Cocaine Side Effects
What Happens When You Snort Cocaine?
There have been slight changes to the way your loved one is acting.
At times it seems like they’re overly anxious or fearful, as well as hyper. Other times it seems like they’re so tired you can barely get a word out of them.
Are they on drugs?
Could it be cocaine?
The things listed above are all possible side effects of cocaine consumption, so it’s completely fair for you to be wondering. They are not all of the side effects, though, so if nothing above seems like what you’re seeing in your loved one, keep reading, because if they are consuming cocaine, it can look like many different things.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine comes from the coca plant in South America. As far back as 3000 B.C., there is evidence of consumption of coca leaves for increased energy and heart rates for those living in mountainous areas of South America.
During the 19th century, cocaine was first extracted from the coca plant and turned into what we know it as today.
Thanks to Hollywood and many years of battling cocaine addiction as a society, we know it as a powdery white substance that gives a person a quick boost of energy.
Medically speaking, cocaine is a stimulant drug that gives the person ingesting it increased levels of energy, alertness, and awareness by targeting and interacting with their central nervous system.
Cocaine, because of its ability to provide short bursts of energy and alertness, is a substance misused by people from all walks of life.
Typically snorted through a nostril, cocaine can have serious health effects in a short time. It can also be smoked or injected. When injected, cocaine is dissolved in water and then injected into a vein.
Smoking cocaine, or what many of us know as crack cocaine, is a common way of ingestion as well.
Crack cocaine, or simply crack, comes in the form of “rocks,” which is far different from what many would describe when asked to explain what cocaine looks like.
Crack, while different in appearance, has the same effects as cocaine. It just reaches a person in a different form.
Crack is created by mixing cocaine, water, and baking soda. Then the mixture is dried and broken into chunks. It is then typically smoked in a glass pipe.
Regardless of the method of consumption, cocaine is incredibly addictive and dangerous.
Short-Term Side Effects of Cocaine
The side effects of cocaine are fairly common to all who ingest it.
In general, the side effects of cocaine in the short term can vary from incredibly intense to mild.
As discussed before, cocaine’s positive effects, or reasons people consumer it, include:
- Euphoria (feeling extremely good)
- Increased energy
- Increased talkativeness
- Increased alertness
- Increased awareness
- Decreased appetite
- Increased speed in completing tasks
Physically, you can see cocaine’s presence in someone who has consumed the drug recently. Signs someone recently ingested cocaine are evident by things including:
- Dilated pupils (enlargement of the black part of the eye)
- Profuse sweating
Non-visible physical side effects include:
- Increased heart rate
- Constricted blood vessels
- Increased blood pressure.
Sometimes, what the person taking cocaine feels differs greatly from the positive effects.
From time to time, a person may have negative effects like:
- Violent behaviors
- Paranoia (fear of someone or something)
- Vertigo (dizziness)
Severe medical emergencies are also possible when taking cocaine. They include:
- Heart attack
- Gastrointestinal tract issues
The only differences in side effects seen across different methods of taking cocaine are at the sight of the consumption.
If consumed through the nose, there is the risk of nasal septum damage and frequent nosebleeds.
Consuming cocaine by smoking it leads to issues with breathing and lung capacity in the short term.
Cocaine has an almost immediate impact on the person consuming it. A single dose can be noticed within minutes — depending on the method of consumption.
Snorting cocaine through a nostril provides a slower onset of a high feeling, but the high may last for upward of 30 minutes.
Smoking crack will provide a nearly immediate high, but the high will last only a few minutes. For this reason, crack is often seen as more addictive than typical cocaine.
Long-Term Side Effects of Cocaine
Repeated cocaine exposure may literally change your brain and body permanently.
As a person continues to consume cocaine, their brain will create new pathways within itself and adapt to having cocaine to help it function. This ends the brain’s ability to do things it normally handles on its own.
With continued consumption of cocaine, a person also runs the obvious risk of becoming tolerant to the substance. This will lead a person to continue increasing their dosage of cocaine, bringing them closer to a possible cocaine overdose.
With repeated and increasingly higher dosage, a person runs the risk of damaging their mental health with increasingly common panic attacks, paranoia, or full-blown psychosis (insanity). The physical health of someone continually consuming cocaine suffers from significant weight loss, gastrointestinal issues, and heart issues.
In the long term, with the increased risk of addiction, a person becomes more and more at risk for overdose or death.
Specific methods of use have their own long-term physical side effects.
For those who snort cocaine, there is a risk of permanently losing the sense of smell, problems with swelling, and general nasal septum damage.
For those who smoke crack, there is a significant amount of damage done to their teeth. They also run the risk of developing chronic lung conditions such as asthma or emphysema.
What Does Cocaine Addiction Look Like?
It’s hard to avoid becoming addicted to cocaine because of the powerful high it provides.
While technically there is the possibility of someone only consuming cocaine occasionally, it is seen far too often that irregular consumption turns into addiction.
Cocaine addiction quickly can and will cause issues for a person in their health, finances, relationships, and employment.
Financial struggles will become evident early on. A cocaine addiction is very expensive. The drug itself is already pricey, but adding on the constant urge for more and the short life of its high, a person can fall into financial despair quickly.
You may notice appearance changes in a person addicted to cocaine. The drug slows a person’s appetite, leading them to lose a significant amount of weight.
They may also show signs of a lack of personal hygiene. This is because they are fixated on only one thing — more cocaine.
Cocaine is harsh on the body. You may notice a lot of health decline in a person addicted to cocaine. A lack of nutrients from their decreased appetite can lead to consistent common illnesses.
The most evident issues you can see in a person with an addiction to cocaine is in their mental health. They will show signs of extreme highs and extreme lows.
You may also notice paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there).
Cocaine Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms are intense and far from comfortable without medical assistance.
While other substances like alcohol or opioids cause severe physical discomfort and illness when detoxing from them, cocaine’s withdrawal symptoms are more concentrated on psychological effects.
Commonly, a person detoxing from cocaine will immediately go into a “crash” situation.
This is when the body and mind, which have become used to having cocaine’s assistance in performing functions, are relearning to cope without cocaine. This process can feel agonizingly slow despite only lasting for around a week.
During this time, a person will likely battle depression and extreme fatigue.
As time passes, other psychological symptoms may include:
- Inability to feel pleasure
- Difficulty concentrating
- Slowed thought processes
- Physical fatigue after simple tasks
- Inability to experience sexual arousal
- Intense cravings
- Suicidal thoughts
- Small physical symptoms (chills, muscle aches, and nerve pain)
- Increased appetite
Medical Detox From Cocaine Dependency
Detoxing from cocaine can be uncomfortable and dangerous. When done without the assistance of a medical staff, there is a risk of permanent damage or even death.
By having the assistance of medical personnel, the symptoms of withdrawal from cocaine can be eased with the help of medicines and monitoring of vitals and hydration.
While at the present time, no proven medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for cocaine addiction exists, several kinds of medication have been used in detoxification from cocaine. Withdrawal from chronic cocaine misuse produces anxiety, depression, and intense cravings for the drug. Several types of medications address these issues in different ways.
Antidepressant drugs have been used to reduce cocaine withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
Benzodiazepines — tranquilizers such as Diazepam — have been used to reverse anxiety caused by cocaine withdrawal.
Amantadine, a medication used to treat Parkinson’s disease, may be an effective treatment for cocaine-dependent clients with severe cocaine withdrawal symptoms and may reduce cocaine cravings.
Bromocriptine, a drug that works on the brain’s dopamine (feel-good) system, has been used to decrease the craving for cocaine during detox and to reduce mood disturbance.
Propranolol, a beta-blocker blood pressure drug, may be useful for severe cocaine withdrawal symptoms as it curbs the effects of adrenaline, thereby calming the body’s “fight or flight” response to stressful situations.
Beta-blockers have been used clinically to treat general anxiety and anxiety associated with alcohol withdrawal. Propranolol’s lessening of symptoms such as heart palpitations and sweating has helped to reduce cocaine cravings associated with such symptoms.
The use of beta-blockers in those who have ingested cocaine, however, is not risk-free and can lead to dangerously high blood pressure. Delayed toxic effects are also possible. Any use of beta-blockers in this setting requires careful monitoring and caution.
The advantage of medical detox is that it gives the person with cocaine addiction the ability to begin treatment sooner.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment in New Mexico
Cocaine addiction treatment has become extremely important in New Mexico because of cocaine’s popularity in our communities.
A 2016 study found that even our teenagers have been trying cocaine. In this study, it was discovered that nearly 1 in 10 New Mexico students had tried cocaine.
Cocaine addiction treatment is best when a mix of evidence-based treatments and alternative treatments are used. With these, a person can find the root of their addiction while also learning how to correct their negative responses that lead to substance misuse.
Evidence-based treatments may include:
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
Alternative treatments include:
- Tai chi
Call Shadow Mountain in New Mexico Today
If you or a loved one is struggling with a cocaine addiction, it’s important to not waste another minute before seeking treatment.
Call us today at (800) 203-8249 to learn more about ways we can help.