One of the most trafficked illegal substances to date is cocaine. Also sometimes referred to as coke, this highly addictive substance is up there with Methamphetamine as a highly trafficked substance. Although used by many as a recreational drug, this substance only needs to be used once or twice before the individual grows dangerously addicted to it. This can lead to many problems not only for the user but also for their loved ones. Unfortunately, knowing whether a friend or family member is using the drug can be tough, simply because such drug use is generally done in secret and private.
That being said, do you suspect that your loved ones are on cocaine? If so, it is vital to know the short-term and long-term effects of the drug, along with the signs of cocaine abuse you may be able to spot from coke users. In this article, we’ll tell you all about cocaine, helping you understand what you need to know to tackle it.
What Is Coke Jaw? What Are the Other Signs of Cocaine Abuse?
To get started, let us talk about the signs that your loved ones may be on cocaine.
Ever heard of coke jaw? Coke jaw is a term used to describe a person’s erratic jaw movement. Although this is similar to bruxism, a teeth-grinding disorder, coke jaw is but on a whole new level. This happens because when a person takes cocaine, their body speeds up. Such cocaine intake can cause the muscles to twitch, including the muscles in the jaws, leading to the coke jaw issue.
Apart from coke jaw, there are many other signs that your loved ones may be on the drug. For example, cocaine users will frequently experience convulsions, seizures, headaches, mood swings, bowel decay, loss of smell, runny nose, trouble swallowing, and such. Note that some of these symptoms will directly correlate to how the drug is taken. For example, if a person were to eat cocaine, it could lead to bowel decay. Finally, if a person were to inject it, there’s a risk of HIV if they used the same needle an HIV-positive person used.
Another big sign of cocaine usage is dry mouth. Particularly with crack cocaine, such drugs can significantly decrease the flow of saliva into the mouth. Although dry mouth may seem like an insignificant side effect, it can become a severe issue. A dry mouth can lead to other oral problems like bleeding gums, gum disease, and even tooth decay.
Periodontitis is also another sign that a person may be using the drug. This is because when a person puts cocaine on their gums, they risk inflammation that can lead to gum diseases. The periodontal tissue takes a significant hit, causing resorption of the bones and tissue. This leads to receding gums, heightening the risk of causing the teeth to fall straight out.
Finally, a big sign that your loved one may be a cocaine abuser is when it is hard for them to eat, swallow, or even speak. This happens because when the drug is used, it is typically done by snorting it through the nasal cavity. This action causes the blood vessels in the nose to constrict, cutting off the oxygen supply to the cells and causing them to die. This death of the cells leads to something known as the perforation of the oral palate. The roof of the mouth starts to deteriorate, causing the problems we mentioned earlier.
With all of those signs shared, you might be wondering why you need to know any of these. The biggest reason you want to know these signs is that you want to make sure the user attempts to quit drug usage as early as possible. The longer it goes, the more cocaine the user will take, making it harder for them to stop. Plus, the longer they use the drug, the more problems their body will face, making recovering from the cocaine’s damage a lot more challenging.
What Are the Short Term and Long Term Effects of Cocaine?
When it comes to the effects of cocaine usage, there are short-term and long-term effects that need to be considered.
With short-term cocaine side effects, they generally revolve around the crashing of the drug’s effects. During the crash, one may experience dilated pupils, increased breathing rates, increased heart rates, loss of appetite, nausea, anxiety, paranoia, depression, psychosis, convulsions, and more. However, even during the use of cocaine can effect show up, such as intense euphoria, hallucinations, erratic behavior, and similar signs. Sudden death can also occur if the person overdoses on cocaine, even if the drug use was the individual’s first time.
Now, with repeated use of cocaine comes the long-term effects of the drugs. These long-term effects can grow worse and worse simply because the more frequently the drugs are used, the less dopamine the brain produces. This forces the user to up their cocaine dosage in an attempt to feel something, worsening any effects they may already be experiencing.
That said, long-term effects of cocaine usage include permanent damage to the heart and brain, high blood pressure, damage to the lungs, liver, and kidney, death of nose tissues, respiratory failure, tooth decay, sexual problems, severe depression, and infertility. Other effects also include weight loss, malnutrition, and auditory and tactile hallucinations. All in all, none of these side effects are anything any sane and normal person ever wants to deal with, but for addicts, their trudge for the best high puts them at risk of all these side effects. In fact, they care little about their health when the only thing they want is to feel good.
What Is a “Come Down?”
When it comes to various drug uses, the ones that make an individual feel high usually are followed by the “come down,” also known as crashing. This crash is a drop from the feelings of being high, and how the comedown feels is different from one person to the other.
If a person has a bad high, a type of high that leaves a person anxious, uncomfortable, and even delusional, the “come down” phase can be incredibly relieving and pleasant. However, for those with an enjoyable high, the crash can be disappointing, tempting them to take more of the drug. In either case, if an individual feels ill during the “come down” phase, a medical complication may be at hand.
All in all, remember the signs and symptoms of cocaine usage, and be sure to keep an eye out for any member of the family that may be showing these signs. If you suspect anything, be sure to reach out and talk to them. If you are the one using the drug, then be sure to reach out to the professionals for help. Remember, the quicker the abuse is identified and tackled, the likelier it will be for the recovery process to be successful. After all, less time with the drug means less reliance on it. Despite that, however, even if you or your loved ones have been using the drug for a short while or a long time, it is never too late to reach out for help. The road to recovery will be a long and arduous one, but success means turning one’s life around to start on a better foot!