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Risky cocktails – 2: Alcohol and cocaine

Risky cocktails – 2: Alcohol and cocaine

31 July | 0 Comments | By Rachael

Cocaine is an intense stimulant drug that delivers a feeling of pleasure, increased energy and talkativeness. Those who tend to use it for a prolonged sense of pleasure are vulnerable to become addicted. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data, 663,000 young adults aged 18 to 25 used cocaine for the first time in the past year. The combined data of 2014-2105 made a startling revelation of one in every 20 young Americans using cocaine.

Many drug users tend to combine cocaine and alcohol for a number of reasons, such as to decrease the feeling of drunkenness associated with alcohol, exaggerate the intoxicating effect and ease the unpleasant symptoms of coming down from cocaine. The combination delivers greater feelings of ‘high’ than the drug or alcohol alone. However, two is not a company when it comes to the dangerous cocktail. While alcohol alone is known to cause a significant number of disabilities, consuming it with other drugs of abuse can increase the damage multifold. As researchers suggest, the cocktail may increase the risk of sudden death by almost 20 times more than cocaine alone.

Mixing alcohol and cocaine leads to detrimental side effects

After a user takes cocaine and alcohol in combination, liver carboxylesterase (a liver enzyme involved in liver drug clearance) converts cocaine partially to ethylcocaine. An active metabolite of cocaine, ethylcocaine prolongs the euphoric effects of cocaine and is more potent than cocaine. The combination can also lead to production of cocaethylene, which causes a greater build-up of dopamine and delivers longer sense of euphoria. It is more addictive and more lethal at the same time.

According to a review of medical literature on psychological and somatic effects and consequences of concurrent use of alcohol and cocaine published in the journal Addiction, the combination of alcohol and cocaine is likely to offer greater-than-additive effects on heart rate, associated with up to 30 percent increased blood cocaine levels. The cocktail may enhance the adverse effects on heart health than cocaine or alcohol alone, induced by the formation of cocaethylene. Furthermore, the combination may also evoke violent thoughts and violent behaviors in the user.

Taking cocaine and alcohol together may adversely affect cardiovascular and endocrine systems. The combination may cause an increase in systolic blood pressure, cortisol and prolactin concentrations. Moreover, concurrent exposure may increase cerebral hypo-perfusion, a condition characterized by insufficient blood supply to the brain. The poor oxygen supply to brain may lead to complications including death of brain tissue or ischemic stroke. The morbidity and mortality associated with concurrent use of alcohol and cocaine say enough about avoiding the use of this deadly cocktail and walking the path to sobriety.

Treatment for concurrent alcohol and cocaine addiction

Despite the fact that they are different substances, it is possible to treat a co-occurring alcohol and cocaine addiction at the same time. The effective treatment steps for a co-occurring alcohol and cocaine addiction can be:

Detoxification: It is the first step of an addiction treatment, which involves clearing of the drug from the body. Detox is helpful in preparing patient’s body for unpleasant or fatal consequences resulting from sudden cessation of drug use. It also helps prevent relapse and prepares the patient for subsequent treatments.

Brief Interventions/FRAMES: It is administered to the patients through feedback, behavioral advice, empathy, optimism and responsibility to change.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Individuals undergoing CBT learn different skills that can be effective in controlling addiction problems while addressing any other underlying mental health condition that often coexists with it.

For more information on treatment modalities and the best detox centers in Texas, contact the Detox Facilities Texas. Chat online with our treatment experts or call our 24/7 helpline number 866-671-4308 to know more.


Read other articles in the series “Risky cocktails:”

1. Alcohol and marijuana