Cocaine, the Drug of Choice for Thousands of Years
The Andean region in South America is home to the Erythroxylon Coca shrub which has leaves containing the alkaloid cocaine. Ancient Incas chewed the leaves not only for the “natural high” or euphoria they induced, but also to speed up their breathing to help cope with the thin mountain air. Native Peruvians used the leaves in religious ceremonies. Later on, when the Spanish learned the powerful effect of the coca leaves, they provided them to the forced Indian laborers working in the silver mines to make them easier to control.
In 1859 cocaine was first extracted from the coca leaves by the German scientist Albert Nieman. By the 1880’s cocaine was being used for medicinal purposes.
Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, used cocaine and prescribed it to his patients to help with depression and sexual impotence.
In 1886, eight hundred miles away from New York Harbor where the Statue of Liberty was being constructed, Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton concocted a fragrant, caramel-colored beverage containing coca leaves and began selling it at his neighborhood pharmacy. Customers loved the feeling of euphoria it gave them and Coca-Cola was on its way to being an American icon. It wasn’t until 1903 that the cocaine was removed from the drink’s formula due to the mounting evidence on the dangers of cocaine use.
Cocaine was found among all social classes. It was the seemingly “magic” ingredient in tonics and elixirs touted by traveling medicine men. Physicians and pharmacists recommended it and even wines contained it.
By 1905 snorting cocaine had become popular and within five years cases of nasal damage were being reported. By 1912 5,000 cocaine-related deaths were documented. Cocaine was finally banned in the United States in 1922.
Cocaine use never went away, but surged again in popularity in the 1970s. From Hollywood stars to college students, cocaine became the drug of choice, second only to marijuana. By 2008 it became the second most trafficked illegal drug in the world.
Why Cocaine Is So Addictive
Cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant that works on your nerve receptors. Stimulating these receptors produces a sense of euphoria very quickly. It also increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Some users have reported feeling “at the top of their game,” “bullet-proof” and “happier and more confident than ever imagined.” The feeling does not last long and in order to achieve the same euphoria you must use an increasing amount of the drug over time. Recapturing the high consumes you as your tolerance builds. Soon your bank account may be drained, you may be having serious problems at work and your personal relationships may have been damaged.
How Cocaine Damages Your Body
If you inject cocaine you run the risk of contracting blood-borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. If you snort, permanent damage to the nasal passages occurs. All users are at risk for high blood pressure, elevated body temperature, cerebral hemorrhage (bleeding within the brain), seizures, heart attacks, arrhythmia, heart palpitations and strokes. Babies born to mothers using cocaine are born with drugs in their systems and many suffer birth defects and other complications.
Separating yourself from cocaine should be done under medical supervision. Supervised drug detox will help lessen the symptoms of withdrawal. Detoxing from cocaine requires specialized care. At Cliffside Malibu we have addiction specialists who will work with your own personal doctor to monitor your body’s response to withdrawal and to ensure your safety during the process.
Your body, mind and spirit will continue to heal with therapies specifically tailored to your needs. Our staff will provide a safe, comfortable setting to help you on your journey to recovery.
At Cliffside Malibu we use an integrated approach to recovery. Drawing from both Western medical traditions and complementary practices, we include cutting-edge technology and provide a wide-range of holistic therapies in our treatment protocol. A psychotherapist will be chosen especially for you, to help you uncover the reasons for your cocaine addiction and will work with the entire team to devise strategies to help you recover and continue to succeed after leaving the drug treatment center.
Some of the evidence-based treatments available at Cliffside Malibu are acupuncture, massage, life coaching, equine-assisted therapy, brain mapping and hyperbaric chamber therapy. You will discover new avenues for finding fulfillment, joy and hope and will develop coping strategies to maintain your recovery.
Please give Cliffside Malibu a call at 1-800-501-1988 anytime, day or night. The road to recovery begins with a simple phone call.