Cocaine Addiction Information
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cokeIt is widely known that one of the signs of addiction is the person’s withdrawal from family and friends, and the abandonment of the social activities, sports and other areas of interest which were an important part of the person’s life before drugs became the all-consuming focus of life.

These are empirical facts, empirical meaning based on observation and experience.  A person can observe and see that as drugs overtake a drug user’s life, the person’s enjoyment of others and life as a whole diminishes and fades away.

Findings of a Recent Study

In a recent study done at the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Zurich, researchers found that cocaine users experience “social defecits” since social contact is less rewarding to them.  As a result of their findings, researchers suggest that training in the social skills should be an integral part of treating cocaine addiction.

Cocaine is the second most frequently used drug worldwide, including Europe.  Cannabis (marijuana) ranks first.  The Zurich researchers who’ve looked into the effects of chronic cocaine use found that users manifested concentration difficulties, attention deficits and a worsened memory.

Researchers also found the cocaine abusers find it difficult to see another person’s mental perspective on things, demonstrate less empathy for others, act in a less pro-social manner in situations of social interaction, have greater difficulty in recognizing emotions based on other’s voices, and report having fewer social contacts.

Chronic cocaine users were also found to experience a worsened degree of emotional empathy for others, and only to a smaller social network.

From the data acquired, the researchers extrapolated that these “social cognitive deficits” in chronic cocaine users contributes to the development and perpetuation of addiction to cocaine.

The psychologists, Borin Quednow and Katrin Preller, concluded that the user’s “impaired social interaction skills” could be attributed to “a blunted response to social reward”.  Their conclusion was further explained by Quednow relating that cocaine users perceive social exchanges as “less positive and rewarding” in comparison to people who do use the drugs.

Quednow and Preller noted that their findings may be of some help in explaining why cocaine abusers frequently fail to quit abusing the drug in spite of severe social consequences, citing such issues as loss of friends, familial problems and /or loss of employment.

The two researchers cite the “reduced reward” of social interaction with others as a possible explanation as to why cocaine abusers lose their “supportive social contacts” over time, thus contributing to the continued addiction.

Based on their research and findings, Quednow and Preller suggested that training in social skills, including pro-social behavior, empathy for others, and the skill of taking the mental perspective of another person, should be part of treating cocaine dependence, enhancing its efficacy and sustainability.

Life Skills: Training in Social Skills

A common cause of drug use, and perhaps the most common cause, is a person’s inability to face the problems and situations in life in concert with the lack of life skills necessary to address and effectively resolve those life problems and situations.

It is vital to living a drug-free life that an individual is able to perceive life, and enjoy it.  Drugs dull the senses and diminish and impair the person’s ability to communicate with others and to experience the emotions which are a vital part of living life and interacting with others.

Providing life skills training is a vital part of rehabilitating the substance abuser, giving the person the tools necessary to effectively deal with life situations and problems without using drugs as a solution.  Such training enables an individual to face-up to and overcome life obstacles that may have opened the door to drug use in the past.