Cocaine And Its Adverse Effects

Cocaine and Its Adverse Effects


Cocaine is an addictive pain blocker used in the 1890s. After it was discovered to be addictive, the medical profession no longer used it. Cocaine was also in Coca-Cola until 1903. Today, cocaine is an expensive street drug. Cocaine is very addictive and dangerous for the body. Snorting the powder form or smoking/injecting the crack form are ways it can be put in the system. It has a nearly instantaneous effect by quickly entering the blood stream and traveling to the brain. Cocaine blocks some neurotransmitters (chemical messages in the brain) and prevents other neurotransmitters from being reabsorbed. Cocaine makes the user feel energized, alert, happy and powerful but it can also cause irritability, paranoia, anxiety and restlessness. The effects of the drug can last anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours.

Effects On The Brain

The risk of addiction to cocaine is very high. People addicted to cocaine have changes to the reward system in the brain as well as other brain systems. This causes people who are addicted to this drug to prefer it over other activities including eating. It can also affect the brain by causing stroke, seizures, bizarre or violent behavior, and headaches. Abuse of cocaine can also cause psychological issues. It can cause severe paranoia or even a paranoid psychotic episode, which includes delusions and hallucinations. Social and emotional issues can occur as well.

Other Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine not only affects the drug user’s brain, but also the rest of the body as it travels though the blood. As cocaine is a stimulant, it can cause cardiac arrest the first time it is used because it increases the rate of blood flow and constricts the arteries. A heart attack can occur no matter what your age is and without heart disease. It can also cause heart arrhythmia (deadly abnormal heart rate). It also causes high blood pressure, hardening of arteries and thickening of the heart muscle walls. Snorting cocaine can irritate the nose and sinuses causing nosebleeds, loss of sense of smell, swallowing problems, hoarseness and chronic runny nose. Cocaine also irritates the lungs and can cause permanent lung damage. Smoking cocaine can cause shortness of breath, coughing and bleeding. Cocaine usage causes abdominal pain, nausea and decreased appetite that can lead to malnourishment. Regular cocaine use can also cause severe bowel gangrene from the reduction of blood flow. Kidney damage can happen and be accelerated by high blood pressure caused by cocaine use. Kidney failure can occur from rhabdomyolysis, which is the destruction of muscle cells. Chronic cocaine use can also cause sexual dysfunction in both men and women. Use of cocaine also causes dilated pupils and elevated body temperature. Users that inject cocaine put themselves at risk for diseases including HIV and Hepatitis B.

When Cocaine Is Mixed With Other Drugs

Many cocaine users also use other drugs with the cocaine either by choice or additives to the cocaine before they purchase it. This can cause allergic reactions that can result in death. This is called cocaethylene. When cocaine is mixed with alcohol, the risk of sudden death is greatly increased over when using cocaine alone. Additives in cocaine include Levamisole and anesthetics. Levamisole, which is used to treat parasitic worms in animals, attacks white blood cells and can lead to a condition called agranulocytosis that weakens the immune system. This puts the user at risk for infections and deadly diseases. Anesthetics and cocaine can lead to a large number of complications with the brain, heart and lungs. This drug ends up costing them their health, family and money. Cocaine use causes long-term and life-threatening consequences.

If you are addicted to cocaine or have a loved one who is addicted or abusing this drug, seek help immediately from an inpatient treatment center. Inpatient treatment is preferred over outpatient treatment to avoid the chances of relapse. Inpatient treatment has higher success rates.