Substance Abuse Disorder (Cocaine)

When Jane first entered medical school the stress was new to her. The short nights, long hours of work and the need to excel constantly wore her out. She was introduced to marijuana by her roommate which seemed to do the job just fine as a stress reliever. But after a while, its benefits became short term; it relieved her depression for a short while until its effects wore off and her depression came back even worse. During her final year she met a guy she wanted to marry. He proposed to her earlier than expected. The stress of planning a wedding coupled with being in school became unbearable; the marijuana no longer sufficed. One night she went for a party where she tried cocaine for the first time. The cocaine gave her an immediate gratification to counter her depression. For the first time in a long time she felt alive and happy; like she was in control of her life. And even though her depression came back worse after the cocaine’s effects wore off, to her it was better than nothing. She started taking cocaine everyday from then. The little money she had could not fund her new found “expensive hobby”. She used her school fees, allowance and money meant to plan her wedding to satisfy her urges. She became a wreck; she couldn’t continue medical school. She called of her wedding and became continuously nervous and irritable. She became a liability to herself and her family.

Cocaine is a type of stimulant that activates the central nervous system, causing feelings of happiness, energy and power. People who are addicted to cocaine often develop a tolerance for the substance; they experience diminished effects from the same dose of the substance and require more and more of it to achieve intoxication. Cocaine addicts undergo some behavioral changes in sociability; they are angered easily, anxious, hyper vigilant and have an impaired judgment. They also go through physiological changes such as rapid heart beat, dilation of the pupils, elevated or lowered blood pressure, weight loss, psychomotor retardation or agitation, muscular weakness and slow breathing. They get a lot of seizures and are mostly confused and lost.

Parents who are drug addicts are likely to produce drug addictive children. This is because most children view their parents behaviors as good and acceptable and therefore are likely to copy them. Also, the “highs” produced by the stimulant encourages peoples to indulge in such behaviors; people like to feel happy and calm. Environmental factors such as poverty, job loss and peer pressure are also factors that can cause one to abuse drugs. Since some areas of the frontal cortex play an important role in controlling our urge to drink, smoke or use drugs, a deficit in such areas can cause one to be drug addictive.

MentalMondays by Akwama

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