Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cocaine: Not just a song by Eric Clapton...

Cocaine is such a powerful drug that Eric Clapton recorded a song about it in 1977 and was previously recorded by J. J. Cale. The song describes why people take it and what it does for you. It isn't a scientific discussion about the dangers of cocaine. It actually promotes the use of it, but what does this drug really do to your brain? The main character in Danny's Grace had some fun with cocaine, but it came to a screeching halt. He probably didn't know or care what it was doing to him.

Cocaine is a drug that is made from the leaves of the Erythroxylon coca bush. Some of the effects of this drug are feelings of euphoria, pleasure, increased energy and alertness. People taking cocaine don't see a need for sleep or nourishment. This drug also makes you feel like talking a lot. These are the feelings that people expect and want when they put cocaine into their bodies.

There are side effects to this drug as well. These are ignored by the people who take cocaine because they feel that it can't happen to them, just as with all other drug addictions. Some of those side effects include violent and erratic behavior, dizziness, paranoia, insomnia, convulsions and heart failure. These are just a few of the possible things that can happen depending on the environment, the mode in which the drug is taken and how much of the drug you put into your system.

The long term effects of using cocaine are stroke, heart attacks, seizures, memory loss and learning disabilities. This means that if you have a prolonged rate of use, you will be more likely suffer from these problems than most people that never use the drug.

Cocaine can be snorted, smoked or taken through a needle (shooting up). When first beginning to take the drug, the user will get a rush that last about two minutes. After that first two minutes you will get about an eight minute span of euphoria. This is when you begin to come down off the drug and an overwhelming urge to have more of the drug takes over your body. This feeling can last as long as a day. Cocaine is extremely addictive.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is present throughout the brain. It controls movement, emotion, motivation and the feeling of pleasure. Dopamine is released by a neuron into a synapse. It then moves to the dopamine receptors on other neurons. It then returns to the neutron where it began. This is what happens in the normal brain. Cocaine usage releases dopamine and this is what makes the drug so enticing to those who use it.

When cocaine is added to the dopamine equation the cocaine blocks the reuptake pumps that remove the dopamine from the synapse of the nerve cell. This is the critical part of the equation to look at because this is the difference between normal brain function and a brain that is on cocaine. This situation results in more dopamine accumulating at the synapse and this is what causes the feelings of euphoria. Scientists believe that cocaine also affects serotonin which is also responsible for the pleasurable feelings associated with cocaine and the ease with which a person can become addicted. They believe that cocaine affects about 90 different parts of the brain rather than being concentrated in one or two parts areas.

It has also been recently discovered that cocaine hinders the blood flow. This would explain the reason that brain damage and/or defects can set in. It's odd that these studies show that even the thought of cocaine to a user of the drug can cause a change in the blood flow. This connects to the addictive nature of the drug. Cocaine is, therefore, more addictive than previously thought.

For more detailed information on the effects of cocaine on the brain visit Serendip. You should at least know exactly what the drug does to you before you start taking it. You owe it to yourself and everyone around you to find out. "Don't forget this fact, you can't get it back, cocaine" Eric Clapton lyrics.

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