Cocaine and Crack Abuse (cont.)
Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD
Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Cocaine and crack abuse facts
- What is cocaine? What is crack?
- How is cocaine abused?
- What are cocaine's effects on the body and the mind?
- What causes and prevents cocaine abuse and addiction?
- What are symptoms and signs of cocaine abuse and addiction?
- How is cocaine addiction diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for cocaine and crack addiction?
- What are symptoms and signs of cocaine withdrawal?
- What are the long-term effects and the prognosis for cocaine and crack addiction?
- Where can people find more information about cocaine and crack abuse?
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
How is cocaine addiction diagnosed?
There is no single test that indicates that someone is abusing or addicted to cocaine with complete certainty. Therefore, health care professionals diagnose these disorders by thoroughly gathering medical, family, and mental health information. The professional will also either perform a physical examination or request that the individual's primary care doctor do so. The medical examination usually includes lab tests to assess the person's general health and to explore whether or not the individual has a medical condition that includes mental health symptoms.
In asking questions about mental health symptoms, mental health professionals are often trying to find out if the person suffers from depressive and/or manic symptoms, as well as whether the individual suffers from anxiety, hallucinations, delusions or some behavioral disorders. Health care professionals may provide the people they evaluate with a quiz or self-test to screen for substance abuse or dependence. Since some of the symptoms of cocaine misuse and dependence can also occur in other mental illnesses, the mental health screening helps determine if the individual suffers from bipolar disorder, an anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or other psychotic disorders, or a personality or behavior disorder like narcissistic personality disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), respectively. Any disorder that is associated with sudden changes in behavior, mood, or thinking, like bipolar disorder, a psychotic disorder, borderline personality disorder, or dissociative identity disorder (DID), may be particularly challenging to distinguish from some symptoms of cocaine abuse or dependence. In order to assess the person's current emotional state, health care professionals perform a mental status exam as well.
In addition to providing treatment that is appropriate to the diagnosis and to the person in need of it, determining the presence of mental illnesses that may co-occur (comorbid/dual diagnosis) with cocaine abuse or dependence is important in promoting the best possible outcome. Dual diagnosis of cocaine-abusing or addicted individuals indicates the need for treatment that addresses both issues in an integrated fashion by professionals with training and experience with helping this specific population.
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