Cocaine is often insinuated as the “caviar of street drugs,” and it is an expensive way of getting high. Its notoriety is often propagated in movies and by celebrities who can afford this expensive and illegal drug. Classified as a high-abuse and high-dependency risk by the federal government, the reality of this drug hits after the high.
Cocaine has an extremely negative impact on the brain, heart, and emotional wellbeing of an individual such that the users become psychologically and emotionally dependent on the drug. The abuse of cocaine can lead to long-term life-threatening and devastating effects.
Cocaine is an illegal street drug often referred to as “blow” “crack” and “coke” on the streets. It is a recreational drug made by purifying an extract obtained from the leaves of the Erythroxylum Coca plant. The two major forms of cocaine are made using different processes. Powdered cocaine, known as coke or blow, is often snorted. It is highly soluble in water. Thus, it can be injected intravenously. Crack cocaine, or “rock,” is made through a chemical process that creates a freebase form of cocaine that is smoked. The high or immediate effects produced by cocaine wear off between 30 minutes and two hours after use. When injected or smoked, it causes a faster but shorter high than snorting it.
Cocaine acts on the reward centers of the brain. Stimulating this area with cocaine can produce a strong craving to use more and more of the drug. Repeated use of cocaine causes tolerance where one needs higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect. It then leads to dependence, and finally addiction. No amount of cocaine is regarded as safe.
Statistics of Cocaine Abuse
The statistics of cocaine abuse are staggering. In 2014, about 14 percent of American adults reported having tried cocaine, while one in every 40 American adults reported using cocaine in the past year. Young men aged 18 to 25 have the highest rates of using cocaine, and 8 percent of this population reported using blow in the past 12 months.
Drug addiction, especially cocaine, often co-occurs with mental illness. Some of these disorders that occur together with cocaine addiction include:
• Depressive disorders
• Bipolar disorder
• Other substance abuse
• Antisocial personality disorder
• Gambling disorder
Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse
The symptoms of cocaine addiction and abuse vary depending on the individual, the level of physical dependency, and the frequency of use. The most common signs of cocaine abuse include:
• Depression after a binge abuse cycle
• Marked mood swings
• Feeling superior to other people
• Lying about drug use
• Increased alertness and energy
• Sudden need of money
• Financial problems
• Withdrawing from family, friends and loved ones
• Engaging in risky sex
• Bizarre, violent behavior
• Possession of drug paraphernalia
• Damage to nasal passages
• Increased libido
• Dilated pupils
• Constriction of blood vessels
• Loss of the sense of smell
• Difficulties swallowing
• Chronic running nose
Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Abuse
Many treatment programs in Chester PA will warn you that cocaine can produce many adverse effects after using it for extended durations. These include:
• Heart attack
• Cardiac arrhythmias
• Permanent lung damage
• Perforation of nasal cavities
• Perforation of the stomach and intestines
• Decreased sexual function
• Blood-borne diseases (for example HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C)
• Skin infections and abscesses
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
After a person uses cocaine frequently over a long duration, psychological and physical dependence and addiction develops. When the individual is physically dependent on cocaine, he or she develops withdrawal symptoms when he or she stops using the drug suddenly. This is the main reason addicts continue to use the drug despite its negative effects. The withdrawal symptoms can be quite unpleasant. The following are the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine:
• Exhaustion and fatigue
• Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
• Concentration difficulties
• Craving for the drug
• Aches and pains all over the body
• Tremors and shaking
These withdrawal symptoms often resolve after about two weeks. While they may be unpleasant, withdrawal symptoms are not often medical emergencies. However, some individuals may suffer from suicidal thoughts.
Cocaine abuse and addiction are serious problems that should be handled with the help of a qualified medical practitioner. There are many places where you can seek help with cocaine-related problems, and you can find them by searching websites such as the Detox Local for a center near you. If you or someone you care about suffers from addiction, seek professional help as soon as possible.