Cocaine is one of the most widely abused drugs in the US. Derived from the coca plant, cocaine is a highly-addictive stimulant. While it’s often sold in its pure form, it’s sometimes mixed with talcum powder, cornstarch, or flour to increase profits. Sometimes, unscrupulous dealers also mix cocaine with opioids e.g. fentanyl or amphetamine making it more dangerous and increasing the likelihood of overdose deaths.
Cocaine can be taken in different ways including snorting through the nose, rubbing it on your gums, dissolving it into a powder then injecting it into the bloodstream, or smoking it as crack. The methods of use affect the drug’s long-term effects on the body.
Effect On The Brain and Body
Being a stimulant, cocaine increases the level of dopamine available in the brain. Flooding the areas of the brain that control reward and motivation changes how the brain works. Eventually, the brain gets used to large amounts of dopamine and you get hooked on the feeling. As a result, interest in other activities fades away as you become preoccupied with chasing the next high. Over time, you develop a tolerance for the drug, requiring increasing amounts and stronger dosages just to achieve the same high.
Cocaine produces a range of short-term effects on the body including:
- Elevated body temperature and blood pressure
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Muscle twitches and tremors
- Constricted blood vessels
- Nausea and dilated pupils
Using cocaine can make you feel extremely happy, energetic, and mentally alert. You may also become hypersensitive to sight, sounds and touch. Large doses of cocaine can lead to paranoia as well as unpredictable and sometimes violent behavior.
Long-term effects of cocaine depend on the method of use:
- Snorting cocaine for too long may leave you with a constantly runny nose, nose bleeding, and a loss of smell.
- Injecting cocaine may lead to an increased risk of hepatitis C, HIV, and other blood-borne diseases especially if the injection equipment is shared. Other effects include collapsed veins and scarring.
- Smoking cocaine for too long may lead to asthma, a persistent cough, and lung problems and put you at an increased risk of respiratory infections.
Start Your Recovery at Impact Outpatient Program
Cocaine addiction can be a difficult habit to kick but this can be done with the right help. If you or your loved one is battling a cocaine addiction, seeking help now can help prevent further damage to the body.
At Impact Outpatient Program in Louisville, our addiction specialists have the requisite experience in helping people overcome all kinds of addictions. We offer intensive outpatient and traditional outpatient programs with a focus on individualized treatment plans based on a client’s unique recovery goals. Our admission process is simplified to ensure clients get started on treatment as soon as possible and we also offer virtual telemedicine sessions when attending in-person sessions is not an option.
Contact us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs.