Cocaine is an illicit and highly addictive stimulant drug. It is classified as a Schedule II drug according to the DEA, which means it has very few medicinal uses and a high potential for abuse. Cocaine causes high levels of dopamine, a natural chemical in the body, to be released in the parts of your brain that control pleasure. This buildup is what causes the high and intense feelings of energy. Those that are using the drug will usually be more talkative, excited, have more self-confidence, and just have an overall good feeling. Cocaine abuse will also cause its users to have a decreased appetite, need less sleep, and have more focus and energy. Cocaine also affects the central nervous system and elevates all of your vital life functions (blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. The Journal of the National Medical Association says:
Cocaine creates a strong physical addiction and is becoming recognized as one of the most dangerous illicit drugs abused today. The myth is that cocaine is harmless and non-addictive. An estimated 30 million Americans have used cocaine, but the number may be as high as 40 million. Five to six million individuals are compulsive users. A review of the current literature revealed multiple reports of acute myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular accident with a temporal relation to cocaine use. Cocaine has also been associated with acute rupture of the aorta, cardiac arrhythmia, and sudden death. Cocaine has multisystem toxicity involving neurologic, psychiatric, obstetric, pulmonary, dermatologic, and gastrointestinal systems. (NIH)
Cocaine use and abuse are dangerous and can lead to several potential risks and short and long-term effects.
Dangers of Abusing Cocaine
Cocaine use comes with serious potential risks. It disrupts the typical mechanism of dopamine, which is what makes a person feel more euphoric than usual when using the drug; this is what makes the drug so addictive. So, the number one risk of cocaine use is addiction. One of the biggest short-term effects of using cocaine is the “crash” it causes after a person has been using it. Cocaine use interferes with the normal, natural reward pathways in the brain. It blocks dopamine from being reabsorbed, which causes intense high and extreme pleasure. Once it leaves the bloodstream, the user crashes and experiences an extreme low. This greatly affects a person’s mood and causes extreme depression.
How Can You Overcome Cocaine Abuse?
Long-term term cocaine abuse and addiction can cause the brain to stop making its normal amount of dopamine. At this point, if the individual is not using the drug, they will experience anxiety, depression, irritability, and intense cravings. To self-regulate their happiness and pleasure, avoid the psychological withdrawal symptoms, and feel normal again, the person will continue to abuse the drug. Another huge risk is mixing cocaine and alcohol. These two substances together create a chemical called cocaethylene. This will increase the high created by using cocaine, but it also greatly increases the risk of sudden death. Cocaine addiction has several potential risks associated with it. Here are some of these risks:
- Overdose and death.
- Infectious disease contraction such as Hepatitis B or C, and/or HIV – this risk is associated with IV cocaine use.
- Increased symptoms of mental illness. Mood disorders are very common in cocaine addicts.
- Cognitive defects, including memory issues, reaction time, and attention. Cocaine also can cause premature aging and grey brain matter shrinkage.
- Long-term health problems including cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurovascular complications. This can result in possible heart disease, heart attack, hypertension, multiple organ failure, stroke, respiratory stress, seizures, unhealthy weight loss, and insomnia.
Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Evoke Wellness at Miramar offers cutting edge addiction treatment. We offer a safe environment and treat our clients with respect. We specialize in making sure our patients have the most comfortable detox process possible. You no longer have to continue to suffer out of fear. Give us a call today.