Cocaine may seem like a harmless drug, but it is one of the most dangerous and addictive substances out there today. The National Survey found on Drug Use, and Health states that about 910,000 Americans have a cocaine addiction. There are around 6000 unintentional deaths a year, and nearly half of all drug-related emergency room visits are from cocaine.
Cocaine offers a jolt of euphoric effects from the moment it is taken. Most people do not know about the debilitating crash after the drug wears out of their system. The brain will want to desperately seek that high again which leads to a series of addictive behaviors with severe consequences.
Cocaine addiction is nothing to take lightly. For those who are addicted to cocaine, their lives often spiral out of control. They lose everything to keep feeling those same euphoric effects. They keep chasing that addiction regardless of the consequences. Many who use cocaine, end up in prison or dead from an overdose.
Cocaine is considered a stimulant narcotic drug, mostly found in the form of white powder made from the coca plant. It is broken down to either be smoked, injected, or more commonly inhaled. The worst version of cocaine comes in the form of crystals, otherwise known as crack cocaine.
Once cocaine enters the body, that euphoric jolt is your brain unleashing a large amount of dopamine. You feel amazing almost immediately, but that high is short-lived. This is where cocaine becomes dangerous, as it will lead people to want more right away. A physical dependence will develop after a very short time.
Signs of Cocaine Abuse
Usually, cocaine abuse starts as experimentation. Hollywood glamorizes the drug so that people want to try it. Most people who use cocaine experience financial hardship, and troubles with their professional and personal lives. The following are some signs to help determine if someone you love is addicted to cocaine:
- Long periods of wakefulness
- Loss of appetite
- White powder around nostrils
- Dilated pupils
- Runny nose or frequent sniffles
Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Abuse
Because cocaine has a short half-life, sometimes only lasting as long as 5 to 30 minutes, abuse comes easily. What starts as curiosity turns into a rush to enjoy that euphoric high a second time and a third. While the euphoric high might feel great, there are also serious health risks associated with cocaine use.
It can cause organ failures, blood vessel constriction, harm to your nasal cavity, and even lead to strokes and heart attacks. Nosebleeds and violent behavior are also common side effects. Some people who use cocaine, even for the first time, die as a result of their experience.
Not every experience is the same. In the long-term, effects can vary. It depends on the health of the user, their size, how their brain, lungs, and heart react to it, and more. Behavioral and psychological effects also can occur. There are several long-term effects of cocaine abuse:
- High blood pressure
- Trouble sleeping
- Organ failure
- Nasal destruction
- Heart attacks
- Lung damage
- Loss of ability to smell
- Extreme weight loss
- Bowel decay
- Infertility/Sexual dysfunction
- Bodily Movement Disorders
One of the dangerous aspects of using cocaine is not knowing the amount the person is taking. Each person is different, so every “hit” is not the same. Physiology, the makeup of the cocaine, its purity, and the use of other drugs can all impact whether a person will overdose. It does not take long to die from a cocaine overdose.
The following is a list of overdose symptoms:
- Kidney failure
- Delirium and delusions
- Cerebral hemorrhage
If a cocaine overdose is not treated immediately, the risk of death dramatically increases. There is a massive correlation between overdosing on cocaine and interactions had as a result of taking other substances. Alcohol and other narcotics, including opioids, are factors in many overdose cases.
Withdrawal and Treatment
Cocaine is addictive, and it can be challenging to stop taking. The brain rapidly develops a dependence on it. Your brain is continuously releasing dopamine; therefore, it gets used to having that drug continually flowing. As soon as you stop, the brain notices and goes into panic mode. This can lead to agitation, fatigue, and certain sleep disturbances.
Withdrawal symptoms can begin as soon as 30 minutes to an hour after your last dose. Eventually, it is easier to keep using the drug than to quit. That is why many continue even though they never intended on becoming addicted. Most addicts have to rely on the use of drug rehabilitation facilities to overcome their addiction.
Below are some common symptoms of a cocaine crash/withdrawal:
- A general feeling of depletion
- Dysphoria or depression
- Diminished cravings
- Strong desire for sleep
- Increased appetite
People who use cocaine regularly may have stronger withdrawal symptoms. These often include psychological and physical side effects after you stop use. Many who go through cocaine withdrawal can have symptoms last 10 minutes or longer. Here are several signs of cocaine withdrawal:
- Irritability to anger
- Lethargy and extreme fatigue
- Poor concentration
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation
- Insomnia and erratic sleep
- Strong cravings to use
- Vivid, unpleasant dreams
To overcome cocaine withdrawal, it is to seek help from a rehab facility like Serenity Acres. They not only will help you detox; they can treat the symptoms and offer other methods of therapy.