Cocaine is a widely-used drug, and most remain unaware of just how rampant it is around the world. It goes by a variety of names, including coke, snow, nose candy, blow, and yeyo. Donning different hats, and yet its destructive components remain the same. Cocaine is highly addictive, coming in the form of white powder snorted by users. It’s also rather popular on mainstream media, with various film depictions showing how incredibly powerful it can be in terms of mind-altering—all of the worst.
It’s dubbed by experts as the second most addictive substance in the world, making it a seriously dangerous drug. It’s not something that can be tampered with or played with for good times, as one-time use can quickly pull you into a plunge of darkness. Abusing it can quickly give you a one-way ticket to altered functions, subtracting years from your life and worse.
Although these can be enough to scare away potential drug users, many remain tempted to seek its romanticized effects, especially since it has been shrouded in glamorized uses, including being a high-end party drug. As a result, many are drawn to its effects, especially the young ones.
While cocaine can be easy to come by, its after-effects can be costly. Cocaine addiction isn’t as simple as a marijuana dependency, as abuse can lead to damaging effects on the overall health of the individual. It also puts a strain on the finances, as well as relationships.
If you know someone who has been suffering from cocaine abuse, or you wish to turn your life around for the better, this guide has been designed to help you. We take a look at the withdrawal process, the drug’s effects, and even overdose—all depicted to help you fully grasp what you may be going through.
Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal
As previously stated, cocaine is a highly addictive drug. Such dependence and abuse can lead to long-term physical and psychological effects, however, which can alter one’s state of being forever. It’s an incredibly potent stimulant, making its effects travel in every body system. Continued use eventually leads to stressing the heart, which is the main reason long-term users suffer from heart attacks and stroke. Withdrawal, however, is an entirely different story.
Becoming addicted to drugs leads to the body being accustomed to the effects, slowly adjusting to performing functions with the drug present. As a result of this adjustment, the user experiences various physical and mental effects, and in time, the body begins functioning with the drug. As a result, cocaine dependence occurs.
Should the person be forced to stop the drugs abruptly, the body responds by going into shock. The systems will have trouble adjusting to performing without the drugs, leading to side effects that range from mild to severe. In the worst cases, these effects can be deadly. This process is known as withdrawal, which can include the following symptoms:
- Strong cravings for cocaine
- Discomfort that does not go away
- Mental exhaustion
- Physical exhaustion
- Anhedonia, or the inability to feel joy or pleasure
- Upsetting dreams that occur vividly
- Lack of motivation
- Reduced sexual drive or desire
- Poor concentration
- Slower moves
- Excessive drowsiness or sleepiness
Side Effects of Cocaine
Learning about withdrawal is one thing, but understanding the extent of cocaine effects is also crucial. As persistently reiterated, cocaine is a powerful and highly-addictive stimulant. For this reason, its effects are mostly produced in the brain, particularly in the mesolimbic dopamine system.
This is where the positive stimuli effect is reinforced, depicting the same effects that food and sex can bring to a person. For this reason, the brain’s main communication pathway is disturbed, construed into thinking that something as dangerous as cocaine can make you happy.
Whenever snorted, cocaine addicts experience a rush of dopamine unlike any other. As a feel-good chemical, cocaine binds the mind’s neurotransmitters, which end up accumulating in the brain. As a result, it amplifies the feeling of pleasure, leading to the high or euphoric feeling users are incredibly fond of.
Due to these altered processes, cocaine addiction causes long-term brain damage. It can also lead to irreversible mental health issues, including dangerous mood swings and other emotional turmoils. Due to its intimate interactions with dopamine, cocaine can also lead to severe depression, as the body dealing without the drug believes it can only ever be happy with cocaine in the system.
Brain scans from experts show that cocaine can also physically alter the brain’s appearance, making permanent function damages a high possibility. Apart from severe depression, users can also end up suffering from motor and cognitive issues, eventually leading to memory loss and dementia. Although completely destructive, cocaine’s effects can still be reversed and prevented—provided that the user or their loved ones act accordingly.
How Long Does Cocaine Stay In Urine?
Urine tests are perhaps one of the most reliable forms of drug detection, especially when it comes to cocaine. Urine screens for cocaine are almost always accurate, especially when it comes to the detection of cocaine used several weeks prior. Cross-reactivity can also be employed, and any form of interaction with other substances cannot affect the cocaine screening.
Due to its accurate results, it’s the most commonly-used form of testing. Traces of cocaine can be detected up to three days after use, but for heavy users, detection can still happen for up to two weeks after use. For facilities trying to help addicts overcome their suffering, urine tests are incredibly vital.
Signs of Cocaine Overdose
As a powder, cocaine is mostly inhaled. This simple process makes the dosage incredibly potent, and users are always at risk of going on an overdose. The amount of ingested varies on different factors, including the person’s physiology and affinity to other substances.
It’s important to note that overdose requires immediate treatment and care, as fatal repercussions are always at an all-time high. Here are some of the most common signs of an overdose:
- Increased sweating
- Increased body temperature
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty in breathing
- Chest pains
- Tremors and seizures
- Panic attacks
Looking Beyond The Drug—What You Can Do
While it’s easy to assume that long-term abusers have no hope, it’s important to remember that help is always readily available. However, it’s important to remember that time is always of the essence. People struggling with such addiction will have difficulty dealing with withdrawals, especially since they’ll be fighting both physical and mental health issues.
Depression for long periods is almost inevitable, and this can lead to more intense cravings. . Detoxing from the drug can be taxing, even if safely administered. Once done with the process, however, they will need help managing coping mechanisms, especially when it comes to dealing with triggers.
Thankfully, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation facilities are more than capable of helping cocaine sufferers in their journey towards a better life. Professionals will be more than happy to come up with relapse prevention treatments, as well as aftercare support programs to transition back to society.