Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that poses a high risk for abuse and dependency. We recommend individuals suffering from cocaine addiction as well as all other substance abuse or chemical dependency issues seek professional treatment at a drug addiction rehabilitation center, such as New Beginnings Recovery.
The powdered version of the drug can be snorted through the nose or dissolved in water for injection into a vein. Cocaine can also be injected just under the skin in a process known as skin popping for a longer-lasting high. Cocaine can also be transformed into a crystallized rock form known as crack, which is typically smoked with a pipe. Cocaine of this kind has a lower purity level and often contains a wide variety of dangerous chemicals. Crack cocaine users tend to experience even more intense symptoms of addiction than individuals using other forms of cocaine.
Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction and Abuse
The symptoms of cocaine addiction can vary depending on the method of ingestion and the amount and frequency of use.
The most common form of intake is inhalation, which may produce the following symptoms:
- A chronically runny nose or nosebleeds
- A loss of the sense of smell
- Difficulty swallowing
Regardless of the form of ingestion, cocaine abuse can cause significant personality and behavioral changes as the amount of frequency of use increases, including:
- Loss of focus
Cocaine addiction and abuse may even trigger a state of paranoid psychosis where the individual loses all sense of reality and may even experience auditory hallucinations.
Cocaine Addiction Long-Term Health Risks
Many cocaine-related deaths are the result of heart attacks or seizures during which the user goes into respiratory arrest and stops breathing.
It is also common for cocaine user to experience a variety of other health issues, including:
- Nervous system problems, including strokes.
- Digestive problems, including ulcers of the gastrointestinal tract that can turn gangrenous.
- Severe skin infections.
- Aortic Rupture.
- Heart muscle inflammation.
- Severe allergic reactions.
- Infections with HIV, hepatitis C, or other diseases from sharing contaminated needles.
Cocaine and The Brain
Cocaine’s ability to cause dependency is a result of the way it affects brain chemistry. Cocaine increases the level of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. The human brain naturally produces a certain amount of dopamine, which is essential in the regulation of movement and emotional responses. It also helps control the pleasure and reward center of the brain. Cocaine produces a euphoric high by triggering the release of additional dopamine and preventing the natural reabsorption of dopamine into the nerve cells of the brain. Over time, the brain develops a tolerance to the higher levels of dopamine, and the user requires larger and more frequent doses of cocaine to achieve the same sensation of euphoria. The higher doses of cocaine only serve to increase the adverse physical and psychological effects of the drug and increase the risk of overdose and death.
It is possible to overdose on cocaine. A cocaine overdose occurs when too much of the drug is ingested causing a toxic reaction and leading to serious health consequences, including death.
Cocaine abuse and use are dangerous. Death may occur even with the first use. Mixing cocaine with other illicit substances increases the risk of suffering potential health consequences. The most common complications from cocaine use are heart attacks, vascular issues, seizures, and stroke.
New Beginnings Recovery can Help
Cocaine addiction is a severe and potentially fatal medical condition that requires medical support to overcome. There are many treatment options available for cocaine addiction. New Beginnings Recovery offers a multi-modality rehabilitation program targeted at identifying the causes contributing to an individual’s drug and alcohol addictions.
A center specializing in cocaine abuse and addiction can be the key to a successful and long-term recovery. Call us for help today, and begin to learn more about your cocaine addiction treatment options and the New Beginnings Recovery admission process.