What is Cocaine Addiction?
Cocaine addiction is one of the most dangerous types of addictions. It is caused by the abuse of the drug and is known to harm the person using cocaine in several ways.
This substance is a very popular drug in the U. S., especially among young people. Fortunately, the number of people using cocaine is declining. This does not mean that there are not people suffering from the this substance.
Around 1.3 million people go to emergency departments per year in activities related to cocaine abuse or misuse.
What is cocaine? It is a very powerful and addictive drug which is often found as a white powder. The substance comes from a leafy plant named coca, which is generally native of South America. It is used as a stimulant and increases the body’s production of dopamine.
This drug is often snorted, but there are people who choose to inject it. As cocaine is illegal, it is not uncommon to find harmful additives in the drug. Cocaine can also be found in a rock crystal shape known as “crack cocaine.”
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What Are the Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction?
There are several symptoms which are often associated with cocaine addiction. Some of them are almost instant. Other effects, however, appear during prolonged use of the drug.
The long-term symptoms should be monitored as they might be a more obvious sign of a cocaine addiction, not only cocaine intoxication or abuse.
Short-Term Cocaine Addiction Symptoms
Extreme energy: as soon as the person uses cocaine, they will experience a sudden rush of energy. This is accompanied by mental alertness, meaning that many people will use it to stay awake or motivated, including at work or school.
Rush of Happiness: due to increased dopamine, most people will feel extremely happy as soon as they used the drug. This is a short-lived effect, so sadness may follow it as soon as the effect stops.
Paranoia: during the so-called “bad trip,” people using cocaine are extremely suspicious of others and may believe that someone is out to harm them. This may lead to aggressive behavior.
Long-Term Cocaine Addiction Symptoms
Weight loss: one of the most common symptoms of drug abuse. Cocaine diminishes the appetite of the person using the substance, eventually leading to weight loss.
Paranoia and hallucinations: while occasional use can cause paranoia, continuous use proves to be a stronger catalyst. The more someone uses, the more likely the person is to become extremely paranoid or hallucinate.
Lower immunity: when a drug is abused, the body takes the toll. The immune cell function decreases and diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis C, therefore have less resistance from the immune system, which can cause a risk of death.
What Are the Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal?
As soon as someone gets addicted to cocaine, daily doses will be needed in order to avoid withdrawal. The list of withdrawal symptoms is pretty extensive. Most symptoms last about 7-10 days.
Slowed Physical and Mental Activity
If using cocaine accelerates your body’s systems, withdrawal slows them down. Difficulty concentrating is common.
The person will feel exhausted. Fatigue is a common symptom and the person will feel that being without the drug drains their strength.
Inability to Feel Pleasure
The body has a hard time producing dopamine during withdrawal. Not having dopamine makes happiness more difficult to experience.
Anxiety and Tremors
Anxiety, restlessness, and tremors are very common. You might hear this described as “the jitters.”
Pain and Chills
Nerve pain and muscle aches are common side-effects. Cold sweats are experienced by many people who withdrawal.
What Are the Dangers of Cocaine Addiction?
Cocaine addiction means the person is constantly ingesting harmful substances. This does not come without side effects. People who have used cocaine for a long time may have several diseases which affect physical and mental health.
Organs such as the heart and brain are especially affected. Brain hemorrhage is not uncommon and continued use can cause a stroke. Damage to these organs can lead to lasting issues or death.
Depression and suicidal thoughts are a real danger. Many people using cocaine have increased risk of attempting suicide. Paranoia and hallucinations caused by the drug can be triggers for a crisis.
There is a consensus that overdose is the biggest risk of using cocaine. Unfortunately, overdose may happen anytime that the drug is used, as the main factor for overdose pertains to tolerance to the drug.
Despite the risk of overdose, a dosage increase occurs over time as the body starts to develop more resistance against the substance and larger amounts are needed for reaching the same effect.
If someone takes a toxic amount of cocaine, the body will “shut down.” This often leads to convulsions, heart attack, stroke, or seizures. These symptoms can lead to death if the person is not properly treated.
If someone is overdosing, call an ambulance or take the person to a hospital. Only with specific medicine, can the overdose be treated. It is important to have trained medical staff to determine any secondary effects of the overdose, such as a heart attack, in order to treat them as quickly as possible.
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