Cocaine that is derived from the leaves of the coca plant is a stimulant drug. It enhances the effects of a chemical in the brain called dopamine which leads to a sense of increased energy and power and also causes a pleasurable sensation.
The increased use of cocaine can lead to the following side effects and can cause long-term damage to your body, including:
- Rapid breathing
- Fast heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Severe anxiety
- Problems sleeping
- Impaired judgment
- Sudden death from cardiac arrest.
Addiction to Cocaine
Cocaine as the drug has few medicinal uses but these days it is being misused. Cocaine misuse quickly leads to cocaine addiction for many. Statistics show that approximately 25% of those who start using cocaine for pleasure will develop an addiction to cocaine. Many times people addicted to cocaine do not even realize that they have an addiction and will remain in a state of denial.
Talking of India, Cocaine dependence in India generally revolves around the elite economic class. The drug has taken on a certain status symbol, increasing its popularity and availability.
Cocaine is addictive due to the physical and psychological effects or a combination of these two effects that it has on the brain.
Physical Addiction to Cocaine
Physical addiction means dependence on cocaine by a person to continue functioning normally as the brain and body become adjusted to the chemical changes that cocaine causes. It creates a craving for a person who is irresistible and sometimes the overdose leads to death.
Psychological Addiction to Cocaine
Psychological addiction means to fulfill a psychological need by increasing stimulation and energy and making the person using cocaine feel better about interacting in social situations and overcome feelings of inadequacy or depression.
Therapies and Approaches to Cocaine Abuse Treatment
As the drug clears from the system, the treatment helps maintain continuous sobriety. This shift can involve medications and therapies. A commonly used therapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) which involves changing the underlying motivations that are behind our behaviors so that we can make a change in our behavior. To ensure that sobriety is maintained, long-term treatment will involve a follow-up.
According to one study, about 60% to 78% of those who attempted to quit using cocaine on their own experienced a setback.
Exercise as an important factor to combat cocaine addiction: Recent study
According to a recent study, regular aerobic exercise (one hour on a treadmill, five times a week) can decrease stress-induced cocaine-seeking behavior. Also, exercise can help prevent relapses into cocaine addiction by altering behavioral and physiological responses to stress.
A senior research scientist in the UB Research Institute on Addictions and Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Thanos, explained, “Cocaine addiction is often characterized by cycles of recovery and relapse, with stress and negative emotions, often caused by withdrawal itself, among the major causes of relapse,”
Addiction to cocaine alters neural, behavioral and physiological responses to stress by an individual. Recent research demonstrated how the mesolimbic dopamine pathway, which is linked to the rewarding and reinforcing properties of drugs such as cocaine can be altered by exercise.
The study further stated that “exercise has been shown to reduce stress hormones and elevate mood, which could assist in alleviating anxiety and negative emotions associated with withdrawal,”
Studies already have shown that aerobic exercise (also known as “cardio”) is an effective strategy against many physical health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis, along with certain mental health issues, such as stress, anxiety, and depression and now it has been proven in the study that exercise can act as a factor to help a person get rid of this toxic, dangerous and sometimes ultimate fatal addiction.
However, Thanos further added that “Our results suggest that regular aerobic exercise could be a useful strategy for relapse prevention, as part of a comprehensive treatment program for recovering cocaine abusers. Further research is necessary to see if these results also hold true for other addictive drugs.”