One of the most dangerous and widely abused drugs is cocaine, although they do not produce very severe physical dependent symptoms upon withdrawal. In the early 16th century, Francisco Pizzaro encountered the Inca; he found that royalty used the coca plant. This was the 1st contact Europeans had with this drug. In Peru this was considered to be “the gift of the Gods” (Craving for Ecstasy and Natural Highs: A Positive approach to mood Alteration Milkman, Sunderwirth) and was used in religious ceremonies as well for medicinal purposes.
It was claimed to be a brain tunic, and a cure for nervous affliction and in the 9th century was available over the counter and in Coca-Cola. Cocaine is also known as coke, blow, snow, flake, and a yay-yo. When you ingest it, you feel euphoria; increased energy, and alertness; reduced fatigue and appetite; constricted blood vessels; dilated pupils; increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Withdrawal Symptoms include fatigue, lack of pleasure, anxiety, irritability, sleepiness, agitation or extreme suspicion cravings and depression.
Also adverse overdose reactions to cocaine are paranoid psychosis, auditory hallucinations, heart attacks, chest pain and repertory failure, strokes, seizures, headaches, astrointestinal complementation’s, such as abdominal pain and nausea. The use of Cocaine in adolescence, a developmentally critical period for the cortical areas of the brain, is especially detrimental, as research has shown that it can be more addicting than if it was started in adulthood. Changes in the brain put teenagers at a higher risk for drug seeking behaviors.
Cocaine interferes with the normal growth of dendrites, especially in the area of the brain involved in learning and attention. Cocaine exerts its effects on the brain by increasing the amount of dopamine flowing into the nucleus acumens. (Milkman, Sunderwirth pg. 173). Many adolescents do not notice when they move past use (experimenting) to abuse (causing harm) and then addiction (needing the drug to feel normal). (The Developing Person through the Life Span. Berger 7th Edition pg. 386) In my experience, I used cocaine at very early age; this is why I chose this topic.
Once I started using, I couldn’t stop and I tried different ways like hanging out with different people, going to different places, doing different things, and even rehab after rehab since the age of 14 did not stop my wanting to use every day. I robbed my parents of money and sleep. I took from them until they had nothing to give. I was ishonest to everyone around me including myself. I was selfish and self-centered to the extreme. I felt like the world owed me something and that the world revolved around me. My family and friends wanted nothing to do with me.
They disowned me, took my daughter from me, and put me out on the street. It was at that point that I felt hopeless and depressed and was willing to do something different. I had no idea at the time that God was going to change my life dramatically. I went to an NA meeting, and a woman there shared her story. It gave me hope and a will to live and even though I didn’t know it I wanted to stop drinking and using orever, I did know I didn’t want to die anymore. That to me was the biggest miracle I had ever felt.
This woman became my sponsor and gave me love and compassion and best of all clear-cut directions on how to live a clean and sober life. The only treatment options I know that work are the 12 steps and helping others the way I was helped by putting my hand out to the still sick and suffering addict or alcoholic. The steps are a design for living. They are a spiritual solution for a spiritual malady. They have taught me principals to which I stand for and teach my children. I ried rehab, partial programs, halfway houses, recovery houses, and even spent the time in Jail.