Side Effects of Cocaine
Over six million people in the United States chose to purchase and use the illegal drug cocaine.
The drug can be sniffed, snorted, injected or smoked, but no matter how it is taken, either in powder form or crack cocaine in a pipe, cocaine is popular because it produces an intense euphoric feeling.
Cocaine is classified as a stimulant, and while there is no clear evidence to suggest that using small amounts is necessarily harmful to health, understand that human nature will play a significant role in just how dangerous this drug can be.
Because its effects are pleasurable for the user, they want more. As they use more they increase the risk for toxicity and that is where the health problems begin.
Side Effects of Cocaine -- Major Health Problems
Heavy cocaine use can lead to extreme central nervous system stimulation. This can lead to convulsions, which leads to respiratory or cardiac arrest. Amphetamine overdose is similar to this.
However, with cocaine, it is far more difficult to determine exactly what a lethal dose of the drug is, as there have been reports of people dying as a result of their first use. Normally people build up to greater and greater amounts of the drug to achieve their desired effect.
Moreover, there are some uncommon toxic effects to consider, such as sudden cardiac failure. The drug can trigger ventricular fibrillation, a wild and erratic heartbeat, because the vargus nerve, which controls heartbeat, can’t function properly.
If the user injects the drug, they may experience an allergic reaction, either to the cocaine itself or some additive that has been used to cut the drug.
Snorting cocaine can cause irritation and cause a chronic runny nose. But this mild side effect pales in comparison to what else can happen with increased use.
People can become increasingly more irritable, restless and paranoid with sustained use. In some cases, full paranoid-psychosis occurs, as the patient completely loses contact with reality.
They also have auditory hallucinations. However, as the drug leaves the system, most people will recover their faculties. The drug can also contribute to violent behavior, as the user loses touch and cannot make sense of his/her experience.
Chronic cocaine use can also damage the heart. What is particularly troubling is the fact that frequent, albeit brief, disruption of the heart function, caused by the effect of the drug, is what causes the damage.
Side Effects of Cocaine -- It’s HIGHLY Addictive
Still another side effect of cocaine is its highly-addictive nature. Most drug treatment in the United States is for cocaine addiction. In laboratory animals, if given unlimited access to cocaine, the animal will use until it kills itself.
In humans, like laboratory animals, the craving for cocaine will cause them to perform laborious tasks in order to gain access to the drug. The powerful reinforcement of the drug makes people want more. Once a person takes it, chances are good they will want it again and again.
Cocaine is not believed to cause extreme withdrawal symptoms, and because of that, in the past scientists had believed that it was not a dependence-producing drug.
But, after sustained cocaine use, withdrawal is more psychological, as users experience cravings, irritability, anxiety, mood swings, increased appetite and fatigue. However, these withdrawal symptoms are not necessarily evident in all people. Some people may have no symptoms at all.
Side Effects of Cocaine -- Harmful During Pregnancy
Finally, women who are carrying babies are discouraged from using cocaine, because of the risk for spontaneous abortion and a torn placenta. More obvious are the other risks of side effects described above.
(Harlem, New York)
My name is Giada. I was addicted to crack cocaine for 15 years. I started in 1998 when the drug was really popular.
It was just this new thing that everyone was trying and with peer pressure being another factor in the crowds I hung around in, it was almost unavoidable.
Once I started it was like I couldn't stop. Eventually I ended up stealing for crack from friends and loved ones. Anyone who would allow me to get close enough to get access to their money; churches, friends who worked at banks, and generous family members were my next target.
That is until they caught wind of the scheme and found out that I was doing drugs. It went downhill from there. My entire family shut me out and I felt as if I had no one. This is what helped me make the decision to quit.
Even after that though, I still had no friends and no support. I ended up crying one Sunday at an alter of a church on the corner of my street. It was then that I asked God to change me and to deliver me from these cravings of crack cocaine.
After talking to members of the church and some of the clergy, I was told somewhere to seek help and a support group. After 8 months in rehabilitation I was clean and have been ever since.
For everyone who has a drug addiction and think that they can't do it, I am here to tell you that you can! You don't have to go it alone. Find help. Churches, support group, even open and willing family members are out there to help you overcome this battle.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you.
Hi Giada- I would also like to thank you for telling your story. It is very encouraging. My son was in recovery for 7 months from several drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, he relapsed but we are hoping and praying that he will try again. He is now in jail but he is saying that he will keep trying.
Stories like yours give people like me hope that drug addiction can be overcome.
God bless you and keep up the good work!--Lynette
by: Ned Wicker
Wow! Thank you for sharing your story and giving hope to those who struggle with addiction. It is possible to be happy, joyous and free! There is always hope and when we are at the end of our rope, that's where God's rope starts. Congratulations and God bless you.