As cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs in existence, it is crucial to understand how its use affects those who use it, including the long- and short-term effects it may have on the brain. Not unlike heroin, cocaine can also cause overdose and death with a single use.

How Does Cocaine Use Affect the Brain

Why Do People Use Cocaine?

Like other illegal drugs, cocaine is sought after for its effects. People using cocaine are most often already struggling with alcohol or other drugs. Cocaine is considered by drug-using circles to be commonplace if it is powder cocaine. However, if it is crack cocaine, it is looked down on and thought of as a dirty street drug. Still, in either form, the drug cocaine is a stimulant. A stimulant increases alertness and energy.

In addition to making people feel high, cocaine can also cause euphoria and an out-of-body or mind sensation. Most people use cocaine to increase their energy at a party after they have been drinking. Also, many people use cocaine to focus longer and have more enthusiasm for work or school projects. Cocaine is also used to control weight.

What Are The Different Types of Cocaine?

Cocaine is always processed into a powder substance that comes from the coca leaf plant indigenous to South America. Powder cocaine or coke is snorted or rubbed into the gums, and it is the most typical way people first try cocaine. However, more severe drug users will mix it with water to inject it into their veins, also known as speedballing- if it’s combined with heroin.

Crack cocaine is powder cocaine converted into a more potent form and is smoked through a glass pipe. All forms of cocaine are dangerous, and each one can cause an accidental overdose.

Currently, powder cocaine and crack cocaine are likely to be mixed with Fentanyl which causes accidental overdose and death for many regular or first-time drug users.

What Brain Changes Does Cocaine Cause?

Cocaine drastically interrupts the normal processes of the brain, heart, and central nervous system. It will overstimulate the brain’s reward pathways. The brain reward pathways are what let people feel happy and are how they experience joy and excitement. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains more about how damaging cocaine is to the human brain.

With repeated exposure to cocaine, the brain starts to adapt so that the reward pathway becomes less sensitive to natural reinforcers. At the same time, circuits involved in stress become increasingly sensitive, leading to increased displeasure and negative moods when not taking the drug, which are signs of withdrawal. These combined effects make the user more likely to focus on seeking the drug instead of relationships, food, or other natural rewards. (NIDA, 2022)

How to Know if My Loved One is Using Cocaine?

The signs and symptoms of cocaine use are easy to spot if you know how to identify them. Cocaine will make a person wired and hyper but can also make them quiet and paranoid. Cocaine is a stimulant that will cause them to stay awake for long hours, often up for days, and it is an appetite suppressant. Most cocaine users also consume alcohol while doing cocaine, which is usually a party type of drug done with others. Physical signs of cocaine use include:

  • Enlarged pupils
  • Runny nose or cough
  • Fever
  • vomiting ( a sign of overdose)
  • Sweating
  • Shakiness and tremors
  • Weight loss
  • Poor hygiene

Cocaine Addiction is Treatable With Individual Therapy

Our treatment programs rely on tailored and highly personalized treatment to meet your unique needs. No one can quit cocaine alone. We provide expert therapy and focused small group sessions on helping you heal and grow out of your addiction to cocaine and into recovery.

We provide evidence-based treatment, holistic therapy, and specialized facilitator-led groups, and we offer medication-assisted detox and ongoing aftercare. Call now to get out of the mental pain cocaine has caused you or a loved one.

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Cocaine Addiction Help and Recovery Resources

Whether you’re smoking cocaine, snorting cocaine, or even injecting cocaine, it does not have to destroy your life any longer. There is real, compassionate, and professional help available. Don’t be afraid, we are always just a quick phone call away.

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