What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is considered a stimulant and as we touched on above, is highly addictive. Cocaine is derived from the coca plant and is commonly found in the form of a white, fine, powdery substance. Most cocaine found on the street though is not pure cocaine from the coca plant. Cocaine found on the street is often diluted or “cut” with another substance. Substances that are often used to dilute cocaine include baking soda, flour, sugar, cornstarch, boric acid, laxatives, or even talcum powder. Unfortunately, in some situations, it can even be mixed with other drugs in order to keep its potency but not cost as much to make. Oftentimes, when a person OD’s on cocaine it’s because it is mixed with another lethal substance, such as fentanyl and they are unaware of it and end up ingesting too much.

When people use cocaine they typically ingest it by snorting the substance. That being said, cocaine can also be ingested via injection or even by rubbing it on your gums. In all three cases, the cocaine hits the bloodstream quickly, and therefore, the person will feel the effects of it right away.

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What Does Cocaine Do To the Brain?

What Does Cocaine Do To the Brain?
When cocaine enters the body, it immediately attaches itself to the dopamine receptors in the brain. That’s why the effects are felt almost instantaneously. Dopamine is the “feel good” portion of the brain. When the body releases dopamine naturally, it allows us to feel good and be happy. When our dopamine levels are high we tend to be in a good mood, whereas if our dopamine levels are low we might be more irritable or feel more down. The dopamine plays a large role in telling our brain how to tell the rest of our body to act and behave.

When we rely on dopamine production the natural way, it will recycle back into the cell that released it, thus maintaining a proper chemical balance of dopamine along with the other chemicals that make up the brain. When a person uses cocaine though, it prevents the dopamine from being recycled, resulting in an excess level of dopamine building up. When the dopamine continues to build with nowhere to go and is not able to be recycled, this is how a cocaine addiction begins to develop. That’s because the brain starts to grow accustomed to all that extra dopamine and it gets to a point where it can’t function properly without it.

What Does Cocaine Do to the Body?

When someone begins to suffer from a cocaine addiction, it can wreak havoc on the brain and the body. Suddenly, they might find it hard to perform even the most basic of tasks without first getting high. Cocaine addiction can cause both short-term and long-term issues that a person might find themselves dealing with long after they have stopped taking the substance.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine

Since cocaine is fast acting and the desired effects associated with it tend to not last a long time, someone who is addicted to cocaine will find themselves using it a lot during an average day. The high someone might experience from snorting cocaine may last only 30 minutes or less. The more someone ingests at any given time, the stronger or more intense the high might feel.
Right after ingesting cocaine a person might experience bursts of happiness, energy, and mental alertness. Much in the same way that people turn to caffeine when they need to wake up and focus, some people might choose to turn to cocaine. Unlike caffeine though, the negative side-effects are much more extreme and dangerous. Some of these effects include:

  • Paranoia
  • Extreme distrust in others
  • Irritability
  • Hypersensitivity to things like touch, sight, and sound

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

Long-term, the effects of cocaine can be even more dangerous. While at the time, taking cocaine might seem fun and enjoyable due to the way it might make a person feel, the negative effects it can have on the body and brain can go way beyond just the chance of developing an addiction. Some of the long-term negative effects associated with cocaine include:

  • Asthma
  • Nosebleeds
  • Loss of smell
  • Frequent runny nose
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis C, and other blood diseases
  • Respiratory issues
  • Higher risk of infection
  • Severe bowel decay
  • Skin or soft tissue infections
  • Permanent damage to the nose and nostrils
  • Scarring or collapsed veins

What Are the Signs of a Cocaine Addiction?

In most cases, someone using cocaine starts off innocent enough. Typically, a person might start using it recreationally and around other people who are also using it. They might get offered it by a friend or told to try it out because it will make them feel better or more productive. What might start out as an occasional bump here and there as a pick me up or an occasional Friday night thing with some friends can turn into a full-blown addiction quickly. In fact, oftentimes someone might not even realize they are developing a cocaine addiction until it’s already past the point of no return.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction can be helpful when it comes to getting either you or someone you know the help that they need before it’s too late. Some of the common signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased alertness
  • Paranoia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Violent behavior
  • Odd behavior
  • Financial problems
  • Anxiety
  • Convulsions

What Are the Options For Treating a Cocaine Addiction?

At Achieve Wellness & Recovery Center, we understand that overcoming cocaine addiction requires a multifaceted approach tailored to the individual’s unique needs. Treatment options range from inpatient and outpatient rehab programs to behavioral therapies that address the psychological triggers of addiction.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, contingency management, and motivational incentives are particularly effective in treating cocaine dependence. Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can also provide essential support through peer interactions.

Through medication-assisted treatment, certain medications can be prescribed to help manage symptoms of withdrawal and cravings. Our dedicated team collaborates closely with each patient to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that ensures the best chance for long-term recovery.

Get The Help You Need To Overcome Cocaine Addiction

If you or someone you know is suffering from cocaine addiction it’s important to remember that there are options out there to get the help that you need. One of those options is cocaine addiction treatment. For more information about cocaine addiction treatment plans that we offer or to learn about how we can help you with your cocaine addiction, give us a call today.

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