Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug made from coca leaves. It is extremely addictive. According to the National Institutes of Health, cocaine increases levels of dopamine causing intense feelings of happiness and energy. This is why people easily become addicted to cocaine. Understanding cocaine is imperative information regarding the dangers of this drug. In this article you will learn all about the drug cocaine, and how addiction to cocaine forms.
Cocaine comes from the coca plant which is native to South America. It is frequently found as a fine white powder. It is often cut with additives to increase profit margins for dealers.
Additives may include flour or even synthetic opioids and amphetamines. This only compounds the dangers of cocaine use.
Forms of Cocaine
Cocaine is usually found as white powder, but can also be found in other forms. Crack cocaine is cocaine that has been cooked down so it can be smoked. Cocaine is also found mixed with other drugs like heroin and opiates.
According to the National Library of Medicine, cocaine is often colorless to white powder. It can also appear to have a crystalline shimmer. It can sometimes be identified by the scent of gasoline, as kerosene is often used in the manufacturing process.
Crack cocaine is usually found to be small rocks. They may look like a small bit of drywall. It can also appear porous.
The issue with cocaine and crack is that it could be cut with anything. It is difficult for everyday users of cocaine to know what they are putting in their body. This poses an obvious danger for overdose if the drug is cut with other drugs like fentanyl.
Understanding Cocaine: The Effects
Cocaine has both short term and longer term effects that can help identify cocaine use. Cocaine withdrawal is also a concern.
Short term effects of cocaine are extreme alertness, heightened energy and happiness, and paranoia. Many people use cocaine for its stimulating effects. Some find they can perform at physical and mental tasks more efficiently when using cocaine.
The effects of cocaine are almost instantaneous, but do not last very long. Most doses of cocaine wear off within an hour. This causes people to continually do more of the drug, which causes addiction in a short time frame.
Long-Term Effects of Cocaine
Long term effects of cocaine are more damaging. It can cause severe health problems. Depending on the method of use, different health effects can occur.
Those who snort the drug can suffer loss of smell, frequent nosebleeds, and difficulty swallowing according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Individuals who smoke cocaine can suffer respiratory issues and risk infection of the lungs.
Intravenous users of cocaine are at a high risk of contracting bloodborne diseases like HIV or hepatitis. They also risk abscesses and collapsing of veins.
Beyond the effects associated with administering the drug, there are long term health concerns. High blood pressure, malnourishment, movement disorders, mental illness and hallucinations are frequent side effects.
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Understanding Cocaine Addiction Compared to Other Drugs
Cocaine is an extremely dangerous drug. It is used more prevalently than some drugs and many people rationalize and try to diminish its harmful effects. Cocaine is especially dangerous when combined with other drugs like alcohol or heroin.
It is also possible to overdose on cocaine. Cocaine overdose can cause heart attacks, seizures, and even death.
Cocaine, an Extremely Addictive Drug
Cocaine’s effects only last 15 minutes to an hour. The high from cocaine usually feels good. This causes users to continually administer more of the drug. People who continually use the drug throughout the day can develop dependence to the drug in as little as a few uses.
Tolerance to the drug grows with each use. The small doses people start with when using cocaine begin to have a smaller effect. This causes people to perpetually use more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect.
Mental dependency to the drug occurs almost immediately after use. Cocaine is attributed with some of the most intense mental cravings of any drug.
Chemically, cocaine stimulates the brain and causes release of dopamine, which causes the euphoria and “high” feelings associated with its use. When used for extended periods of time, people develop a severe dependence to it.
When someone stops using cocaine, the lack of dopamine release causes the body to have an adverse reaction, causing withdrawal symptoms.
The only way to break the bond of cocaine dependence is to remain abstinent from the drug for an extended period of time.
Handling Cocaine Addiction
As you have read, cocaine abuse can develop into addiction extremely quickly. In as little as a few uses, cravings and dependence begins to occur. Cocaine addiction is extremely difficult to overcome.
Our specialty is treating those who struggle with mental health and substance use disorders, like cocaine addiction.
If you or a family member is ready to take the first steps at overcoming cocaine abuse and addiction, we are here to help. We are available 24/7 to help guide you through the process of overcoming addiction. Call today (800)817-1247
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