What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful psychoactive stimulant drug. It works by increasing levels of Dopamine in brain circuits and causes a euphoric high. Dopamine controls pleasure and reward.

The Effects of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine targets the brain’s pleasure and reward centre releasing a large amount of dopamine resulting a short intense high making the user feeling amazing, confident and on top of the world. This feeling lasts only around 20-30 minutes.

Physical

  • Permanent damage to blood vessels of heart and brain
  • High blood pressure, leading to heart attacks, strokes, and death
  • Liver, kidney and lung damage
  • Destruction of tissues in nose if snorted
  • Respiratory failure if smoked
  • Infectious diseases and abscesses if injected
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Reproductive damage and infertility (for both men and women)
  • Changes in the brain chemistry – short term
  • Changes in the structure and function of the brain – long term
  • Neglecting personal hygiene
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Unhealthy eating habits/malnutrition
  • Cravings
  • Tolerance

Psychological

  • Psychosis
  • Triggers
  • Compulsion
  • Obsession
  • Lying to yourself/denial

Emotional

  • Apathy /Exhaustion
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Memory loss
  • Mood Swings
  • Paranoia
  • Fear
  • Psychosis
  • Loneliness

 

 Social

  • Potential increase in risky behaviour
  • Financial problems
  • Sexual problems
  • Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Lack of interest in work/school
  • Lack of interest and ability in maintain relationships/friendships
  • Damaged relationships with family members
  • Isolation
  • Lying to others

Spiritual

  • Damaged self-esteem and self-worth
  • Damaged relationship with self
  • Lack of interest in life
  • Inability to function without the drug
  • Continued use despite negative consequences

The signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction get progressively worse over time and there will be no resolution until effective addiction treatment and aftercare are sought.

Withdrawal from Cocaine

Not everyone requires a medically supervised detox but for those with a physical dependency a period of detoxification must take place. This usually means that a tapered dose of medication is prescribed over a period of time.

Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Paranoia