Cocaine is among the most frequently abused illegal substances in the world. It is not amphetamine or methamphetamine, but it is a similar-acting and powerful stimulant drug. Most individuals decide to experiment with cocaine because they want to feel the euphoria and rush of energy with which the drug is associated.
However, when cocaine is abused, a person must continually use it in a binge-like fashion to sustain that rush because its effects usually subside in less than 30 minutes. This is not like amphetamine or methamphetamine effects at all, which can last or days.
Even when experimenting with cocaine, an individual can quickly become dependent and addicted because they must keep using it repeatedly to induce the desired effects. Once cocaine use has advanced to dependence and addiction, it can be extremely challenging to break free from it.
Most people addicted to cocaine are driven to keep using it because it provides energy, curbs appetite, produces euphoric feelings, and fulfills the body’s dependence or need to use the drug. Unfortunately, however, the prolonged abuse of cocaine can be detrimental to one’s health and well-being and lead to a myriad of mental and physical health conditions that may, in some cases, be irreversible.
What Is Crack Cocaine?
Although similar, crack cocaine is not the same thing as powdered cocaine—they are two different substances. Crack is derived from cocaine but is also mixed with other human-made products, including baking soda. Most individuals who use crack smoke it out of a pipe, and the high is frequently more intense than what is produced using powdered cocaine.
Like regular cocaine, crack is often consumed in a binge-like pattern and is popular because it is considerably less expensive. Crack is so-named for the sound it makes when it is smoked.
Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
Identifying the signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction can be crucial in helping determine if you or someone you love is struggling with this form of addiction. Symptoms can include the following:
- Excitability and talkativeness
- Elevated mood
- Mood swings
- Delusions of grandeur
- Hallucinations or paranoia
- Risky Behaviors
- Aggressiveness, anger
- Decreased appetite/weight loss
- Runny nose and nosebleeds
- Increased heart rate
- Excessive sweating
- Insomnia/sleep disturbances
- Twitching and seizures
Dangers of Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addiction can cause several physical issues that can last long after a person discontinues use. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), repeated exposure to cocaine can damage several different vital bodily organs. For example, cocaine use impairs blood flow to the intestines, causing tears and ulcers to develop. Life-threatening cerebral hemorrhages can also occur.
Also, Parkinson’s disease is more likely to develop among those who have abused cocaine versus those who have not. Moreover, cocaine addiction can lead to long-term impairments involving attention, impulsivity, memory, and difficulty making decisions and performing motor tasks.
Cocaine addiction can also lead to life-threatening heart problems. Moreover, the abuse of this drug can cause inflammation in the muscles around the heart, stroke, an inability for the heart to contract, as well as aortic ruptures. Other heart-related conditions include angina and blood clots that can cause pulmonary embolisms, stroke, heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, and myocardial infarction.
Respiratory issues caused by crack use or smoking cocaine include chronic coughing, wheezing, and black sputum. Individuals addicted to crack are also at an increased risk for contracting pneumonia, tuberculosis, and pulmonary edema (swelling).
Abusing cocaine can also result in damage to the liver, kidneys, and intestinal tract. And because cocaine use is a very effective appetite suppressant, those addicted often suffer from malnourishment.
As with all others dependent on dangerous substances, a cocaine overdose is a palpable danger due to tolerance. Once tolerance has developed, the person will need to use ever-increasing amounts of cocaine to feel the effects they are seeking. And of course, as the dosage that he or she uses increases, so does the overdose risk.
Getting Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
Fortunately, cocaine addiction is very treatable. Those who struggle with a cocaine use disorder are urged to undergo a comprehensive treatment plan, such as those offered by Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers. Our programs feature a combination of detox, psychotherapy, group support, mindfulness therapy, aftercare planning, and more that can help those we treat overcome challenges encountered due to their addiction.