Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego is in the business of bettering adolescent lives, especially when it comes to conquering addiction. Our Joint Commission-accredited program takes the holistic route of care, providing a better chance at a complete and lasting recovery. Cocaine addiction is a particularly difficult problem that requires immediate attention with proven behavioral health treatment.
The Effects and Dangers of Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine is a widely used and commonly abused stimulant. It has harmful effects on the entire cardiovascular system and can even cause death. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of heart attacks in healthy young adults. Whether snorted, ingested, smoked or injected, it is psychologically addictive and dangerous. In spite of the dangers of cocaine addiction, almost 40 million Americans have used cocaine at some point in their lives.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine – most commonly referred to by teens as blow, coke or the white lady – is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that functions as a stimulant, appetite suppressant and anesthetic. Cocaine usually takes the form of a fine white powder, but the “crack” cocaine variation looks like oily shards of crystal. The drug is a Schedule II substance, making it illegal for recreational use. With few exceptions, the coca plant itself is prohibited within the U.S.
Cocaine is a relatively expensive drug that is snorted through the nose, causing direct damage to the nasal mucosa and nasal cavity. It travels throughout the bloodstream causing many effects.
Detecting Signs of Cocaine Addiction
Signs of cocaine use include increased energy, anxiety, inability to sit still (akathisia), hyperirritability as well as hallucinations. Its common physical effects are dilated pupils, chronic runny nose, rapid heart rate and tissue damage to mucous membranes in the nose, lips and gums. Due to the effects of long-term usage on the reward system of the brain, violent mood swings in teens and adults who have formed a dependency are not uncommon. Other effects of cocaine use include:
- Deviated septum
- Heart attacks
- Dilated pupils
- Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
- Decreased sleep
Habitual cocaine use causes the neurotransmitters in the brain to develop a tolerance to the drug. The resulting malfunction in the brain’s reward center prevents individuals who abuse cocaine from feeling happiness or pleasure without using the drug.
One of the most telling signs of a cocaine or stimulant addiction is the loss of interest in things that individuals normally held interest in, such as hobbies, friends and long-term goals.
Although no pharmacological agent can alleviate the withdrawals from or cravings for cocaine, multiple therapeutic modalities provide effective cocaine addiction treatment.