Risks Of Cocaine Abuse
Cocaine is a highly addictive central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. Cocaine is one of the most common recreationally abused illegal drugs in the country. Many people do not realize the dangers associated with cocaine use.
1. Death Associated With Cocaine Abuse
Stimulating the CNS with a drug like cocaine results in significant stress to the heart and the rest of the cardiovascular system. Too much cocaine, either at once or over time, can result in cardiac arrest, heart attacks or failure, strokes, or seizures. All of which can result in death.
Additionally, cocaine is often cut with different substances that are widely unknown to the person abusing the drug. If an individual is allergic to a substance that has been added to cocaine, it could cause a deadly allergic reaction.
People abusing cocaine may make poor decisions that put themselves or others in danger. Hazardous situations that would be otherwise avoided can result in physical harm to the person, including death.
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2. Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine activates dopamine pathways in the brain, often referred to as the “pleasure center”. Repeated activation of these pathways results in a rewiring of the brain that becomes dependent on cocaine.
Once dependent on cocaine, a person will feel compulsions to use more cocaine in order to feel the same level of excitement, and the brain will require cocaine in order to feel happy.
The cycle of addiction is dangerous and often needs rehab to address the nature of addiction and achieve sobriety.
3. Cocaine And Mental Health Issues
There is a strong connection between mental health issues and cocaine abuse. Individuals who are addicted to cocaine are continually activating dopamine in their brain, resulting in feelings of euphoria, self-confidence, alertness, and overall positive emotions.
Continued cocaine abuse can cause intense symptoms of mental health disorders, such as delusions, paranoia, anxiety, and anhedonia.
A person addicted to cocaine is at risk for severe depression if they stop taking cocaine. Some medical professionals believe the severity of depression is directly related to the level of cocaine addiction a person is experiencing. Cocaine is involved in a high number of suicides.
People seeking treatment for cocaine addiction commonly end up also receiving treatment for co-occurring mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, delusion disorders, and symptoms of paranoia.
It is not well understood if cocaine exacerbates pre-existing mental health issues, or a person addicted to cocaine develops these mental health problems as a result of cocaine abuse. Regardless of cause or effect, cocaine has been connected with mental health diagnoses.
4. Cocaine And Health Problems
Cocaine abuse has several varying, unwanted side effects. When cutting with adulterants, cocaine can cause additional health risks.
Mixing cocaine with other drugs or medications can also result in a number of unwanted and dangerous side effects. Some drugs commonly mixed with cocaine include:
- benzos (Xanax, Ativan)
- ADHD medications (Adderall, Ritalin)
- erectile dysfunction medication (Viagra, Cialis)
- beta-blockers (Lopressor, Sectral)
Long-term cocaine abuse can also result in a number of health problems, due to the drug itself or the method of ingestion. For example, inhaling or smoking cocaine in different forms can lead to lung and breathing issues. Some other health risks include:
- infections at injection sites
- infectious diseases like HIV or hepatitis from sharing needles
- deviated septum and other nasal issues from snorting cocaine
- damage to blood vessels
- digestive tract damage
- cardiovascular issues
- ischemic colitis
- brain damage or impairment from overstimulation
5. Cost Of Cocaine
While it is true that cocaine is an expensive drug, with costs averaging approximately $100 per gram, cocaine can cost a person much more than money.
Individuals have reported spending entire savings on cocaine, meanwhile losing jobs, friends, and family along the way. Cocaine addiction can result in a person abandoning responsibilities and obligations in order to continue to use cocaine.
The spiral into cocaine addiction can also lead to run-ins with the law, criminal convictions, and fines associated with being caught with cocaine. The costs of cocaine addiction can devastate an individual and their close family and friends.
Treating Cocaine Addiction
When a person is seeking treatment for cocaine addiction, they most often start with a detox facility. These locations can help a person taper off the cocaine, or provide alternative medications to ease the discomfort of withdrawal.
Once detox is complete, an inpatient rehabilitation program is encouraged. During that time, an individual will explore the reasons for addiction, as well as ways to maintain and continue sobriety.
Contact us today so we can help find the path best designed for you or your loved one. Sobriety is achievable, and we can help.