment centers have both inpatient and outpatient programs. Programs are tailored to fit an individuals needs. They set each patient up with a sponsor who he or she can call on anytime the urge to get high arises.

They also have family support groups to help throughout the transition back into a drug free life. Family support groups consist of parents, wives, husbands, children, uncle aunts, cousins or close friends of someone who is addicted to cocaine and other chemical drugs. They get together to share strength, hope, and experience. They also learn how to cope with the difficulties of dealing with a loved one who is addicted to cocaine. Family support groups are a way for families and friends to bond with other people who are going through similar situations. Because addiction is such a complicated thing to understand it is good to share experiences

Addiction is a complicated disease considered to be compulsive behavior. Many cocaine addicts admit to trying to achieve the same “high” they felt the first time they tried cocaine. What they do not realize is by using cocaine over an extended period they have developed a tolerance to cocaine making it more difficult for them to achieve that same pleasure they felt the first time they tried it. This process of thinking is known as chasing the high. People who are addicted cannot control the overwhelming need for drugs, even though the use of drugs comes with negative consequences. To the non-addict this type of self-destructive behavior is hard to understand.

It doesn’t matter who it is, repeated cocaine use will have an effect on the functioning of the brain. This is why cocaine use is so dangerous and addictive. Cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs on the illicit drug market, and one of the more serious side effects from using cocaine is the way it changes how the brain works. The change in the functioning of the brain makes it hard to win the battle of cocaine addiction. I believe the best way to avoid cocaine addiction is to prevent it from happening but the most effective way of preventing cocaine addiction is to never try cocaine. It is always hard to go against the grind and I believe that is why people experiment with cocaine.

It is not easy being different because being different have always been perceived as weird or strange. I believe this is why people fall into the trap of experimenting with cocaine. The next time someone offers an illicit drug and says everyone is doing it will you blend into the background with everyone else or will you decide to stand out as an individual and just say no? Drugs have contributed to more than 21. 8% of the deaths that occurred in Kansas City MO in 2007. Figure 1: A survey detailing the amount of drug related deaths in Kansas City, MO By Dawn 2007 area profiles of drug-related mortality Cocaine was among the top five causes of deaths in Kansas City Mo.

Figure 2: A survey detailing the top five drugs that contributed to deaths in Kansas City, MO By Dawn 2007 area profiles of drug-related mortality (2009). Retrieved April 28, 2010, from Casa Palmera: http://www. casapalmera. com/about/mission-statement. php 7 Ways to Spot Someone with a Cocaine Addiction. (n. d. ). Retrieved April 24, 2010, from Michaels House: http://www. michaelshouse. com/cocaine-addiction/7-ways-spot-someone-cocaine-addiction. html Cocaine dependence. (Women’s Health Advisor 2009. 3)(Disease/Disorder overview). (2010, February 1). Retrieved May 15, 2010, from Health and wellness Resource Center: http://galenet. galegroup. com/servlet/HWRC/hits? ocNum=A218207126&index5=FT&index4=FT&index3=FT&index2=FT&index1=FT&tcit=1_1_1_1_1_1&locID=&rlt=1&text5=behavior&text4=impulsive&text3=causes&op4=AND&text2= N. S. (1999). Aneurysms frequent in cocaine users. Science News , 347. Stimulant addiction: stimulants, such as cocaine, present serious health risk–they can damage your brain and your body. (2009, February 16). New York Times Upfront , p. 14. Winkel, B. (2009, December 11). Devastating Effects of Drugs. Retrieved April 26, 2010, from Treatment Solutions Network: http://www. treatmentsolutionsnetwork. com/blog/index. php/2009/12/11/devastating-effects-of-drugs/#

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The Effects of Cocaine on the Brain. (2018, Jun 13). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-effects-of-cocaine-on-the-brain-essay/

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