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Flying the Coop from Cocaine

In the final phase of cocaine intoxication, when suicide is likely, the victim cannot save himself by an effort of will. He has lost the power.John Carroll O’Connor (American actor, producer and director; August 2, 1924, June 21, 2001)

That sure describes the dreaded cocaine, adored by countless millions who consider it as a way to flaunt their riches or the quality of being different. Together with its aphrodisiacal qualities, it is difficult escaping the psychological dependency that cocaine gives rise to; by the time it’s realized, the system has already tuned itself physically to the melodies of the drug. Yet, this intensely powerful and addictive stimulant stays the choice of the rock stars and many of the socially eminent and is picked up by another few millions who idolize them. Euphoria, hyperactivity and mental alertness, all gel together creating an invisible steel barrier that soon confines a user within the barriers of relentless mental and physical problems.

A Schedule II drug, cocaine’s vaso-constrictive properties make cocaine desirable to the mass; its psycho-stimulating properties also bring about the addictive, euphoric effects. It alters the brain’s Dopamine D2-receptor stimulation, inducing an isolated and careless behavior boosted further by irregular sleeping patterns and an artificial high that also increases confidence temporarily. Now, these are a few things humans always crave and cocaine proves to be the easy way out from boredom, fatigue and in certain cases, a heightened desire to work. All these add up to better efficiency (no wonder the rock stars find cocaine an all-purpose medicine) for a short-term period, paving the ways for cocaine to become a staple in an addicts life.

But even cocaine addiction can be treated; with Benzodiazepines (any of several similar lipotropic amines used as tranquilizers, sedatives or muscle relaxants), patients can be restrained both psychologically and physically, thus lowering the chances for hyper-thermia, hypoxia and abnormally high acidity. With ventilatory support, the Benzodiazepines also remove any neuromuscular blockade that may occur in long-time abusers.

However, treating cocaine addiction requires more than a single drug therapy; hence, it’s GVG that’s also administered simultaneously with Benzodiazepines. GVG has shown some spectacular results in the treatment of epilepsy; often, these are sandwiched between the other two to block and deactivate the actions of cocaine on the brain.

For people i advanced stages of addiction, doctors are now also prescribing behavior therapies amalgamated with the medications. Now, we need to sit back and watch till what extent contingency administration and cognitive-behavioral treatment can take away cocaine addiction for a brighter future.

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