Cocaine has been around for centuries. It is an extremely addictive stimulant drug made from leaves of the coca plant that causes euphoric and positive feelings. Back in the mid-1800’s, cocaine was even used as an ingredient in Coca-Cola and wine and was used as a remedy for hay fever and other common illnesses. 

Many people use cocaine for the immediate and intense high that it provides. This high is often accompanied by feelings of euphoria and increased energy levels. One important thing to understand about any addiction is that a person does not choose to become addicted to the substance, activity, or behavior. While a person may initially choose to try things like alcohol, gambling, or cocaine, the development of addiction is a chemical process. 

Cocaine Addiction at a Glance

People use cocaine for a variety of reasons. Some people may want to feel good or may just be curious because others around them are doing it. Most often, people are just wanting another way of altering consciousness. Cocaine increases the levels of dopamine in the brain circuits related to the control of movement and reward. Although many have used cocaine, not everyone gets addicted to the substance.

Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance because it has a high potential for misuse and severe addiction. There are several factors, both biological and environmental, that have an influence on addiction. Genetics can play a large role in addiction. Individuals who grew up with parents who are addicts are also more likely to be addicts themselves. 

People who struggle with mental health issues, such as severe anxiety and major depression, are also more apt to becoming addicts. Living with mental health issues can often lead the individual seeking pleasure and meaning in unhealthy ways; oftentimes, drug use is a quick way for them to get out of their own mind. 

Social pressures can be another route that leads to addiction. Many cocaine users feel the need to use cocaine in social situations because it helps them to feel more alert, confident and comfortable. However, this can often leave them craving more and lead to the development of an addiction. 

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use

As with any drug, cocaine use can have both short-term and long-term effects on an individual’s physical and/or psychological health. Cocaine causes an intense high, followed by an intense depression and craving for more. This immediate high experience is often accompanied by elevated moods, inflated self-esteem, an increase in energy, and feelings of exhilaration.

There are also many unwanted short-term effects of using cocaine. Short-term effects can include increased heart rate, dilated pupils, loss of appetite, high blood pressure, increased body temperature and nausea. Other common side effects include panic, paranoia, anger, and feelings of restlessness.

Cocaine use can also lead to several long-term effects for the user. Cocaine addicts have a high risk of several severe health problems, including overdose, shrinking brain size, seizures, cardiovascular disease, and many others. The abuse of cocaine can also cause infertility, tooth decay and severe depression. Prolonged cocaine use may cause sleep deprivation and loss of appetite, which can lead to psychosis and hallucinations. 

Some long-term effects of cocaine depend on the method of use:

  • Snorting: If the user is snorting the drug, they are more likely to experience loss of smell, frequent nose bleeds, and problems with swallowing. 
  • Smoking: This can increase the chances for developing asthma, respiratory distress, and infections like pneumonia. 
  • Consuming by Mouth: If the cocaine is being consumed orally, this can lead to severe bowel decay due to reduced blood flow. 
  • Needle Injection: This increases the risk of contracting HIV, Hepatitis C, and other bloodborne diseases, skin and tissue infections, scarring, and collapsed veins. 

How Long does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

There are several different methods for conducting cocaine screenings. The method used affects how long the drug will register in your system.

  • Urine: 2 – 3 Days
  • Hair: Multiple Months
  • Sweat: 1 – 2 Days
  • Blood: 12 Hours
  • Saliva: 1 – 2 Days

Finding Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

While it can be a short-lived pleasant high for some people, cocaine use can cause unpredictable, erratic behavior and serious physical and psychological health problems. If you or someone you know is experiencing cocaine addiction, there is always hope for recovery. Here at Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center, treatment professionals provide a variety of treatment options, all proven to be safe and effective. If you need help finding available resources for treating cocaine addiction, call or visit Palmetto Addiction Recovery Centers today!