Cocaine is a stimulant drug that can be very addictive. As with other drugs, repeated use and abstinence can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Those that get addicted can cause major harm to their brain and body. This post delves more into the addictiveness of cocaine and the side effects.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is derived from the leaves of the South American coca plant. It can be taken in two forms: powder or crack. Most people take it in powder form either by snorting it up their nose or rubbing it on the gums. Crack cocaine meanwhile takes the form of crystals that are smoked in a pipe.
The high produced by cocaine creates a sense of increased energy and confidence. This is caused by a build-up of dopamine in the brain.
How Addictive is Cocaine?
Many people get addicted to the high of cocaine. There are several reasons as to why cocaine can be addictive.
Firstly, the happy and energized feeling that cocaine brings can make a lot of people more confident and sociable. In certain social situations, people may regularly turn to cocaine as a way of feeling less nervous or simply as a way of perking themselves up if they are feeling tired. Because the high does not last long, people will use it repeatedly.
Cocaine users often experience a comedown or ‘crash’. This is a bit like caffeine comedown but more intense – the person may feel exhausted, hungry, depressed and restless after the effects wear off. Taking another dose of cocaine in order to feel high again may be a way of countering this crash.
Someone that consistently uses cocaine may end up using it just to feel normal. They may rely on it to be productive at work or it may become the only way of coping in social situations. Gradually the highs will start to become less potent, which may encourage users to take greater doses. Meanwhile, long-term damage to the brain and body could be starting to occur.
Cocaines Impact To Your Brain And Body
The most notable short-term impact of cocaine is the feeling of increased happiness and energy that it brings. It can also increase alertness and create heightened sensitivity to sight, sound and touch.
Unfortunately not every high is pleasant. Some people get irritable or paranoid. Some people feel sick. Too large a dose can meanwhile lead to heightened blood pressure and a faster heartbeat, which can increase the risk of a heart attack.
Regular use of cocaine can have negative long-term effects on the brain. It can disrupt the way the brain processes dopamine. Regular activities that once release dopamine like eating foods, listening to music and maintaining hobbies may no longer bring a sense of pleasure. As a result, a user could end up feeling sad and tired for days. Taking more cocaine may seem like the only way of breaking this.
As for the long-term impact on the body, common effects include weight loss and poor nutrition. Insomnia caused by cocaine abuse can wear down the body and further increase the risk of heart problems. The way in which cocaine is taken also has a big impact – regularly snorting cocaine can cause nasal damage and loss of smell, while smoking it regularly could lead to lung damage. All in all, the body can be negatively affected in many ways.
Seeking Treatment For Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addiction is a mental and physical illness that needs to be treated like so. If you think that you may be addicted, don’t be ashamed to get help. By looking into forms of professional treatment, you can start getting on the road to recovery.
At the Robert Alexander Center, we’re able to offer various different solutions to help you fight your addiction – no matter how mild or severe it may be. This includes intensive outpatient and outpatient treatment options that you can work around your daily life. We’re able to offer detoxification services to help clean out the drug from your body and reduce cravings. You can find out more about the other treatment services we offer here.
On top of treatment, we can offer counselling. This includes family therapy – this can help both the user and their loved ones to better understand one another. This itself can be great for helping with recovery.