Information on the Effects of Cocaine
When a person uses cocaine, there are effects created on many levels. Of course, the person is aware of the high, the euphoria, the increase in a feeling of confidence, alertness—that’s why they are taking the drug in the first place. They are not likely to be aware of the other effects being created—either short-range negative effects or the longer range damage being created by the drug use. If they were aware of the damage that does get created or can result, it’s likely that many people would think twice or three times about ever getting started with cocaine.
The Short-term Effects
The person abusing cocaine feels results rapidly when they smoke, inject or snort cocaine. These methods get the drug into the brain fast. When the drug hits the brain, users feel a surge of energy, a feeling of supremacy and confidence. Users may talk fast and excitedly, be very active and show dilated pupils. Some people report that these effects are also accompanied by irritability, restlessness, and anxiety. Cocaine users can also become paranoid.
At the same time, this is happening, the user’s heart rate and blood pressure are going up while arteries are being constricted all over the body. This includes arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle, which can lead to a heart attack, even in a young person. Cocaine use can also trigger an abnormal heart rhythm that can and does kill instantly.
Blood vessels in the brain are also constricted, which results in strokes for some people. Cocaine’s effects on the brain have also caused seizures.
Longer Range Effects
Many people know that cocaine use irritates the nose and sinuses and can destroy the internal structure of the nose, for those who snort the drug. Not many people know that the arterial constriction caused by cocaine use can also cause oxygen starvation in the digestive tract, resulting in ulcers or even gangrene.
One potentially fatal condition being documented among cocaine users who report to emergency rooms is rhabdomyolysis. This is a condition in which muscle fibers are being rapidly broken down, resulting in a flood of muscle fibers entering the bloodstream. Kidney failure can result, which can lead to death if not treated soon enough.
- Ref: Medline: Rhabdomyolysis
- Ref: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cocaine
Effects on Driving
Drivers using cocaine may feel that they are more alert and can be better drivers than they would have been without cocaine use. But accident records refute this idea. An analysis of accidents in which the driver used cocaine proved that use of the drug resulted in speeding, loss of control of the vehicle, inattentive driving, and the driver turning in front of other cars. When the driver crashes as they come down off the cocaine high, they can get tired, sleepy and inattentive. In a study of 253 drivers killed in car accidents in Michigan, ten percent tested positive for cocaine. Similar results were found in Memphis, Tennessee in 1993, when 13 percent of drivers stopped for reckless driving were found to have used cocaine. One study in Barcelona showed that the mix of alcohol with cocaine may suppress one’s ability to perceive drunkenness, which may lead someone to drive when they are not capable of driving safely.
- Ref: Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics: Cocaine and Alcohol Interactions
Emotional and Mental Long Range Effects
Because cocaine has toxic effects on the brain and it leaves drug residues in the fatty tissues of the body, abuse of the drug can have long-term effects on the mind and the emotions. Commonly reported results are depression, a slowed ability to think, loss of motivation and no satisfaction from life’s events aside from cocaine use. Cocaine users can also become paranoid and hostile, even when they are not currently high on the drug.
Some people who become addicted to illicit or prescription drugs say that they are just using the drugs so they can “feel normal.” When cocaine has created these long-term effects, the user may be trying to overcome these mental or emotional results of cocaine use by using more cocaine.
What Can be Done for these Effects?
When a person suffers continuing effects of cocaine use, an effective drug rehab program is the answer. By starting a residential drug rehabilitation program like the one offered at Narconon centers around the world, a person has a chance to claim his or her life back, free from the negative effects of cocaine use.
The Narconon program starts right away by supporting a person in withdrawal with nutritional supplementation. This can help relieve the depression that may hit a cocaine user hard at this time. Drugs like cocaine burn up nutrients in the body, the depletion of which can contribute to this depression. With ample mineral supplementation, a person who is anxious or irritable can become calmer.
Later in the Narconon drug recovery program, each person experiences a thorough detoxification of drug residues that have been stored in the body with the Narconon New Life Detoxification. This action uses a dry heat sauna, exercise and nutritional supplements to enable the body to release and flush these toxins that can be involved in triggering cravings, slow thinking, loss of motivation and loss of enjoyment from life.
Once these improvements are made and a former cocaine user is thinking more clearly and able to envision goals for his or her new drug-free life, the next step is counseling and life skills training, both of which boost the former addict’s ability to address life issues and accomplish real improvements in relationships and life.
The Narconon drug recovery program is a perfect fit for a cocaine addict who wishes to recover from addiction and enjoy life again, free from drugs.