Cocaine’s Effects on the Mind, Body, and More
It is not earth-shattering to read that cocaine is bad for your health. Even when you indulge yourself with occasional doses of cocaine on a night out, you probably know there are negative consequences for those choices.
The same can be said even for substances that are not illegal, like alcohol or marijuana — consuming the substance in excess can lead to discomfort or other unwanted issues in the near future.
We are simply here to let you know there may be side effects you may not be aware of, and they are more than enough to make you step away when the next opportunity comes to try cocaine on a night out or during a night of work before a big meeting.
Consuming Cocaine for the Buzz
Cocaine is a popular drug for multiple reasons and in multiple situations. Upward of 1% of the population in the United States will consume cocaine in a given month, according to statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
NIDA’s findings also conclude the number of people consuming other drugs, like opioids and marijuana, is growing annually while cocaine consumption has remained fairly level since 2009.
Still, the number is high, with more than 1.5 million Americans consuming cocaine monthly. The highest rate of consumption comes within the 18-25 age group.
Why is this important? Without directly saying it, these statistics tell us why so many Americans are consuming cocaine.
A lot of young adults partake in the party scene. Cocaine is known widely as a party drug because of the buzz and the short bursts of energy it provides. These short bursts combine together to create a night to remember (or forget in most instances). Consuming cocaine allows a person to stay up longer without tiring immediately.
The majority of consumers being in the 18-25 age group also gives insight into another reason for cocaine consumption: furthering your career. Cocaine enables a person to retain focus and awareness, like on long nights of studying or preparing for a big meeting the next morning.
In ultra-competitive career fields where young workers are forced to stand out and build their future from the ground up, seeking a competitive edge with stimulants like cocaine or prescription drugs like Adderall makes sense in the moment.
These dangerous trends within that age group lead to increased rates of overdose deaths from cocaine. Since hitting a high mark of more than 7,000 deaths from cocaine in 2006, overdose death totals have stayed consistent between 4,000 and 5,000 per year.
Dangers Faced While High on Cocaine
When talking about the negative side effects of cocaine, why not start with the most immediate impacts a person will face. Cocaine affects the body and mind almost immediately after a person consumes it. The high from the dose will hit and then only last from minutes to at most one hour.
While in most instances there will not be any adverse effects, there are many things that can go wrong in the immediate aftermath of cocaine consumption.
On a physical level, a person may feel the effects of constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils, increased body temperature, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, muscle spasms, nausea, tremors, muscle twitches, nerve pain, and vertigo (dizziness).
Beyond the physical effects, common negative side effects include:
- Paranoia (fear of someone or something)
Some consumers feel anger to the point of showing violent, bizarre, or unstable behavior as a night goes on and more cocaine is consumed. Typically in a night, a person will consume cocaine multiple times due to the short stint of the positive effects.
While not common, there can be serious consequences when consuming cocaine that can lead to death from just a single dose. These serious consequences become more and more likely with continued consumption.
The Day and Night After Indulging in Cocaine
Often called the cocaine comedown and/or crash, the aftermath of a cocaine binge is like an alcohol hangover on steroids. Unlike with alcohol, there are minimal physical symptoms of a cocaine comedown and eventual crash, but the psychological symptoms can make you feel extreme discomfort.
It is common during the comedown period after a cocaine binge to experience strong physical cravings to consume more cocaine. If you don’t give in to the cravings, you will reach the point of crash.
The most common symptom of a cocaine crash is excessive fatigue. During this time, it is completely within reason to sleep for upward of 12-16 hours (depending on the amount of cocaine consumed).
Other symptoms of cocaine crash include:
- Suspicion or paranoia
- Lack of pleasure
The Long-Term Effects If You Continue Cocaine Misuse
Cocaine is a harsh drug on the body and mind. With continued and frequent consumption, cocaine can cause significant physical health damage.
When consuming cocaine, your heart is put under an immense amount of stress because of an increase in your blood pressure and heart rate, while your oxygen intake often slows because of shorter and quicker breaths. This causes stress on the heart for even the healthiest of people.
When someone is not in peak physical condition, or even if too much cocaine is consumed in a given time frame, it is within reason that their heart could have issues. At times, these heart conditions may include just small things like irregular heartbeats or murmurs, but they can extend all the way out to suffering from cardiac arrest or heart attack. Stroke and seizure are also significant side effects of consistent cocaine intake.
Aside from life-threatening effects, there are many other things a person consuming cocaine for long periods of time may face physically. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “Regularly snorting cocaine can lead to loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, problems with swallowing, hoarseness, and an overall irritation of the nasal septum leading to a chronically inflamed, runny nose. Smoking crack cocaine damages the lungs and can worsen asthma.”
Crack, while considered different statistically, is cocaine that is simply cooked with baking soda and water. Crack is smoked and inhaled into the lungs.
Non-Physical Side Effects of Cocaine Misuse
There are many non-physical side effects felt from cocaine addiction and misuse as well. At times, they can be harder to spot than the effects of addiction to other substances, but they are still there.
Cocaine addiction can completely derail relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners. With the constantly shifting ups and downs, it can be hard for family and friends to stick with you simply because of the toll it takes on their own mental health.
On top of this, in covering up an addiction, lying, secrecy, and deceit are far too common. On wild nights out, while buzzing from the cocaine, it may seem like everyone loves you and wants to be around you, but too often the next day you can find yourself waking up all alone.
Along with relationship struggles comes the issue of maintaining a healthy work life and bank balance.
As stated earlier in the blog post, many take cocaine for a competitive edge in their workspace. However, it is not far-fetched for the occasional cocaine bump or two to turn into something more. When it does, work ethic can slack off and have the exact opposite outcome of what was intended.
Financially, cocaine is an expensive drug. A single hit of cocaine can cost $6-$10. With a hit of cocaine lasting just 10-30 minutes, you can see how quickly the fees will pile up.
Am I Addicted To Cocaine?
You may be reading this now and realizing that you have experienced most of the side effects from cocaine because you have been consuming it for many years. If that is the case, you might be questioning if you are addicted to cocaine and if you need to make a change.
There are many things running through your mind right now, and we totally understand. So let’s delve deeper into this and see if we can help you answer these questions you are having.
Cocaine addiction and dependence are difficult to deal with and can be fairly obvious to outsiders. Addiction is a compulsion to continue seeking out and consuming a substance despite all of the risks and consequences associated with it.
If cocaine is causing any of these things, you may be addicted:
- Sleep pattern changes
- Poor personal hygiene
- Mood swings
- Risky behavior
- Financial problems
- Relationship problems
- Loss of interest in once pleasurable activities
While battling addiction, it is important to know you may also be suffering from a physical dependence on cocaine. A dependence is when your body begins to rely on the substance more and more for proper functioning.
When your body is dependent and goes without the substance for a period of time, withdrawal symptoms set in and can be uncomfortable. Withdrawal symptoms from cocaine include:
- Intense cravings
- Suicidal thoughts
Facing these withdrawal symptoms alone can be unpleasant. With the help of a detox and recovery center, you can receive help from highly skilled medical professionals at all times.
It is never advised to quit cocaine alone and cold turkey.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment and Detox
With addiction more often than not comes dependence. While you’re psychologically addicted to cocaine and have cravings and urges to return to the substance again and again despite the negative effects, your body has come to need the drug for typical functioning.
Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after an extended period of cocaine consumption is common because of dependence, but the pain and discomfort associated with it can be minimized.
During cocaine detox, you may experience weight loss, loss of appetite, severe anxiety, paranoia, and insomnia (sleeplessness). With a team of experienced and trained professionals, effective treatment for these symptoms can be given.
At times, because other substances are also misused during a cocaine addiction (most commonly alcohol), there can be small complications in the detox process.
During admissions, a comprehensive medical and psychiatric assessment should be used to give clients comfort in knowing their supporting medical team has everything to soothe them in detox regardless of potential hiccups.
Following detox, it is best to immediately begin treatment for the addiction, regardless of whether it comes in outpatient or inpatient programming.
Using a treatment plan that is tailored directly to an individual’s needs is often necessary for a positive outcome. Using evidence-based treatment methods like one-on-one counseling and group therapy sets a strong base to begin the journey into a life in recovery.
These processes will help to break down the reason behind the addiction and what steps must be taken in the future to avoid returning to the substance in times of struggle.
Depending on the length of addiction and how severe the addiction is, outpatient or inpatient programming may be recommended in the admissions process.
Call Vertava Health – Massachusetts Today
At Vertava Health, we have the goal of helping you or your loved one reach recovery within the beauty of the Berkshire Mountains. Our recovery from addiction options include wilderness therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, dual diagnosis treatment, and individualized counseling. To learn more, call us today at (844) 906-9874.