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There are many symptoms and warning signs common among those struggling with cocaine addiction. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following, it may be necessary to seek treatment for cocaine addiction:
In the mid 1970’s, disco music rose to prominence in the United States and disco culture took its hold in most major U.S. cities. As the club scene with its loud music and flashing colored lights became more and more popular, so did the drugs that would enhance the experience.
Cocaine had been around long before this time. It was popular among blue collar workers in the late 19th century, who used the stimulant to increase their productivity and to keep them awake during long work shifts. But its emergence in the disco scene as part of a thriving drug subculture during the 1970’s cemented its place as one of the go-to party drugs, a position it still holds to this day.
Today in the United States, cocaine is the second most popular illegal recreational drug. Its use spans over many different demographics, but is particularly popular with the middle to upper class and college students. Many first try cocaine to help give them an extra boost with school work or their job. Other people first experience the drug when out partying with friends, just wanting to have a good time. But the effects of cocaine are short lived, and before you know it you can be itching for more. Just like that, that cocaine-fueled all-nighter you pulled to finish that paper or to go out with your buddies can be the beginning of a life altering addiction.
Cocaine is a strong, highly addictive, illegal stimulant drug. Also referred to as coke, blow, crack, and snow, cocaine increases the levels of dopamine in the brain circuits that control pleasure and movement. The excess of dopamine builds up between nerve cells, which disrupts normal brain communication and causes the high felt by the user. The brain’s reward pathway adapts to the excess amounts of dopamine caused by the stimulant, leading to dependence and causing addiction.
Cocaine typically comes as a fine white powder and is commonly snorted through the nose. Many users also rub the powder on their gums and teeth, which causes a numbing sensation to the mouth. It can be “freebased” and smoked, or dissolved in water which can then be injected into the bloodstream as well as smoked. There is also crack cocaine, which appears as solid “rocks” or crystals that are heated up and smoked.
It is very common for cocaine to be mixed with other additives or adulterants in order for the dealer to preserve their supply. Dealers often “cut” cocaine with similar looking, powder like substances such as flour, talcum powder, cornstarch, boric acid, and laundry detergent. It can also be mixed or substituted with other drugs, such as crushed up painkillers. While doing cocaine is already very dangerous on its own, using the drug while mixed with another substance (usually unknown to the user) can significantly increase the chances of overdose or death.
Cocaine has many negative side effects on the mind and body. The excessive or long-term use of cocaine increases an individual’s chance of developing many serious health complications, including the following:
Cell death in the muscles of the heart.
Infection of the inner lining of your heart valves and chambers.
A disorder of the central nervous system that mostly affects the motor system. Behavioral and thinking problems can also occur, including dementia.
Cocaine abuse over a period of time causes changes to an individual’s brain chemistry. This can lead to erratic or violent behavior, severe depression, delirium or psychosis, and paranoia.
Other possible complications include heart attacks, strokes, kidney damage, HIV, and hepatitis C. Cocaine abuse can also cause the aorta, the main artery in the human body leading from the heart, to rupture.
Irregular beating of the heart.