Cocaine comes in two forms, either as a white powder or as a rock-like version called freebase or crack cocaine. Both forms have a high potential for abuse and can easily cause addiction. Powdered cocaine is most commonly snorted, though some individuals may snort crack as well.
Cocaine is often mixed with other substances and drugs, including cornstarch, laundry detergent, talcum powder and even the stimulant drug, amphetamine. These impurities increase the dangers associated with cocaine abuse.
An inpatient drug rehabilitation program is focused on protecting a person from the risks associated with cocaine abuse so they can begin building a drug-free life.
Snorting Cocaine Damages The Nose
The tissues of the nose and nasal regions are very delicate. Every time a person uses cocaine these tissues are irritated. Chronic cocaine use can cause severe damage, including inflammation, infection and even changes to the nose’s internal and external structure.
While cocaine itself is a harmful irritant, a large amount of the damage to the nose is from additives.
Snorting cocaine can cause damage to the nasal regions in the following ways:
- bone loss
- blockages of nasal airways
- chronic halitosis
- chronic nosebleeds
- chronic runny nose
- crusted skin in the nasal passage
- collapsed nasal passages
- damage to the cilia (hairs inside nostrils)
- hole in the nasal septum (perforated septum)
- hole in the roof of the mouth
- inflammation of the nasal tissues
- loss of sense of smell
- nasal obstruction
- recurrent sinus infections
- saddlenose deformity (broad, flat nose)
- sores in mucous membrane of the nose
- spinal fluid leaks out of the sinuses
- whistling nose
The structural damage from cocaine abuse can be so severe that reconstructive plastic surgery is necessary.
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Noses are responsible for filtering air before it passes to the lungs. Cocaine exposure weakens the body’s ability to perform this important task. As the nose and mucous membranes are damaged from cocaine abuse, the quality of air the lungs receive declines.
Other Dangers Of Snorting Cocaine
The nose isn’t the only region of the body damaged by snorting cocaine.
Snorting cocaine can also cause:
- aggravation of allergies
- brain abscesses
- difficulty swallowing
- higher rates of tooth decay and periodontal disease
- hoarse voice
- lung infections
- onset or worsening of snoring
- respiratory tract blockages
- sore throat
- toxic shock
- vision impairments and blindness
Crack cocaine has also been reported to eat away gold dental work within the mouth.
General Risks Of Cocaine Abuse
The potential effects of cocaine abuse are vast, and may harm an individual’s body in many ways.
Cocaine’s intense stimulating effects wreak havoc on a person’s heart and cardiovascular system, and may cause:
- aortic ruptures
- bleeding of the brain (hemorrhage)
- cardiac arrest
- dissection or rupture of aortic aneurysm
- heart attack
- high blood pressure (hypertension)
- infection of the heart’s lining and valves (endocarditis)
- pulmonary edema
- hemorrhagic stroke
- sudden death
Cocaine abuse causes a variety of adverse physical and mental health effects, including:
- abdominal discomfort
- cognitive trouble
- panic attacks
- Parkinson’s disease
- transmissible diseases, like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C
- severe bowel decay
- worsening of seizure disorder
As a person becomes addicted to cocaine, they will often continue to use the drug despite knowledge of the harm it’s causing.
Cocaine Addiction And Overdose
Snorting cocaine allows the drug to pass more quickly into the bloodstream and cross the blood-brain barrier. Because of this, cocaine’s effects are felt rapidly. This quick rush gives drug abusers a greater incentive to use the drug again. The more a person uses cocaine, the greater the chance they’ll become addicted.
The high from cocaine is very brief, lasting only about 15 to 30 minutes. To counter this, drug abusers often take numerous doses one after the other, called binging. Some people may increase the dose they take in a single sitting. Either of these behaviors increase the odds of addiction and overdose. Crack cocaine has a higher potential for both addiction and overdose.
If a person is using cocaine laced with another drug, the potential for addiction and overdose climbs even further. In addition to amphetamine, cocaine may be mixed with heroin or fentanyl. Many users may not even realize that cocaine contains these drugs.
On the other hand, some users may purposely snort cocaine with heroin. This is called crisscrossing. Using a stimulant and depressant together like this places the body and central nervous system under great strain, which also increases the odds of overdose and sudden death.
Cocaine Abuse Causes A Declining Quality Of Life
The damage from cocaine isn’t experienced just on a physical level. Chronic cocaine abuse poisons a person’s life, causing great harm to their career, family life and relationships.
As a person’s cocaine consumption rises, their interest in important responsibilities within their life begins to decline. A person may ignore tasks related to their job or career to the extent they lose their job. The financial toll of these impacts is made worse by the large amount of money spent on sustaining the addiction.
Cocaine is a very expensive drug to abuse. As a person’s use becomes compulsive, they often begin to spend money on cocaine instead of spending it on bills and other basic needs. Some individuals may even lose their house over a cocaine addiction.
Addiction strains relationships and creates instability in the home. Many drug-dependent individuals push their friends and family members away as their drug abuse accelerates.
Finding Help For Cocaine Addiction
The damage caused by prolonged cocaine abuse can be extensive. Treatment should be promptly sought to protect a person from cocaine-related adverse health effects. Inpatient drug rehabilitation gives a person’s body and mind ample time to heal from addiction.
Cocaine abuse carries a high rate of relapse, as strong cravings can occur even after long periods of abstinence from the drug. This makes treatment even more important.
The most effective treatment programs teach a person versatile coping and relapse prevention skills so they’re prepared when cravings strike. Support shouldn’t end there, though. Programs at Vertava Health offer in-depth aftercare support, so a person stays focused on their sobriety goals for long-term.
Contact Vertava Health today to build a treatment plan for cocaine addiction.