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Cocaine Addiction

The Ugly Truth about Cocaine Addiction: What is cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant. It is derived from the cocoa plant. Three routes of administration are typically used for cocaine: snorting, smoking, and injecting.  In its powdered form, cocaine can be snorted or dissolved in water and injected. The crystalline form of cocaine, known as crack, is generally smoked.  The intensity and duration of cocaine’s effects are dependent on the route used to administer the drug; injection and smoking produce a quicker, stronger effect than snorting cocaine.

Cocaine increases alertness, causes feelings of euphoria, and enhances energy. Anxiety, paranoia, and restlessness are common, with tremors and convulsions occurring at higher doses.

The Ugly Truth about Cocaine Addiction: What is the legal dosage?

Cocaine is one of the few illicit street drugs that still have limited medical usage. It is predominantly used as a topical anesthetic for nasal and lacrimal duct surgery. However, usage of cocaine has major drawbacks, including potential cardio toxicity and constriction of blood vessels. The use of cocaine has been largely replaced by other local anesthetics with fewer side effects, though it remains available for use.

The Ugly Truth about Cocaine Addiction: How is it cut?

Street cocaine is generally “cut” or diluted with several agents in order to increase its weight. Common fillers include baking soda, sugars, and local anesthetics. Cocaine may also be cut with stimulants like methamphetamine.

These are common cuts, but the truth is that cocaine can be cut with almost anything that resembles it. Over time, with each seller adding their own cut, cocaine becomes less and less pure to the end user, and more profitable to the drug dealer.

The Ugly Truth about Cocaine Addiction: What are the side effects?

Abusing cocaine has a wide range of effects on the body. Cocaine constricts blood vessels and increases heart rate and blood pressure. It decreases appetite, so long-term users can become malnourished. Cocaine abuse can also cause gastrointestinal problems and headaches. Snorting cocaine can cause sinus infections and nosebleeds. Cocaine addicts can also experience extreme paranoia and hallucinations. Cocaine-related deaths are often the result of heart attacks or seizures.

In The News: Recreational Cocaine Use Increases Risk of Heart Attack & Stroke

The Ugly Truth about Cocaine Addiction: Nasal/breathing problems

Repeatedly snorting cocaine can damages the sinuses to deteriorate, in some cases causing nasal perforation. Smoking crack cocaine can cause permanent lung damage. Long-term cocaine or crack use can also cause bronchospasm and asthma.

Your Brain on Drugs : Cocaine

The Ugly Truth about Cocaine Addiction: Treatment

Cocaine withdrawal occurs when a heavy cocaine user cuts down or quits taking the drug. When cocaine use is stopped or a binge ends, cocaine users almost immediately “crash.” The crash includes feelings of fatigue, anxiety, and strong craving.

Antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and beta blockers are commonly used to treat acute withdrawal symptoms.  With high-dose, long term cocaine consumption, long-term health issues can develop which aren’t as easily treated. These include high blood pressure, sinus issues, and heart murmur. While these health problems can’t be completely resolved during cocaine addiction treatment, it is certainly possible to slow the progression of the disease and begin to heal them.

The psychological component of cocaine addiction is generally addressed in cognitive behavioral therapy.

How to Beat Cocaine Addiction


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