Can You Overdose on Cocaine?

Cocaine overdose

The Risks and Consequences of Cocaine in America

Cocaine remains one of the deadliest drugs in circulation in the US. Not only does it lead to untold losses of human life and societal harm, but the fallout of the war on drugs has impacted every corner of modern society. Cocaine overdoses have become prevalent, especially in certain areas. When a person takes cocaine, it speeds up their heartbeat, which is a typical body response to a stimulant.

However, cocaine also creates a rush of dopamine, bringing a feeling of euphoria. This feeling of joy leads many people to use cocaine to such an extent that they endanger their lives. Cocaine can also be found on the streets in a cheaper and more addictive form known as crack. These substances can lead to overdose if taken individually or alongside other drugs.

The Basics of Cocaine and Crack

Cocaine is a white powder derived from a South American plant known as “coca.” Native populations have used the coca plant for centuries to deal with altitude sickness and give a burst of energy and focus. By breaking down these leaves and extracting the active ingredient, drug traffickers create a near-perfect concentration of the stimulant powder. However, the cost of cocaine is prohibitively expensive anywhere outside of South America, making it hard for average drug users to obtain. unfortunately, aspiring drug dealers in the early 90s overcame this limitation by creating a version of the drug known simply as “crack.”

Crack cocaine still contains a significant volume of cocaine, but it is mixed with other substances. Drug dealers combine pure cocaine with water and baking soda to make crack. They mix these and create rocks out of them, which they can then sell for a much lower price than the same weight of cocaine. This drug version was introduced to the US in the late 90s and today makes up the source of most cocaine addictions in low-income neighborhoods. The name derives from the cracking sound the rocks make when the user is smoking them.

Can You Overdose on Crack?

Crack has garnered a reputation for being even more potent and addictive than pure cocaine. Overdoses tend to occur from crack use more often than from cocaine use. Typically, when a person consumes cocaine, their brain speeds up, and their heart rate increases significantly. This rush of blood and the euphoric feeling that the user gets makes them feel invincible for a short amount of time. The euphoria fades quickly, however, and a user wants to chase that feeling again, so they take the drug once more.

Crack overdoses occur because this euphoric feeling doesn’t last as long as the user wants it to. It also requires more crack each time to get the same feeling, leading the user to take larger and larger doses of the drug. Each individual has a different limit that they can handle when it comes to crack cocaine. This limit varies depending on several factors, including body weight and how long the person has been using the drug. However, once the drug reaches a critical point within the body, it will lead to an overdose.

Now, Can You Overdose on Cocaine?

Crack and cocaine share a lot of commonalities, and you can overdose on cocaine just as quickly. Cocaine overdoses usually happen for a similar reason to crack overdoses – the user consumes the drug, gets high, and comes down but wants to recover that original feeling. Cocaine is a typical example of an addictive drug.

When a person takes such a drug initially, a flood of chemicals makes its way into the brain and drives them to the highs of euphoria. The brain adjusts its chemistry to deal with this increased chemical activity, permanently changing its functionality. The person will then have to take more of the drug to get the same euphoric feeling. This adaptation is known as tolerance. The higher tolerance a person has for the drug, the harder it is for them to get high on small volumes. As a result, they take more of the substance and eventually overdose because they crave that feeling of euphoria.

How Much Cocaine Does It Take to Overdose?

How Much Cocaine Does It Take to Overdose

As mentioned before, there’s no standard amount needed for an overdose with crack. Different factors will affect whether a person overdoses on a particular drug concentration compared to other people. In some cases, a few hundred milligrams might be enough to drive a person to arrhythmia and cardiac collapse.

It might be as much as a whole gram (or more) to cause the same response in other cases. People’s metabolism, their body’s ability to deal with toxic substances, and the size and weight of a person all have a part to play in whether they will overdose on a lower concentration of the drug. Older people tend to have a lower tolerance for overdosing, and it requires less of the drug to cause this outcome.

What Are the Symptoms of Cocaine Overdose?

Cocaine overdose can lead to death in the most extreme cases. Luckily, a person can spot the symptoms of cocaine overdose early on and attempt to deal with it before it becomes unmanageable. Cocaine toxicity progresses in three stages:

Stage 1

Stage 1 demonstrates several problematic physical effects of consuming the drug. Among the symptoms that characterize Stage 1 of cocaine toxicity are:

  • Paranoia and Confusion
  • Pseudo hallucination (or visual aberrations)
  • Rapid and erratic breathing
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • The sensation of spinning or falling
  • Twitching
  • Nausea

Stage 2

The second stage of cocaine toxicity leads to the progression of these symptoms and the presentation of a few others. Some of the common symptoms seen in this stage are:

  • Seizures
  • Brain Damage
  • Irregular breathing or cessation of breathing completely
  • Hyperthermia
  • Loss of bladder control

Stage 3

If a person gets to stage three of a cocaine overdose, their prognosis for recovery is slim. The symptoms that a person is likely to encounter at this stage are:

  • Coma
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Respiratory failure
  • Loss of vital functions

The most severe of these symptoms usually lead to unconsciousness and eventually death.

What To Do During a Suspected Overdose?

It’s vital to remember that time is of the essence in treating a cocaine overdose. The longer a person goes through the symptoms of an overdose, the less likely it is for them to recover. The damage done to a person’s body increases over time, but you can quickly reverse the symptoms and help the person if you catch an early overdose.

In the event of an overdose, the first thing you should do is call 911. Emergency response should be swift, allowing them to save the person’s life. While waiting for the emergency response personnel, keeping the victim calm is essential. Talk to them and engage them but avoid giving them object that they could harm themselves with. The massive rise in body temperature that comes with increased metabolic activity can be managed with a cold compress. If the person manages to survive their ordeal of overdosing, the most vital thing their friends and loved ones can do is arrange for them to enter rehab.

Are There Long-Term Side Effects of Cocaine Use?

The long-term effects of cocaine use are well-documented. As mentioned before, tolerance develops over time when someone uses the drug repeatedly. Alongside tolerance, a change in the person’s behavior is noticeable. They may become erratic and lash out violently at others without warning.

When they are not on the drug, they may experience increased anxiety and convulsions. Occasionally people who take cocaine go on binges, where they consume the drug regularly and in ever-increasing dosages. The result is a potential for overdose and several other symptoms, including restlessness or paranoia. Occasionally, they may even experience full-blown psychosis.

How a person consumes cocaine can also have detrimental effects on their body. Continued consumption of cocaine through snorting can lead to the destruction of nasal cartilage. It also leads to nosebleeds and a reduced sense of smell. Using needles can also damage skin and leave needle tracks that are a telltale sign of cocaine usage. Cocaine is a stimulant, and its usage does lead to a lack of sleep, which translates into a paler complexion and circles under the eyes. As people become addicted to cocaine, they avoid personal hygiene habits, leading to an unkempt appearance.

What are Treatment Options for Cocaine Overdose?

What are Treatment Options for Cocaine Overdose

When someone overdoses from cocaine, the first thing to do is call emergency medical services at 911. However, that’s not the end of the preparation. After calling emergency services, collect all the relevant information they may need to treat the patient.

This information includes drug allergies, pre-existing conditions, and the amount of cocaine the person has taken. If the person’s body starts overheating, use cold compresses to keep their body temperature regular. This approach helps to reduce the long-term damage that such a situation could lead to within the body.

Cocaine overdoses can also lead to a person vomiting. It’s best to lay them on their side while waiting for the emergency medical response. If they vomit in this position, their air passages will remain clear. This position may also help them with their breathing.

Ideally, the patient should be kept in an environment with less chance of harming themselves. Someone should always be with the patient until medical help arrives to ensure that no complications occur. A cocaine overdose needs to be dealt with quickly since the longer it persists, the more chance there is for the person’s body to shut down.

Finding Long-Term Cocaine Treatment Programs

A cocaine overdose occurs when a person has a high tolerance to the drug and has been taking it for some time. Dependency and addiction play a part in overdoses since they lead to a person consuming more of the substance over time. To avoid any issues with overdoses, the best approach would be to find a treatment center to help deal with addiction.

Long-term cocaine treatment starts with detox, then progresses to either inpatient or outpatient care. However, finding a suitable facility to deal with cocaine addiction can be difficult. There are many places a person could go to recover from cocaine addiction. However, not all facilities are the same. It’s essential to look at their quality of care, the cost of their programs, and whether they accept insurance for patients.

Find Lasting Recovery from Cocaine with Pathfinders

Pathfinders Recovery is dedicated to providing quality care to each individual to come to our recovery center. Our professional staff is trained in handling long-term addiction. We’ve dealt with complicated cases, too, including dual-diagnosis. Out detoxification, inpatient, and outpatient programs are adaptable and look at each case individually, requiring a unique approach. If you’re looking for a recovery center that aims to offer a long-term solution to addiction, give us a call today. We’ll walk right beside you throughout your recovery journey.

Symptoms of Cocaine Overdose

What is the Symptoms of Cocaine Overdose

Glossing over the Dangers of Cocaine

Even in Hollywood, where the crudest, depraved, and unacceptable activities are glamorized, most hard drugs are presented in a negative light. We’ve seen this time and time again when it comes to heroin in movies like “Requiem for a Dream” and meth using movies like “Spun.”

However, no matter where you look, cocaine always seems to be a glamorized drug. Individuals who have battled cocaine abuse disorder and won would end up telling you different.

This is what makes cocaine such a dangerous drug. Especially in today’s society, where news of opioid and meth overdose deaths are dominating the headlines, cocaine is quietly being overlooked.

If we’re not careful, this lack of awareness can lead a whole generation of young people into the hands of substance abuse disorder. The bottom line is, that there just isn’t enough awareness regarding the dangers of cocaine abuse, specifically when it comes to a cocaine overdose.

Can You Overdose on Cocaine?

Many people are under the impression that you can’t overdose on cocaine. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

As all the attention has been on opioids and, more recently, crystal meth – cocaine is still as deadly as ever. In all reality, cocaine and meth are about neck and neck when it comes to overdose deaths, with both hovering somewhere between the 12,000 and 15,000 deaths-per-year mark since about 2016.

This is far from a glamorous or safe drug, but you won’t hear much about these overdose deaths on the news. When it comes to gross missteps like this in terms of public awareness, it becomes the job of the family member, the friend, or any other type of mentor to instill the facts regarding these dangers to young people.

Would you know what to do if someone was displaying signs of a cocaine overdose? Do you know the signs to watch out for?

What Does a Cocaine Overdose Look Like?

Individuals going through a cocaine overdose are in an extremely dangerous situation, especially considering the potential for heart damage. One of the greatest risks associated with an overdose is the potential to experience a heart attack or other heart-related issues.

During a cocaine overdose, the heart rate and blood pressure spike. If help isn’t sought, these levels are high enough to lead to additional complications. It’s important to be aware of the other signs so you can get help before it’s too late. Cocaine overdose victims will display the following signs:

  • Enlarged pupils
  • Intense sweating
  • Labored breathing
  • High body temperature initially, followed by clammy skin
  • Loss of color
  • Convulsions
  • Twitches or tremors
  • Complaints of chest pain/numbing in one arm
  • Unconsciousness
  • Dry mouth

Getting help in the right amount of time is vital during a potential cocaine overdose. While it’s not known how long it takes for cardiac arrest to begin, in certain situations, the risk may be elevated, depending on prior health conditions and the among ingested.

The Stages of Cocaine Overdose Symptoms

What does a user feel like when they’re going through a cocaine overdose? Not always will the user understand they’re going through an overdose. Many times, they’ll be physically unable to convey how they feel.

The answer to this question also depends on how far long the overdose has progressed. Normally, the process entails the following:

  1. Initial feelings may include an extreme feeling of euphoria or a rush of energy. This happens after an extremely large dose of cocaine.
  2. Users may find it difficult to breathe and experience intense sweating. The pulse rate steadily increases, as well as the blood pressure.
  3. At this point, anxiety may begin to take hold, and the user may feel panicked. Normally this is the stage where chest pains or numbing in the arm may be experienced.
  4. The user may experience nausea and begin vomiting/foaming at the mouth. oIt’s vital that emergency medical services are contacted to transport the individual to the ER. The stage after this one normally includes convulsions, which may segue into cardiac arrest.

How does it feel for the individual who is experiencing the overdose?

How Do Cocaine Overdose Symptoms Feel?

How Do Cocaine Overdose Symptoms Feel

 

During a cocaine overdose, individuals experience a wide range of physical (and mental) feelings in a short time. Some of the most commonly felt symptoms include:

  • Tightness in chest
  • Moderate to severe chest pain
  • Extreme anxiety and distress
  • Difficulty breathing
  • May become disassociated and find it difficult to remain focused or keep a train of thought
  • Ultimately, the user will most likely lose consciousness

Is Cocaine Overdose Common?

Cocaine overdose is probably more common than you think. Using data from last year regarding drug use, it’s estimated that almost 20% of individuals suffering from cocaine abuse disorder end up in the emergency room for a possible overdose.

This ends up totaling somewhere around 110,000 users per year. Out of these 110,000 users, an average of about 15,000 will end up losing their lives to a cocaine overdose.

Except for the number of current users, the statistics surrounding cocaine hospitalization and overdose deaths are nearly identical to methamphetamine numbers in the same category.

Because cocaine overdose is a significant threat, it’s important to understand what to do in the event someone you know is experiencing an overdose.

What to Do for Someone During a Cocaine Overdose

If someone you know is suffering from a cocaine overdose, it’s important to remain calm and exercise proper judgment. The first thing you want to do is contact 911 to ensure an ambulance is already on the way.

Second, you need to assess the situation. What stage of the overdose is the person in? Are they still coherent?

If the individual is still alert and conscious, ask them how they’re feeling. Sit and talk with them to help keep them focused on your voice and not the fact they’ve ingested too much cocaine. The goal is to keep their anxiety at bay.

If they are unconscious or nearing that point, don’t throw water on them or slap them. You might have seen this in movies, but it’s not the right thing to do in real life. Turn the person on their side and put a pillow under their head.

This will stop them from choking if they end up vomiting. Monitor them closely while you wait for EMS to arrive. You need to make sure they’re still breathing and have a pulse.

Actions to Take During a Cocaine Overdose

While you’re waiting for EMS, you need to begin administering CPR if they suddenly stop breathing. You need chest compressions to keep their blood pumping and make sure you’re breathing for them properly.

Remember, it only takes about three minutes without oxygen to suffer brain damage. Typically, this is what causes death in the case of an opioid overdose. It’s not the direct toxicity of the drug itself – it’s the lack of oxygen for too long of a period.

However, in the case of a cocaine overdose, most deaths occur as a result of a heart attack. Not every cocaine overdose leads to a heart attack, though.

It depends on how strong the dose of the drug is and the health of the user’s heart. The chances are high that if the individual has a strong cardiovascular system, they won’t suffer from a heart attack.

This gives them extremely strong odds of making a full recovery. However, another risk currently exists, putting cocaine users in harm’s way of the deadly effects of another drug – fentanyl.

The Risks of Fentanyl as a Cocaine Adulterant

The Risks of Fentanyl as a Cocaine Adulterant

There is currently an extremely high number of substances discovered on the black market that contain high doses of fentanyl. This is particularly alarming, especially considering that most of the users have no idea the drug is adulterated with this deadly opioid.

Batches of other substances have been tested and exhibit the same results – from cocaine to meth, marijuana, and ecstasy, they’re all testing positive for fentanyl. This is causing another surge in overdose deaths of all age groups.

What makes it scarier is the fact that these individuals have no idea these drugs are laced with the powerful opioid. In many cases, people in their company have no idea how to remedy the situation because of the unexpected results.

While it’s currently unclear why doses of fentanyl are being placed in other drug supplies, many people have their theories. One theory to consider is the attempt to force users into a physical dependency on fentanyl.

Once this happens, individuals must consume the drug to even function normally. This would certainly be a way to ensure clients return to buy the same batch, over and over again.

Regardless of the reasoning, it proves the ruthlessness and lack of remorse the organizations that manufacture and distribute these drugs have.

This adds another danger to cocaine use – an already dangerous enough long-term situation.

Long Term Effects of Cocaine Usage

Individuals who engage in long-term cocaine usage face a potentially deadly list of side effects. These effects include:

  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Skin conditions affecting the face
  • Loss of nasal cartilage structure
  • Heart attack and stroke risk
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety/depression
  • Paranoia/psychosis

Seeking treatment following a cocaine overdose is the best course of action. With the right help, users have a real shot at long-term recovery.

Is Lasting Recovery from Cocaine Addiction Possible?

At Pathfinders Recovery Centers in Colorado and Arizona, we understand that lasting recovery takes a strong team with experience and compassion. This is exactly what we bring to the table.

Recovery isn’t easy – but nothing worth having ever is. We’re right there with you every step of the way, ensuring your comfort and safety while providing you with the education and tools you need for lasting recovery.

Your recovery is calling. Contact Pathfinders today to find out how we can help you start your journey to full, successful recovery from the shackles of regular cocaine use.

Differences Between Crack and Cocaine

Differences Between Crack and Cocaine

Cocaine is a dangerous drug that has caused untold damage to lives and families worldwide. For a long time. Cocaine was the purview of the rich and famous, but in the mid-80s, something changed for the worse. A new version of cocaine came onto the scene. Nicknamed crack, this version of the drug was cheaper and easier to produce.

It was also a lot more dangerous and just as addictive as the original product. Thanks to quick and efficient drug trafficking, cartels were able to dominate low-income neighborhoods with cheap crack, leading to a massive decline in fortunes among the economically depressed parts of the country. Today, crack has been the cause of severe destruction of low-income neighborhoods.

An Overview of Cocaine and Crack

At their core, crack and cocaine are the same substance, albeit made in different ways. Cocaine is manufactured into a powdered form, but when it’s processed into crack, it presents as a rock-like substance. Crack cocaine sees the raw coke powder combined with water and another substance (commonly baking soda) to solidify the powder into a hard stone. The term “crack” stems from the sound the rock makes when heated while being smoked. The effects of crack and cocaine on the body are also similar since they are both stimulants.

How Are Crack and Cocaine Similar?

Crack and cocaine are the same substance essentially. These drugs create a reaction in the body that speeds up metabolic processes. When a person takes either crack or cocaine, it immediately releases dopamine to the brain. Dopamine is the substance the body uses as a reward for doing something positive. However, this dopamine rush is far in excess of what the body is used to handling. After the dopamine high dissipates, it leads to a depression that could spiral into dangerous thoughts. Because the depression is so deep and sudden, people who use either form of cocaine are tempted to keep using it to avoid that depressive episode. People who use either crack or cocaine are at risk of severe ailments, including hallucinations, seizures, arrhythmia, stroke, and sudden cardiac arrest.

Physical Differences Between Crack and Cocaine

Cocaine is a powdered drug that can be snorted or diluted, and injected into the bloodstream. On the other hand, Crack is a rock that is usually heated within a pipe to be smoked. Crack is generally cheaper to buy than cocaine. Crack is a relatively new drug, showing up around the 80s. Cocaine and its precursor, the coca plant, were well known and used in even pre-Columbian times in South and Central America. Crack also carries harsher penalties for having and using it than cocaine does. Crack acts a lot faster than cocaine, allowing a person to get high in a fraction of the time they need with cocaine. Additionally, crack can be considered far more addictive than cocaine, with addiction sometimes setting in after the first use of the substance.

Is Crack More Addictive Than Powdered Cocaine?

Differences Between Crack and Cocaine

Cocaine is a highly addictive substance, and it has historically caused thousands of deaths thanks to overdosing on the substance. However, as addictive as cocaine is, crack may be even more addictive than its counterpart. This addictiveness stems from how crack enters the bloodstream and how fast it interacts with the brain.

A massive high sets in rapidly when a person smokes crack but fades just as quickly. The short, pleasurable nature of the high forces people to want more of the substance to sustain it and avoid the eventual depression. Dependency on a substance sets in when the brain rewires itself to handle the drug’s presence. In this case, this rewiring happens rapidly, sometimes after the first use. Conversely, cocaine may take a little longer to act.

The Cost Differences Between Crack and Cocaine

One of the most compelling reasons for people to use crack is how cheap it is compared to cocaine. Powdered cocaine found popularity among the upper class of the US in the 70s and 80s. The drug became a status symbol, as those who could avoid it spent tons of money on the substance. Its illegality raised the price and made it impossible for those without the economic means to afford the drug.

In the 80s, this changed when crack was first produced. This version of the drug combined cocaine with low-cost baking soda and water to make an even more potent drug that could be mass-manufactured without costing the makers much in terms of time or money. A single kilo of cocaine could make four kilos of crack. The cost of a crack rock was much more affordable to those of lower economic means. Now, even the economically depressed could experience cocaine, which led to an addiction epidemic that still plagues those areas today.

Can You Overdose from Cocaine and Crack?

Cocaine and crack build tolerance within the brain. When someone takes a drug, their brain changes to deal with it. In the case of crack and cocaine, the brain ramps up its ability to respond to dopamine. This change in the brain chemistry means that the user needs more of the substance the second time around to get the same feeling out of the process.

Unfortunately, the obvious side effect of this change is that the person may inadvertently consume more of the substance than is safe. Overdosing from crack or cocaine happens, even in the most meticulous users. Since many users consume the drug in isolated circumstances, no one can know when an overdose happens fast enough to get them the help they need. Most individuals who overdose on these substances die as a result.

Other Risks and Side Effects Of Cocaine And Crack

In addition to overdosing, there are other pressing side effects of crack and cocaine. One of the most apparent, especially in low-income neighborhoods, is the loss of economic freedom. Crack isn’t expensive, but maintaining the habit requires spending a lot of time and money on the drug. If the police arrest a user, they may face jail time and lose their job.

This loss of economic freedom has a knock-on effect of increasing crime in neighborhoods with rampant crack usage. When a person takes crack or cocaine, they will also likely experience several other side effects, including:

  • Mood disorders
  • Headaches
  • Decreased appetite
  • Paranoia
  • Hypersensitivity

A person who uses crack generally smokes it, leading to lung problems and respiratory issues. Cocaine, if snorted, can lead to nosebleeds. If injected, using dirty needles can lead to hepatitis and, on occasion, AIDS.

Differences Between Crack and Cocaine

Can You Get Withdrawals from Snorting Coke?

If you snort coke, it counts as consuming the drug. As with all other drugs, snorting or consuming it in different ways can lead to dependence on the substance. If a person becomes dependent on the substance, then withdrawals can happen as a result. Smoking crack can also lead to withdrawals if someone becomes dependent on the substance. The withdrawal process can take time and may have various side effects, including:

  • Poor cognitive function
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Drowsiness
  • Apathy
  • Insomnia
  • Intense drug cravings

The symptoms start within the first day of the person not using the substance, but they increase in intensity. Withdrawal is the first step of recovering from a dependence on the substance. The side effects are the body’s way of convincing the person to keep using the substance. Detox is a form of controlled withdrawal.

Many facilities offer medically supervised detox since symptoms can become extreme in rare cases. It’s better to be prepared than to do it and hope for the best. Pathfinders Recovery has a dedicated team to help with crack and cocaine detox, ensuring that patients get the best care possible.

Finding Treatment for Cocaine in Any Form

Detox is the first step in overcoming crack and cocaine addiction, but it’s not the only thing that needs to be done. While detox will help a person break their physical dependence on the substance, a significant portion of a person’s mind is still stuck on using it.

Therapeutic methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help individuals struggling to recover from the drug’s psychological hold on their bodies. Therapy can happen in either inpatient or outpatient settings, although a particular type of treatment might appeal to a person more than the other because of how they are delivered.

Residential Treatment for Cocaine and Crack

Inpatient treatment centers focus on helping people overcome their addiction by reducing the number of distractions around them. Inpatient facilities also limit visits from family and friends and keep the facility free of all drugs at all times. The downside of checking into an inpatient facility is that it is expensive and requires the person to put their life on hold for a bit. The expense has become less of an issue as many inpatient facilities now offer payment plans or take insurance for client stays.

Outpatient facilities are cheaper but require a much bigger commitment from the client. A person could theoretically continue their job and life uninterrupted at outpatient therapy once they meet their scheduled appointments at the rehab center. Outpatient treatment is less intrusive, but it also opens up a person to more temptation from the drug.

Long Term Recovery from Cocaine Is Possible

Cocaine and crack can cause massive problems to a person, but there are ways to deal with this issue. Long-term recovery at a rehab center like Pathfinders Recovery focuses on both the physical and mental aspects of addiction.

Our trained staff can develop individual plans that appeal to each patient’s needs. Through CBT and other proven scientific methods, we help patients overcome their dependence on a substance so they can see a brighter future. Contact us today to experience a different kind of recovery – one that’s focused on you.

Cocaine Side Effects And How To Tackle Them

Cocaine side Effects

Prevalence of Cocaine Side Effects

Pathfinders Recovery Center consistently emphasizes the need for cocaine side effects treatment. With the right treatment, not only can the client live a happier life but even potentially avoid drug usage. Located in Colorado and Arizona, their expertise of 25 years has helped many people who have gotten admission to the center. They offer multiple forms of care that suit best for the client and help them passage back to society.

Cocaine is consumed by around 14-21 million individuals all over the world, most of which suffer from dire cocaine side effects. It is easier for cocaine to be misused and create an unhealthy dependence between the said drug and the consumer.  Also called cocaine hydrochloride, it is one of the most stimulating and dangerous substances.

It is often used for medical intentions as it helps in relieving pain and anesthetic purposes but has a high potential for substance abuse. In cases like that, it is crucial to seek help from rehabilitation centers to get adequate help as cocaine side effects can get too much to handle.

Why it’s Important to Address Cocaine Side Effects

The longer a person consumes cocaine, the further their brain adapts to it. To get the same high, the individual will need a higher dosage. This may result in a hazardous addiction or overdose.

Stronger, more regular dosages may potentially induce long-term alterations in the chemistry of the brain. The body becomes dependent on the substance. This might make it difficult to concentrate, sleep, and retain information from memory.

Even in younger and otherwise healthy people, use may result in a catastrophic heart attack. Taking big quantities is linked to unpredictable and perhaps aggressive behavior.

This is why it is so important to address cocaine side effects.

Cocaine Basics

The medicine floods the pleasure-controlling areas of the brain with dopamine, an organic biochemical transmitter in the body. This increase generates a high, which is characterized by heightened sensations of energy and attentiveness. It is derived from the coca leaves, which are indigenous to South America. Cocaine, as a nervous system stimulator, raises key life processes including blood pressure, core temperature, and pulse rate. Cocaine users often need less rest, have less hunger, and have greater energy and concentration. They may be more chatty and lively, have greater self-confidence, and feel better.

At this stage, a cocaine dependence may develop, leading a habitual cocaine abuser to feel melancholy, irritated, and worried without it, in addition to desires for the substance. This is the phase where more dire cocaine side effects start showing up. People may continue to misuse cocaine to manage their pleasure and satisfaction and avoid the side effects of cocaine withdrawal. This fundamentally affects the brain’s motivation and reward circuits. Cocaine consumers may believe that they need the substance to feel normal again, which eventually leads up to further cocaine side effects.

Side Effects of Cocaine use

Cocaine side Effects

Any usage, whether for short or long periods, is linked with adverse effects. Cocaine side effects are no different.

Cocaine usage causes restricted blood vessels, pupil dilation, elevated body temperature, breathing rate, and hypertension in the short term.

When short-term usage crosses the border into long-term consumption, the chances of additional and exacerbated undesirable outcomes grow. These long-term health hazards demonstrate the devastating effect cocaine has on the physical health of its users. Cocaine consumption may lead to serious medical consequences. Here are some of the major cocaine side effects:

1. Cocaine effects on breath

Major respiratory and pulmonary problems of cocaine addiction have been recorded more often in recent times, with the majority of patients being injectable consumers, freebase intakers, or crack inhalers. Cocaine effects on breath include acute and chronic effects on the lungs. Cocaine’s effects on the lungs vary depending on the mode of ingestion, dosage size, level of exposure, and the presence of related drugs such as heroin, talcum, or marijuana.

Smoking cocaine may prevent oxygen from reaching the circulation and harm oxygen-transporting vessels, which is responsible for cocaine effects on breath. This may cause significant breathing problems and serious health implications, including irreversible lung damage. Asthma, pneumonia, bronchial asthma, respiratory failure, and emphysema may occur in the user.

2. Cocaine effects on the nose and face

Consuming cocaine via the nose daily may degrade the cartilage and potentially cause the nose to collapse if there is no tissue joining the nostrils. Cocaine effects on the nose and face happen because it restricts blood circulation to the septum, resulting in a gaping wound and a deformed overall nose shape. While the “high” from ingesting cocaine via the nose may last longer than smoking or shooting up, it may cause significant harm.

Cocaine effects on the nose and face cause mucous membrane walls to be damaged and blood circulation to the nose to be disrupted. Although direct contact with cocaine causes damage to the membrane linings, reduced blood flow is caused by cocaine’s effects on neuron releases in the brain, notably adrenaline and norepinephrine. These substances aid in the regulation of blood flow all through the body.

As addiction develops, repeated doses are required to sustain the “high” effect of cocaine. Most of the harm done will be irreversible unless drug usage is stopped. In other terms, once addiction takes hold, cocaine effects on the nose and face keep getting stronger.

3. Cocaine effects on skin

Cocaine has a wide range of effects on the human body. It may harm the skin as well as several internal organs and systems, causing dire cocaine effects on skin. Long-term cocaine usage may harm many different parts of the body. Given that the skin is the body’s biggest organ, it’s no wonder that cocaine is awful for it. Cocaine may gradually destroy this crucial organ that shields the inner workings of our bodies, causing inflammation, blisters, redness, and even rotting of the skin.

Cocaine effects on skin may be caused by a variety of variables, including the reducing agents used to make the drug, how it’s delivered (intravenously vs snorting), and other unhealthy behaviors that might contribute to skin problems, such as poor food, lack of cleanliness, and inadequate sleep.

4. Cocaine Side Effects | Short Term

Because restricted blood vessels impair the circulation of blood in the body, cocaine side effects such as:

  • Stomach discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sickness
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation

 

Elevated blood pressure and heart rate, as well as reduced blood flow through the arteries, may raise the heart attack risk.

Cocaine usage may produce behavioral changes because it raises the quantity of dopamine in the brain’s reward center. It may cause a person to become more unpredictable and aggressive, as well as more confident and unstoppable, increasing the possibility of them engaging in risky activities that might result in injury.

5. Long Term Cocaine Effects

Consistent and long-term cocaine usage may lead a person to develop a resistance to the drug, requiring more of it to get the same benefits. When the amount or frequency of usage is increased, the effects of cocaine on their mental and physical health are exacerbated.

Because cocaine messes with the way the human brain processes neurotransmitters, users need increasing amounts of the substance to feel “normal.” Cocaine addicts (like most other drug addicts) feel unmotivated in other aspects of their lives.

Cocaine, when taken or snorted daily, may harm the nasal lining and the structure that separates the nostrils. There is a danger of blood poisoning, plasma infections (such as HIV or hepatitis) through sharing gear, ruptured blood vessels, and skin sores while injecting cocaine.

One of the long-term cocaine effects is heart issues. Some individuals suffer from mental health issues, such as chronic depression. Symptoms of ‘cocaine psychosis’ include hostility and unpleasant hallucinations, frequently of insects beneath the skin.

6. Side Effects of Cocaine Withdrawal

Side effects of cocaine withdrawal may include

  • Extreme cravings
  • Despair
  • Anxiety,
  • Furious outbursts
  • Trembling
  • Sleeping difficulty,
  • Muscular soreness

 

These may endure for weeks.

Because cocaine interferes with the brain’s chemical bonus system, a person who is withdrawing may not be able to sense any pleasure feelings without the stimulus of cocaine to activate dopamine. As a result, individuals who stop using cocaine may feel extreme desires for months or even years. Relapses are rather frequent, to avoid side effects of cocaine withdrawal.

Cocaine Treatment Options

Cocaine side Effects

Substance use disorder (SUD) is complicated, and the most successful treatment method is one that is tailored to an individual’s requirements. Many cocaine treatment options use a mix of various tried-and-true approaches. Although research into possible pharmacological therapies for cocaine addiction is underway, no FDA-approved drugs are now accessible for either cocaine detoxification or long-term treatment of cocaine side effects. As a result, behavioral therapies are the main remedy for cocaine consumption.

On top of the hazards of cocaine usage and harrowing cocaine side effects, those with substance use disorders face the social stigma that comes with addiction. Addiction, on the other hand, is not a choice nor a sign of weakness; it is a complicated medical disorder that may be effectively treated. Many individuals enjoy meaningful lives in recovery with the correct care.

Cocaine treatment options may start with a drug detox program that offers 24-hour medical oversight and management to protect the client’s safety. Although no particular drugs are presently licensed specifically to treat cocaine dependence and addiction, medical detox programs may employ pharmaceuticals to assist control cocaine side effects.

If outpatient counseling and treatment are insufficient, a residential treatment program will not only provide the client with access to peers and counselors but will also separate the client from any possible triggering conditions that would normally induce them to use cocaine. It can eventually help eliminate the other cocaine side effects too.

A residential program will enable the individual to leave their regular life behind to more deeply examine the causes of their addiction, break unproductive behaviors, and be more responsible for keeping clean.

Pathfinders is a recovery center that specializes in treating substance use disorders in multiple ways. Not only do they help in eliminating cocaine side effects, but their team have expertise in treating substance use disorders across the spectrum. Joining a recovery center may not guarantee an instant cure. It can, however, be the first and most important step towards a new, free life, changing its trajectory through your input and hard work in an environment designed to help you every step of the way. At Pathfinders, they offer clients comprehensive levels of treatment.

 

With a full continuum of care options, the team at Pathfinders Recovery is ready to meet you (or your loved one’s) needs with a customized plan of care, built around your unique needs and individual considerations. Please don’t hesitate to call today and speak to their dedicated Admissions team!

The Long Term Effects of Drug Use: How Cocaine Impacts the Body

Long Term Effects of Drug Use

In the United States today, there are more than 1.5 million cocaine users over the age of 12.

Most of us know cocaine is tremendously addictive and can have some nasty short-term side effects.

But what happens when you take this drug for years on end?

The long-term effects of drug use can be far worse than the short-term effects, as bad as those are.

Ranging from paranoia to psychosis to brain damage and death, people who use cocaine for years are facing a number of dangerous health conditions.

Read on to learn more about cocaine and the long term effects of drug use.

Long Term Effects of Drug Use - Set of different drugs - powder and pills and a syringe on a black background. Learn about the Substance Abuse treatment options at Pathfinders in Arizona.
Set of different drugs – powder and pills and a syringe on a black background

What Is Cocaine?

We’ve all heard of cocaine, but before we get too far into the long- and short-term effects, let’s talk about what cocaine actually is.

Cocaine is a stimulant that comes from the coca plant, a species that’s native to South America.

You may have heard of it by the names coke, snow, rock, blow, or crack.

Cocaine comes in a few different forms, though the one most of us are familiar with is the white powder.

It may also show up in a solid rock crystal form.

Some cocaine users may snort the powder form of the drug, while others dissolve it in water and inject it into their veins; still, others heat up the crystal form and inhale the smoke.

Immediate Effects

When you take cocaine, your body releases high levels of dopamine, a hormone that’s linked to the pleasure and reward centers in your brain.

This extreme euphoria is what we call a high. And because cocaine is a stimulant, you may also get a rush of energy from taking the drug.

Immediate side effects of cocaine can include intense emotions, including happiness, anger, or paranoia.

You may experience extreme sensitivity to sensory input, including touch, sound, and visual cues. And you may notice that you aren’t hungry on your usual schedule.

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Addictive Potential

Because of the massive dopamine release cocaine causes, it’s extremely addictive.

Our brains are hard-wired to do things that activate those pleasure centers in our brain; under normal circumstances, that may include exercise, interacting with loved ones, eating something sweet, or petting an animal.

But when you get that high from cocaine, your brain automatically wants more of that rush.

In addition to this intense pleasure, cocaine also makes the parts of your brain that handle stress extra-sensitive. So when you aren’t taking the drug, you feel even more miserable and stressed, making you crave that high even more.

You may start pursuing that high over even basic necessities like food, relationships, and other natural rewards.

Higher Tolerance

One of the major effects of long-term cocaine use is that you build up a tolerance to the drug.

The more of it you take, the more resistant your brain becomes to that rush of dopamine. This means that in order to get that same high, you have to take more and more cocaine.

Over time, the amount of cocaine you have to take to feel the same pleasure can become fatal.

Meanwhile, your stress pathways are becoming more and more sensitive, making you feel like you have to have the drug to live. And to a degree, this can be true; withdrawal from cocaine can be extremely dangerous and even toxic without medical intervention.

Temperament Changes

In addition to the short-term effects, long-term cocaine use can start to cause side effects of its own. One of the first noticeable signs can be a change in temperament.

As those stress pathways become more and more sensitized, you may notice a change in your temperament. As your cocaine use increases, you may notice that your temper is on more of a hair trigger than usual.

You may find yourself getting irritated at smaller and smaller things throughout your day. You may also have trouble settling to one particular task as you become more restless.

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Panic Attacks

This irritability can start to spill over into paranoia as time goes on. You may feel like everyone’s out to get you or you’re about to be attacked at any moment.

Your paranoia may even be related to your addiction, as you worry that people around you may know that you’re using cocaine. That paranoia can turn into full-blown panic attacks as time goes on.

In order for an episode to qualify as a panic attack, it must include at least four of the following symptoms:

  • Accelerated heart rate or palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling like you’re choking
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Chills
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Feelings of unreality
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of dying.

You may also experience limited-symptom panic attacks that include fewer than four of these symptoms.

Long Term Effects of Drug Use - He has been doing cocaine for so long the long term effects of drug use are getting worse every day.
A man sits on the couch after snorting some cocaine.

Psychosis

In some extreme cases, long-term cocaine use can lead to full-blown psychosis. Psychosis is an often-misused term, so let’s take a moment to look at what it means.

Psychosis is a mental disorder that’s characterized by a loss of touch with reality. This can be as limited as believing the world is hiding dangerous secrets and you’re the only one who sees them.

It can also be as extreme as having full-on auditory and/or visual hallucinations. Psychosis from cocaine use can be dangerous, as you may start to act on those false beliefs. You may harm yourself or others during these delusions.

Loss of Nasal Function

In addition to the mental and emotional side effects of cocaine, you’ll also experience some physical side effects. To some degree, this depends on how you use the cocaine.

For instance, if you mostly snort cocaine, you’ll start to notice a loss of nasal and sinus function. You may notice first that your sense of smell is diminishing or that you’re getting nosebleeds more frequently than usual.

Your septum may start to get irritated, and you may have a runny nose all the time. You may also start to have problems swallowing and experience some hoarseness.

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Lung Damage

If you smoke the rock crystal form of cocaine, your physical side effects will be less nose-based. Instead, you may start to see damage to your lungs. This can come in part from the damage that results from smoking any substance, but smoking cocaine can cause specific damage.

If you have asthma, smoking cocaine will make it worse. You may find that you’re short of breath, especially after something like jogging for a short distance or going up a flight of stairs.

You may develop a chronic cough, and you could even develop eosinophilic pneumonitis, a disease whose symptoms can include fever, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and even death.

Infectious Diseases

If you inject cocaine, you’re inviting a whole host of problems related to using dirty needles. One of the most notorious of these is human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, a disease that destroys your white blood cells.

HIV can also lead to auto-immune deficiency syndrome, a chronic condition that can be life-threatening if not treated correctly.

In addition to HIV and AIDS, you’re also putting yourself at risk of catching Hepatitis C. Hep C is the most dangerous form of hepatitis and can cause serious liver damage or failure.

The worst part is because Hep C doesn’t have many outward symptoms, you may not know you have it until it’s far too late and your liver is beyond hope.

Heart Damage

Cocaine use in any form can also cause serious damage to your heart and your cardiovascular systems. Your heart becomes inflamed with long-term use of the stimulant, which can make it harder for your heart to pump.

This can lead to tears in your aorta, as well as a host of other issues. Long-term cocaine use puts you at a much higher risk of stroke and seizures.

You may experience ulcers as your gastrointestinal tract struggles to get enough blood. And you might see bulging or bleeding in your brain, as well as several other forms of permanent brain damage.

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Learn More About the Long Term Effects of Drug Use

The long term effects of drug use, and cocaine use, in particular, are serious and can be deadly.

At best, you can expect a long road struggling to break free of the addictive power of the drug. At worst, you could experience a painful death or a lifetime of brain, heart, liver, and lung damage.

If you’re struggling with a cocaine addiction and you would like to break free, come see us at Pathfinders Recovery Center.

We can help you through the withdrawal process and get you started on a path to a healthier, addiction-free life.

Contact us today to take the first step to freedom.