Side Effects of Cocaine Addiction
In this blog post, we discuss the various short and long term side effects of cocaine addiction. This includes a discussion of both the positive and negative effects of cocaine use. The short and long term negative effects of cocaine use far outweigh the positives, and this article should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who is a regular or irregular cocaine user.
The short term side effects of cocaine use
In the short-term, cocaine causes some positive side-effects. These short-term side effects cause people to crave cocaine despite a number of significant negative long-term side effect that arises from cocaine use.
In the short-term, cocaine use allows the user to feel an intensive feeling of euphoria. This is because cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant. However, this euphoria is extremely short-lived. Following this initial high, the user will then begin to experience an overwhelming negative mood. This negatively expresses itself in the form of edginess, depression and cravings for more cocaine.
The user will also struggle to eat, and appetite will go meaning the user will not eat enough food to meet daily energy needs.
One of the most dangerous short-term effects of cocaine use is an elevated heartbeat. When cocaine is consumed, a neurotransmitter responsible for the heartbeat is released. This neurotransmitter is known as norepinephrine. When cocaine is consumed, norepinephrine levels increase. This also increases the heart rate to dangerous levels. The user may also experience muscle spasms and convulsions.
Short term psychological effects of cocaine use include paranoia, hostility, violence and anxiety. Physical side effects include seizure, cardiac arrest and breathing difficulties. This may result in sudden death. Around 500 people die in the United Kingdom each year due to a cocaine overdose.
The pleasurable effects of cocaine
Cocaine is addictive because it stimulates a neurotransmitter in the brain known as dopamine. Dopamine is the ‘reward’ transmitter and it’s associated with pleasure. In short, dopamine encourages us to continue to take part in activities that bring us pleasure. This includes activities that allow us to survive, but drugs such as cocaine hijack this system so that addiction arises.
When enough dopamine is released, a person will feel a sense of euphoria, increased energy and an inflated sense of self-esteem. Since cocaine stimulates the production of dopamine, it’s not difficult to understand why this drug is so addictive.
Over time, you will need more and more cocaine in order to achieve the desired amount of pleasure from the drug. This phenomenon is known as developing a tolerance to cocaine.
The long term side effects of cocaine use
Cocaine also causes a number of highly negative long term side effects. These long term side effects often cause people to label heavy cocaine users as ‘dope fiends’.
When cocaine is taken regularly, the user will develop a tolerance for the drug. This means the user will require more and more cocaine in order to experience the desired high. This increased dose means the user is putting his or her mental and physical health at ever greater risks.
Long term cocaine use means the user may experience sleep deprivation and malnutrition. It’s not unknown for cocaine addicts to develop psychosis. The user will also begin to hallucinate.
The user will also begin to develop clinical depression and anxiety. The user will begin to self-medicate these mental ailments by taking even greater quantities of cocaine because this typically offers temporary alleviation from these symptoms. In the end, cocaine use ultimately aggravates these symptoms even more. Cocaine addicts report they must take cocaine just to ‘feel normal’.
Cocaine use makes people lose interest in their hobbies and responsibilities. This may result in job loss and family breakdown.
Long term cocaine use also physically damages the body. For instance, cocaine use is known to damage blood vessels located in the brain and in the heart. Cocaine use also causes high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure may cause a stroke or a heart attack.
The lungs, kidney and liver do not escape the damage inflicted by long term cocaine consumption. And let’s not forget that cocaine damages the tissue located in the nose. Long term cocaine use may also cause serious psychiatric disorders such as psychosis and delirium.
When a cocaine addict attempts to quit
If you are addicted to cocaine, simply giving up isn’t as simple as you might expect. When a cocaine addict attempts to detox, a number of psychological withdrawal symptoms are experienced. These symptoms include depression, insomnia and paranoia. People trying to stop their cocaine addiction have been known to commit suicide due to the depression they experience during the withdrawal period.
How these effects are influenced by the method of consumption
The way in which you consume cocaine affects the likely long term side effects you will experience through taking this drug. For instance, if you snort cocaine, you are likely to damage tissue located around the nose and nostril.
Injecting cocaine is known to cause infection and abscesses. If you inject cocaine, you may also experience vein collapse.
Getting help for cocaine addiction
If you feel you may be addicted to cocaine, get in touch with ADT Healthcare today. At ADT Healthcare, we excel at assisting people looking to get treatment for cocaine addiction. If you would like to eliminate cocaine from your life, contact us today on0800 088 66 86.
About the author:
Jon writes for ADT Healthcare and a number of other websites. Jon graduated with a degree in psychology in 1992. Jon has been in recovery for 19 years.