The Scope Of The Problem
While the negative effects of aging on mental performance have been part of the human experience seemingly forever, as with many other diseases and conditions both Alzheimer’s and Dementia seem to be getting more widespread. Whether this is because people are living longer, or because they are being systematically poisoned by our industrial foods, polluted environment, and artificial lifestyles, the outcome is the same – millions of people worldwide spend the last years of their lives in a drooling, hopeless fog.
Please don’t think I am cruel or heartless when I describe the last years of life this way. My wife and I have cared for three of our four parents in our home during their last years and we have first-hand experience with the terrible downsides of the deterioration of mind, body and spirit that aging people (and their families) must endure.
Update! Lisa Gonzalez has just sent me an excellent set of resources that she has complied for caregivers, which I include here with my thanks:
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 5 Million Americans have Alzheimer’s, and 500,000 die each year from causes linked directly to the disease, while 1 out of 3 people die of either Alzheimer’s or one of the other forms of Dementia. Alzheimer’s alone is the 6th leading cause of death in the US. In some ways an even more important stat is that 15.5 million Americans provide 17.7 Billions hours of unpaid care to their elderly family members with these Dementias. This statistic alone means that at a wage level of $10/hour, Alzheimer’s and related Dementias cost the United States $180 Billion in lost productivity – what these 15.5 million care-givers could theoretically make at a minimum wage job rather than caring for their elderly family member without compensation.
A few additional pieces of information before we get into the purpose of this blog post:
1. Almost 65% of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women
2. More than 60% of caregivers for Alzheimer’s and related Dementia victims are women
3. Women are 2.5 times more likely to be providing 24/7 unpaid care for an Alzheimer’s/Dementia victim than men
4. For a women in her 60s, her estimated lifetime risk for Alzheimer’s is 1 in 6, compared with 1 in 11 for breast cancer.
5. It is estimated that by 2050 the number of victims of Alzheimer’s/Dementia in the US alone will triple to nearly 50 million people.
Could There Really Be A Simple Solution?
The conservative answer is – probably not, but maybe.
The optimistic answer, based on what I have learned about the effects of Coca Leaf tea and tonics on mental function – almost certainly yes, at least to some degree.
I believe that Coca Leaf can provide at least a partial solution, and at least some relief from the steady, inexorable deterioration that is the hallmark of these horrendous plagues. Equally important, Coca Leaf can offer at least some relief for those who love those who suffer this terrible, and possibly avoidable fate, and are willing to dedicate their lives to caring for them.
Parenthetically, if you are a caretaker for a parent who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and if your family has the financial means to do so, why not consider taking your parent on a 30 day trip to a nice spa in either Peru or Bolivia, where Coca Leaf Tea is readily available and simply see if 6 cups a day might make a difference? If you do, please document the results and let me know so that I can share them on this blog. In a few months I plan to set up a CrowdSourcing campaign on either Indiegogo or KickStarter to raise funds to allow me to go to Peru and Bolivia and set up a network of participating spas, therapists, healers and physicians for families who could benefit from 30 days of CLT treatment, but in the meanwhile if you are caring for a loved one with the beginnings of this terrible condition and can afford the trip, please consider trying this approach.
OK – big claims here. What’s the evidence? For that we have to look at the research and writings of physicians and scientists from the 1800s who were working and healing people using Coca Leaf tea and tonics long before Alzheimer’s was a known diagnosis, but who were intimately familiar with the process of mental deterioration with age.
The following brief citations are just a small selection of the observations of many talented physicians and scientists writing primarily in the 1800s about their experiences in treating people for a wide range of diseases and conditions with Coca Leaf. If you would like to browse an extensive collection of these writings, along with an equally extensive bibliography that I’ve hyperlinked to original source materials from the 1700s and 1800s, you’ll probably find my ebook “The Coca leaf Papers” worth reading.
“Erythroxylon Coca: A Treatise On Brain Exhaustion As The Cause Of Disease”, By William Tibbles, MD (1877)
Case 3. In 1875, a lady aged 78 years was suffering from extreme debility with sickness, faintness, loss of memory, and fretfulness; her friends expected every hour her decease, but, to the surprise and wonder of her friends, after a month’s treatment with coca she was restored to her usual health and activity.
I have, with success, treated hundreds of cases of debility, of which the above are examples. In some cases I have used “cocaine”, the active principle of Erythroxylon coca. I can fully endorse the statements of the scientific gentlemen quoted in your article in respect to the efficacy of coca in prolonged exertion.
“An Essay On Erythrolylon Coca” (in) “A New Form Of Nervous Disease” By W.S. Searle, M.D. (1881)
Coca regulates and greatly assists in maintaining that equilibrium of action of the heart and capillary circulation, which is so necessary to the maintenance of an un-exhausted state of the body. The muscles brought into action during the performance of manual labour are frequently eager for a greatly increased supply of arterial blood. To supply this increased want of blood necessarily entails an increase of vaso-motor action; thus in persons who have to make a little extra muscular exertion, the capillary vessels will necessarily dilate excessively, and if the action of the heart does not correspondingly increase in frequency and force, the tension of the vessels will fall, and if, in such a case, the pulse be felt, the artery conveys the sensation of a double or rebounding pulse. If, on the other hand, the heart be working excitedly, as when an individual receives some exciting impressions during the time he is performing simple labour which does not require a great increase in the supply of blood to the muscles; or, in other words, while the muscles do not require a supply of blood much greater than on ordinary occasions, the tension of the arteries, or the force of the blood contained in them, may be greatly raised, and the amount of heart-work further increased in order to force the circulation of the blood at the increased speed.
Mental labour is frequently productive of such arterial tension – an exhausted Brain, whereby its influence over the heart’s action is diminished, will give rise to it; the diminution of nervous influence over the excretory organs whereby an increased amount of urea is produced and collected in the blood will give rise to it; as will also abnormal nutrition during exertion. These variations are abnormal and give rise to ill effects. In extremely low tension of the arterial and capillary vessels, the increased supply of blood to the muscles causes anemia of (being a deficiency of supply of blood to) the brain, and there is produced a feeling of fatigue, giddiness, or fainting. In this condition there is abnormal rise in the internal temperature. On the other hand, if the arterial tension be increased, then the strain will fall upon the heart, which will become overtaxed, dilated, and in some cases entire failure will be produced, either by over-distention and paralysis, or, by gradually increasing signs of dilatation, producing breathlessness, a sensation of lightness in the head, coldness of the extremities, pallor of face, anxious expression, and the temperature is abnormally decreased. These are the results of discordant action of the circulatory system, produced by exertion or excitement.
It may be asked, what has all this to do with the action of coca-leaf? Well, it is found by experiment that coca-leaf regulates the action of the heart and circulatory system and thereby nearly altogether preventing such results as above recorded as the consequence of muscular exertion or mental excitement.”
“An Essay On Erythrolylon Coca” (in) “A New Form Of Nervous Disease” By W.S. Searle, M.D. (1881)
Now to the question as to how and in what manner coca-leaf accomplishes the results which are consequent upon its use. It has been shown that all the various processes are under the influence and governance of the force conveyed through the medium of the brain, spinal cord, and their continuations – the nerves. Such being the case we may justly infer that Erythroxylon Coca influences the various functions by its action upon the great centres of the body; for it is only through these that a restorative action can be induced.
What I here want to show is that coca-leaf produces these results by imparting nerve food which is converted into nervous energy and thus increasing the total amount of nervous energy and consequent governing force. The functions of the nerves are only restored, when they have become exhausted by physical or mental toil or disease, till after rest etc., proportioned to the amount of exhaustion. And if it can be shown, as we have done, that coca-leaf is capable of either retarding or preventing the condition of exhaustion, and likewise of restoring an actually exhausted body; and if this can only be done by restoring the natural or normal condition of the brain and nervous system, then, we may fairly conclude that the results proved to be consequent upon the use of Erythroxylon coca are brought about simply and only by its imparting to that centre and diverging branches an amount of force which otherwise might only be obtained after partaking of rest and other things proportioned to the exhaustion.
It is evident, therefore, that the prevention of that vacillating action of the internal organs generally consequent upon exertion, and likewise that the restorative action in cases of physical or mental exhaustion and in disease, is due to this increase in the governing force of the nervous system.
Editor’s Note: Perhaps it isn’t so far-fetched to think that Coca Leaf tea could play an important role in treating Alzheimer’s when you consider the following two research studies on other natural medicinal plants. Neither of these studies deal with Coca, of course, but the fact that there appear to be multiple promising natural medicines from various parts of the world argues in a powerful way for testing of the potential of Coca for this purpose.
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2014 Jun 24. pii: S0378-8741(14)00494-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2014.06.046. [Epub ahead of print]
Alzheimer׳s disease (AD) neuropathology is strongly associated with the activation of inflammatory pathways, and long-term use of anti-inflammatory drugs reduces the risk of developing the disease. In S. Tomé e Príncipe (STP), several medicinal plants are used both for their positive effects in the nervous system (treatment of mental disorders, analgesics) and their anti-inflammatory properties. The goal of this study was to determine whether a phenotypic, cell-based screening approach can be applied to selected plants from STP (Voacanga africana, Tarenna nitiduloides, Sacosperma paniculatum, Psychotria principensis, Psychotria subobliqua) in order to identify natural compounds with multiple biological activities of interest for AD therapeutics.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Plant hydroethanolic extracts were prepared and tested in a panel of phenotypic screening assays that reflect multiple neurotoxicity pathways relevant to AD-oxytosis in hippocampal nerve cells, in vitro ischemia, intracellular amyloid toxicity, inhibition of microglial inflammation and nerve cell differentiation. HPLC fractions from the extract that performed the best in all of the assays were tested in the oxytosis assay, our primary screen, and the most protective fraction was analyzed by mass spectrometry. The predominant compound was purified, its identity confirmed by ESI mass spectrometry and NMR, and then tested in all of the screening assays to determine its efficacy.
An extract from the bark of Voacanga africana was more protective than any other plant extract in all of the assays (EC50s≤2.4µg/mL). The HPLC fraction from the extract that was most protective against oxytosis contained the alkaloid voacamine (MW=704.90) as the predominant compound. Purified voacamine was very protective at low doses in all of the assays (EC50s≤3.4µM).
These findings validate the use of our phenotypic screening, cell-based assays to identify potential compounds to treat AD from plant extracts with ethnopharmacological relevance. Our study identifies the alkaloid voacamine as a major compound in Voacanga africana with potent neuroprotective activities in these assays.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2014 Mar 28;152(3):403-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.12.053. Epub 2014 Jan 9.
The treatment of Alzheimer’s disease using Chinese medicinal plants: from disease models to potential clinical applications.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by the sustained higher nervous disorders of the activities and functions of the brain. Due to its heavy burden on society and the patients’ families, it is urgent to review the treatments for AD to provide basic data for further research and new drug development. Among these treatments, Chinese Material Medica (CMM) has been traditionally clinical used in China to treat AD for a long time with obvious efficacy. With the further research reports of CMM, new therapeutic materials may be recovered from troves of CMM. However, So far, little or no review work has been reported to conclude anti-AD drugs from CMM in literature. Therefore, a systematic introduction of CMM anti-AD research progress is of great importance and necessity. This paper strives to systematically describe the progress of CMM in the treatment of AD, and lays a basis data for anti-AD drug development from CMM, and provides the essential theoretical support for the further development and utilization of CMM resources through a more comprehensive research of the variety of databases regarding CMM anti-AD effects reports.
MATERIAL AND METHODS:
Literature survey was performed via electronic search (SciFinder®, Pubmed®, Google Scholar and Web of Science) on papers and patents and by systematic research in ethnopharmacological literature at various university libraries.
This review mainly introduces the current research on the Chinese Material Medica (CMM) theoretical research on Alzheimer’s disease (AD), anti-AD active constituent of CMM, anti-AD effects on AD models, anti-AD mechanism of CMM, and anti-AD effect of CMM formula.
Scholars around the world have made studies on the anti-AD molecular mechanism of CMM from different pathways, and have made substantial progress. The progress not only enriched the anti-AD theory of CMM, but also provided clinical practical significance and development prospects in using CMM to treat AD. Western pure drugs cannot replace the advantages of CMM in the anti-AD aspect. Therefore, in the near future, the development of CMM anti-AD drugs with a more clearly role and practical data will be a major trend in the field of AD drug development, and it will promote the use of CMM.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Although I’ve tried to illustrate this point many times in this blog, it is so critical to overcoming decades of government propaganda that it bears repeated emphasis. In this case I’m offering the abstracts of two key articles published decades ago, but still well within the scope of contemporary science. Those who follow Natural Medicine research will no doubt recognize the author of these two articles as the incomparable Dr. Andy Weil.
The medicinal, healing properties of Coca Leaf do not lie in the Cocaine alkaloid – it is the whole, natural leaf that was the great gift of Mama Coca to her people and through them to the world. This leaf is the loving gift of the Spirit of Coca to those in the world who have the openness of mind to pull aside the deliberately woven veils of illusion that have been put in place to keep her hidden from the tens of millions of people who suffer and die unnecessarily from diseases that this profoundly powerful natural medicine could help to cure.
Coca Leaf As A Therapeutic Agent
South American Indians have used coca leaf as a remedy for thousands of years. Coca might be useful as a treatment for gastrointestinal ailments and motion sickness, as a fast-acting antidepressant medication, as a substitute stimulant for coffee in certain cases, and as an adjunct in programs of weight reduction and physical fitness. In leaf form, coca does not produce toxicity or dependence. Its effects are distinct from those of cocaine, which is but one of a number of active compounds in the leaf. Coca can be administered as a chewing gum containing a whole extract of the leaf, including alkaloids, natural flavors, and several nutrients. Legal mechanisms exist for importing, distributing, and dispensing coca, and experimentation with it by interested physicians would be valuable.
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1981 Mar-May;3(2-3):367-76.
The Therapeutic Value Of Coca In Contemporary Medicine
Coca appears to be a useful treatment for various gastrointestinal ailments, motion sickness, and laryngeal fatigue. It can be an adjunct in programs of weight reduction and physical fitness and may be a fast-acting antidepressant. It is of value in treating dependence on stronger stimulants. Coca regulates carbohydrate metabolism in a unique way and may provide a new therapeutic approach to hypoglycemia and diabetes mellitus. With low-dose, chronic administration it appears to normalize body functions. In leaf form coca does not produce toxicity or dependence. Coca can be administered as a chewing gum or lozenge containing a whole extract of the leaf, including alkaloids, natural flavors, and nutrients.
Editor’s Note: The following chapter from Dr. George Pettey’s 1913 book details the endgame of the process begun in the mid-1800s with Merck developing the technology for isolating and extracting the alkaloid Cocaine from pure Coca Leaf. The objective was, of course, to be able to patent Cocaine and dominate the market for a “new” pharmaceutical drug, and in the process to suppress the market for natural Coca Leaf as a medicinal herb. (And please keep in mind as you read this that although Dr. Pettey believes that Cocaine addiction is considerably less serious than Morphine addiction, nevertheless there is a world of difference between the healing power of pure, natural Coca Leaf and the man-made and deadly drug Cocaine.)
… However, within a short time the genii had escaped from the bottle and Cocaine was being manufactured widely in the US and Europe and its use had morphed from medical applications to a driving force for addicting users to patent “medicines’. The patent medicine industry then quickly morphed again into what has become, a hundred years later, the soft drink industry.
The process went something like this. Whereas Cocaine initially became popular primarily among hard working Black people in the South, enabling them to work at man-killing jobs all day without food or water, white businessmen quickly saw the potential for profit if Cocaine could be made acceptable to Whites. Looking around for a vehicle, these drug-pushing innovators quickly spotted the fact that the tonics and patent medicines that used to be peddled from the back of itinerant hawker’s wagons, but that were increasingly controlled by a few big companies, had evolved into products now sold in “respectable” drug store environments as soda fountain drinks.
They instantly concluded that by including Cocaine in syrups that they supplied to the soda fountain market they could ensure a loyal following among “respectable” white folks who almost instantly just had to have a jolt 5-10 times a day – and at the low, low price of just a nickel a pop. As you’ll see in the chapter cited below, this quickly resulted among other things in wholesale addiction of children, turning them into what the author terms “Soda Fountain Fiends”. While this may seem rather quaint and funny to us today, the enslavement of children to addictive drugs by these companies was a deliberate criminal act for which they have never been held accountable.
Is it any wonder that today 100 years later two of the richest companies in the world are Coca Cola and PepsiCo, building upon the enormous business war chest they were able to accumulate a nickel at a time before prohibition forced them to remove Cocaine from their list of ‘secret ingredients”? Interesting too how their advertising themes like “Things go better with Coke” and “Come Alive!” subliminally tie into these early days. Once you understand the dynamics of history, you can understand the cynical genius behind these peddlers of “The real thing”.
So, ya want a coke and fries with that burger? Really?
(From the book entitled) “The Narcotic Drug Diseases And Allied Ailments; Pathology, Pathogenesis, And Treatment”, by George Pettey, MD, Philadelphia 1913
Chapter XXIII: The Cocaine Habit
It will be noticed that the author here uses the word “habit,” instead of disease. This is done advisedly; that is to say, the word “habit,” as commonly understood, can be properly applied to the habitual use of cocaine, but it should not be used to signify the conditions growing out of the prolonged use of opiates. There is a wide difference between the morphine disease, and the cocaine habit.
The morphine disease may be acquired justifiably; that is, because of the legitimate use of morphine for relief of pain, or, inadvertently, by using it for support during excessively long working hours, or by one taking it in some remedy not known to contain it, or it may be taken up as a pure dissipation, but, no matter how its use is begun, when the addiction is fully established, it is a disease and the victim is helpless and cannot abandon the use of the drug or cure the disease by merely exercising his own volition. He is in the coils of a monster with whom he is unable to cope, but this is not true of the cocaine habit.
The use of cocaine is usually taken up by those already addicted to morphine. In the course of two or three years from the beginning of the use of morphine it ceases to exert a distinctly stimulating effect on the user. There is little, if any, pleasurable sensation from its use. It is continued because its disuse entails suffering which the victim is unable to bear. Morphine users who are inclined to dissipate, after reaching this stage, frequently add cocaine for the stimulating and pleasurable sensations produced by it, as they are not being satisfied with the effects of the morphine alone.
This is begun and continued as a pure dissipation. It could be abandoned any day without material suffering by merely dropping the cocaine and continuing the morphine. There is no more difficulty in sobering a man up from a cocaine spree, or from the habitual use of it, than in sobering him up after a temporary alcoholic indulgence; neither is there greater suffering incident to it.
The habitual use of cocaine does not bring on a disease in any way comparable to that of morphine. One is taken up and continued purely as a dissipation; the other is a calamity, and so enslaves the user that he cannot abandon it of his own volition.
Cocaine is seldom used alone habitually. Its use in the Southern sections of the United States is confined almost entirely to the Negro race, and the Negroes use it intermittently. The power of cocaine to sustain one under a prolonged strain is well understood by the laboring class of Negroes. Frequently those engaged in unloading and loading steamers will work forty-eight to sixty hours, continuously, by supporting themselves with cocaine. When the ship is loaded, then they go to their quarters and sleep two or three days before even rising to take food. In this time they have slept off the effects of the cocaine and are comparatively normal. Then no more is taken until another strain comes upon them and in this they again sustain themselves with the drug.
Others who take cocaine as a dissipation use it through the night, or probably through a day and night, and then abandon it for a time and later go on another spree. This is cheaper to them than alcoholic intoxication and is said to be much more delightful.
Persons who take cocaine alone are dangerous, both to themselves and others. Cocaine produces delusions of persecutions, and, acting under one of these delusions, one under the influence of cocaine is liable at any time to do violence to anyone near him, not that he would have any ill will toward the particular person; but believing that he is being pursued by some enemy, which is merely a phantom, he is liable at any time to turn and use a pistol or other weapon on such imaginary enemy, and an innocent party be maimed or killed. It is never safe to allow such a person to remain at liberty.
The most insidious and damaging manner in which cocaine is reaching our people, that is, the white people of this country, is through the carbonated drinks for which many have such a passion. It is in the manufacture of such drinks that the bulk of cocaine is used. The great increase in the importation of cocaine leaves is not due to the demand for cocaine as a medicine, or from its personal use by drug habitués, but it is because of the demand for the leaves as the one essential ingredient in establishing and perpetuating the use of these carbonated drinks.
Many of these drinks, some having a name very suggestive of this damaging, yet fascinating drug, have been skillfully and persistently advertised; but their use and the hold they have upon the public do not depend upon this skillful use of printers’ ink, but upon the fact that the effect of one drink creates a demand for another.
These drinks are advertised to relieve headache, overcome fatigue, and impart in its stead a sense of exhilaration and well-being, and they do this, but not by removing the cause of such conditions, nor by supplying the system with the physiological activity and the energy which are the counterpart of these unwelcome conditions; they do it by blunting the sensibilities, for a time, to their existence.
As the effects of the stimulant in the drink dies out the demand for another drink is strongly felt, and then a second drink is taken, and this is repeated several times a day. We have, as a result, thousands of young men and women depending upon the energy derived from these drinks to enable them to carry on their work. Many of them taking from three to a dozen or more of these medicated soda-fountain drinks each day. They will tell you that they feel totally unable to undertake their day’s work without their “coke.” They are, in fact, as really enslaved by the drugs these drinks contain as they would be were they using them in other form. It is to their enslaving properties that these drinks owe much of their enormous and continuous sale.
Doubtless, when the facts are ascertained as to the use of cocaine by the school children of Philadelphia, which has recently created such an uproar, it will be found to have had its origin in the medicated soda-fountain drinks rather than from the seductive influence of older persons used in a more direct manner. Children who are allowed to become soda-fountain fiends acquire a taint that, when opportunity presents, leads them to take to cocaine or other stimulants like a duck to water.
Much misconception exists as to the nature and treatment of the cocaine habit. When cocaine is taken alone the treatment consists simply in cleaning out the system by an active cathartic, shutting off the cocaine, and allowing the patient to go to sleep. If the patient has been taking a considerable quantity of cocaine this sleep will continue for some eighteen to thirty-six hours, but it should not be interrupted.
When anyone is taking cocaine the system is kept constantly saturated with it by repeated doses. The effect of this drug is to keep the patient excited, in a wakeful state, and this will continue as long as the doses are regularly repeated, even if that be for forty-eight hours continuously without sleep. Most cocaine users sleep very late of mornings, but before they are able to rise from bed and dress themselves they must have one or more injections of their drug. This puts them on their feet and then they continue to take their doses at short intervals from that time until late the next night, or they may run even a day and night in succession before they stop their dosing again to such a degree as to give themselves a chance to sleep. But usually they will begin their day’s dosing about 10 to 12 o’clock and run until 2 or 3 the next morning, and then leave off their doses; then they soon become drowsy and go to sleep.
When once asleep they will sleep so heavily that the sleep will be continued until nature has sufficiently restored the system to enable them to arise again. As soon as they awake, their day’s work, which consists in repeatedly dosing themselves or injecting cocaine, again begins and nothing else is done. In fact, they are totally unfit for application to business of any kind.
If cocaine is taken in connection with morphine the condition is not quite so bad, but few people who take cocaine will do anything at all in the way of attention to business. After they get to taking cocaine in considerable quantities it requires all their time to keep the effects of that drug balanced with the morphine they are taking. In treating such a case a thorough course of elimination should be given so that the medicine will act early in the morning. Their cocaine should be given to them up to l0 or 12 o’clock at night and then taken away.
Within two or three hours after the last dose of cocaine the patient will go to sleep and sleep heavily until he is aroused, or until the cocaine effect has entirely worn away. By having the purgative ready to act, that is, by giving the purgative so it will be ready to act as soon as the patient awakens, the evacuation of this toxic matter relieves the nervous system to a considerable extent, and this usually quiets the patient so that he can tolerate his existence without the cocaine. A few free evacuations of the bowels give sufficient relief to enable him to go back to sleep and then twelve or eighteen hours more of sleep brings him to a condition of comparative quietude, in which no further real demand for the effects of cocaine exists.
Cocaine should be discontinued at bedtime on the first day of treatment and none of it given thereafter. It is true the patient will be nervous for a few hours, even after his prolonged sleep has passed, but any simple sedative will overcome this to such a degree as to enable him to bear it and within a day or two the nervousness disappears to such a degree that further medication is not necessary. There is no severe suffering; neither is there danger in withdrawing cocaine abruptly from the patient after the portal system has been disengorged and the bowel emptied. There is no reason whatever for a partial cutting off of the drug or for the reduction of the dose before it is abruptly stopped. This immediate withdrawal is not followed by a collapse or any other of the dangerous complications incident to the withdrawal of opiates, but it should not be practised until the portal system is disengorged, the bowel thoroughly cleared, and the heart relieved of the burden against which it would be called upon to work were these organs left in the contaminated, engorged state.
If the patient is taking cocaine and morphine together, then the treatment for the morphine disease may go hand in hand with the treatment for the cocaine habit. The author finds it much better to withdraw both drugs at once, so far as the physical condition of the patient is concerned, than otherwise, but that does not hold good when the prognosis is considered.
Patients after they are taken off of cocaine usually sleep even more than a normal person, and this, to a large extent, compensates for the absence of sleep due to the withdrawal of morphine. In many cases in which the author has withdrawn morphine and cocaine at the same time, the patient has slept more than a normal person would have slept during the first two or three weeks after such withdrawal. This is a very delightful experience to them.
The prognosis in the cocaine habit is usually unfavorable. Very few indeed of those who have formed the cocaine habit will give it up and remain free from it. That is, very few of them will remain free if both the morphine and cocaine are taken away at once. The author for a number of years has pursued a different plan and one which is giving good results.
So far as the physical condition is concerned, there is no reason why the cocaine should be taken away before the opiate, but when the prognosis is considered there is a reason why the cocaine should be first discontinued. The use of cocaine is usually begun as a dissipation. The effect of the cocaine has most likely increased the tendency to dissipate rather than otherwise, but in some cases, in fact in many cases, the individual still retains sufficient reason to realize the damaging effects of the use of these drugs combined. When that is true and the patient can be led to abandon the cocaine and live as much as twelve months, taking morphine alone, the probability of his remaining free from both drugs is very much better than if both drugs are withdrawn at once.
The author now insists that a man who is using cocaine and morphine is not in condition for treatment with the expectation of his cure being at all permanent, unless he is taken off of cocaine and then required to continue the use of morphine, under the observation of some competent medical man, for a period of twelve months. If the individual has enough self-control left, and has determination sufficient to discipline himself into doing without the cocaine, this will fit him for treatment.
After a year of this kind of drilling and probation, he can be taken off the morphine and the results will almost certainly be a permanent cure; but if he be taken off the cocaine and morphine at once, the mental impressions left by the cocaine will so haunt him that the chances are very much in favor of his returning to either or both of the drugs in a very short time.
The author prefers not to take cases of cocaine habit, unless they place themselves under his care for a period of twelve months and are willing to pursue the course above outlined. Cocaine has an intensely fascinating effect, one that is extremely seductive to those who have been habituated to its use. It overcomes all sense of discomfort, of un- happiness, and brings about a state of satisfaction with the conditions that exist that is most delightful to many persons.
When a person has been addicted to morphine or other narcotic drug and has gotten to the “down and out” stage, the effects of cocaine appeal to him very strongly. It brings him surcease from all of his sorrows, and the fascination created on his mind is such as to dominate him, and it is a rare thing that he can be led to give it up. But if he still retains that degree of self-control that will enable him to give up the cocaine and continue the use of morphine in uniform and moderate quantities for as much as twelve months, he still retains sufficient self-control and moral purpose to make a good and successful fight against the morphine disease.
Persons who will faithfully carry out this disciplinary course are developed into a condition favorable for treatment. Cocaine was once lauded as a cure for the “morphine habit” and many began its use with this idea, only to find themselves enslaved by two drugs.
The use of cocaine as a nasal spray is another source from which its abuse has sprung in a few cases. The author has had several cases of this type who use the drug in no other way, but were continually spraying their nose and mucous surfaces with cocaine. These, evidently, obtained but little systemic effect from the cocaine, but if the author’s information is correct all but one of them resumed the use of the spray after treatment.
Keibler, in the U. S. Dept. of Agriculture, is quoted as saying: “Cocaine is fast taking the place of morphine.” The author cannot understand such a statement coming from one having knowledge of the effects of the two drugs. These effects are not at all similar and cannot be made to take the place one of the other; in fact, their effects are so different that cocaine is recognized as one of the antidotes in morphine poison. About 10 percent of morphinists use cocaine with their morphine.
This excerpt from W. S. Searles’s 1881 book “A New Form Of Nervous Disease” focuses on why this new set of symptoms should have emerged in America when it apparently had not yet been seen in the rest of the world. Readers in today’s world of 2014 may find it fascinating to see how little has changed in the national psyche since Dr. Searles wrote this in 1881.