Cocaine Addiction

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Biology 202
2004 Second Web Paper
On Serendip

Cocaine Addiction

Shirley Ramirez

Addiction to cocaine is amongst the most severe health problems facing the United States. For example, in 1997 there were approximately 1.5 million Americans twelve years and older that were chronic cocaine users (1). The question presented, then, is given how negative and damaging cocaine is to a user's health and society as a whole why is it that people addicted to cocaine have great difficulty quitting? One possible answer to this question is biological; namely that cocaine alters the normal state of the brain making it difficult to quit. Two properties which make cocaine one of the most addictive popularly used drugs is that it is reinforcing when administered acutely, but also produces obsessive use if administered chronically (2). However, arguments can be made that cocaine addict's perpetual abuse of the drug is, at least in part, a result of social factors. In other words, it is not only cocaine's biological effects on the brain that makes it difficult for addicts to give up the use of the drug. If the fact that perpetual cocaine abuse resulted from biological and social factors was better understood and more widely accepted, we would be able to better help cocaine addicts quit using the drug.

In order to combat cocaine addiction we must first understand what addiction is. The World Health Organization defines addiction as a "behavioral pattern of compulsive drug characterized by overwhelming involvement with the use of the drug, the securing of its supply, and a high tendency to relapse after withdrawal (3). There is an established sequence of events that defines addiction. First, there are the euphoria effects that the drug of abuse produces. Second, tolerance develops, meaning that the addict needs more and more of the drug to produce an affect. Finally, there is physical dependence, in which the addict feels they need the drug to survive; they are addicted. Under this definition a person can theoretically be addicted to almost any substance, for example chocolate. However, while it may be difficult for a person to refrain from eating chocolate all would concede that it is much more difficult to quit cocaine once addicted. The question is why this is the case.

Like chocolate, cocaine is associated to the nucleus accumbens. The nucleus accumbens is known as the brains pleasure center since several studies demonstrate that pleasurable stimulus, such as sex, food and other drugs of abuse, cause an increase in activity in this are of the brain (4). The mesoaccumbens dopamine (DA) pathway, which extends from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the midbrain to the nucleus accumbens (NAc), has been linked to the reinforcing effects of cocaine. This was found through intracranial self-stimulation, a process which consisted of implanting electrodes into different regions of an animal's brain, and demonstrated that when dopamine is involved reinforcement of the behavior increased (2). In essence, this shows that pleasurable events, such as sex, chocolate consumption and cocaine abuse are accompanied by a large increase in the amounts of dopamine released in the nucleus accumbens.

Given the similarities in which pathways are activated, why is it that the use of cocaine is more difficult to quit when compared to other fore mentioned pleasurable events? A person addicted to chocolate and cocaine both will have excess amount of dopamine released from the nucleus accumbens, but both individuals will react to that biological circumstance differently. The initial effects of both the chocolate and cocaine will be euphoria, but after these pleasurable stimuli are removed the individual addicted to cocaine will experience very severe physical withdrawal effects, whereas the individual addicted to chocolate will be able to cope with its loss. Is that due to the fact that the excess dopamine is derived from different pathways? Is the initial euphoria effect stronger in cocaine? It is clear that at least part of the answer lies in the way that cocaine biologically affects the brain.

In the dopamine pathway of individuals not addicted to cocaine, dopamine is released by a transmitting neuron into the synapse, where it binds to receptors in the postsynaptic neuron, propagating a signal. After the binding has occurred, the dopamine reuptake transporters (DAT) of the presynaptic cell reuptake the remaining unused dopamine back into the cell (5).

As mentioned earlier, cocaine's major effects are thought to be due to action on dopamenergic systems. In addicted individuals, cocaine has the ability to bind to the dopamine reuptake transporters (DAT), therefore, blocking them from reuptaking dopamine, consequently resulting in an accumulation of dopamine in the synapse. This accumulation of dopamine causes continuous stimulation of the post-synaptic neuron, resulting in the euphoria commonly reported by cocaine abusers. Cocaine also affects serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake transporters, enhancing the levels of these neurotransmitters in the cell (6). The latter is important since researchers speculate that more than one neurotransmitter is responsible for the pleasurable feeling cocaine provides. In addition, cocaine simulates the "fight or flight" response, by increasing activity of the sympathetic nervous system, due to its action on norepinephrine transport (7). Some of the increased activity is illustrated by constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils and increased heart rate as well as blood pressure. In other words, cocaine has a great variety of biological effects on the brain which lead to a very strong addiction.

Cocaine's biological effects on the brain also make it very difficult for an addict to quit abusing it. When an individual becomes addicted to cocaine the repeated euphoric responses to the drug alters the brain, creating a dependency within the addict's brain. The individual will therefore, continue to take cocaine to re-experience the extreme euphoric effects of cocaine. Also, addicts continue to take cocaine because after cocaine administration dopamine levels decrease significantly compared to normal pre-consumption levels. Therefore the addict feels a "low" and the immediate response to ease this low is to administer more cocaine to raise the dopamine levels. It is clear then that a significant reason why addicts find it difficult to quit cocaine is because their brains are biologically altered. In a sense, it could be said that the brain is no longer biologically whole in that it no longer produces dopamine levels in the way it once did.

The fact that addicts develop tolerance or sensitization to cocaine also makes it difficult to quit abusing the drug. After chronic administration of cocaine the brain reduces the number of dopamine receptors on the dendrites of neurons. As a result, there is less stimulation of the nerves in the dopamine pathway. This physical change in the brain alters the way it responds to different doses of cocaine. This is where tolerance develops in many addicts, wherein a larger dose is needed to attain the same euphoric effects initially experienced. Other addicts experience sensitization, in which the user becomes more responsive to cocaine without increasing the dose. Recent research has investigated why some addicts experience sensitization and others tolerance. Is it due to different brain make-up or is it due to manner of administration of the drug? In either case it is still clear that both of these phenomenon's present yet another biological hurdle that a user must overcome when quitting cocaine.

However, the obstacles a cocaine abuser faces when trying to quit her or his abusive tendencies are not exclusively biological. The cocaine abuser also faces several psychological/social barriers in the path to becoming drug free. After constant administration of cocaine the phenomenon known as place conditioning becomes activated. The place conditioning theory suggests that the environment in which you administer cocaine will be associated with the act of cocaine use (8). For example, if a drug addict purchases cocaine at a specific grocery shop and experiences the drug effect shortly thereafter, eventually the grocery shop becomes linked in the mind of the drug addict to the rewarding effects of cocaine (8). This has been extensively proven in animal models, where rats return to the environment where they administered cocaine. In humans, place conditioning might cause addicts to have an overdose. This is because addicts are accustomed to administering the drug in a particular environment and begin to associate the rewards of the cocaine to the environment itself. Therefore, in a different environment, not associated with the administration of cocaine, the same dose will produce a larger effect because the environmental cues are not associated with the rewards of the drug. Perhaps more significantly, this demonstrates that the environment can itself lead to a greater addiction to cocaine since the environmental stimuli will constantly remind the user of the pleasurable effects of cocaine.

It follows then that the difficulty in quitting cocaine cannot be 100 percent biological. If addiction was only biological then place conditioning would not be an issue. All too often the view that brain=behavior, meaning, that brain elicits behavior, is acceptable as complete. However, in this instance the environmental stimulus has the power to elicit brain stimulation ending in craving of cocaine, demonstrating that biological and social/environmental factors are deeply intertwined and each play a role in rendering cocaine incredibly addictive.

Most relapses occur when an individual returns to the environment where he/she would administer the drug. Exposure to such cues and stimuli reminds the addict of the feeling and taste of cocaine therefore, they will begin to crave cocaine. But how exactly do the environmental stimuli trigger the drug craving? Recent research has brought forth that the extended amygdala might play a major role in "in context" craving. The extended amygdala is part of the limbic system, a region of the brain associated with memories and emotions. Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse believe that it is in the extended amygdala where memories relating to drug administration are converted into craving for that specific drug (8). As mentioned earlier, memories give rise to craving when the environment where cocaine is abused becomes a conditioned stimulus. The latter is the reason why so many people relapse and continue to be addicted.

Unfortunately, to date there is no one treatment that will eliminate addiction or all characteristics associated with addiction. Perhaps finding a treatment to cocaine addiction has not been overly successful because researchers do not fully account for the biological and social factors which make it extremely difficult to quit using this drug. It follows that a combination of medical treatment (to address biological factors) and counseling (to address the social factors) would be most beneficial to addicts. Drugs are being developed aiming at blocking cocaine from binding to the dopamine transporters allowing for the reuptake of dopamine, which may prove very effective at stabilizing the biological factors. However, such medication alone will not suffice. In terms of combating the social factors, the most effective counseling is "cocaine-specific skills training" which consist of identifying the environments and stimuli that triggers craving in order to control and avoid such stimuli (4).

The problem of cocaine addiction in America will not disappear overnight. However, a greater understanding of why cocaine addiction is so uniquely strong will help lead to discovering a better understanding of how to combat it. It is important to understand that both biological and social factors work together to form cocaine's powerful addiction. As such any effective treatment must aim to counteract both. As such, we must first fully understand cocaine addiction and its properties before we can hope to eradicate it.

 

References:
1) NIDA Home Page,Various information about Cocaine. Specifically Statistics.

2) Article on Addiction, Describes biology of Addiction.

3) Substance Abuse Facts

4) National Institute of Health., Various information about cocaine addiction and health hazards, treatments etc.

5) Effects of Cocaine Biologically

6) More information about Cocaine and how it effects your neurotransmission

7) Research on Cocaine

8) Amygdala and Memories

 

 

Continuing conversation
(to contribute your own observations/thoughts, post a comment below)

09/27/2005, from a Reader on the Web

As a 16 year old watching many of my friends, including some of my own family members snort their lives and pocketbooks away, I believe that the best way to combat and control the cocaine addiction this country is exposed to, is to start with the young population.... 12+ in age preferably... If the money flow is controlled and watched by parents and even the government in general, the ability to purchase the drug in the first place will be greatly reduced... We cant be naieve... We know just as well that the government isnt doing much to control the problem as it is... I guarantee Kilos and Kilos of the drug are brought in to the country or even harvested on our own soil daily... Be smart. Follow the drug addictee's nose... Only time shall tell whether or not the future plans on this problem even surrounding me, will elimiate an almost invincible foe... I have the feeling the government and local law enforcement agencies are going to need to hire a few more hands to combat this problem... Until such a time, we have to rely on the fact that yes, yes it does indeed kill you... slowly, but almost certainly... One day, the addictees will realize that the end outcome of this social and biological addiction is their own downfall... and lastly... The word on the streets and from the people I know who do infact snort almost a gram of that crap daily is that some of the cocaine coming into california is laced with some particular poison, which when snorted will cause an almost instantaneous death... Perhaps this, among other factors including that soon enough this dirty cocaine will reach all corners of the united states... a subtle warning brought on by the poor souls already dead from the crap... Glad to make my point... Sincerely,

 

Additional comments made prior to 2007
I sniff cocaine but i do it every 2 weeks On PARTY, CLUB Times or such.. I also smoke marijuana every 3-5 days so i dont think that being Addictive on cocaine is a MIND CONTROLING DRUG? How dont I run for cash and purchase every dose i need, I fight it! either i sleep or i do not think about the high that i had last night, eventhough it feels kinda good but it doesnt Trust me it gives you alot of emotionaly involved problems as with family,spouse,even your own children. i assume that cocaine is not addictive as Heroin,crack, etc.. But yet People still do it without thinking and they get so obsessed with the high they have when they try it the 1st time and yet they "Chase-the-high" that they had the first time. The high on 1st try is recognised as soon as they snort it it's like a bullet that nearly hits your head and somehow you survive. the blood vessels get clogged and heart starts beating the way you want it to beat. the problems i have are: Nose burn, Sinus enlargment(unnoticable) but very dangerous for people that do not know how to threat it. So please i would like to see where does my point end? ... Arnes, 10 May 2006

 

 

I once was a user of this "crap" as well. All my life (before I used it) I always promised myself that I would never even look at it because I watched my brothers life go down the drain from it along with a few of my cousins lives. After seperating from my husband I met someone who was a user and I thought I would just try it for the fun of it. It doesn't work like that!!! Within a couple months my whole life was based around smoking coke. I had a job and was attending college but I couldn't get out of bed in the morning to go because I had been up till 5 in the morning smoking that crap.So I ended up dropping out of college and I quit my job! Luckily I wasn't too far gone. After it seems that I had hit rock bottom I found myself on my knees preying to God to forgive me for my sins and to help me outta this mess, That very same day I was healed from my coke addiction and my life is now based around the Lord.You may be able to try and heal yourself but The Lord is the only One who can truley heal you. If you do it yourself then you'll only end up substituting it for something else. You have to have faith that the Lord has (by grace) already healed you then you need to receive it and ONLY then will you be healed and delivered from that addiction or from ANY stronghold that satin may have on you. Just think about this... It's worth a try right? God Blesses! ... Cheryl, 5 March 2007

Comments

Ruined's picture

Done with the drama

I dated a guy for two years (broke up two months ago) and now he won't leave me alone. He's a huge cocaine addict, never will admit it. Acts all sweet and nice to my face when he's sober (and usually when he wants something), then turns into a belligerent a$$hole when he's been doing drugs. He lied to me throughout our entire relationship.

He's weak-minded, can't say no to his nosecandy, and acts all delusional and paranoid. Yes, even when we aren't together, he still tries to find things to accuse me of (even when we were together, i'd be accused of just about anything). If I ignore his calls, he shows up at my work (asking for money, a ride, help etc.) Everyone says get a restraining order, what does a piece of paper do? He's never going to stop and he's ruining my life. I've tried to change my number, and guess what? He just calls my parents OR my work anyway! All I have been is helpful and supportive, but trying to keep my distance. It doesn't work! He feels he needs to call me everyday anyway JUST BECAUSE and then I have to deal with the fear of going to work because HE will show up randomly.

The best part? I gave him many, many chances to clean up his life when we were together. He failed, it's his fault but he'll always twist it around to make it my fault. It's my fault for not being "supportive" enough, it's my fault for not keeping his money on his payday, it's basically my fault for not mothering and babysitting a GROWN MAN. He said I shouldn't have dumped him because of this. Are you freakin' kidding me? This happened 10 TIMES in two years, he's screwed me over for rent, car payments, insurance payments (he had a full-time job/I had a part-time job) because he decides that coke is more important.

I have tried many, many times to leave and he always manipulated me back because that's one of the only things he knows how to do. Lie, cheat, steal, and manipulate. I'm sick of this drama, I feel I will never meet any clean, sober man (Mr. Right) because I'm constantly trying to get Mr. Wrong out of the picture.

I envy anyone that can get away from these losers and they actually stay away for good. It's hell on earth to be harassed and mistreated by an addict ex almost everyday.

Chantelle Smith's picture

going through hell

Ive met a bloke, who i have really fallen for, his admitted to me that he is a cocaine addict and has been doing it for nearly 10 years! He does it every 2-3 days, he also sells it aswell, everyone his surrounded by does it too. Im so worried about him!! He has asked me to help him get off the stuff as he knows it is ruining his life and his health, esp his heart he gets really bad pains in his chest alot of the time. I really want to help him so bad as i can see what its doing to him, he thanks me so much for being there for him and being by his side, but then there are times that he will just ignore me, my phone calls and texts, and then he will get in touch again with a couple of texts and thats it, then he asks me to met him and i do and he tells me his sorry thats all he ever says is his sorry, I no i dont need this in my life or in my daughters life, but im finding it so hard to walk away from him, im in love with him and i can see how much he needs help ive been searching the net for info on cocaine, clinics to go to, ive even been speaking to people on the phone about his situation. I dont no what to do for the best if i should just walk away from him as all im doing is getin hurt by him or if i should just try and get him help, ive told him id b there for him al the way but how can i get him help when he dont answer my phone calls? Anyone else been or in this same situation as me?

Serendip Visitor's picture

Coke addiction

Ive been clean and sober for 6 years and im still tortured by thoughts of using coke. I have worked the 12 steps and have found God but still there are so many triggers.People,places and things trigger the thoughts. Sometimes I get fearful that I could slip but try to remember the paranoia and the seizures that using coke chronically for so many years had done too me.I hope and pray that someday I may stop fantasizing and hopefully they discover something new that can help some of us.When I first got clean I feared for my life but now that I have some time how easily I forget...........

anna 's picture

HELP

State should help parents to have power to control their children until they are 21 years old, especilally if it is proven by a drug test that they are drug addicted.

Serendip Visitor's picture

ROCKS ARE RUINING MY LIFE

I HAVE BEEN GOING OUT WITH MY BOYFRIEND FOR ALMOST A YEAR. ABOUT SIX MONTHS AGO I FOUND OUT THAT HE SMOKES 'ROCKS'. IT SEEMS BY FINDING OUT, IT HAS MADE MY LIFE WORSE. THE MORE I TRY TO SUPPORT HIM, THE MORE IT FEELS THAT I AM GIVING HIM THE 'PERMISSION' TO CONTINUE. WE HAVE TRIED TO FATHOM THE TRIGGER BEHIND EACH EPISODE, BUT THE MORE I LOOK AT IT, THE MORE I REALISE THAT THERE IS NO TRIGGER, JUST AN UNCONTROLLABLE CRAVING THAT CANT BE BEAT. I KNOW THAT I HAVE TO LEAVE HIM BUT I CANT. DO I JUST CONTINUE BELIEVING THAT HE WILL CHANGE? I STARTED THINKING THAT I SHOULD JUST TURN A BLIND EYE BECAUSE IN A STRANGE WAY THIS WAS 'CURBING' THE BOUTS. BUT THEN I STARTED LOOKING AT HOW HE WAS CHANGING. HE HAS BECOME VERBALLY ABUSIVE AND IS ALWAYS TURNING THINGS ON ME. HIS MOODS ARE ERRATIC, AND NO SENSE OF STABILITY ARE FORTHCOMING. HE IS SERIOUSLY KILLING ME BUT I FEAR THE PAIN OF LOSING HIM IS TOO GREAT A SENSE OF REALITY AND I KNOW THAT I WONT COPE. THEY SAY THAT 'THERE IS NO LOVE WHEN THERE IS NO TRUST.' - DO I TRULLY LOVE HIM THEN? WHAT MUST I DO?

Alexis Hall's picture

Leave

I left my fiance due to this same problem 2 months ago. He was addicted to cocaine. Sooner or later you may or may not get addicted yourself. He won't change. You deserve better. An addict will only change when they experience enough PAIN to change. The pleasure your man gets from cocaine is too strong. He will only know the pain of your love being gone when you are. That might help him change. The best thing you can do for him and yourself is to LEAVE. When you truly love someone you can love them from a distance spiritually with no human contact with them. It is the best thing for both of you. GOOD LUCK.

Serendip Visitor's picture

The drugs are the most

The drugs are the most important thing in his life. I have personally seen too many addicts in my lifetime. If it is escalating, I am very worried for you. Some people can not change no matter how much they promise to. Does he have enough motivation to quit? Maybe if he went to counseling that would do the trick. But many can not wish themselves better. Addiction is not only physical, but social too. It's hard to change all of your friends at once while going through withdrawal, etc. I would give him an ultimatum that if he doesn't keep trying to kick the habit by doing anything possible that you will leave him. You do not deserve to be in that situation. That may be the motivation he needs to get clean. What would happen if you got pregnant? Would you want a child to grow up in that kind of environment? Beat of luck to you if you decide to stay. It will be a long hard road for you.

Serendip Visitor's picture

bad cocaine addiction

unlike other users who have taken cocaine on occasion such as parties,etc,I have developed a bad problem in which I will do 4-5 grams(not sure how many ounces)by myself,inside my house,this is ruining my life,my health and my job,the paranoia that comes with these prolonged sessions,is undescrivable
I need help,serious help,I have come to the point where I am starting to doubt my sense od judgement,my marriage is already on the rocks,also because of this,I am nearing 33 and realize that a total change of direction is needed,going 'cold turkey'or moving to a country where is was nearly impossible to find only made it worse later when I moved back to the US,and have more then doubled the use
Any comments,or help would be very welcome

Jacques's picture

A question to recovered addicts

My ex-fiance was caught buying cat last year December. She went to rehab for three months coming back a changed person, serving God and just absolutely wonderful. She decided to move in with on my game Ranch to help her with her recovery. She was here for 1 month before she was allowed to see her eldest son. We fetched him from the city and things were still great. A month later we fetched her twin boys and things gradually started getting worse. She use to often send me text messages telling me how much she appreciates me and wait to be my wife. One dy out of the blue she just told me she is finished with me. The next day while packing she was on the phone to her mom telling her how bad I am and she can't stand me. The next day I took her back to the city and asked her if I treated her badly. She said not at all, she just doesn't love me anymore. After dropping her off by her mom she kissed and hugged me and said sorry it didn't work out. The night I got home she phoned to see if I'm home safe and never heard anything again. I text her twice but she never replied. I've known her for 19 years and were together for 2. I would like to know if there is maybe other recovered addicts that would be able to help me with this. What I want to know is whether she just had to make up an excuse to get back to her drugs, and blame me for everything, or maybe she really doesn't love me. I have loved her for 19 years and will be willing to walk the road to recovery, but I feel she has a lot of guilt that happened in her past in is maybe running from it. Please help. Have any of you treated your loved ones the same. You still love them but have to get to your drugs?

Serendip Visitor's picture

yes

holy cow..same thing happened to me...well maybe a tad different...
my fiance left me saying we didn't enjoy the same things...i heard she loved cocaine later on ...she never returned my calls, text...the once or twice we spoke, all she could say was "sorry"...and than hung up...total sociopathic behavior after many years of true love and wonderful caring and kindness. i was borderline suicidal for a few months not knowing what happened or what to do. i am now in what i call "a healthy hateful stage.." where i Hate her in order for me to stay sane and care for my children. this woman's departure of our relationship was deplorable. the one time i confronted her via phone call about her cocaine use she halfway admitted it and than hung up on me. i hate her but i Still Want her back. crazy.

Kris Bradford's picture

For those of us who love coke

For those of us who love coke but haven't seen any good stuff in awhile, I can say that dimethocaine is a good replacement. Like others have said, it didn't give me that initial rush of beautiful energy that real coke does, but what it lacks at the start it makes up for in euphoria. I broke up a half a gram into 5 100mg lines and did one per hour. I maintained a solid euphoria that was like coke, but also not as strong or fiendy. It is a perfect buzz for a work night when you want to feel good but also need to get a few winks. I preferred it to MDPV, although I can say that MDPV is alot stronger.

Serendip Visitor's picture

My Sister-Advice Needed

My sister used cocaine regularly from the ages of 15-19. She went to rehab at 19, but continued to do coke on occasion since leaving. Now at 22 she is dating a 31 year old who's best friend is a coke dealer. What I know about the situation is that a)her boyfriend does coke at least once a week, b) when she hangs out with him on these occasions he gives her coke despite knowing her history of addiction, and c) she has nasal damage due to her coke abuse. The obvious is that she should leave him. Right now. But she's still with him. So the question is, if she knows exactly what she needs to do (leave him), but can't bring herself to do it despite it threatening her health or possibly her life, then what can myself and my family do? Is her situation deserving of an intervention? My sibling and I are starting to think so....

Serendip Visitor's picture

Hey, I know exactly what your

Hey, I know exactly what your sister is going through.. My man and I met about 4months ago.. We fell in love and got engaged. About a year ago I quit a very bad drinking problem and haven't gone back to it, he knew this so he never brought alcohol around me. One day I was over at his place, he left then came back about 10mins later. He sat down and busted out two lines without saying a word. I saw it, and when he passed me the straw I did it. At the time I was thinking that it was harmless and wanted him to like me and think I was cool. I tried to get him to quit so many times. We were clean for a month and somehow he convinced me to get some, I wasn't strong enough and gave in... 4months have gone by and for the past 3weeks I've been doing it everyday. Now he wants to quit but it seems like it's too late, I can't stop thinking about it! And whenever I think about it I can't breathe.. My eyes have faded circles around, my collar bone is starting to stick out as well as my hip bones.. Please get Ur sister away from it! I'm the same age as her, I know how she probably feels on it but it's going to get way worse. I speak from experience.. Call the cops on her bf and his friends, get restraining orders, even go to NA with her! She see "how fun and glamorous are lifes really are"... Do anything possible.

Tonight I spend 250$ on blow.. Im high atm and I have never felt worse in my life. I probably sound like a hypocrite, but the only reason I saw Ur post is because I'm looking for ways to stop. It's not worth my well-being and life. :(

Anonymous's picture

my girlfriend is a recovering coke addict. help

i am loving someone who has been clean since december of 2008. we had been seeing each other for about 6 months when she finally decide to tell me. so im still trying to process this new information that i think should have been told from the beginning. im not saying i would not have wanted to see her but i would have wanted the freedom to choose. ive never been involved with an addict, one who is recovering or in active addiction. well she has been clean since december 2008 but i feel lost. i can't tell if what im dealing with are the long term effects of a 3 yr addiction or what. she's irritable a lot, non committal, doesn't sleep much at all, she says she can't turn her mind off. i always feel like there's noone in there. sometimes it feels like she's not really connected with me emotionally. she says she loves me so much but i wonder. she loves routine. her feelings change like the wind. one day we were planning a life together and the very next she was telling me that she felt like she might need to go back to live in her hometown...i can't keep up with her feelings thoughts nothing...i love her with everything in me but i don't know what this is i'm dealing with..is it just how she is or could this be the effects of 3 years of cocaine use..i don't know..help

Serendip Visitor's picture

Maybe your girlfriend has

Maybe your girlfriend has suffers from anixety, she should talk to her doctor about everything you listed above.

Anonymous's picture

Me too

I am saddened to read so many stories like mine. I am in love with a man who has been so amazing to me and my daughter. We have been together for about 9 months. What I look back and see now is that he doesn't have friends he hangs out with. He leaves a lot of things undone...bills, taxes, but cleans the house, buys groceries, does the laundry, buys flowers for me, gifts, writes sweet letters that aren't over the top. We DO drink a lot together, nights and during the day on weekends, but it's beers and chill...so I think. Three weeks ago, I passed out in the afternoon and woke up. He was gone, and I did not hear from him until midway through the next day. Turns out, at 42, he's been through rehab twice for 30 days several years ago, and was afraid to tell me about it for fear he'd lose me and our life together. It happened again two weeks later and now again, I woke up on New Years morning and did not see him until 32 hours later. He came in, showered, got in the spare bed and tried to sleep. I said a prayer and asked god, and all I could think was, if I let him sleep right now, I am ENABLING him. So I walked in and said, get your stuff, your dog, and leave. He was apologetic as he'd been the past two times, and super sad and remorseful. Yet actions speak louder than words. He has a drug addiction. And that sweetness and charm are JUST A PART OF IT. That guilt makes him sweet...sweeter than anyone, more patient than anyone, more giving and generous than anyone I've met...but somehow that is the drug still at work. I am so sad to realize this may continue to happen. I have to make a choice. I HATE that I read here that they will never change. He's a good, good man, but he struggles with addiction. While I want to be supportive, I also have to be wise and look out for myself and my child. So sad.

Anonymous's picture

you are exactly right. Very

you are exactly right. Very estute observations especially if you are not an addict. You cannot change him...no one could change me. As far as the step-daughter I have one and although I think in the aggregate my being in her life is good...there are the times that haunt me...my lack of interest in her drawings, my unpredictable responses, my physical attendance being greatly eclipsed by instability.
I'll pray for you all. I'm not a bible thumper. Prayer is sometimes all you have.
Be Well
Chris

AnonymousGeorge's picture

A few of my friends dabble with coke

I don't touch that poison as I know what any addictive substance can do to a persons life. Surprisingly, a few of my friends do coke on the weekends and to this day it boggles my mind how they maintain doing using it on such odd occasions. For example, they go to Hollywood and party on Sunset using coke but then work productive lives during the week. I would say that for most occasional users this is the story and they end up stopping it for good. Nevertheless, there are always going to be those unlucky souls for whatever reason will get hooked on the cocaine. Perhaps it is biological, psychological, or for emotional reasons that these people go down the path of addiction. I know lawyers, doctors, accountants, business owners, essentially successful people that dabble with the coke for years and don't get hooked. Perhaps people that have a good job/vocation are generally happy with their lives and don't blow it on a cocaine addiction. They see cocaine as a means to party on the weekend and hook up with girls. Time will tell who ends up getting substantially hooked. I know about 20 of these people and none of them at the present time are addicts.

Anonymous's picture

I cannot believe the posts

I cannot believe the posts that I just read....it is what my life has been for the past year and a half, over and over again. Like many of the comments, I cannot and still do not want to believe that my ex-girlfriend is addicted to cocaine. She is/was a God fearing woman, someone who bought me back to church, someone who knew about my past painful relationships, someone I thought meant forever in my life. I have been verbally and mentally and a bit physically abused so much, its hard to understand why it is that I still love her. Its also hard to understand or figure out when she started using or using again. I exposed her to my children who totally admires her,and I'm sure misses her dearly, (I'm afraid to call attention to her absence). I am as one of the postings noted, "devasted". I didn't see this coming, although now that I have had some time to think about it, should have. I most notably remember telling her that she isn't attracted when she drinks brandy, because it makes her mouth become twisted. Silly me, I think now, when has drinking ever been responsible for a twisted mouth? The constant blowing of the nose, (using too much toliet tissue) I used to say....always angry, hyper, not sleeping, sleeping too much, sex until I was exhausted, but no orgasim, "Maybe I just don't do it for her anymore" I would say. Even the death threats...ok, maybe she was hung over from drinking the night before. I mean, she did have blood shot eyes, ummm...another sign of cocaine use. After putting her out for the third or fourth time, "because I am controlling" I am now gulity of being selfish,responsible for breaking us up and worse, not loving her...all this is purely her illness. Like the other posts, I am also finding it soooo hard to leave this chapter behind. I love this person I thought was sent from God, who eventally turned into my abuser. I pray for better days for us all.

Princess's picture

My fiancee- the love of my

My fiancee- the love of my life became addicted to coke & maybe worse our 5th year together.. we were so happy- so in love - the best of friends... our time together was precious... We had some problems .. we were both so young ..still I feel so responsible for his addiction starting as I was making him doubt my feeligs and hurt him... He was truly my best friend & I find it so unfair that my precious baby was ripped away from me and after a year and a half of going through PURE hell I couldnt anymore.. I tried to end things and he left me alone...he would call the odd time to try and ask for $$ for his addiction but slowly the calls stoped. I am still in a state of shock that we are not together and that this awful tragedy has happened to us. Its been almost 2 years.. the last time we hugged was about 2 years ago and I still cant get over it... I am 24 I want a family a husband.. I want him..I want our life back..It was ripped away from me and I cant bear the thought of the person I love the most in this world hurting himself and cant imagine wat he must be going through in his mind... I always think I could have done sumthing differently or how I could have prevented this from happening... I have come to realize it is all out of my hands,,, I still cant accept this fate.I want to have peace in my heart and not feel this loss anymore for him.

Anonymous's picture

My boyfriend of 4 years is addicted to coke

The man I thought of as my sole mate, and best friend IS NOT he is addicted to COKE and I have enabled him, with my ignorance of believing he would stop for US I am so in love with this man, but know staying with him is just allowing him to continue with this terrible habit. I must now walk away with sadness in hopes that he will step back and look at what he has thrown away.......I will pray that one day he will be cleaned from the drug and we will be back enjoying the love we shared.

Anonymous's picture

I went out with my ex for 2

I went out with my ex for 2 years, and got into coke with him. He lost his job and started to deal in it. This gave us an unlimited supply and we both started abusing. I couldn't handle it and wanted him to stop, I was going to move in with him to help with the finances instead. He got a job, but lost it as he didn't go. I cracked up and threw his stash downstairs and he flung me out, shut the door in my face and hasn't spoken to me since. I found out he was seeing someone (a coke addict) behind my back, as I received an anonymous text. He lives in my neighbourhood and I cant avoid seeing her car outside his house all the time and it is breaking my heart as I still love him. It is now 2 months since I saw him and I have been through hell. The intense cravings for coke has caused me to humiliate myself by going round and crying at his door (he severed contact and wont answer my pleas to talk). it is not the fact he two-timed me, it is the dreadful way he has treated me since, refusing to talk or give my personal things back (or money he owes me - not that I hold much hope of getting that back). I did not realise the powerful psychological effects of cocaine over-use and just how much it changes personality. Looking back I was right up myself and became very arrogant, self-centred and paranoid. I am trying to look on it as a lucky escape - as I got out just in the nick of time, before losing my job, house, health and relationship with my daughter. As he wont have any contact with me, I have not been able to get cocaine for 2 months. I have had anxiety, panic-like attacks, depression, weight loss - I have been a wreck for 2 months, but am regaining my health and the coke cravings are not as bad. My heart still wants him though and I still fight depression and lack of motivation. My head says it would never work, as he enjoys his lifestyle and 'circle of friends' (who I also thought were mine - but have also shut me out, as they don't want to fall out with him and have their coke supply ceased - only coke friends not true ones..a hard lesson learned. Coke ruined our relationship. I think it takes an addict to be with an addict. I had too much to lose - she has already lost everything anyway, so it doesn't matter to her. But I feel I lost the most important thing, his love and am finding it hard to move on.

Princess's picture

I am also finding it hard to

I am also finding it hard to move on and Im sure u must feel reponsible seeing that you did the drug as well... But I learned people are responsible for their own behaviors and actions... Its all out of your control... and If he was seeing sumone behind your back I dont see what theyre is to move on from... that not true love.. you deserve way better

Anonymous's picture

Devasted from boyfriends addiction

I am in love with a man addicted to coke. I have never been around or done it before and soon after I met him and realized he did it he made it seem as a casual leisure acitivity. I was turned off by it but then thought he seems to have it together it must be just a weekend bar thing. Then I realized he sold it and all of his friends did it and when he would dissappear for days at a time he was having the downs or reactions to the aftermath of the usage. As many of you said I would be there for him during what i thought was his rock bottom and take care of him thinking no one ever wants this in their life or to feel like this he must be done. However it wasnt that he was done he just hid it from me and now I see stopping isnt so easy. Well his coke addiction has had such a pyhsical and emotional effect on me i do feel like "i'm dying so he can live". So they never quit?

Anonymous's picture

Broke up with my coke addicted fiance

I see my situation in a lot of these posts. I was engaged to my fiance for almost a year before I found out he was using - cocaine and a few other hard drugs. Best decision I could have made, to leave him. Of course when I did finally leave, he promised he was checking himself into rehab, he was going to get help, etc. Anything to make me stay. He has been calling me (I'm pretty sure it's while he's high) at least once a week, begging me to take him back. Telling me I made the worst mistake ever and how could I do this, it must mean that I don't (and never did) love him. That couldn't be further from the truth - but I did love myself enough to walk away from someone who was sucking the life out of me!

Anonymous's picture

Cocaine use and quitting

I am 23 years old and I started using powder cocaine when I was 17 years old. I have been clean for almost a year and a half and it has honestly been the best times of my life since i started cocaine. Going clean was the best choice I ever made...it was one of the hardest choices I ever made as well. I had to quit associating myself with my friends that were cokeheads which was really hard. But before i finally quit cocaine I went through rehab twice and always went back to my coke dealer everytime i got out of rehab. I waited too long after that to get help and I ended up od'ing on cocaine after a long night binge with friends and woke up in the hospital...they gave me medication and kept me for one night for observation then released me(cheap hospitals...)...I knew that I wasn't going to quit unless I truly desired to go clean...so I quit cold-turkey which may sound impossible; reality is...it is possible but it takes alot of mental strength and support from your true clean friends. I have been offered coke since i quit...and have turned it down everytime because at those times I always thought about how guilty i felt when i spent money on coke or used it and then had to hide my habit from others...its just not worth it...going clean is the best thing anyone can do...I hope all of the addicts out there get help and go talk to someone...people do care. I know I do having been through it all.

Anonymous's picture

Here I go again

I am sitting here tonight reading everyone's comments, seeing myself in so many words. This is my second marriage - to another coke addict. I still can't figure out what I need to learn..and why I am here? I was blindsided by this. Or so I thought, but the signs of my husband's addiction were always there. As he says, I knew he was an addict when I met him, but I married him anyway, despite the destruction of my first marriage to a coke addict. I guess I just chose not to believe my own eyes. I don't know. All I know is that my second husband has gone from bad to no turning back with his addiction. Funny, I am educated, I have a MA in counseling, actually. I would tell any woman who came to me with this problem to leave immediately, because as we know, addicts have only one love, and that is their addiction. Although I know all this, and have left one husband because of his addiction, why am I finding it so hard to make this decision again. Is it because I hate to admit failure yet another time around? Yes, of course, I love him, but his addiction has gotten so bad, that "he" doesn't exist anymore. Once in a while I get to see him sober, and find the man I fell in love with, and then I fool myself into believing "OK, he's really done with it this time." Well, we all know the answer to that.....who knows when or if he will ever be done. We have been together for 4 years, and married for 3. I know that's not a long time, but I am 45.....I want to be thinking of retiring, not doing coke. I thought that part of my life was gone 20 years ago back in college, when it really was just for fun (at least for me it was). I hate this, and I hate being here again. Everyone that knows us knows he has a horrible problem, and he gets furious if anyone mentions it, (especially me). I feel that I have to leave....I don't want to because financially it will devastate me....I will have to start over again, like I did after my ex husband. I just wish I knew how I ended up here again. All of my friends and family are confused as well. We all really believed in my husband and thought the world of him. Now, everyone just looks at me and shakes their head.....I've heard it all, been to every kind of counseling, read it all, and have been a counselor to those in my position....what is it with me?

Serendip Visitor's picture

Quit 20 yrs ago and using again

There is so much here I could speak to, please be glad that you are not doing cocaine. My second husband was an addict and I was one of those perfect professional women who handled everything (my mid-to late 20's). I used it too, but at some point, I thought there was more to life and so we had two great kids and we both quit. There is something about 2nd marriages that makes you want to succeed, not to be a failure again. But, problem personalities are there either way. I left him when in my mid-late to 30's and I had great years with my kids without my ex and drugs. I didn't date and I always said I'd date when my kids were gone. My kids are gone and now here I am almost 50, and I started dating an addict (cocaine,sex,gamble,etc)a few years ago and I became more of a cocaine addict than before. 20 years and I never missed cocaine, but I started using with the new guy again and it's now a big problem. Now, I've done it for a few years and I'm finding it hard to stop coke and from seeing the guy. Now, I'm trying to get rid of the guy and he promises to change, and I want to believe but he's begging to get back together and I feel bad. He'll never quit and I know I have to save myself first, and he's screwed up so many times with other women. There are so many woman who want to have a good time and catch a man, It's pathetic. On the other hand I want to believe that these women were just friends like he said, there was nothing sexual but they call and scream at him and he's still making me feel bad for leaving him. Who would think that at this stage in my life, I'm dealing with such nonsense. Cocaine and the guy is alluring and overwhelming. I know the intelligent choice is that I have to quit the guy and cocaine, but, It's just so hard to stick with the decision, with his love talk and then missing the drug too. Well after all this writing, rehab or counseling sounds like the most logical choice. Thank you for your story and reminding me of retirement.

TJ's picture

Dear Lady, I'm so sorry to

Dear Lady,

I'm so sorry to hear that you are settling for staying in your screwed up situation.

I so love my husband. However, his crack cocaine addiction comes first over me or my safety. I chose to leave him. So hard. So very hard. I hear a voice sometimes it says, this was the man you were supposed to love. What if something devastating happens to him? He is now homeless. I wish and pray with all my heart the very best for him.

To stay with him, may have enabled his death. At least this way he may have a wake up call.

Staying with him, for me was financially devastating. But it is one month at a time. The solution will come.

There is just a tiny hope in me. A tiny pocket or spark that dares to believe and trust that life will get better. That I deserve better.

You are a counsellor. You know the truth. Why is it ok for you to help others and not yourself. Believe the hype.

Best wishes.
TJ

Anonymous's picture

I BEN DOING DRUGS SINS I WAS

I BEN DOING DRUGS SINS I WAS 13 YEARS OLD I HAVE TRY EVERYTHING WEED,COCAINE,CRAK,AND HEROINE BUT THE ONE I LIKE IS COCAINE AND CRAK I BEEN CLEAN OF CRACK FOR 2 MOUNTH NOW BUT SIS I WAS 13 I HAVE NEVER STOP USING COCAINE IAM 19 NOW I BEEN TRYING TO QUIT FOR 3 YEAR I HAD NOT YET I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO NO MORE I HAVE LOST EVRETHING SCHOOL,JOBS AND SOME TIMES I THINK THIS IS THE WAY IS GOING TO BE FOR EVER SOME TIMES I JUST WANT TO DIE THAT WAY IT WILL BE OVER I WILL LOVE TO LIVE EVRETHING AND GO GOD WAY BUT IT ALWAYS HOLDING ME BACK MY NAME IS EMMANUEL AND THIS IS MY STORY

Anonymous's picture

daughter's father is a cocaine addict

I have to say that is a bit comforting to here that other people are going through exactly what I am. I have come to the point where I have said enough. I have been with a cocaine addict for five years and we had a daughter together.I have told myself that this is the last time he will do this to my family. I have continuously let him back into my life, kicking him out, he comes back, ect...
My 2 year old daughter will not know about this addiction. I will not allow him to pollute our lives anymore. I will not allow him to destroy my life and happiness one more day! This is his problem, and he needs to deal with. I need to get myself healthy and understand why I have accepthed this behavior for so many years. Now that he is not here (and its been five days), I feel safe, in control, and I think that I can actually have a happy future. No MORE!!!!!

peprico's picture

pray.. prayers get answered

I know this is not what you want to here but do not give up on your husband. I know people who have used for 7 years there is hope he can have visitations on weekends still. A living life is a miracle to see and nurture between a husband and wife. I wish you nothing but happiness to a new beginning though.

Anonymous's picture

Cocaine

My boyfriend is new in this..i know he did a lot for a few months after we broke up and we got back together and he says hes stopped cold turkey as of a little over a week ago, he doesn't even seem to miss it, still hangs out with his user friends though and i was wondering if its possible he's just quit it so easily or if he's most likely using behind my back

sew's picture

I have to leave my cocaine

I have to leave my cocaine addicted boyfriend. 7 years of this. He has changed, he is abuseive towards me. I love him, but i cant take the hurt his addiction causes me. I need help to stay away, and never go back to the creulity. Cocaine has changed his brain, he is not the same man.
I need help so much to give the one i love up, forever.

Anonymous's picture

crack cocaine

my boyfriend and i have been thru alot.we both started off snorting coke.now its smoking well with him i stoped 7 months ago on probation and hes in drug court he stayed clean for three months than relapsed.i forgave him but the othr note he put me in danger smoked it in front of me and he was on xanax plus drinking he couldnt drive finally i tricked him to go to his moms for something took the car keys well his car is a hooptie and it started without the keys i was upset.finds out he used 6 times beside that and never told me thought he got away with it in drug court but he gets drug tested all the time and failed 3rd time this month but he put me in danger and im hurt his dads a drunk and his mom pops pills thats the two places he can stay hes 26 had his life together and messes it all up what do i do i am the only one thats here for him but i dont want to go back to jail cus of him im just sick staying up everynite wondering if he is okay.hes good when hes sober but thats the problem hes not any more and its getting worse hes facing ten years if he messes up again told him i cant wait but i love him too much to throw it away help i no i didnt use periods and had run on senteces but that doesnt matter

Anonymous's picture

Help

My boyfriend has an addition and I don't understand it because I have never done drugs. It happens about once every couple of weeks. We went to out first NA meeting last night and it scared me as to what I am up against. I love him dearly, however how do I help him. He is a very loving and sweet person and always the next morning he kicks himself for giving into it. Then he is good for another couple of weeks. This is all new to me. Can someone please tell me what to do? Do I just keep him away from all his old friends? I need help here.

Anonymous's picture

Help

I feel your pain as you talk about what your boyfriend is doing. My husband of 20 years sounds exactly the same. He has a way of making me think he has it under control and then, WHAM, it happens again. He has a tendency to go on binges for 2 or 3 days at a time. The frequency of these binges are more close together than ever (every week or two) In the past few months, he has literally spent thousands of dollars. He too is very kind and loving but I am also starting to see the way this drug is starting to change him. He also is very remorseful after a binge. It kills me to watch him kill himself but he is also spending our children's college funds. I have had it and am planning now to leave him in the new year because I can't live with it any more. I have spent over 15 years hoping he would get better. He has had many rock bottoms -- spent time in rehab. Has had 4 dwi. I love him with everything I have but I know now after all these years, the only way to help them is to help yourself. Don't waste away years as I have hoping he would be something he is never going to be. I have spent years saying that it's either coke or me. This time, HE won't have the choice. take care of yourself -- you're not alone.

Cure for Meth's picture

Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine is one of main drug that the youngster, teenagers and adults takes. It causes many psychological effects on their social and personal life. Hyper tension, depression or sicknesses are some its main symptoms. It is very difficult to see a person you care and love in such condition. Many rehab centers are being funded by the government, so they are economical for ordinary people as well. Before it get too late, go and have check up of your close one their.

Anonymous's picture

Dealing with someone who has an addiction

I have spent the last 4 1/2 years of my life living and loving someone with an addiction to cocaine/crack. I will honestly admit I have never seen the stuff nor do I have the desire. I will never understand the addiction as I have never been there. But to sit back and watch this person break my trust repeatedly, not only break my heart because he can't learn to help himself. I understand that I can't push him to help, but I have to let him decide himself. I love him when he's sober, and he is quite often. We spurts like once every couple months, and only for a day, doesn't blow any money really, but it still upsets me. He has tried to express that he doesn't cause financial problems, he doesn't abuse me, and he doesn't steal from me. He honeslty has said he thinks it is okay to 'dab around every so often.' I feel my only way to help him is to leave him but I fear the person he will become without me. I'm just dying trying to understand.

Anonymous's picture

Im going through just about

Im going through just about the same thing in my life and have for about 13yrs now. The only way you can basically stop this is get out of the disfunctional relationship. He won't stop if you are being a "enabler" meaning your staying and saying its ok you dont like it but your not leaving him. I have been debating for yrs to leave my mate doing it and its hard because I have 3 young kids with him and need him finanically due to a lack of education and job myself. I would recommend you getting therapy to learn more about your part in this. I hope everything works out for you but one thing a therapist told me about 10yrs ago and I will never forget is..."why die so he can live" and when we are in a sense babysitting and taking care of them thats whats happening. You said your afraid what he will become without you but what are you becoming with him? Take care and love yourself...I tell myself this everyday through the maddness of my co-dependency.

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