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Symptoms Of Cocaine Usage

May 25, 2008
Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant and topical anesthetic made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. Cocaine can be consumed in a number of ways, although the most popular form of using powder cocaine is insufflation through the nose. Freebase cocaine, or "crack", is almost always smoked and delivers a far more potent, but inversely short-lived high.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine Use

On the psychological level, using cocaine introduces a variety of effects to the brain. Cocaine is said to cause a marked increase in alertness and wakefulness. Cocaine also elevates the mood and can cause a state of bliss in its users. It is for this reason that cocaine is often used as a party drug. Cocaine also decreases fatigue in its users, allowing them to stay awake for much longer than they would normally be able to. This has led some to use coke as a drug for work, harnessing its seemingly positive characteristics to concentrate on their work while simultaneously being able to stay awake for longer amounts of time.

When high amounts of cocaine are introduced to the system, many severe changes in behavior can take place. Irritability, coupled with confused and disorderly behavior, can lead some cocaine users to become violent and irrational while on the drug. Also, hallucinations may occur, leading to extreme sense of paranoia and an "everyone is out to get me" mentality. Cocaine users are sometimes known to become antisocial and aggressive, making them dangerous to themselves and to others. Along with its psychological effects, cocaine can affect the human body in many ways. Cocaine increases the heart rate, blood pressure, and overall body temperature of users. Breathing is sped up, and these things, coupled with nervous restlessness, can lead to heavy perspiration. Although cocaine decreases the desire to sleep and eat, the most common health problems associated with cocaine use are seizures, strokes, and heart attacks, especially in people who are susceptible or predisposed to having them.

Although cocaine is not particularly dangerous to withdraw from, the withdraw symptoms are unpleasant enough to coerce users into using more cocaine, forming a pattern of usage and leading to addiction and dependency. Common symptoms associated with the cessation of cocaine usage are apathetic feeling, suicidal thoughts, loss of sexual motivation, and extreme paranoia.

Long-Term Effects of Regular Cocaine Usage

When using cocaine regularly over an extended period of time, more serious psychological changes occur within the brain. Cocaine's stimulating qualities combined with its propensity to induce paranoia can lead to further violent act and mood swings. Insomnia is normal among cocaine addicts, and combined with cocaine's tendency to suppress a user's appetite can lead to unhealthy weight loss. As with any insufflated substance, damage to the inside of the nose cartilage can take place, and will eventually tear a hole in the septum with repeated use.

Although cocaine may seem like an innocent party drug, this is not the case. Nobody likes to party with a paranoid drug user who may at any time become delusional and violent. Not only that, but partying too much while on cocaine can lead to death from heart attack, stroke, or overheating of the body. This, combined with cocaine's addictive properties, makes it a very dangerous drug to abuse.
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Learn more about Crack Addiction and Cocaine Treatment.
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