The Dangers of Cocaine Abuse
It is estimated that more than 14 percent of all Americans have used cocaine in their lifetime, and the number of cocaine overdose deaths has risen dramatically since 2001. Although many cocaine users believe that they can use the drug recreationally without addiction, cocaine is a highly addictive drug that can change the chemical makeup of a person’s brain with prolonged, regular use. Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant that affects the brain by releasing high levels of dopamine. Dopamine is a brain chemical associated with pleasure and reward, which is why users often feel a sense of euphoria and excitement while under the influence. It’s also one of the major factors that makes it difficult to abstain from the drug.
The effects of cocaine are harmful to the user’s mind and body both in the short-term and long-term. Short-term effects can include nosebleeds, weight loss, mood swings, burn marks, and insomnia. The long-term effects are much more severe, causing changes to brain cells, nerve cells, and proteins, among other permanent effects. Repeated cocaine use reduces blood flow in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to tears and ulcerations. It also has a dramatic effect on the cardiovascular system. Chest pain is common among cocaine users, and cocaine use is linked with an increased risk of stroke, seizures, and cardiac arrest. Other common cardiovascular side effects include inflammation of the heart muscle, deterioration of the ability of the heart to contract, and aortic ruptures. Movement disorders, impaired cognitive functions, and permanent organ damage are frequent consequences of prolonged cocaine use, so seeking help sooner rather than later is guaranteed to give you a longer and healthier life.
Symptoms & Signs That You Need Help
There is no such thing as a safe level of cocaine use. If you ingest cocaine in any form and have a difficult time trying to abstain from it, it is recommended that you immediately seek treatment. If you believe someone you know is using cocaine and may have a drug abuse problem, look for the following side effects or signs of intoxication:
- They are much more talkative than usual and display signs of hyperactivity and excitability.
- They have physical symptoms such as dilated pupils, a runny nose, or nosebleeds.
- They suffer from extreme weight loss.
- They become prone to mood swings, alternating between overconfidence and social isolation.
- They have burn marks on their hands or lips.
- There are noticeable changes in their sleeping and eating patterns.
- They suffer from a deterioration in hygiene habits.
- They experience financial difficulties for seemingly unknown reasons.
- They have white powder residue around their nose and mouth.
If one or more of these signs are present, it’s recommended that the abuser visit a treatment center to receive help for their addiction. Cocaine use has immediate side effects as well as long-term consequences, so overcoming it as soon as possible will help the abuser achieve a longer, healthier, and happier life.
How Twin Town Can Help
If you or someone you know is ready to discuss treatment, Twin Town Treatment Centers is here to help you. About 50 to 90 percent of cocaine users relapse when they attempt to kick cocaine abuse habits on their own. Treatment facilities and the support that comes along with them have been proven to result in dramatically higher rates of long-term sobriety. Here at Twin Town Treatment Centers, we aid cocaine abusers in achieving long-term success with the help of one-on-one counseling that addresses the addiction itself as well as mental health and psychosocial problems that contribute to drug abuse habits. Enabling users to address the root of their addiction will help prevent relapses and allow patients to take control of their life for the better.