Understanding the Risks of Cocaine Use
History and Uses of Cocaine
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug. It originates from the coca plant, which is native to South America. For centuries, indigenous people chewed coca leaves for energy and to suppress hunger. In the mid-1800s, German chemist Albert Niemann isolated the active compound. This was the start of the drug’s industrial production.
Forms of Cocaine
A Dangerous Substance
Medical and Prescription Use
The substance has a long history of medical use as an anesthetic and pain reliever. Today, the drug has limited medical applications. It is occasionally used as a topical anesthetic for ear, nose, and throat surgeries. Its vasoconstrictive properties help minimize bleeding.1
Legal Status and Regulation
The Science Behind Cocaine's Effects
Side Effects and Health Risks
This substance has various short-term and long-term health risks and side effects. Common side effects include anxiety, restlessness, and irritability. You may also experience increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and elevated body temperature.
Methods and Affiliated Risks
Different methods of use carry specific risks:4
- Snorting it may damage nasal tissues, leading to nosebleeds and a diminished sense of smell.
- Injecting it increases the risk of infection, collapsed veins, and transmission of blood-borne diseases.
- Smoking it can cause lung damage and respiratory issues.
Interactions With Other Substances
Combining this substance with alcohol can lead to a toxic buildup of cocaethylene in your body. This compound is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart attack.6
Mixing this drug with opioids like heroin or prescription painkillers also carries risks. It increases the potential for overdose, breathing problems, and coma. Additionally, cocaine is often contaminated with other substances. It may contain lead or fentanyl, both of which can be toxic and even fatal.
Why Do People Use Cocaine?
Coping Mechanisms and Self-Medication
For people who are struggling with mental health problems such as depression, cocaine can be an escape. Recreational drugs can provide temporary relief, but they will do more harm than good.
Addiction and Dependency
Most people with an addiction become psychologically dependent on the drug. They may feel an urge to use it when they experience stress or anxiety. Others become physically dependent. In these cases, physical withdrawal symptoms manifest when they try to quit using it.
Any kind of addiction can be difficult to overcome alone. You may need professional help to break the cycle of dependency.
Detoxification and Withdrawal Management
Treatment for cocaine addiction often starts with medically supervised detoxification. Professionals will help you manage physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms as your body adjusts to functioning without the drug.
Detoxification may include medication-assisted treatment with buprenorphine or methadone. These medications help reduce cravings and lessen the intensity of withdrawal symptoms.
Inpatient and Outpatient Rehabilitation
Therapy and Counseling
Group and individual therapy involves talking with a mental health professional. You may explore the reasons behind your dependency. Therapy can help identify underlying issues contributing to addiction and develop strategies for preventing relapse.
There are many different types of counseling available. The therapist may suggest cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), or other approaches.
Support Groups and Community Resources
Your Journey to Recovery Starts at Essence Healthcare
At Essence Healthcare, we offer personalized treatment plans for people struggling with cocaine addiction. We understand that each person’s journey is unique. That’s why we create a plan to meet your individual needs.
Our team of dedicated professionals will provide you with the tools and resources you need to help you on your path to recovery. Our approach focuses on the whole person, emphasizing each client’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. We strive to provide a safe and supportive environment where you can heal from the effects of substance abuse.
Reach Out Today – Begin Healing