What is cocaine?
Cocaine is a bitter, addictive pain blocker that is extracted from the leaves of Erythroxylon coca, also known as the coca scrub, a plant that comes from the Andean highlands in South America. Cocaine is the most powerful stimulant of natural origin. The name of “cocaine” came from the plant “coca”.
Cocaine can be:
- Snorted – inhaled through the nose. It enters the bloodstream via the nasal tissues.
- Injected – where it is released directly into the bloodstream.
- Smoking – cocaine is inhaled as vapor or smoke into the lungs, where it rapidly enters the bloodstream.
How does cocaine affect a person?
Cocaine is a very deadly, addictive drug with a number of unpleasant side effects. Cocaine abuse and effects can range from irritating to fatal. Cocaine affects the body in many dangerous ways, putting your body at risk for serious problems related to these cocaine effects. Cocaine effects can be divided into two groups: short-term and long-term cocaine effects.
Short-term cocaine effects appear almost immediately after a single use. Short-term cocaine effects can cause serious bodily damage and, in some cases, lead to death, which is often a result of cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory arrest. Users will experience the following short-term cocaine effects:
· Mental alertness
· Dilated pupils
· Constricted vessels
· Decreased appetite
· Increased blood pressure
· Increased temperature
· Increased heart rate
· Increased energy
As cocaine abuse continues and tolerance builds, users begin to experience long-term cocaine effects. Cocaine is a highly addicting drug, which can lead to enormous medical complications, including heart disease, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures and various gastrointestinal complications. Other physical effects are convulsions, nausea, blurred vision, chest pain, fever, muscle spasms and coma, as well as the following:
· Mood Disturbances
· Auditory Hallucinations
Signs of Abuse:
- job loss
- eyes bloodshot
- eye pupils wide open
- frequent mood swings
- problems with work performance
- frequent tardiness absence from work
- debt money problems
- nose bleeds
- anxious anxiety attacks
- family issues
- rapid or irregular heartbeat
- relationship problems
There are many dangers associated with the use of cocaine. The largest risk associated with cocaine use is overdose. This can be characterized by convulsions, heart failure, and the depression of necessary biological functions such as breathing. Cocaine overdose frequently has fatal consequences.
Here are some other dangers associated with cocaine use:
- Constriction of blood vessels
- Dilation of pupils
- Elevated body temperature
- Accelerated heart rate
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Abdominal pain
- Decreased appetite – which among chronic users can lead to malnourished
- Regular snorting – loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, swallowing problems, persistent runny nose, and hoarseness
- Regular ingestion – severe bowel gangrene caused by a reduction in blood flow
- Injecting – severe allergic reactions, higher risk of blood-borne diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis
- Binge pattern cocaine use – irritability, anxiety, and restlessness
- Cocaine abuse – severe paranoia (may be a full-blown paranoid psychosis episode). The individual might lose his/her sense of reality and hear things that are not there (auditory hallucinations)
- Heart attack
- Respiratory arrest
There are three phases of Cocaine Withdrawal:
- The crash occurs when a person who has used cocaine for an extended period suddenly stops taking the drug. In this state, the person becomes extremely exhausted. The crash can last between nine hours and four days. At the beginning of the crash, the person feels a craving for cocaine, irritability, dysphoria, and agitation. In the middle of the crash, the individual yearns for sleep. In the late crash, the person sleeps excessively. Some individuals may suffer from extreme depression in the early stages of the crash (especially those who have suffered from depression in the past). They may think about or try to commit suicide. Even first-time users of cocaine can experience the crash, depending on how high the dose and how long the period of use.
- As depression worsens and the desire for sleep increases, the person feels less craving. After waking from a long sleep, the individual enters a brief normal period with mild craving. This is followed by a long period of milder withdrawal, lasting from one to ten weeks. During this time the craving for cocaine returns, and the person enters a state known as anhedonia. With anhedonia, the person can no longer feel pleasure from activities or experiences he or she used to enjoy.
- The final phase of cocaine withdrawal is called extinction. The extinction phase usually begins two weeks after a person stops using cocaine. The person returns to a normal mood but still feels an occasional craving for cocaine. Because of continued cravings, the chance for relapse is high.