This article is from a video by Dr. Sadaqat Ali, titled:
“Dealing with addicts taking a lethal combination of Cocaine and Alcohol”
Mixing drugs have never been a good idea. People mostly mix the drugs that are opposite in nature to overcome the effects produced by one drug. Most people take a combination of cocaine and alcohol as cocaine is a stimulant drug that causes euphoria and increases energy, whereas, alcohol is a depressant. Most drug users combine alcohol and cocaine for numerous reasons like to decrease the feeling of drunkenness, to intensify the cocaine high, or to ease the symptoms of coming down from cocaine. Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system – Alcohol produces drunkenness and lowers the mood whereas cocaine boosts the mood.
It has been reported that using cocaine and alcohol as a combination increases the death rate by 20 percent. Mixing cocaine and alcohol together increases the rate of issues including cognitive impairment, increased heart rate, breathing problems, high blood pressure, loss of motor function and coordination. The deadliest side effect of combining these two mood-altering drugs is when the two are metabolized through the liver, the organ produces cocaethylene, which puts stress and damages the cardiovascular system and the liver itself. It also produced a severe state of drug-induced psychosis and paranoia.
Psychosis is a state of mind when a person is not able to differentiate between what is real and what is not. It also includes symptoms of hallucinations and delusions. Paranoia is a state where a person believes that everyone is out there to harm him and people are always conspiring against him.
Addicts facing such severe issues need professional help. Most of the families are revolving around the willpower trap, believing that the addict can leave the drugs on their own. They try to control the addict by giving them hard times like grounding them, locking them, being aggressive towards them. People also believe that treatment is not required until the addict hits the rock bottom, so, they try to solve the issue by using wrong behaviors which ends up impacting the family’s life and their mental health as well.
The first step anyone linked with an addict needs to take is, to educate themselves about the problem of their loved one. They need to learn about the impacts and side effects caused by the addict’s choice of drug. They can learn through various sources including books, the internet, videos, or even talking to recovering addicts or recovering families. Instead of consuming their energy 24/7 by thinking about the addict, which results in nothing but making the family codependent on the addict and inducing stress and anxiety in the family members. They should try to think constructively and spend their time finding solutions to their issue and gaining knowledge about the problem.
Three vital behaviors that the family members or the people dealing with addicts can adopt are:
- Stop giving the addict irrelevant threats – When family members give the addict threats that they are never going to act upon, it just plays a part in enabling the addict’s behaviors. By the time the addict realizes that what their family members are saying are mere a threat and they won’t ever act upon it, the impact of the threat just diminishes. Always say those things to the addict that you can actually do.
- Stop covering up or lying in place of the addict – Mostly, in the situations where addicts are answerable, family members tend to jump in and try to cover up the situations in place of the addict. This behavior of the family members enables the addict’s behaviors. Always let the addicts face the consequences of their actions.
- Family needs to stop their enabling and provoking behaviors – Enabling includes all such behaviors that help the addict in doing drugs, such as, fulfilling their all demands, covering up in place of them, not letting them face the consequences, handling their legal issues. Provoking includes all the triggering behaviors that give and addict a reason to consume drugs, such as being aggressive and violent with them, fighting with the addict.
Family plays the most important role in the treatment of the addict. So, the most effective thing a family member can do is to learn the right way to intervene in the addict’s life and get them to the right treatment. If you think or know someone you care about has a cocaine or alcohol addiction, it may be time to seek professional help. Research shows that rehabilitation centers can be very helpful in maintaining a life of sobriety.
Written by Ifrah Minal(Clinical Psychologist)
Thoughts: Dr. Sadaqat Ali