Cocaine was originally used in medicines, and even soda, but doctors soon realized cocaine’s addictive qualities and ability to alter brain function. The severity and lethality of this drug make it one of the most common and dangerous drugs on the street today. By exploring what cocaine is, we can determine why it’s so addictive, what impact it has on the body, and where and how to get help.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a highly addictive substance derived from coca leaves. It can be found in both powder and salt or rock form. Cocaine is a stimulant that works to increase the release of dopamine in the brain, making the user feel more relaxed and even pain free.
Why Is Cocaine Addictive?
Cocaine is addictive because of how it impacts the brain. The first hit of cocaine releases an enormous amount of dopamine into the system, creating a (sometimes) euphoric high. Over time, the body’s dopamine release develops a tolerance to the cocaine, requiring more to create the same high. Another thing that increases the addictiveness of cocaine are the extreme withdrawal symptoms.
Cocaine is especially dangerous because of the multiple ways it can enter the body. Cocaine in powder form can be snorted or rubbed in the gums, it can be injected, or in rock form, crack cocaine can be smoked. Each of these different methods of ingesting cocaine vary the speed of the high and the length of the high. Smoking crack causes an immediate but shorter high, while injecting cocaine lengthens both the time to the initial high and how long you feel its effects.
It can be very easy to overdose on stimulants like cocaine. Unlike heroin, Narcan/Naloxone does not work to reverse cocaine overdose. Often when EMS are called to a cocaine overdose, their only option is to attempt to treat the heart attack, stroke, or seizure and assist the person while they ride out the effects of the stimulant.
Mixing cocaine with other drugs can be deadly. Alcohol and cocaine are a toxic and often violent combination. Cocaine is also often mixed with heroin to create a “speedball.” The speedball is so named because it can create a longer lasting and more intense high. Speedballing is one of the most dangerous and most common overdose situations because of how the stimulant and sedative affect the body’s functions.
Signs of Cocaine Addiction and Withdrawal
Cocaine is a stimulant for the body. While in controlled medications, stimulants can act to increase energy and focus and sharpen the mind. However, in uncontrolled situations, like illegal street use, incorrect amounts can lead to paranoia, hypersensitivity to touch, light and sound, and violent behavior. Signs of cocaine addiction include hyperactivity, unexplained outbursts, itchiness, and weight loss. As the body’s tolerance to stimulants increases, more cocaine will be needed to create the same high. If not enough of the cocaine is taken, the high will be shorter and less enjoyable.
Withdrawal symptoms for cocaine include depression, fatigue, sluggishness, nightmares, insomnia, and increased appetite leading to weight gain. These depressive and slowed responses make the highs seem higher and the lows seem lower, thus continuing the toxic cycle of cocaine abuse. This cycle can only be broken with evidence-based addiction treatment.
How Does Short-Term and Long-Term Cocaine Use Affect the Body and Mind?
Cocaine affects the body from the first use. Short term cocaine use can physically cause pupil dilation, decreased appetite, increased heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure. Mentally, short-term cocaine highs can facilitate hyper-focused functionality, or it has the potential to create hyper-focused anger.
Long-term cocaine use can sometimes be identified through how the person ingests the drug. People who snort cocaine will often experience frequent nose bleeds and difficulty swallowing. Smoking crack can cause severe respiratory distress. When coke is rubbed on the gums, it can cause tooth decay and bowel problems. Injection not only increases the potential for overdose, but a host of other bloodborne pathogens that are transferred by sharing needles.
Long-term cocaine use also impacts the brain severely. It can cause hallucinations, restlessness, anxiety, violence, and panic attacks. Long-term it can impact memory and attention span.
If you or a loved one are experiencing cocaine addiction, get help now at the RAC addiction treatment center.
Why RAC Is the Best Cocaine Addiction Treatment Center to Support You
The Robert Alexander Center (RAC) is a cocaine addiction treatment center in Mt. Washington, Kentucky. Our dedicated and compassionate clinicians are familiar with cocaine addiction and ready to support you from detox to aftercare.
Available 24-hours a day, our experienced staff can discuss our state-of-the-art facility, spa-like amenities, and most importantly, our individualized cocaine addiction treatment programs.
At RAC, we combine traditional evidence-based therapies with alternative creative arts and movement therapies. Through our specialized programs we offer independent, group, and family therapy to support everyone impacted by addiction.
Call today: 1-502-443-9950
Visit us: RAC – Cocaine Addiction Treatment Center