What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a white, powdery substance that people consume to get high. It’s produced from the coca plant, and although other coca-based ingredients are sometimes used for legitimate medical purposes, cocaine itself is illegal and only available as a street drug. Cocaine users either snort or inject it to get a quick high.
Is Cocaine Addictive?
Cocaine is very addictive. Because cocaine is a stimulant, it gives users an energetic, happy feeling that people want to replicate after experiencing the high for the first time. Eventually, those who use cocaine can become dependent on the drug to get them through the day. In other words, instead of getting the same euphoric high they used to get, an addicted person will eventually need cocaine just to feel normal. Attempting to stop cocaine use will bring uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that will more than likely result in relapse.
Adults between the age of 18 and 25 have the highest rate of cocaine use.
Cocaine works by taking over the brain’s reward system. The human brain produces a chemical called dopamine, which makes people feel good. Dopamine releases when the brain anticipates a potential reward, such as food. Eventually, this chemical cycles back to the cells from which it came. Cocaine, however, stops the dopamine from traveling back to its source. It floods the brain with large amounts of dopamine, which is what causes the excited high feeling. The brain isn’t mean to experience this much of a dopamine rush, but eventually it starts to depend on it.
Adding to cocaine’s addictive nature is the fact that the high doesn’t last very long compared to other drugs. While some other substances can cause a high that lasts for hours, a cocaine high will only last for an hour at most, and depending on the method of consumption, may only last for a few minutes. This causes some cocaine users to return for repeated doses to maintain the original high.
Is Cocaine Dangerous?
Yes. Although cocaine does produce pleasant short-term effects, its addictive properties and potential for overdose mean that cocaine is extremely dangerous. Adding to the danger is the fact that cocaine dealers often add substances like cornstarch or baking soda to their product to increase profits. Because cocaine is unregulated, a buyer can never truly know what they are consuming.
Short Term Dangers
A person who uses cocaine may experience the following health problems shortly after starting the drug:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
Of course, one may experience a host of other possible symptoms as well.
Do you have an addiction to cocaine? Help is available. Call 800-492-QUIT today.
Long Term Dangers
Cocaine comes with a list of possible long-term dangers as well. Out of all of the risks that one faces while addicted to cocaine, the biggest risk is that of contracting HIV. As previously stated, many cocaine users consume the drug via injection. The needles used for cocaine injection are not sterile and can carry the HIV virus from one person to another. Even if one consumes cocaine through means other than injection, though, they still risk contracting HIV or other infectious diseases. This is because cocaine use results in risky behavior, often of a sexual nature. Furthermore, if somebody does contract HIV, cocaine in that person’s system will cause the virus to spread faster.
A person using cocaine can overdose at any time, whether they’ve been addicted for years or are trying it for the first time.
Cocaine causes impaired judgement, which means that cocaine users may not be able to accurately judge how much they have consumed. This is especially true because cocaine requires repeated doses for a person to maintain a high that lasts longer than a few minutes. A cocaine overdose can cause a stroke or a heart attack.
Do You Have an Addiction?
If you realize that you have a cocaine addiction, you may be wondering what you should do next or if there’s any hope that you can quit. There is help available to you, and there is hope for recovery. You have a lot of options, so let us help you choose the one that will work best for you.