What Is Cocaine?


Cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant that interferes with the reabsorption process of dopamine, a chemical messenger associated with pleasure and movement. The buildup of dopamine causes continuous stimulation of "receiving" neurons, which is associated with the euphoria commonly reported by cocaine abusers.

Physical effects of cocaine use include constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils, and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. The duration of cocaine's immediate euphoric effects, which include hyperstimulation, reduced fatigue, and mental acuity depends on the route of administration.

The faster the absorption, the more intense the high. On the other hand, the faster the absorption, the shorter the duration of action.

The high from snorting may last 15 to 30 minutes, while that from smoking may last 5 to 10 minutes. Increased use can reduce the period of time a user feels high and increases the risk of addiction.

Some users of cocaine report feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. A tolerance to the "high" may develop; many addicts report that they seek but fail to achieve as much pleasure as they did from their first exposure. Some users will increase their doses to intensify and prolong the euphoric effects. While tolerance to the high can occur, users can also become more sensitive to cocaine's anesthetic and convulsant effects without increasing the dose taken. This increased sensitivity may explain some deaths occurring after apparently low doses of cocaine.

Use of cocaine in a binge, during which the drug is taken repeatedly and at increasingly high doses, may lead to a state of increasing irritability, restlessness, and paranoia. This can result in a period of full-blown paranoid psychosis, in which the user loses touch with reality and experiences auditory hallucinations.


Cocaine Street Names :

Coke, snow, flake, blow, and many others.


Statistics and Trends :

Adults 18 to 25 years old have the highest rate of current cocaine use, compared to other age groups.


Source: NIDA Research Report: Cocaine Abuse and Addiction.

The Short-Term Effects of Cocaine Use

Cocaine's effects appear almost immediately after a single dose, and disappear within a few minutes or hours. Taken in small amounts (up to 100 mg), cocaine usually makes the user feel euphoric, energetic, talkative, and mentally alert, especially to the sensations of sight, sound, and touch. It can also temporarily decrease the need for food and sleep. Some users find that the drug helps them to perform simple physical and intellectual tasks more quickly, while others can experience the opposite effect.


The duration of cocaine's immediate euphoric effects depends upon the route of administration. The faster the absorption, the more intense the high. Also, the faster the absorption, the shorter the duration of action. The high from snorting is relatively slow in onset, and may last 15 to 30 minutes, while that from smoking may last 5 to 10 minutes.


The short-term physiological effects of cocaine include constricted blood vessels; dilated pupils; and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Large amounts (several hundred milligrams or more) intensify the user's high, but may also lead to bizarre, erratic, and violent behavior. These users may experience tremors, vertigo, muscle twitches, paranoia, or, with repeated doses, a toxic reaction closely resembling amphetamine poisoning. Some users of cocaine report feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. In rare instances, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly thereafter. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory arrest.

Cocaine Rehab Hotline: 1-877-782-7409



The Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use

Medical Complications of Cocaine Abuse


There are enormous medical complications associated with cocaine use. Some of the most frequent complications are cardiovascular effects, including disturbances in heart rhythm and heart attacks; such respiratory effects as chest pain and respiratory failure; neurological effects, including strokes, seizure, and headaches; and gastrointestinal complications, including abdominal pain and nausea.


Cocaine use has been linked to many types of heart disease. Cocaine has been found to trigger chaotic heart rhythms, called ventricular fibrillation; accelerate heartbeat and breathing; and increase blood pressure and body temperature. Physical symptoms may include chest pain, nausea, blurred vision, fever, muscle spasms, convulsions and coma.


Different routes of cocaine administration can produce different adverse effects. Regularly snorting cocaine, for example, can lead to loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, problems with swallowing, hoarseness, and an overall irritation of the nasal septum, which can lead to a chronically inflamed, runny nose. Ingested cocaine can cause severe bowel gangrene, due to reduced blood flow.

Medical Consequences of Cocaine Abuse

Cardiovascular Effects

- Disturbances in heart rhythm

- Heart attacks

Respiratory Effects

- Chest pain

- Respiratory failure

Neurological Effects

- Strokes

- Seizures and headache

Gastrointestinal Complications

- Abdominal pain

- Nausea

And, persons who inject cocaine have puncture marks and "tracks," most commonly in their forearms. Intravenous cocaine users may also experience an allergic reaction, either to the drug, or to some additive in street cocaine, which can result, in severe cases, in death. Because cocaine has a tendency to decrease food intake, many chronic cocaine users lose their appetites and can experience significant weight loss and malnourishment.

Research has revealed a potentially dangerous interaction between cocaine and alcohol. Taken in combination, the two drugs are converted by the body to cocaethylene. Cocaethylene has a longer duration of action in the brain and is more toxic than either drug alone. While more research needs to be done, it is noteworthy that the mixture of cocaine and alcohol is the most common two-drug combination that results in drug-related death.


Source: NIDA Research Report: Cocaine Abuse and Addiction.

Cocaine Rehab Hotline: 1-877-782-7409

The Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use

Medical Complications of Cocaine Abuse


There are enormous medical complications associated with cocaine use. Some of the most frequent complications are cardiovascular effects, including disturbances in heart rhythm and heart attacks; such respiratory effects as chest pain and respiratory failure; neurological effects, including strokes, seizure, and headaches; and gastrointestinal complications, including abdominal pain and nausea.

Cocaine use has been linked to many types of heart disease. Cocaine has been found to trigger chaotic heart rhythms, called ventricular fibrillation; accelerate heartbeat and breathing; and increase blood pressure and body temperature. Physical symptoms may include chest pain, nausea, blurred vision, fever, muscle spasms, convulsions and coma.

Different routes of cocaine administration can produce different adverse effects. Regularly snorting cocaine, for example, can lead to loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, problems with swallowing, hoarseness, and an overall irritation of the nasal septum, which can lead to a chronically inflamed, runny nose. Ingested cocaine can cause severe bowel gangrene, due to reduced blood flow.

Medical Consequences of Cocaine Abuse

Cardiovascular Effects

- Disturbances in heart rhythm

- Heart attacks

Respiratory Effects

- Chest pain

- Respiratory failure

Neurological Effects

- Strokes

- Seizures and headache

Gastrointestinal Complications

- Abdominal pain

- Nausea

And, persons who inject cocaine have puncture marks and "tracks," most commonly in their forearms. Intravenous cocaine users may also experience an allergic reaction, either to the drug, or to some additive in street cocaine, which can result, in severe cases, in death. Because cocaine has a tendency to decrease food intake, many chronic cocaine users lose their appetites and can experience significant weight loss and malnourishment.

Research has revealed a potentially dangerous interaction between cocaine and alcohol. Taken in combination, the two drugs are converted by the body to cocaethylene. Cocaethylene has a longer duration of action in the brain and is more toxic than either drug alone. While more research needs to be done, it is noteworthy that the mixture of cocaine and alcohol is the most common two-drug combination that results in drug-related death.

Source: NIDA Research Report: Cocaine Abuse and Addiction.

Cocaine Rehab Hotline: 1-877-782-7409 

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

In sharp contrast to the incredible high that accompanies cocaine use, there are the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal. While physical symptoms seem to be relatively void, the psychological symptoms are very strong. Cocaine withdrawal happens when heavy cocaine users “crash”. A cocaine crash happens very suddenly when the effects of cocaine wear off. The first symptom is an increased craving for

more cocaine. Sometimes, this craving leads to violent episodes, stealing, and lying in order to obtain more cocaine.

As opposed to the increased energy felt during cocaine high, symptoms of withdrawal include marked fatigue. It is as though every ounce of energy has been drained from the user’s body. Many times, it is only the craving that forces the user to leave their bed.                                                     
                                               Cocaine withdrawal symptoms include marked fatigue

The craving is by far the strongest symptom. Without promise of obtaining another fix, the cocaine addict will often sleep excessively when they crash. Some have been known to sleep for over 24 hours, depending on how long they have been under the effects of the cocaine. Once this initial fatigue ends, there is still a feeling of being physically drained, yet they suffer from insomnia, or lack of ability to sleep.

Vivid and unpleasant dreams also are symptoms of cocaine withdrawal. General malaise (or an ill feeling) has also been reported by the majority of cocaine users when experiencing withdrawal. Depression is a major symptom of cocaine withdrawal as well. Severe depression often sets in after a crash if the user does not get more cocaine. This depression can lead to suicidal thoughts, or extremely violent behavior. Depression from cocaine withdrawal can last for months, as can the cravings; if not treated properly with the help of a substance abuse rehab center like Narconon.

Anxiety is a major symptom of cocaine withdrawal, as is an increased appetite. Naturally, with no cocaine to slow the hunger instincts, the cocaine user will feel incredibly hungry and will often eat amazing amounts of food. They will seem to be starving. Depending on how long they binged on cocaine, which may very well be the case.

When suffering from withdrawal symptoms of cocaine, the last thing a person needs is to become addicted to another drug. That is why Narconon offers a drug-free detoxification and rehabilitation program. The comprehensive cocaine addiction treatment program of Narconon helps the addict physically, mentally and spiritually. Our proven and successful rehab methods have helped cocaine addicts learn to overcome withdrawal symptoms and go on to lead happy, healthy lives for over 45 years internationally.

For more information about the natural cocaine rehab program of Narconon, call 1-877-782-7409.

How Does Cocaine Produce Its Effects?


A great amount of research has been devoted to understanding the way cocaine produces its pleasurable effects, and the reasons it is so addictive. One mechanism is through its effects on structures deep in the brain. Scientists have discovered regions within the brain that, when stimulated, produce feelings of pleasure. One neural system that appears to be most affected by cocaine originates in a region, located deep within the brain, called the ventral tegmental area (VTA).



Nerve cells originating in the VTA extend to the region of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens, one of the brain's key pleasure centers. In studies using animals, for example, all types of pleasurable stimuli, such as food, water, sex, and many drugs of abuse, cause increased activity in the nucleus accumbens.

Cocaine in the brain - In the normal communication process, dopamine is released by a neuron into the synapse, where it can bind with dopamine receptors on neighboring neurons. Normally dopamine is then recycled back into the transmitting neuron by a specialized protein called the dopamine transporter. If cocaine is present, it attaches to the dopamine transporter and blocks the normal recycling process, resulting in a build-up of dopamine in the synapse which contributes to the pleasurable effects of cocaine.

Researchers have discovered that, when a pleasurable event is occurring, it is accompanied by a large increase in the amounts of dopamine released in the nucleus accumbens by neurons originating in the VTA. In the normal communication process, dopamine is released by a neuron into the synapse (the small gap between two neurons), where it binds with specialized proteins (called dopamine receptors) on the neighboring neuron, thereby sending a signal to that neuron. Drugs of abuse are able to interfere with this normal communication process. For example, scientists have discovered that cocaine blocks the removal of dopamine from the synapse, resulting in an accumulation of dopamine. This buildup of dopamine causes continuous stimulation of receiving neurons, probably resulting in the euphoria commonly reported by cocaine abusers.

As cocaine abuse continues, tolerance often develops. This means that higher doses and more frequent use of cocaine are required for the brain to register the same level of pleasure experienced during initial use. Recent studies have shown that, during periods of abstinence from cocaine use, the memory of the euphoria associated with cocaine use, or mere exposure to cues associated with drug use, can trigger tremendous craving and relapse to drug use, even after long periods of abstinence.

Treatment


The widespread abuse of cocaine has stimulated extensive efforts to develop treatment programs for this type of drug abuse.

One of NIDA's top research priorities is to find a medication to block or greatly reduce the effects of cocaine, to be used as one part of a comprehensive treatment program. NIDA-funded researchers are also looking at medications that help alleviate the severe craving that people in treatment for cocaine addiction often experience. Several medications are currently being investigated for their safety and efficacy in treating cocaine addiction.

In addition to treatment medications, behavioral interventions (particularly cognitive behavioral therapy) can be effective in decreasing drug use by patients in treatment for cocaine abuse. Providing the optimal combination of treatment and services for each individual is critical to successful outcomes. What is the effect of maternal cocaine use?

The full extent of the effects of prenatal drug exposure on a child is not completely known, but many scientific studies have documented that babies born to mothers who abuse cocaine during pregnancy are often prematurely delivered, have low birth weights and smaller head circumferences, and are often shorter in length.

Estimating the full extent of the consequences of maternal drug abuse is difficult, and determining the specific hazard of a particular drug to the unborn child is even more problematic, given that, typically, more than one substance is abused. Such factors as the amount and number of all drugs abused; inadequate prenatal care; abuse and neglect of the children, due to the mother's lifestyle; socio-economic status; poor maternal nutrition; other health problems; and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, are just some examples of the difficulty in determining the direct impact of perinatal cocaine use, for example, on maternal and fetal outcome.

Many may recall that "crack babies," or babies born to mothers who used cocaine while pregnant, were written off by many a decade ago as a lost generation. They were predicted to suffer from severe, irreversible damage, including reduced intelligence and social skills. It was later found that this was a gross exaggeration. Most crack-exposed babies appear to recover quite well. However, the fact that most of these children appear normal should not be over-interpreted as a positive sign. Using sophisticated technologies, scientists are now finding that exposure to cocaine during fetal development may lead to subtle, but significant, deficits later, especially with behaviors that are crucial to success in the classroom, such as blocking out distractions and concentrating for long periods of time.

Source: NIDA Research Report: Cocaine Abuse and Addiction