Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is a stimulant and a highly addictive illicit substance. Cocaine is currently a Class A controlled substance in the United Kingdom.  Cocaine is a fine powder that commonly inhaled or intravenously injected.

The manner in which you consume cocaine affects how your body and mind is affected by this dangerous drug. In this article, we shall assume you are snorting cocaine, since the vast majority of people reading this page will not be injecting this dangerous drug.

When cocaine is snorted, you will likely experience a range of short term symptoms. These symptoms include: the loss of smell, difficulties swallowing, nosebleeds and hoarseness.

The psychological impacts of cocaine addiction

When your addiction to cocaine progresses, you will likely experience a range of personality and behavioural changes. These changes include the development of mental health problems such as paranoia, anxiety, irritability and restlessness.

Eventually, you may develop a condition known as paranoid psychosis. If this condition arises, you will begin to ‘lose touch’ with reality. You will also begin to experience symptoms known as ‘auditory hallucinations’. This is when you begin to hear voices and other sounds that are not real.

The physical impacts of cocaine addiction

Cocaine addiction also negatively affects you from a physical standpoint. Cocaine is toxic to skin and will cause death of tissue. This is known to develop into a deadly infection known as gangrene. This is particularly a risk if you consume cocaine via swallowing. Cocaine will begin to damage tissue in bowel causing potentially deadly ulcers.

Cocaine addiction is also known to cause strokes or cardiac arrest. The vast majority of cocaine-related deaths are due to cardiac arrest. Cocaine makes the heart swell. This may lead to respiratory arrest and death. This may occur when cocaine is consumed as a mere one-off. However, those of you who are addicted to cocaine run a particularly high risk of experiencing a heart attack, stroke or seizure due to your chronic cocaine use.

Health implications of cocaine addiction

Below, we list the most common health implications linked to cocaine addiction:

  • Digestive problems
  • Heart problems
  • Respiratory problems, including respiratory failure
  • Damage to the nervous system causing a stroke
  • Contacting infectious diseases such as HIV
  • Infection of the skin, including gangrene
  • Allergic reactions
  • Death

Cocaine’s effect on the human brain

Cocaine addiction arises in much the same manner as any other drug addiction. The key cause of cocaine addiction is due to the effect cocaine has on the brain. When you consume cocaine, you will experience pleasure because cocaine stimulates a neurotransmitter known as dopamine.

Evolution developed dopamine to encourage living creatures to engage in activities that promote survival. These activities include drinking water, eating food and mating. However, cocaine hijacks this system.  The brain’s dopamine pathways is collectively called the brain’s ‘reward system’. Long term cocaine addiction permanently affects this system. This is why those who were once addicted to cocaine may experience urges to relapse even decades into their recovery.

Cocaine then blocks the re-uptake of dopamine. This then means you must continue to take cocaine in order to experience normal feelings of happiness and contentment. You also build up a tolerance to cocaine. This means you must take ever greater quantities of cocaine in order to experience the desired effects.  Increasing the amount of cocaine you consume further increases the risk of experiencing a range of negative physical and psychological symptoms linked to cocaine use.

Getting help for your cocaine addiction

Rehab Clinics Group offers a complete cocaine rehabilitation programme. This programme is specifically tailed to your needs. We treat the physical and emotional aspects of cocaine addiction, and we also offer you a generous aftercare programme.