Cocaine is a potentially lethal drug that can put someone on the road to addiction. Many people report that even the first usage led them to crave using it again. In a short amount of time, cocaine use can turn into a full-blown substance use disorder. For most people, this means dealing with the dangerous side effects of cocaine usage.
If you or someone you love experiences addiction to cocaine, you may not be aware of just how dangerous side effects of cocaine can be. Both short-term and long-term usage can be extremely hazardous to a person. People who ignore the need for help risk damage to their physical, mental, and financial health.
Signs That Someone May Be Using Cocaine
If you suspect that someone you know may have an addiction problem, look for telltale dangerous side effects of cocaine. These include:
- Dilated pupils
- Sniffling or runny nose
- Darkened circles around eyes
- Rapid heartbeat
- Increased body temperature
- Elevated blood pressure
- Headaches and migraines
- Shaking or twitching
- Nausea and stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling restless
- Acting erratically
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sensitive to light, sound, or touch
Long-term Effects of Cocaine Usage
The National Institute on Drug Abuse released a study about the long-term dangerous side effects of cocaine. The report states that regular use of cocaine instills a tolerance to it in the user. They require larger doses more often in order to achieve the high they are after. Concurrently, they may develop sensitization to cocaine. This means it takes less cocaine usage to cause toxic results, such as convulsions. The combination of tolerance and sensitization may increase the risk of an overdose.
The report also indicates dangers related to the various ways people ingest cocaine. Snorting coke can result in a loss of the sense of smell, problems swallowing, and irritation of the nasal septum. Those who smoke cocaine in the form of crack risk damaging their lungs. If they are already asthmatic, this condition can become more serious.
When cocaine is injected via a needle, users often develop “tracks”. These are puncture marks visible at the place of injection. Tracks mostly occur in a person’s forearms. This method of ingesting cocaine puts a person at risk for diseases related to sharing needles. This includes hepatitis C and HIV.
Treating Cocaine Addiction Requires Professional Help
Once a person has become addicted to cocaine, they will require a formal treatment program to help them recover. Typical withdrawal symptoms after cocaine stoppage include intense cravings for the drug. Many people also experience emotional hardships, such as depression, anxiety, and irritability.
A detoxification program can help monitor a person while they detox from cocaine. Many offer medical assistance and psychological support for those going through a detoxification. Some of the symptoms a person may experience during detox include:
- Intense cravings for cocaine
- Suicidal thoughts
Once the person completes detoxification, it is highly recommended they take the next step. This involves receiving ongoing treatment to help them address their addiction and learn to navigate recovery. This kind of program comes in different variations. Not all programs fall under the heading of “residential”; ones that involve living full-time away from home.
Many individuals benefit from day treatment, which may involve partial hospitalization. With this option, the patient attends treatment in a hospital or other medical setting during the day, then returns home at night. Other choices for treatment include outpatient (OP) and intensive outpatient (IOP). Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) offers medical treatment to help reduce cravings for cocaine and other drugs.
Cocaine Takes a Huge Financial Toll On Users
Many people who become addicted to cocaine believe that they can keep using it and still manage their lives. They may not realize that their substance use disorder has already taken over their lives. In addition, they may hold the false belief that if they have not yet suffered physical consequences, then they have things under control. These people fail to factor in the potential financial damage cocaine addiction can do to an individual and their family.
Cocaine is an expensive drug. As addiction to it increases, a person finds themselves needing to buy larger amounts. They often fall into financial misfortune just trying to keep up with acquiring the minimal amount of cocaine they can acquire.
People lost in their addiction may resort to constantly asking to borrow money from people they know. They may steal from loved ones or strangers. Individuals often end up selling their valuable possessions in order to get quick cash. Financing a cocaine addiction can quickly empty out bank accounts and max out credit cards. Some people end up draining retirement accounts or college funds set aside for their children.
Many people find themselves in the sad position of selling cocaine in order to procure some for themselves. Dealing cocaine puts them in a position of risking legal repercussions above those they might receive for possession alone.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment Programs in Arizona
If you need help recovering from an addiction to cocaine, we have a variety of programs to help you. We offer several outpatient treatment plans that help you understand and embrace your recovery. We feature day treatment, outpatient, intensive outpatient, and medication assisted treatment. Contact us here to find out how we can help you overcome cocaine addiction and restart your life.