A Dangerous and Highly Addictive Stimulant
Despite the rise of heroin and prescription opioid abuse we’ve seen recently years, cocaine continues to be one of the greatest addiction threats facing the United States. After marijuana, cocaine is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States. More than 400,000 babies are born addicted to cocaine each year in the United States. Around the world, approximately 1,800 people aged 12 and older try cocaine for the first time. In 2013, the estimated number of cocaine users in the United States was approximately 1.5 million.
What Does Cocaine Do to the Body?
Cocaine is the most powerful central nervous system (CNS) stimulant in nature. Like other drugs, cocaine triggers an increased flow of dopamine (the chemical in the brain that’s responsible for pleasurable sensations). It also restricts blood to the heart and can result in chest pain, cardiac arrest, and stroke. In the first hour after cocaine use, the user’s risk for a heart attack is almost 24 times greater. A study by the University of Cambridge revealed that cocaine use also reduces grey matter in the brain. The drug also causes permanent nasal damage when snorted (the most popular way of ingestion) and respiratory problems.
Methods of Use
Cocaine is most commonly refined into a white powder and snorted through the nose. It can also be smoked or injected into the vein. The powder form can either be snorted or mixed with water and injected right into the bloodstream. The type of cocaine known as “crack” is processed into a crystalized rock which is heated to produce vapors that are absorbed through the lungs. Smoking and injection deliver the most immediate and intense highs. The high from snorting generally lasts anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes; while smoking and injecting lasts anywhere from five to 10.
Looking for information on Meth Addiction?
Because of cocaine’s short high, users tend to “binge” on the drug (continuously using over long periods of time) to keep the high going. This pattern of use commonly leads to addiction. A little over 10 percent of people who abuse cocaine will develop a serious dependency problem.
Physical and Social Risks
Cocaine leaves user vulnerable to many health risks, including:
- Heart attack
- Erosion of nasal passages
- Brain damage
- Paranoid psychosis
- Blood-borne diseases like HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C
- Coma and seizures
These are just some of the risk factors associated with prolonged and untreated cocaine use.
Recognizing the Signs of Cocaine Addiction
Because of the way it changes brain activity, cocaine addiction can be easier to spot than some other drugs. Cocaine addicts are often restless and unable to concentrate, and they often appear nervous. Some of the other signs of cocaine abuse, include:
- Constant sniffing or touching nose
- The inability to sit still
- Extreme fluctuations in mood
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Dilated pupils
- Aggression and paranoia
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Constantly talking
If someone you care about is exhibiting these behaviors, talk to them immediately to find out if they need help.
Treatment for cocaine addiction is best accomplished through a combination of detox and rehab. A professional detox program can help you or your loved one manage your withdrawal symptoms and keep you as comfortable as possible while you’re getting clean. Rehab can help with behavior modification so you’re able to stay away from cocaine, going forward. Rehab usually includes group and individualized counseling as well as supplemental therapies. Clients leave with the mental strength they need to sustain their recovery and live rich and rewarding lives.
Taking the First Step toward Help
The Gardens at Lake Worth, a Florida Addiction Center, has all the resources your or your loved one needs to help you overcome cocaine addiction. Our experienced and compassionate admissions professionals are standing by to help you start your treatment. Call us today at 844-357-3422 to start the healing process.