Cocaine is a powerful stimulant with highly addictive properties that effect the brain directly. Cocaine is usually found in a white, crystalline powder, known as coke, blow, snow and other street names. When purchased on the street you are usually getting a substance that has been diluted with other powders such as cornstarch, talcum powder, sugar or other addictive substances such as amphetamines. Cocaine can be snorted via the nose, smoke or injected. Users who inject the drug have a heightened risk of contracting the disease HIV or Aids.
Cocaine usually effects an individual within minutes of using the drug and can last anywhere from minutes to a few hours. Taking in small amounts, the user will have a feeling of euphoria, energy, alertness, and make the user become very talkative, however the prolonged use of cocaine can lead to a dependence on cocaine to feel any type of happiness at all. The drug temporarily diminishes the users need for sleep or food. While coming down off of the drug, users claim feelings of anxiety, restlessness, irritability and paranoia. Users always need to keep increasing their dose in order to obtain the same high they used to experience when they first began using. The long term effects of cocaine use include, addiction, irritability, mood disturbances, restlessness, paranoia, heart problems, respiratory failure, strokes, headaches, abdominal pain, nausea and auditory hallucinations.
If you think someone close to you may be having a problem with cocaine addiction, look for warning signs, such as weight loss, loss of interest in daily activities, track marks on the forearms (for intravenous users), red blood shot eyes, runny nose or frequent sniffing, change in sleeping patterns, changes in behavior, change of friends, becoming depressed, losing interest in personal appearance or in frequent need of money. It is not uncommon for a user to become addicted after their first time using the drug, and often this leads to the use and mixture of other drugs such as heroin, amphetamines and hallucinogens.
Treatment for cocaine addiction varies on the needs of the individual addicted. Some treatments include going to rehab, having an addictions counselor, behavioral therapy, and self awareness groups. Remember that it is very hard to treat this major addiction without the help of trained professionals. If you or someone you know is addicted to cocaine, don’t try to treat your addiction yourself – go to your doctor or local addictions center and get professional help.
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