America currently has a real problem with cocaine. The number of people using cocaine for recreational use has seen a sharp increase while over 1.3 million have had a cocaine use disorder in the last 12 months.

Cocaine is a very addictive stimulant that can cause both short and long-term effects to the body. If you, or a loved one, have developed a cocaine substance abuse disorder (SUD), Grand Falls Recovery can provide tailored drug rehab services to overcome addiction and prevent the threat of relapsing.

How does cocaine work?

Cocaine can be used in several forms, such as smoking crystal rock or injecting a diluted powder. Most commonly, though, users snort cocaine in powder form. The effects can begin to surface in as little as 5 minutes. 

As a stimulant, cocaine works by creating a spike in the user’s dopamine levels, which subsequently impacts the brain’s response to pleasure. It creates a feeling often referred to as a ‘high’, which is characterized by an intense sense of energy and alertness.

The short-term effects of cocaine abuse

Many people who use cocaine do it to experience the ‘high’, and the intense feelings of happiness it brings. The short-term effects tend to last for around 40 minutes, although this can depend on the purity of the cocaine as well as the volume that has been taken.

While increased happiness and confidence may be seen as positive side effects by many users, cocaine use can cause a wide range of negative short-term impacts. The list includes, but is not limited to;

  • Feelings of anxiety and/or paranoia,
  • Poor decision-making, especially when assessing risky situations,
  • Increased heart rate,
  • Change of bowel movements,
  • Feeling of sickness and/or nausea,
  • Raised body temperature,
  • Increased risk of heart attacks, panic attacks, and strokes.

Abusers are particularly vulnerable to suffering a heart attack or stroke if they overdose on cocaine. In fact, around 20,000 Americans die annually due to drug poisoning deaths involving cocaine. Meanwhile, mixing cocaine with other drugs, including alcohol, can lead to a range of further health complications.

Following the high, many users will also experience a ‘come down’, which involves feelings of intense depression and sadness.

The long-term effects of cocaine abuse

The ways that cocaine affects the body in a short-term fashion should be more than enough reason for an addict to seek treatment. However, the long-term impacts are even greater still – not least because the addictive nature makes it hard to kick the habit.

People who take cocaine on a regular basis may encounter any of the following issues that put a major strain on their physical and emotional wellness.;

  • Damage to the septum and nostrils (if snorted)
  • Loss of smell and regular nosebleeds (if snorted)
  • HIV and hepatitis (if injected)
  • Lung damage and disease (if smoked)
  • Bowel decay and damage (if ingested)
  • Headaches, convulsions, and seizures
  • Mood swings
  • Erectile dysfunction and sexual problems
  • Increased paranoia or borderline personality disorder

Furthermore, an addiction to cocaine may cause significant changes in a person’s character and behaviors. For example, they may become secretive, anxious about social events that don’t involve cocaine, or start stealing to fund the habit. Mood swings, a loss of interest in hobbies, and a general disconnection from loved ones are all common signs of potential addiction.

In many cases, cocaine addiction will actively lead to mental health conditions. Which is why a dual diagnosis could be key in the bid to find the right treatment. After all, the longer an addiction lasts, the harder it will be to combat.

The impact of cocaine addiction on families

Cocaine addiction doesn’t only impact the addict. Loved ones will notice the mood swings and psychological changes. The potential repercussions can impact the family finances and reputation while watching a loved one suffer is emotionally draining.

Here at Grand Falls Recovery, our experts are committed to working with families to provide clear communication at every step of the journey. 

Treatment for cocaine addiction

When starting a drug rehab treatment, it’s vital that all plans are tailored to the condition, as well as the individual. Cocaine addiction is one of the specified SUDs that we treat. Medications are not suitable, but a range of therapies and counseling services can be utilized. Inpatient services additionally involve detoxification and help with withdrawal symptoms and related issues.

Different patients respond to varying therapies, but a tailored treatment can provide the best foundation for getting clean and avoiding any threat of relapsing. Moreover, treatment plans can be focused on powder, rock, or injected cocaine.

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