Cocaine abuse is one of society’s greatest problems today. Individuals addicted to cocaine will do almost anything to get the drug. It has penetrated all levels of our society infecting the rich, poor, and everyone in between. Family members connected to individuals who are affected by cocaine abuse live in chaos and confusion because they do not understand the underlying mechanics of cocaine addiction. At Galahad we understand cocaine abuse & aim to help educate in any way that we can.
Symptoms of cocaine abuse can lead to anxiety, panic, bloody nose, increased energy, talking rapidly, rapid pulse and respiration, paranoia, confusion, dilated pupils, hallucinations, altered, motor activities (tremors, hyperactivity), stuffiness & a runny nose.
Cocaine addiction can occur very quickly though cocaine abuse and can be very difficult to break. Studies have shown that cocaine is so potent that animals will work very hard (press a bar over 10,000 times) for a single injection of cocaine, choose cocaine over food and water, and take cocaine even when this behaviour is punished. Animals must have their access to cocaine limited in order to prevent taking toxic or even lethal doses.
Researchers have found that cocaine stimulates the brain’s reward system inducing an even greater feeling of pleasure than natural functions. In turn, its influence on the reward circuit can lead a user to bypass survival activities and repeat drug use.
Cocaine abuse can & if left unchecked, will lead to a cocaine addiction and in some cases damage the brain and other organs. An addict will continue to use cocaine even when faced with adverse consequences. Dependency can develop in less than 2 weeks. Some research indicates that a psychological dependency may develop after a single dose of high-potency cocaine. As the person develops a tolerance to cocaine, higher and higher doses are needed to produce the same level of euphoria.With the accumulating medical evidence of cocaine’s deleterious effects and the introduction and widespread use of cocaine, the public and government have become alarmed again about its growing use. To many, especially health care and social workers who deal with cocaine users and have witnessed the personal and societal devastation it produces, cocaine abuse is by far the most serious drug problem.
Cocaine abuse greatly increases the risk of sudden heart attack and may also trigger stroke, even in users who otherwise are not at high risk for these sometimes fatal cardiovascular events. The risk is related to narrowing of blood vessels and increases in blood pressure and heart rate. Recently, NIDA-supported researchers at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Centre at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, have identified changes in blood components that may also play a role in cocaine abuse related heart attack and stroke.
Cocaine abuse can also lead to a myriad of other health issues such as:
Changes in blood pressure, heart rates, and breathing rates. Nausea, Vomiting, Anxiety, Convulsions, Insomnia, Loss of appetite leading to malnutrition and weight loss, Cold sweats, Swelling and bleeding of mucous membranes, Restlessness and anxiety, Damage to nasal cavities, Damage to lungs, Possible heart attacks, strokes, or convulsions.
As cocaine abuse continues over time, tolerance often develops. This means that higher doses and more frequent use of cocaine are required for the brain to register the same level of pleasure experienced during initial use. Recent studies have shown that during periods of abstinence from cocaine use, the memory of the euphoria associated with cocaine use or mere exposure to cues associated with drug use, can trigger tremendous craving and relapse to drug use even after long periods of abstinence.
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