When a person first tries recreational drugs, whether they are legal substances such as alcohol, or illegal drugs like heroin or crystal meth, they never think that they will one day become addicted to that drug. Cocaine addiction, in particular can be a serious and life-threatening problem for those who suffer from it. Get to know the signs of dependence, as well as the negative side effects that cocaine addiction can have.
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Before you can understand the signs of cocaine addiction, you need to understand the internal and unseen mechanisms of this drug’s effects on the body. Among drug users, cocaine is said to be an “upper.” It produces an intense and quick high that boosts the user’s energy. It also activates the pleasure centers (dopamine receptors) in the brain. This surge of good feelings that are processed in the brain, and the rapid loss of those feelings that follows, causes the body to physically crave the drug.
When people begin abusing this drug and developing a tolerance for it, they can exhibit changes in behavior. Some of these changes are subtle, and occur over time, while others seem to manifest overnight and represent an almost unprecedented shift in actions and behaviors.
A person abusing coke will likely become extremely talkative, even if they are usually quiet and reserved. The addict will also seem to have sudden and intense bursts of energy and act erratically and unpredictably. They may jump from one idea or task to the next without rhyme or reason.
Addicts also often behave recklessly and engage in risky behavior. This can be anything from sexual promiscuity to driving a vehicle under the influence. They may also get violent and could begin stealing money or valuables (presumably to finance their addiction, but possibly also just because they are under the influence).
In addition to changes in behavior, those who are addicted to this drug begin to show physical changes. People under the influence of coke tend to have noticeably dilated pupils. Nasal symptoms are extremely common among addicts as well. Many have a perpetually runny nose, may develop a nasal perforation (a hole in the cartilage between the nostrils), and are prone to bloody noses. Users are also often hoarse or sound as if they are losing their voice because when the drug is snorted, it affects the throat as well as the nasal passages.
Additional noticeable physical symptoms of cocaine use include tremors, headaches, twitching muscles, and noticeable weight loss and malnutrition.
Cocaine has a profound effect on the cardiovascular system. Users experience rapid heartbeat, cardiac arrhythmias, and constricted blood vessels. The constriction of the blood vessels can also result in high blood pressure that, when coupled with a faster than normal heart rate, can cause sudden cardiac arrest or heart attacks.
Because of the constricted blood vessels and the lack of proper nutrition (or any nutrition), a person can also develop gangrene of the bowels. This occurs when blood flow ceases to a portion of the intestines, and that area of the bowel essentially dies. Gangrenous bowels can be life-threatening and requires emergency surgery to fix, and may result in a colostomy, in which body waste is funneled into a bag outside of the body.
Cocaine abuse can also cause strokes, another unpleasant side effect of constricted blood vessels. It can also lead to a coma, as well as cause psychological disturbances including hallucinations and intense paranoia.
The signs of cocaine addiction and abuse span a wide range of behaviors and physical symptoms. In addition to these telltale signs, it is important to know how severe the side effects can become. Once you know how to recognize the warning signs of cocaine addiction, you can encourage anyone you know who is suffering from it to get detoxification help and drug addiction treatment. Call Drug Treatment Centers Norwalk at (203) 242-8279 and get the help you need today.
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