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What is Cocaine

Cocaine is a stimulant that elevates the heart rate creating high levels of euphoria, energy levels and perceived self-confidence. However, these effects do not last long (less than an hour from ingestion) and rapidly leave the bloodstream resulting in a “crash”. This short lifespan (or half life) of the drug is why it is very easy to be abused as users always want to re-capture the euphoric feelings that never last long.

What is Crack-Cocaine

Crack is a poorly processed version of cocaine that is smoked. By inhaling this toxic drug into the lungs the experience is completely different from that of powder cocaine. The euphoric high comes on much more faster and is more intense. However, the feeling only lasts for 15 minutes which leads to extreme addiction where the user begins to crave high amounts of the drug.

Detoxing from Crack Cocaine

The initial cocaine withdrawal process can last anywhere between twelve hours to four days and is considered a ‘crash period’ where the client will experience low levels of energy, increased appetite, depression and agitation. With acute cocaine withdrawal, the client may experience irritability, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety and more cravings for the drug over the period of one to three more weeks. Beyond three weeks, the client might still experience depression along with drug cravings, which is why extended addiction treatment is necessary to further complete the detox and full recovery process. Because these symptoms can be extremely difficult to deal with, they often drive the user to want to continue ingesting the drug to suppress the discomfort of withdrawal.

How to spot the Signs of Cocaine Addiction

It’s not easy to pick up on the signs of cocaine addiction and often times it is the family and friends of the addicted person that must spot the symptoms of cocaine abuse.

Cocaine ‘speeds up the body’. Everything accelerates, the heart rate increases, speech, movement and thoughts cannot be contained as the drug takes hold and speeds the world up. The body also might feel heightened levels of heat and exhibit uncontrollable twitching and shaking. The ability to sleep and eat is also diminished.

Also common are wide mood swings between feelings of happiness, excitement, anger, stress, paranoia, nervousness, anger. In response to these varying feelings that are often times not warranted, there are various impulses to respond. There is a crash period after the high of cocaine that results in feelings of sadness and fatigue. This period can also spark powerful cravings to resume taking the drug again to alleviate these uncomfortable feelings.

Cocaine is often snorted through the nose. After repeated use, the nostrils become inflamed and can result in spontaneous nosebleeding. Nasal drip and the appearance of a cold is also another sign, along with the loss of their sense of smell. The injection of cocaine will leave needle marks on the arms.

Common Symptoms

  • Insomnia or no interest in sleep
  • Loss of appetite or no interest in eating
  • Weight loss
  • Wide mood swings; going from happiness to depression, anger, confrontational
  • Rapid heart rate increases
  • Sense of nervousness, figidity and restlessness
  • Heightened sense of alertness and energy; restless
  • Inability to remain focused, rapid and scattered communication
  • Dilated and enlarged pupils
  • Nosebleeds, nasal congestion, running nose
  • Fatigue and depression
  • Paranoia

The Key To Preventing Crack & Cocaine Addiction

The key to preventing addiction is early detection. Many users begin by experimenting with the drug in ways they believe to be innocent. But if allowed to continue uninterrupted, this behavior will turn into addiction.

When cocaine gets into the human system, it also suppresses the immune system. As a result the body has defense to protect against disease, viruses, illnesses or the common cold when one is under the influence. This is why many users fall victim frequently to chronic illness and are more susceptible to catching colds and other infectious conditions.

There are also psychological effects to the use of cocaine. It is not uncommon for users to experience psychotic symptoms including delusions and hallucinations. Paranoia leads to the false notion that others are trying to harm the user. When these symptoms begin to kick in it is often a significant marker showing a threshold has been crossed in the user’s progression towards advanced or late stage cocaine addiction.

The Risks of Cocaine Addiction/Crack Addiction

The risks of continuing to use cocaine into late stage addiction raises the stakes for the user and is something that the user needs to be aware of. The most glaring risk is that of overdosing and death. According to NIDA, 5,000 people overdosed and died in 2013. This number rose to near 7,000 in 2015 and continues to be a problem.

Other irreversible long-term health problems include stroke, seizure, heart disease, cardiovascular and respiratory complications. Cognitive disorders that affect memory and attention span can also present a risk while contracting infectious diseases (HIV, Hepatitis B/C) will also affect those users who choose to inject themselves with unsafe dirty needles.

Many of these negative health effects can be reversed if the problem is caught in time and steps are taken to cease ingestion of the substance in all its forms.

Cocaine Addiction is a life threatening situation that can lead to an irreversible health crisis and may even be fatal. Immediate professional help is the only way to avoid harm to yourself or a loved one.

If you would like to speak to someone about your own situation or that of a loved, please reach out to us as we are here to help.

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