Cocaine is a stimulant that is derived from a plant known as Coca. The Coca plant is commonly found in countries such as Peru and Bolivia. As such, cocaine is commonly made in laboratories located in those specific countries.
After the drug is combined with other chemicals and manufactured, it is trafficked to Mexico. This makes it easy for drug traffickers to smuggle the drugs into America. Due to California’s proximity to Mexico and the ocean, smugglers often target it. It’s little wonder that California has one of the highest numbers of addiction Centers in America.
It should be noted that America is not only the target of smugglers. Other countries in other parts of the world are also potential targets. As long as there is a willing market ready to use the drug, they’ll smuggle it there.
Hence, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the drug is popularly sold on the streets. Many individuals are eager to make some extra money through the illegal sale of cocaine. On the other hand, too many are willing to use the drug for its effects. On the streets, drug users and sellers often refer to cocaine as Powder, Snow or Coke.
It comes in several forms. For instance, it can be bought in powder or rock form. The powder one is usually snorted or rubbed against the gums of the teeth.
Other times, it can be dissolved in liquid and injected straight into the bloodstream. The rock form (crack cocaine) of the drug is usually inhaled by the individuals addicted to cocaine. In both instances, the user will experience the effects of the drug faster.
So, what are the effects of cocaine drug abuse or use? Usually, when an individual uses coke, they are likely to experience euphoria. Also, it can lead to increased alertness, talkativeness and heightened heartbeat.
Perhaps you started using cocaine and are finding it hard to stop. If so, you’ve already developed a dependence on the drug and are probably worried that you’re addicted. If so, below are a few signs and symptoms that will let you know if you’re addicted to the drug or not.
Psychological Signs of Cocaine Addiction
- Poor decision making: The ability to often make sound decisions is often compromised once individuals become dependent on the drug. This is evident when the individual struggling with coke addiction neglects his/her career or academics responsibilities. They will also opt to neglect other types of responsibilities and engage in life-threatening activities.
- Euphoria: Cocaine use is known to lead to a heightened sense of euphoria. However, this state only lasts for a short period of thirty minutes. If you find yourself using it more than usual to experience this, chances are you addicted.
- Psychosis: Psychotic behavior is when an individual starts seeing and hearing things that are not there. Additionally, they tend to be delusional and say things that don’t make any sense. People struggling with psychotic episodes are often unaware that their experiences are not real.
- Constant mood swings
- Increased irritability and agitation
Physical Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
- Increased heart rate
- Heightened energy levels
- Unstable sleeping patterns
- Intense perspiration due to an increase in body temperature
- Cognitive impairment and damage: One of the negative consequences of using cocaine is damaging the brain’s blood vessels. This means that the amount of oxygen received by the brain is limited. Both the fact mentioned above and the inflammation of the blood vessels is responsible for the following:
Ø Shrinkage of the brain
Ø Changes in the normal functioning of temporal and prefrontal lobe functioning
Ø Changes in the normal functioning of neurotransmitter production
Ø Strokes and seizures
Changes in the brain or cognitive damage are what leads to mood swings. Additionally, cognitive damage results in motor problems, memory lapses and tremors, to mention a few.
- Cardiovascular issues: Long term use of the drug will lead to the inflammation of the heart’s muscles. This means that the ability of the heart to contract and expand will be compromised. Hence, people struggling with Cocaine addiction are at a high risk of aortic ruptures, seizures and strokes.
Other cardiovascular issues include heart attacks, Angina, Arrhythmia, Tachycardia and deep vein thrombosis.
- Organ damage: Due to the toxicity of coke use, it can damage several organs. From the stomach and the intestines to the kidney and the liver, cocaine can cause a sudden decline in health. If you’re experiencing sudden stomach pains, constipation and a reduction in appetite, your stomach is possibly damaged.
- Pulmonary and respiratory damage: Snorting and smoking coke will damage the sinus cavity and the lungs’ blood vessels. The damaged capillaries and alveolar walls will interfere with the proper circulation of oxygen to and from the lungs.
Another consequence is when long term addiction leads to the development of ‘Crack Lung.’ Crack lung is accompanied by coughing, wheezing and increased body temperatures.
- Damage of the nose and mouth: The constant snorting and smoking of coke eventually damage the nose and mouth’s mucous membranes. Sometimes, the nasal cavity will collapse, making it even harder for the affected individual to breathe.
- Infectious diseases: Due to the inability to make sound decisions, Cocaine use can expose the user to HIV and Hepatitis C.
Behavioral Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
- Dishonesty and manipulation
- Participating in risky behavior
- Neglecting school, work and other responsibilities
- Avoiding social interactions
- Lack of interest in activities that were once fun
- Sharp decline in hygiene
In conclusion, cocaine addiction will lead to psychological, physical and behavioral changes. From increased irritability and neglect of personal hygiene to organ damage, Cocaine addiction is debilitating. If you exhibit the above symptoms, you’re more than likely addicted and may have to seek treatment.
With that in mind, the negative consequences of using cocaine far outweigh its euphoric effects. Don’t be afraid to ask for support from your friends and family. You’ll be surprised how far they are willing to go for you.