Physical and Psychological Effects of Cocaine Addiction

Blow, snow, Charlie, white lady, powder; or otherwise known as, cocaine. It's a drug that peaked during the 80's and 90's, but still remains one of the go-to substances for people around the world. Cocaine, derived from the coca plant (and not related to the same plant which produces cocoa beans), is a drug that produces euphoric like effects and is highly addictive. From club goers, models and late night workers to bankers and executives, cocaine remains a popular drug of choice. Movies like Blow, Scarface and Casino have glorified its use, but when the high diminishes, reality kicks in. The effects of a cocaine addiction are nothing to mess around with. Paranoia, extreme cravings and memory loss are just a few challenges which a user will likely face.

How the High works in the brain

The intensity and duration of cocaine depends on whether it is snorted or injected into the users' veins, but in any case, it is extremely addictive with each blow lasting for 15-30 minutes. Rapid absorption through the blood or nasal tissues means that cocaine is fast acting. A user will feel the effects in just a few seconds. Deep within the brain, chemical receptors are responding to the drug. These neurotransmitters (nerves which communicate with one another) block vital chemicals like dopamine and serotonin from being reabsorbed. As a result, these chemicals build up and cause the euphoric like sensations. This is the primary reason an individual will continue to use, and the effects of a cocaine addiction really start to set in.

The psychological effects of a cocaine addiction

With frequent cocaine use, the blood flow becomes much slower in the brain compared to a non-user. Research carried out by Harvard Medical School shows that it only takes a small amount of cocaine to constrict blood vessels in the brain. Overtime, this can lead to brain malfunctioning and even long term damage. Memory problems (or loss), cognitive disorders and a full on stroke are a real threat to an abuser of the drug.

Brain scans of cocaine users have revealed that regular use lights up areas which are associated with both cravings and use. According to one researcher, just thinking about cocaine can cause a person to use. These scans have also shown a significant decrease in overall dopamine which can lead to feelings of depression, loneliness, stress, anxiety and fear.

In extreme cases, all of these effects can cause the individual to have suicidal or violent thoughts. Paranoia, lashing out, confusion or erratic behavior is common, and when a users' body and mind cannot cope with everything going on, they can end up in a cocaine psychosis. This is a time in which the user loses touch on all reality.

Ultimately, the high (and overall addiction) is so strong that even with all these detrimental effects, a user will be unable to reliably predict or control the extent of which they will want or use the drug. Further studies are showing that throughout long periods of non use (like those during or after cocaine treatment) the memory of using is extremely prevalent and can trigger enormous cravings which could result in a relapse.

The physical effects of a cocaine addiction

The psychological symptoms that occur from prolonged cocaine use are vast and debilitating, but so too are those which effect an individual on the physical level. The different routes of administration produce different physical effects. For example, snorting the drug can lead to a temporary or permanent loss of smell. Holes, which alter the breathing, can develop deep in the nasal cavity. Chronic inflammation, runny nose or infection can develop from irritation of the septum.

When a user injects cocaine, track marks can appear on the skin. These, often painful areas, can easily become infected. If untreated, permanent damage to the skin can occur. Moreover, diseases like hepatitis and HIV are spread through needle sharing and can be an issue with cocaine users who inject the drug.

The majority of all cocaine users lose their appetite and desire for food. As a result, weight loss and malnutrition can arise. The physical effects of a cocaine addiction continue on and include extreme strain on the heart which can lead to heart attacks, heart disease and a deadly abnormal rhythm which cannot be reversed. Kidney and gastrointestinal damage, chronic lung inflammation and sexual dysfunction are further issues a user (both past and present) of cocaine may face.

The effects of a cocaine addiction are troubling; often the user will require some form of treatment. Even people who boast control over their own self have the potential to abuse and become addicted to this powerful drug. In reality, there is no safe frequency for using cocaine and no one can predict whether or not a person will become an addict. The psychological and physical effects of a cocaine addiction are so extreme that they can quickly erode an individual's life. Treatment is essential and can help a person to re-wire their neurotransmitters, work through core issues and walk on a clear path to freedom from the restraints of cocaine.

Fortunately there is help available for people suffering with cocaine addiction. There are a considerable number of drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres around the world that specialize in treating people suffering with cocaine addiction and others substance abuse. An excellent option to consider for English speaking clients is Siam Rehab Thailand. At Serenity you can undergo an effective drug and alcohol rehabilitation program for a fraction of the price you would need to pay in the USA, UK or Australia. Call now we can help.