Cocaine Abuse, Addiction, and Addicts


Cocaine Abuse, Addiction, and Addicts

There's a shrub that grows in South America called the coca plant which is where cocaine comes from and it makes its way throughout the world destroying drug users and their families. Cocaine can be found in a white power form that's referred to sometimes as 'snow', or in a paste form, free-base, and also rock form called crack cocaine. We know that cocaine is a very potent and powerful stimulant drug that has a very high addiction potential if abused.


The availability of cocaine is very high in many areas throughout the United States and people in all age groups and all walks of life have abused cocaine to get high. The use of cocaine can affect a person's life the minute they experiment with the drug going from use to addict in a short period of time.

Cocaine Abuse

When a person chooses to abuse cocaine they either snort, inject or smoke the drug to get high. Crack is the form of cocaine that's smoked. Some people combine crack with marijuana or tobacco before they smoke it. Another way some cocaine users abuse the drug is combining it with heroin or other opiates which is referred to as 'speedballing' and extremely dangerous. It doesn't matter what way a person chooses to abuse cocaine there are serious mental and physical consequences associated with the drug's use.

When cocaine is abused a powerful euphoric rush is experienced which can be very intense depending on how the drug is administered and what the purity level is. When a person either smokes cocaine or injects the drug, their high is more intense and takes place faster than it does for someone who snorts the cocaine. The surge of dopamine that's produced in the brain from the use of cocaine is responsible for the intense feelings of pleasure and euphoria that are experienced when abusing the drug. The cocaine user also becomes more mentally alert and their energy level increases when the drug is used.

The effects that take place during cocaine use include euphoria, increased energy and mental alertness, their heart rate and blood pressure increases, their blood vessels constrict, their body temperature increases, their pupils become dilated, the user becomes more talkative and their appetite generally decreases.

Cocaine abusers not only experience an 'intense euphoric high' when they abuse the drug but when the rush subsides, they experience a crash which can be very uncomfortable so many people re-administer the drug to avoid the 'crash'. The euphoric rush is associated with intense pleasure, euphoria, the user feels on top of the world and energized. The crash is associated with intense feelings of depression, nervousness, and anxiety. This is one reason some people that start out experimenting with cocaine can become addicted in a short period of time. Repeated use of an addictive drug like cocaine leads to tolerance, tolerance leads to higher doses administered and use becomes more frequent, repeated frequent use of cocaine ends up in addiction.

Cocaine Addiction

When a person is addicted to cocaine, they're no longer using the drug just to experience euphoria anymore. They're unable to function normally without the use of cocaine because of the feelings they experience when the drugs affects have worn off. The cravings, anxiousness, fatigue and depression they experience are overwhelming and they're unable to focus on anything other than re-using cocaine again. The intensity of withdrawal symptoms depends on how long and how heavily a person has abused cocaine.

malnourished cocaine addict

Most chronic cocaine addicts use the drug in high doses and have abused the drug for an extended period of time. Cocaine use has taken its toll on a chronic cocaine addict and they're extremely malnourished and emotionally and physically miserable and unhealthy. Most chronic cocaine users are unable to hold a job, unable to function normally in society, and are completely miserable when they're not using. Their withdrawal symptoms are much more intense and very serious if they stop using the drug on their own or if they're unable to repeat their use.

It's very common for a chronic cocaine user to use alcohol or other drugs if cocaine is unavailable which just adds to the risk of drug or alcohol overdose and death.

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Fatigue
  • Problems with sleep
  • Unpleasant dreams
 

The Use of Cocaine

Cocaine use doesn't just lead to tolerance and addiction when the drug is abused, there are other serious physical and mental health problems associated with the use of this drug. The use of cocaine can cause headaches, nausea and stomach problems that can be very painful. Paranoia and auditory (hearing) hallucinations are also associated with cocaine abuse. There are specific health issues a cocaine user can experience depending on how they choose to administer the drug which includes:

  1. Snorting cocaine
  2. Cocaine user can lose their sense of smell
  3. Develop nosebleeds
  4. Chronic nose drainage
  5. Swallowing can become difficult
  6. Their voice can become rough and hoarse

Swallowing (ingesting) cocaine can cause bowel gangrene due to blood flow reduction. If an individual Injects cocaine they can have an allergic reactions or get HIV/AIDS.

All Forms of Cocaine Use Can Lead To

  • Tolerance
  • Addiction
  • Heart problems
  • Respiratory problems
  • Respiratory failure
  • Digestive problems
  • Convulsions
  • Strokes
  • Overdose
  • Death
 

Withdrawal symptoms can also occur when the use of cocaine is stopped.

If a young person today in the year 2011 understood just how serious and dangerous experimenting with drugs can be and where the use of cocaine, other street drugs, and prescription drugs can lead they would hopefully think twice. Many young people may think they would never use drugs like cocaine but experimenting with marijuana and prescription drugs is very common among teens today, this can lead to using other drugs down the road. Not all chronic cocaine users started out abusing cocaine first, after experimenting with other substances they eventually moved on to cocaine.

The earlier a person finds help for cocaine abuse the more successful they will be in terms of recovery. Waiting until a person is addicted to cocaine makes recovery more challenging but they can learn to manage their recovery successfully with effective support, therapies and treatment. Medications can be administered during detoxification to help with withdrawal symptoms but they need to be monitored closely by a physician and not misused. Some people try to detox on their own and get antidepressants and other drugs from friends or dealers to manage their withdrawal symptoms and end up making matters worse.

In order for cocaine treatment to be successful the individual needs to understand their addiction and learn how to manage their sobriety and recovery. Without education, positive support and changes in thoughts and behaviors a person can relapse very easily. Chronic cocaine addicts are in need of much more intense treatment and therapy during their recovery but with the right professional help they too can manage their recovery. If you're not sure where to begin to get help for yourself or someone you know that's in need of cocaine recovery treatment give us a call, that's why we're here and we want to help. 1-800-559-9503.

References
NIDA
DEA
Medline Plus

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