Stimulants are preferred by addicts due to their pleasing effects such as heightened energy levels, improved focus and concentration, inflated self-esteem, and euphoria. Some use it for better alertness while studying or during a job, or some use it just to experience that different feeling. There are both legal and illegal stimulants, but one of the most famous ones is cocaine.
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is an illicit stimulant that is highly addictive in nature. It was first introduced as an anesthetic in the 1880s and soon became an active ingredient in various tonics that proposed to cure a number of illnesses and health conditions. However, this was all before the adverse effects and addictive properties of cocaine were fully understood. After examining what it could do, cocaine was classified as a Schedule II drug in 1970. To this date, the recreational use of cocaine is illegal in the United States.
The most common names of cocaine include coke, blow, yeyo, snow, and nose candy. It usually has a white powder-like appearance but the processed version of cocaine comes in small and hard pieces known as crack. This is the most commonly abused form since it reaches the brain quickly and starts showing effects in a mere 10 seconds. However, the high lasts only for 5-10 minutes.
Where Does It Come From?
The drug is extracted from the coca leaf of the Erythroxylon Coca plant which is found in South America. For hundreds of years, indigenous people continued using the plant by chewing the leaves to cure headaches, stomach cramps, and boost energy levels.
It was in the late 1800s that doctors began analyzing the medicinal benefits of cocaine and understood its anesthetic effects. Lack of good anesthesia at that time made cocaine a breakthrough in medical history. However, soon its addictive effects were discovered and the drug was replaced with more health-friendly alternatives.
How is it Taken?
Since cocaine usually has a white powder-like appearance, it is commonly snorted. Alternatively, the drug can also be smoked, taken orally, and even injected for faster results. Injecting the drug poses another serious threat of contracting HIV/AIDS as the needle used can be common if you are in a group of friends.
How Bad Can Cocaine Addiction Get?
First of all, cocaine does not fall in the cheap drug category. It is extremely costly and can end up eating all your savings once you develop an addiction. Even if you intend to experience cocaine and its experience just for once, you won’t realize when it’s your second time, then third, and so on.
There is a reason why it is known as one of the most addictive drugs. In occasional cocaine users though, physical and psychological effects are rarely seen. However, scientists say that there is no safe dosage of cocaine and even smaller amounts can pose a serious risk to your health.
Long-term abuse of cocaine induces the body’s dependence on the drug which can make you restless in its absence. The dosage exponentially rises as you continue using the drug to get the same high as earlier. Cocaine floods the brain with dopamine, a chemical that makes us feel pleasure. Frequent users report a euphoric feeling that lasts for hours. No matter how overwhelming it feels at first, the fact that it can be dangerous prevails.
For the addicts, cocaine is over and above anything. They prefer taking the drugs to any other activity. The addiction changes the lifestyle of an addict and they can lose their friends, families, job, and even become bankrupt during the process. Cocaine addiction may seem tempting, but it has fatal consequences.
Signs of Cocaine Addiction
The first sign of cocaine addiction is restlessness and how a person loses interest in everything around them. The addicts can lie about their whereabouts, borrow money to buy drugs, and frequently skip work or school. The following signs are most common during a cocaine addiction:
- Dilated pupils
- Abrupt weight loss
- Increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.
- Stomach ache
- Constricted blood vessels.
- Runny nose and poor hygiene.
Other psychological signs of addiction include:
- Panic attacks
- Unnecessary aggression and anger traits
- Anxiety and depression
- Poor judgment
- Poor physical coordination
- Hallucinations and paranoia
- Frequent irritation
Can Cocaine Addiction Cause Death?
Although cocaine is dangerous for the overall health of the body, it rarely results in the death of an addict. However, in a few cases where it happens, it is generally due to cardiac arrest or seizures.
Those who combine the use of cocaine and alcohol, they can end up drinking more since cocaine has stimulant properties that suppress the effects of alcohol. Mixed-use of alcohol and cocaine intensifies the euphoric effects in the body which puts more strain on the heart. This can increase the chances of cardiac arrest resulting in sudden death.
Cocaine and its Legal Use
The drug is deemed illicit for recreational use in the United States but it does have some legal medical use. Cocaine is extremely useful for both vasoconstrictive and anesthetic medical purposes and is effectively used as:
- Cocaine hydrochloride; for topical uses.
- For executing upper respiratory procedures.
Treatment of Cocaine Addiction
If you or someone you know is deep into cocaine addiction, quick and corrective measures are immediately required to help stop this before it becomes worse. The first step is to confront the addict with the utmost care and without alarming them so that they develop a sense of trust. If you fail to gain their confidence, it would be impossible to convince them to seek treatment.
If they accept their addictive behavior and want to live a sober life from now on, you can offer them the help and support they need. Depending on the nature and level of abuse, they may be either required to attend a residential rehab or a behavioral treatment program teamed up with medications or both. It all depends on what the medical personnel suggests.
But, it should also be kept in mind that these treatment procedures can help you fight the addictive behavior and withdrawal symptoms. However, there is no medicine that can completely recover you from cocaine addiction. Even after you have attended rehab and live a life without drug intake, relapsing is always possible unless utmost care is taken.
Engaging in a healthy schedule, following a nutrition-packed diet, and distracting yourself from people, surroundings, and everything that encourages addiction can help you during recovery and achieve long-term sobriety.
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