It's important to understand the effects of cocaine.
by by Ned Wicker
We glamorize cocaine use in the United States. Young professionals, the hip and trendy people, think it’s cool to use this drug and doing a “line” or two at a party is common place, if not socially acceptable.
But it is a deadly game, a silly one to play, especially since the long-term health risks are devastating, leading to addiction and possibly death. Some people use it just to get high, while others use cocaine to stimulate their system and think it’s helping their job performance.
Those who are addicted to cocaine use it because they have no choice not to.
Heart Attacks Possible with First Use; part of Understanding Cocaine Effects
User will report that they feel energetic when they use cocaine and enjoy the feeling of being mentally alert. But with that come some nasty side effects, such as an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, and even first time users have paid the ultimate price for their experience, suffering cardiac arrest. Some wind up in emergency rooms if people discover their plight in time. Others are picked up and taken to the morgue.
Some people tout cocaine use as a means of controlling weight. Another side-effect is the decrease in appetite, but with that can also comes respiratory failure and seizures. Taking cocaine is just Russian Roulette without the bullets, as the potential for disaster is right there every time a person uses.
The possibility for terrible consequences only increases as time goes on. Users build up a tolerance, meaning that they need more and more drug to get high, or the same kind of high they experienced the first time they used.
Unbearable Cravings are part of Understanding Cocaine Effects
One of the horrible effects of this drug are the cravings the users have when they are denied their favorite drug of choice. Even after treatment, or even after a long stretch behind bars, the cocaine addict needs the drug, they obsess about it; they have to have it.
A friend once told me, “It can drive a person crazy just thinking about it.” He described the great feeling he had when he got high, but he also said the drug took over his life and left nothing in its wake.
He had gone from casual user, to addict, to thief, to prisoner. After being out of touch with him for several years, he told me that he was not using and had been clean for a long time. But he added, “I still have the cravings.”
Cocaine Damages the Brain
Cocaine also has a negative effect on the brain. In addition to the other negative effects, people can also have strokes because blood vessels in the brain are constricted. Cocaine, aka “Coke” also interferes with the neurotransmitters in the brain, the chemical messengers that communicate messages.
The short term effect might be a high, but the long term effect is a brain that isn’t functioning as planned. Long term users can experience paranoia, anxiety and irritability. These mood swings and negative emotional effects contribute to the user always wanting a supply of drug on hand, to avoid the withdrawal symptoms.
Permanent mental health problems are COMMON with Cocaine use.
Many researchers believe that one of the common effects of cocaine use is psychosis. When a person is psychotic they are unable to function and often end up homeless and muttering to themselves on the street.
Cocaine induced psychosis is probably the best kept secret about this drug. One woman in for counseling just found out her son is psychotic and is going to remain in a catatonic state for the remainder of his life...he is 27 years old.
Often seen at the ER
Cocaine is a leader in causing emergency room visits and it is not at all uncommon for a normally healthy person to suffer a heart attack because of the drug. We mentioned the increase in heart rate before and this leads to narrowing of the arteries, cutting off blood flow to the heart. Cocaine can also cause an abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia.
Smoking cocaine causes irritation to the lungs, while “snorting” the drug in powder form irritates the nasal passages. Cocaine can also cause gastrointestinal problems like ulcers and stomach issues.
Treatment is the BEST option!
Treatment is the best option for addicts or long-term cocaine users. People do not just walk away. In her autobiography, Sheila Raye Charles, the daughter of the legendary Ray Charles, talked of 21 years of addiction to crack cocaine, which caused her to ruin her life, lose her children and spend 21 years in Federal prison.
An exceptional singing talent in her own right, she fell victim to crack and threw away a potential career. However, through treatment and sheer determination she overcame. It can be done.
With Cocaine use you often lose EVERYTHING else.
The downside to cocaine is huge, which is why knowing the effects BEFORE you start using is ESSENTIAL! Cocaine effects, more often than not, are devastating. The short-term pleasure of an intense high is followed by withdrawal and all too often a life of addiction and misery.