Using cocaine may start as a seemingly harmless experiment, but this illegal drug can be dangerous. Derived from the coca plant, it is a powerfully addictive stimulant with a fast-acting, short-lived, high state of euphoria. It is typically snorted through the nose but can also be rubbed along the gum line, which causes a numbing effect on the area of application. It may also be injected.
How Does Cocaine Abuse Affect People?
A lax attitude towards this drug can quickly turn into signs of cocaine abuse, one where innocent experimentation devastates a person’s personal, professional, and financial life.
Physical Side Effects of Cocaine
Small doses of cocaine produce feelings of happiness and friendliness. It can also decrease the need for sleep.
Other common side effects of cocaine use include
This highly addictive potential makes cocaine a very dangerous drug. Anyone using it risks serious problems with their overall health, and organ failure is a very real possibility with cocaine abuse. Abusing cocaine constricts blood vessels, which can raise a person’s blood pressure, as well.
Cocaine use can have life-threatening consequences. Since 2012, it has played a part in a steady increase in the number of overdose deaths in the United States, with 15,883 total deaths in 2019 alone involving cocaine. Mixing cocaine with other drugs such as heroin — in what is called a speedball and is injected directly into the bloodstream — can increase the odds of an overdose.
Cocaine Myth Hides Abuse Effects
Many people are under the mistaken belief that mixing the stimulant cocaine with the depressant qualities of alcohol counteract each other’s effects and can stabilize a person. The facts are, combining these two can intensify normal side effects to a dangerous level.
Other myths tend to downplay the serious effects of cocaine abuse:
Myth 1: Cocaine produces an intoxicating high when used in sexual situations.
Reality: Cocaine abuse can also lead to having multiple partners and an increased risk of a sexually transmitted disease. In high amounts, cocaine use can also lead to low libido and potential impotence.
Myth 2: People say trying cocaine is no big deal, and you can’t get addicted to using it once.
Reality: Cocaine is highly addictive and some people have become addicted after a short time using it. It is also illegal. Side effects to your health, alongside possible job loss and jail time, are big deals.
Myth 3: Cocaine can help you focus.
Reality: Because it is highly addictive, any short-term focus would quickly be replaced with a focus on addiction-supporting routines of stealing, lying, and isolating to use cocaine without judgment.
Signs of Cocaine Abuse
The effects of cocaine occur quickly after consumption. It only takes a few minutes for a person to get a short-lived high that lasts about 5 to 30 minutes. This varies depending on the method used by the individual to take the cocaine, the amount, and how quickly it absorbs into their bloodstream.
Unusual Behavior Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
As cocaine abuse progresses in amount and frequency, you or your loved one may display or see unusual behaviors that can indicate substance use:
- Very chatty and engaging personality followed by seeming disinterest
- Secretive actions
- Money goes missing
- Items stolen to be sold for cash or exchanged to obtain cocaine
- Loss of job or dismissal from school for failure to meet obligations
Large amounts of cocaine become very dangerous, often resulting in violent behavior. Some people can have a heart attack, stroke, or suffer a potentially fatal overdose. The severity of long-term side effects from cocaine abuse depends on how often and how much a person uses.
- Eventually, abusing cocaine affects major organs like the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
- Continued abuse can also cause serious physiological and behavioral side effects.
- Depression and damage to the nasal cavity from snorting this substance can also occur as well.
Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine makes people feel good. But it also changes how the brain feels pleasure. The result? While individuals who use cocaine may enjoy the euphoric pleasure of being high, they have a harder time feeling normal pleasure when they aren’t using the drug because it changes the brain’s normal patterns.
Cocaine Addiction in Action
Here is an overview of the uncontrollable craving as it begins to affect people in four different ways:
- First, signs of cocaine abuse tend to appear to those who live in the home, such as partners or children. They may notice changes in the person’s mood causing irritation, panic, euphoria, and restlessness. Behaviorally, a person may become extremely talkative to others while they are high.
- Second, they may begin acting differently in general. Many people borrow or steal money to buy the drug. They display physical behavior extremes as well. While high, they don’t want to sleep. After using, their need for sleep increases. The control of the drug causes a person to continue using despite facing mounting problems resulting from cocaine use.
- Third, you may begin to notice physical changes to their health. Those using cocaine may start having abnormal heart rhythms. They may also suffer from malnutrition because using cocaine causes them to lose their appetite.
- Finally, the psychological impact is just as devastating. People lose the ability to make good decisions. They lack motivation and begin to rationalize using the drug.
People eventually build a tolerance to cocaine after regular use. They then need higher doses to continue feeling the same effects.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Denver Recovery Center
Despite the grip cocaine abuse has, intervention can get people on the path to recovery. If this describes you or a loved one, without effective treatment the risk of relapse increases.
Denver Recovery Center provides effective treatment options and resources to help individuals recover from a substance use disorder. Here is an overview of our programs and services to combat cocaine abuse:
- Partial hospitalization program
- Intensive outpatient program
- Outpatient rehab
- Individual counseling
- Family therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cocaine addiction shouldn’t control your life. But recovery is not as simple as merely removing the drug. Our holistic approach to healing, alongside evidence-based treatment therapies, will help you or your loved one gain a stronger mind, body, and spirit. Fortified with these resources, you can move past your addiction and forge a new path connected to family, friends, and yourself in ways you thought might not be achievable.
Our Denver detox programs can help with options for recovery treatment for those with a substance use disorder. Call (844) 602-3175 and begin a new path forward with education about overcoming your addiction.
- What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse?
The physical signs of cocaine abuse may not be as evident because they are typically behavior-related due to impaired brain function. However, a rapid heartbeat, dilated pupils, tremors, muscle twitches, general restlessness, and rubbing around the nasal area are typical signs of being high. When used long-term, heart issues or organ failure can occur.
- What Are the Warning Signs of Drug Abuse With Cocaine?
Warning signs of cocaine abuse may start slowly with some patterns of highly engaged conversation, almost animated in nature. This is most noticeable when someone is normally quiet but is also supercharged when seen in normally chatty individuals. This might develop into anxiety or paranoid behaviors, supported by missing items or stolen money. Financial difficulties and a job loss or sudden withdrawal from school, mixed with the previous information, are signs someone may have an addiction issue.