What can cocaine abuse lead to?
Many people start off using cocaine recreationally, on weekends or at parties. At first, they may able to leave it alone for long periods. They are not addicted but they may "binge" on the drug - that is, use it repeatedly over a short period of time. But despite the lack of addiction, they are suffering extraordinary physical stresses that accumulate into physical damage - for some people, that damage is deadly.
- Ref: NIH Science of Addiction
Cocaine speeds up the heart while it constricts the arteries. This stress can cause the heart to go into an erratic rhythm that can be fatal, or it can trigger a heart attack or stroke, even in a young person. This same effect can, over a period of time, cause ulcers or perforations in the digestive tract or lead to kidney failure that can also be fatal.
- Ref: NIH Cocaine Fatalities
Progressing to Heavier Cocaine Use and Addiction
Estimates vary on how many recreational cocaine users will progress to heavy use of cocaine and then on to addiction. As they use the drug more often, users will build a tolerance to the drug. As this happens, and more cocaine is used to get the same euphoria as they used to experience with a smaller dose, they are walking right into addiction.
- Ref: http://pdf.plano.gov/police/docs/FM601.251_Crack_Cocaine.pdf
Cocaine's short-lived high can lead to binge use, in which a user snorts a line of coke (or more) and then when the high dies down in a half hour to an hour, uses more - repeating this pattern until the cocaine runs out or exhaustion sets in. How fast can a cocaine user go through his or her cash? In Grand Rapids, Michigan, a bank robber took the proceeds of the robbery to his drug dealer and ended up using $4000 of cocaine in less than 24 hours. He was unconscious when police came to arrest him for the robbery.
Recovering from Cocaine Abuse
Prolonged cocaine abuse can take everything from you. When the cravings for more cocaine take charge, one's judgment takes a back seat to satisfying the cravings. The abuser is likely to experience personality changes, becoming more hyperactive, paranoid, anxious and irritable. Heavy cocaine use can even result in symptoms of psychosis, particularly crack cocaine use. The US National Institutes of Health lists the possible effects of cocaine as: "agitation, hallucinations, delusions, violence, suicidal and homicidal thinking." Crack cocaine use is described as making these symptoms more frequent and intense.
- Ref: NHTSA: http://www.nhtsa.gov/People/injury/research/job185drugs/cocain.htm (Cocaine)
- Ref: NIH: Cocaine Abuse
To prevent the worst of these symptoms, it is essential to get a cocaine abuser into an effective drug rehab at the first possible moment. At the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs available at recovery centers around the world, the recovering cocaine addict starts to receive help to lift the anxiety, irritability and depression that normally accompany cocaine withdrawal as soon as they walk in the door. Drug abuse of any kind burns up nutrients the body needs to keep healthy and keep the mind stable. Nutritional supplementation helps start to lift the depression suffered by most recovering addicts so they can begin to feel hopeful about recovery.
Every recovering addict works with the Narconon staff during their withdrawal, gently being guided through physical processes that relax the body and objective exercises that help the addict discover a new, safe and drug-free environment. These steps can help relieve the anxiety and irritability.
The remainder of the Narconon crack cocaine rehab program takes the recovering addict through communications skills classes so they can begin to relate to others from a new, drug-free viewpoint, a thorough sauna detoxification that restores the ability to think clearly again, and retraining in the basic moral and social skills that are required to create a drug-free life after they go home. The result of this program is that seven out of ten Narconon graduates who previously could not control their drug use go home to make drug-free choices.
If someone you love is abusing cocaine in any form, especially if they promise to quit and are not able to keep their promises, do not wait for the problem to get worse. Locate the nearest Narconon drug and alcohol recovery center and get your loved one's recovery from cocaine abuse started now.