Cocaine is one of the most commonly abused illegal drugs. Derived from the coca plant, it’s a stimulant that causes the user to experience feelings of euphoria and pleasure for up to an hour afterwards. Cocaine generally comes in a white powder form and is snorted, injected, or smoked. It is a highly addictive drug, and has many street named that it’s identified by, such as:
- Nose Candy
Recreational users of cocaine risk suffering from a variety of terrible side effects because of the drug. The worst part is that people who are chronic cocaine users may never fully recover from the damage the drug will wreak on their bodies and brain. In the past, cocaine has been glamorized, and has been considered a trendy drug, which has contributed to its popularity. Celebrities are often being sent to rehab because of their addictions to cocaine.
The Many Dangers Of Cocaine
Because of the short lived nature of the high someone gets after taking cocaine, it is easy to get addicted to the drug by chasing that high. More people accidentally overdose on cocaine, than on most other drugs. And the problems that cocaine cause a person read like a terrifying laundry list:
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Renal Failure
- Cerebral Hemorrhage
And what is perhaps the most disturbing aspect of becoming a cocaine addict is the fact that users may never fully recover from the damage that using cocaine does. People need to be highly aware of these consequences, so they don’t get tempted to try cocaine.
People who become addicted to cocaine undergo changes to their body that may be irreversible. They are more susceptible to heart problems because of the narrowing of blood vessels. They also are more likely to have heart attacks and stroke. And cocaine has dramatic effects on the brain, which causes them to be paranoid, and have problems with psychosis. The user will experience hallucinations and irrational thinking that will severely impair his ability to function normally in life.
Changes To The Brain
But perhaps the most long-term changes cocaine wreaks on a person is what it does to their brain. The cravings that cocaine addicts regularly have are symptomatic of the brain being altered by the powerful stimulant. Unfortunately, once someone has experienced these neurological changes, it’s very hard for the mind to go back to its normal state where it didn’t crave cocaine.
Abnormalities of the brain have been found in people who were long-term cocaine users. When studied, their brain patterns were notably different than from other people who weren’t addicts. This shows that drug addiction problems may run deeper than experts had originally thought. People who were probably more susceptible originally to drug abuse also had their brains altered by cocaine use.
People Need To Be More Educated
When someone first smokes, snorts, or injects cocaine, he’s probably not thinking about heart problems or his brain being altered. But he should be, because these are all very real problems he will experience if he becomes a regular user of cocaine. People are not educated enough about the long-term problems that cocaine causes people. Generally, the belief is that someone’s brain and body will revert back to its normal state within a year or two of stopping use of the drug. But now research is showing that isn’t true, and an addict will be more prone to addiction for perhaps the rest of his life because of the physical and neurological damage cocaine does to his body. If people were more educated about these consequences, perhaps it would deter them from even experimenting with cocaine to begin with.
If you or someone you know is struggling with cocaine addiction, please contact us.
Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.