Cocaine is a very addictive drug that makes the addict feel euphoric and energetic. Cocaine and crack addiction is characterized by compulsive behavior and uncontrollable cravings. For many cocaine addicts cocaine addiction becomes chronic and relapses are possible after long periods of abstinence.
Cocaine is currently one of the most abused major stimulants in the United State of America. It is the drug most frequently involved in emergency room visits. A common misconception is that cocaine is not addictive because it does not have the physical withdrawal symptoms that are seen in alcohol or heroin addiction. Cocaine has some powerful psychologically addictive properties.
The tendencies in drug abuse in the United States is presently multiple or poly-drug abuse, and cocaine use is no exception. Cocaine is quite often used with alcohol, and other sedatives such as Valium, Ativan, or heroin, as an upper/downer combination, addicts try to balance their highs trying not to be too high or too low. The alcohol, sedatives or downers are also used to moderate the side effects of the cocaine addiction. The most common poly-drug abuse problem, seen especially in teens is cocaine, alcohol, and marijuana.
Why Cocaine becomes Addictive
Cocaine addictive disease is considered to be caused by the addict’s genetic background and their environment. Addicts from high-risk family backgrounds are particularly susceptible to the development of addictive cocaine disease. However, the presence of a cocaine addict in the family does not mean that their children will become an addict as well.
Researchers supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse have identified a process in the brain that may explain addiction to cocaine. Their research confirms that repeated exposure to cocaine causes a mutation in genes that leads to altered levels of a specific brain protein. This protein regulates the action of a normally occurring brain chemical called dopamine. It is the chemical messenger in the brain that is associated with cocaine's pleasurable "rush"-the mechanism of addiction. Certainly, more research is needed to unlock the mysteries of addiction, but this information adds one more link in explaining how the brain adapts in the addiction process.