Effects of Cocaine Abuse on Mental Health

man with hands covering his face

How Does Cocaine Affect The Brain?

Cocaine is a stimulant, which means that it makes the nervous system operate faster. Regular brain functions will amplify, their natural effects seeming more intense. Cocaine works by interfering with the brain’s mesolimbic pathway often referred to as the reward pathway (1). We involve the reward pathway any time we experience something enjoyable. Eating our favorite meal, achieving a goal, physical intimacy – these all activate our brain’s reward pathway. Think of it this way: anything that gives you pleasure, or makes you feel good, involves this part of your brain. The reward pathway also regulates our motivations; the reasons we have for doing things. Additionally, it helps us keep our emotions stable.

When we want something, or when something interests us, our brain produces dopamine. Dopamine propels us toward what we want; it motivates us to pursue that thing, person, experience, or feeling that we’re after. Moreover, dopamine tells our brain when something pleases us. Inside our brain, dopamine flows across a gap between two neurons. This gap is referred to as a synapse. Cocaine prevents the flow of dopamine between different neurons, leaving it stuck in the synapses of the brain. This heightens a user’s feeling of pleasure, creating euphoria (2).

Cocaine also disrupts the function of one of the brain’s most important neurotransmitters – glutamate. Glutamate is significant because it assists your nerve cells (neurons) with performing their specific functions (memory, movement, hearing, vision, etc.). With an appropriate amount of glutamate in your brain, your neurons communicate just as they should. But cocaine causes the brain to make more glutamate than normal. Too much glutamate creates a condition called excitotoxicity. When the brain makes too much glutamate, it can damage (and even kill) your neurons. Consequently, a long-term user of cocaine might experience memory loss, partial deafness or blindness, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.

Cocaine and Mental Health

But how might these changes in the brain affect mental and emotional health? In research studies, animals exposed to cocaine are likely to want it when they experience stress (3). The way we respond to stress trains our brain to make that response automatic. So, a user’s brain may respond to stress by craving cocaine for its new “normal” functioning. Since cocaine is a stimulant, some users might notice that they don’t need to eat or sleep. Quality nutrition and adequate sleep are keystones in maintaining mental wellness. Users might also experience more anxiety and paranoia. Panic attacks, irritability, and even auditory hallucinations can occur. For a person who already suffers from an anxiety disorder (panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, OCD, etc.), cocaine makes symptoms even worse. Over time, these effects can deplete the body’s ability to heal, which will further aggravate any stressors that already exist. For a user of cocaine, this creates a battle on multiple fronts.

Is Help Available?

Physical health is not the only thing that cocaine compromises. It takes a toll on a user’s mental health as well. However, help is available, without question. No one is too far gone to seek treatment. At Recovery In Tune, we believe in treatments that offer relief to the whole person. Call us now at 1-844-7-IN-TUNE for more information.



(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3025434/
(2) https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/how-does-cocaine-produce-its-effects
(3) https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-are-some-ways-cocaine-changes-brain

Dangers of Freebase Cocaine

Freebase Cocaine Dangers | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Freebase cocaine is a highly-addictive stimulant that people smoke for its intoxicating effects. Producing freebase cocaine is a hazardous process that can lead to fires and explosions.

Cocaine exists in two forms on the street—powdered and base. Base cocaine includes freebase cocaine and crack. It is generally any form of the drug not made using an acid that turns it into powder. Like other forms of cocaine, freebase can cause extensive harm to the body. It can lead to severe physical and emotional health problems, including dependence and addiction.

Risks and Dangers of Freebase Cocaine

When smoked, freebase cocaine is delivered to the brain more rapidly than powdered cocaine that is usually snorted. Moreover, smoking cocaine sends it to the lungs, through the heart and then directed into the brain. By comparison, snorted cocaine takes a more extended path to reach the brain.

As a result, freebase cocaine induces intense euphoric effects that are very brief and last between 2-3 minutes. The intensity of these effects can result in an overdose less than one minute after a person uses the form of cocaine.

The brevity of the high also compels many people to repeatedly use the drug in a binge-like pattern, which further serves to foster both dependence and addiction. The effects of freebasing cocaine occur almost instantaneously, as it enters the bloodstream and the brain within 15 seconds. Once it enters the brain, there is an intense “rush” or feeling of euphoria with a high that lasts about 30 minutes.

Side Effects of Freebase Cocaine

Freebase Cocaine Dangers | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

The high is intense and onsets rapidly. However, it is does not last long and a crash or come down follows. When euphoria begins to subside, the user may begin to experience extreme fatigue, anxiety, depression, irritability, and paranoia. These effects often prompt users to repeat the experience to avoid them for as long as possible.

Acute effects of freebase cocaine include sweating, nausea, insomnia, and headache. Long term effects include mood changes, general irritability, restlessness, anxiety, depression, paranoia, and hallucinations.

Also, the method of smoking cocaine is beset with its own adverse health effects, including respiration issues, damage to the mouth and lungs, and a higher likelihood of developing various forms of cancer. With chronic use, respiratory and heart problems, including heart attack, can occur, as well as stroke and seizures.

Other risks of freebasing cocaine include burns to the face or fingers from pipes, matches, or lighters during use. Also, users may be more vulnerable to accidents, injuries, and violence that occurs while under the influence of cocaine.

Because cocaine in any form is addictive, people who use it often have drug cravings. To satisfy these, they may repeatedly smoke freebase despite being aware of potential health consequences. They might steal money or other items or turn to prostitution to support their drug use. Finally, those who are dependent and abruptly quit will experience withdrawal symptoms. These may include agitation, restlessness, anxiety, and depression.

Freebase Cocaine vs. Crack

Although freebase and crack are the same chemical form of cocaine and can be smoked, they are not the same. Freebase cocaine is made by dissolving powdered cocaine in water and adding a base product and a solvent.

Ether is a highly-flammable solvent frequently used to make freebase cocaine and can cause explosions during the manufacturing process. Some ether can remain in the product and cause burns when a person smokes it. Because crack is considered to be less risky to produce and use than freebase, the prevalence of freebasing has decreased significantly in recent years.

Treating Freebase Cocaine Addiction

People who are abusing any form of cocaine, including freebase, should seek professional help as soon as possible. Addiction treatment programs such as those offered by Recovery in Tune can help people manage unpleasant and painful withdrawal symptoms in a safe, comfortable environment. We employ evidence-based therapies, such as behavioral therapy and drug counseling, that teach people better methods of coping and address the underlying reasons for drug abuse in the first place.

Even after completing intensive rehab, people in recovery from addiction face triggers that increase their risk of relapse, as they return to environments that lead to cravings that include people or places that are reminiscent of cocaine use. To avoid relapse following initial treatment, people in recovery should continue to take advantage of outpatient programs, aftercare planning services, and support groups that foster accountability.

Addiction to freebase cocaine, crack, or powder cocaine can be a devastating and life-threatening condition. But, you don’t have to try to overcome it alone. Contact us if you are ready to take the first step to getting sober and begin the road to recovery today!

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Signs of Cocaine Addiction | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Signs of Cocaine Addiction – It can require diligence to identify a cocaine abuse problem in a loved one, and knowing what signs and symptoms to look for is critical. These signs will gradually become more severe and apparent to others over time as the person descends further and further into addiction. Eventually, they will become impossible to ignore.

Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant that produces a surge in dopamine, a feel-good chemical in the brain. This action results in a brief boost of energy, increased alertness, hyperactivity, and an elevated mood. These effects make cocaine extremely addictive, and persons who repeatedly use cocaine are at a high risk of becoming dependent.

Signs of Cocaine Use

Initial signs of cocaine use can be subtle when compared to full-blown addiction. Indeed, the physical and mental signs of cocaine use become more increasingly evident in proportion to the behavioral effects of addiction.

Several signs imply the presence of a substance use disorder involving cocaine, including the following:

  • Strange or abnormal behavior
  • Secretiveness and providing suspicious answers to questions
  • Social withdrawal or neglect of old friends in favor of new ones
  • Neglect of important responsibilities involving school, work, or family
  • Impulsivity
  • Manic, hyperactive behavior
  • New or worsening financial troubles
  • Legal problems
  • White powdery smudges on skin, clothing, or other belongings, particularly around the nose and face

Compared to many drugs, cocaine is relatively expensive. Therefore, a regular cocaine habit may require the person to engage in risky behaviors to afford it, including the following:

  • Taking side jobs
  • Taking out loans
  • Selling drugs

  • Repeatedly asking to borrow money
  • Stealing money or personal possessions from friends and family
  • Withdrawing funds from savings accounts, 401K, or retirement

Cocaine Addiction

A cocaine habit often hijacks the user’s brain and compels him or her to engage in compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite the incurrence of negative consequences. These outcomes are huge red flags, and may include the following:

  • Being suspended from or dropping out of school
  • Quitting or getting fired from a job
  • Extreme debt or bankruptcy
  • Strained or failed relationships
  • Ongoing legal trouble or incarceration

Cocaine abuse and cocaine addiction are two disorders on the same spectrum but are not the same thing. Addiction is characterized by dependence, tolerance, and drug-seeking behavior. Tolerance and dependence develop over time as the person continues to use cocaine and the brain changes and adapts to the substance’s persistent presence.

Cocaine tolerance begins to develop during the early stages of use and grows over time. Tolerance means that users will need increasingly higher doses to achieve the desired effect. Both cocaine abuse and full-blown addiction can cause physiological and emotional distress that may require emergency room visits, hospital stays, or psychological intervention to address.

Symptoms of Cocaine Use

Signs of Cocaine Addiction | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Common symptoms related to cocaine use include the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Hypersomnia
  • Increased anxiety
  • Social isolation
  • Reduced attention span

  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Severe mood swings
  • Hyperstimulation

  • Hyperactivity
  • Elevated mood
  • Hypervigilance
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Due to the chemical instabilities induced by cocaine, erratic and explosive mood swings are common among users. When a loved one is struggling with a cocaine problem, they may act cold and distant, and become nearly unrecognizable from the person they once were. When this occurs, loved ones may be pushed away, sometimes too far to recognize the changes in the person’s behavior as they manifest. Unfortunately, the more these changes intensify, the more urgent the situation becomes.

Physical Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Physical symptoms caused by cocaine abuse and addiction can vary from mild to severe. Because every person’s body is different, cocaine doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. Regardless of whether these symptoms are mild or severe, however, the problem remains a serious one that has the potential to be life-threatening.

Common physical symptoms related to cocaine use include the following:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Excessive sniffling
  • Runny or bloody nose
  • Dry mouth and throat

  • Hoarseness
  • Twitching or shaking
  • Dark undereye circles
  • Headaches or migraines

  • Stomach aches
  • Nausea
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Accelerated heart rate

Once a person has developed a physiological dependence on cocaine, withdrawal symptoms manifest if the drug is abruptly discontinued.

Symptoms associated with cocaine withdrawal may include the following:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures

  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Excessive sleeping

Cocaine is a very powerful substance that has side effects that may vary depending on how much of the drug was used, the person’s natural body chemistry, and other substances present in the person’s system. Cocaine may also be mixed with harmful adulterants or other drugs that can contribute to overdose or sudden death.

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use

The longer cocaine addiction continues, the higher the risk of damage to the brain’s ability to function. Sometimes, in addition to physicians, other specialists and therapists are needed to treat long-term cocaine users effectively. And, unfortunately, some of the adverse consequences induced by cocaine use are irreversible.

Long-term health consequences may include the following:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Lung damage
  • Chronic nosebleeds
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Seizures and convulsions

  • Nasal tissue damage
  • Reduced sense of smell
  • Profound weight loss
  • Malnourishment
  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Impotence
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Bowel deterioration
  • Reproductive complications
  • Movement disorders

In general, the more a cocaine addiction becomes entangled into a person’s psychology, the riskier his or her lifestyle will become. As such, cocaine abuse may result in additional health risks, such as the following:

  • Unplanned pregnancy
  • Fetal cocaine exposure

  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) from unprotected sex
  • Diseases from unsterile needles, such as HIV and hepatitis

Long-term cocaine use is also associated with deep psychological distress, such as paranoia and hallucinations. Some research has found that cognitive functions such as memory and motor control may be impaired by long-term abuse. Furthermore, cocaine abuse is closely linked to heart failure and premature death.

Signs of Cocaine Addiction | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Signs of a Cocaine Overdose

Although cocaine use can be dangerous at any dose, the drug’s hazardous potential significantly increases when it is consumed at very high amounts. The addictive properties of cocaine make it easy to overlook the excessive amounts one is using to maintain a high, which is very short in duration.

If a person has developed a tolerance, this in of itself can contribute to life-threatening effects as they continue to increase their dose, chasing a high that has become more and more difficult to achieve. An overdose of cocaine is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.

Signs and symptoms of a cocaine overdose can include the following:

  • Panic
  • Delirium
  • Delusions
  • Hyperthermia

  • Convulsions and seizures
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Heart failure
  • Cerebral hemorrhage

  • Shock
  • Kidney failure
  • Stroke
  • Coma

If an overdose is not treated immediately, the risk of heart failure and death significantly increase. Statistics have also revealed a strong correlation between cocaine overdoses and toxic interactions of cocaine with other substances.

For example, in 2015, more than half of known overdoses involving cocaine in the U.S. also included opioids. In fact, more than one-third (37%) of these deaths involved heroin—combining cocaine and heroin produces a very powerful and deadly mixture known as a speedball.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction is most effectively treated using a comprehensive approach to addiction. Recovery in Tune offers customized, evidence-based treatment that includes services vital to recovery, such as psychotherapy, drug counseling, group support, health and wellness programs, and aftercare planning.

Recovery from addiction is a lifelong process, but you don’t have to do it alone. We can help you break free from the chains of addiction and reclaim the fulfilling life you deserve!

Difference Between Crack and Cocaine

Difference Between Crack and Cocaine | Recovery in Tune

Difference Between Crack and Cocaine – Despite popular belief, there is a significant difference between crack and cocaine. The two are separate drugs that are similar, but these terms are not interchangeable.

The Difference Between Crack and Cocaine

Crack is semi-synthetic, as it is derived from cocaine but is also combined with other human-made products. Making crack does not involve a complicated process, as people typically mix powder cocaine with water and baking soda. The mixture is then boiled, cooled, and carved into rock-like forms and sold. Those who abuse crack typically smoke it out of a pipe or snort it to achieve the fastest, most powerful effects.

The high that is induced by crack is much more intense than the high that comes from abusing normal cocaine, which is one reason why people turn to its use. Also, crack is considerably cheaper than cocaine (one gram of cocaine can cost as much as $150, while one gram of crack usually costs around $80).

When a person abuses crack, he or she will experience an intense stimulant high that causes him or her to feel euphoric and energetic. However, that high only lasts for around 15 minutes, meaning that individuals may be compelled to use crack in a binge-like fashion to keep their high going. Unfortunately, this repetitive behavior can increase the speed in which a person develops a crack addiction.

When someone begins abusing crack in this way, his or her brain can undergo adverse changes. For example, crack causes the brain to release a large amount of dopamine, so when someone stops using it, his or her brain might be temporarily unable to produce dopamine on its own. This change results in the person also becoming unable to experience pleasure naturally with this artificial catalyst.

Also, studies show that the cocaine present in crack works to hinder the brain from processing dopamine, which can cause a user to remain within a constant state of euphoria until the high wears off.

Effects of Crack vs. Cocaine

Symptoms of crack abuse and addiction include the following:

  • A sense of grandiosity
  • Inflated confidence
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dilated pupils

  • Hypertension
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Twitching
  • Nosebleeds

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Aggression
  • Mood swings

Given these symptoms, a person who has used crack can be very unpredictable in his or her behaviors, which can be dangerous for both the user and those around him or her. In comparison, those who use cocaine may experience some of these symptoms, but in a milder form.

It is common for someone who is addicted to either cocaine or crack to neglect other responsibilities while he or she focuses entirely on obtaining, using, and recovering from crack use. He or she may spend a considerable amount of time engaging in compulsive drug-seeking behavior, despite the incurrence of negative consequences as a result of his or her use.

Also, many people who are addicted to these substances struggle with financial and legal troubles as well as maintaining employment. Due to the cost, financial struggles may initially be more common for cocaine users. However, maintaining employment may be more difficult for crack users because it tends to be more emotionally destabilizing, which could potentially make it worse for financial issues in the long run.

Both crack and cocaine use can also put a tremendous strain on relationships, and chronic users may isolate from family and friends and spend the majority of their time with others who use crack or other addictive substances. Regardless of the amount of crack being abused or how frequently, those who do so will experience the effects of their addiction rather quickly, some of which can be severe and potentially life-threatening. Cocaine abuse usually must become severe and frequent before serious strain occurs, and although these consequences may not be as immediate as those caused by crack abuse, cocaine’s addictive nature may make them inevitable.

Difference Between Crack and Cocaine | Recovery in Tune

Cardiovascular Problems

Both cocaine and crack are known for the many cardiovascular health problems they can cause. Individuals may experience high blood pressure and acutely accelerated heart rate (tachycardia), and may also develop an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).

Other cardiovascular problems that can occur can include:

  • Angina (tightening of blood vessels, making the chest feel tight)
  • Blood clots that can lead to pulmonary embolisms, stroke, heart attack, and deep vein thrombosis
  • Myocardial infarction (death of heart muscle)
  • A permanent increase in blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular complications, such as heart attacks, that are the leading cause of death for those who use crack.

Respiratory Problems

Those who abuse crack can experience severe respiratory problems such as damage to the walls, capillaries, and blood vessels in the lungs. These persons can also develop “crack lung,” which is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Black sputum

  • Increased body temperature
  • Increase in white blood cells

As a result of crack addiction, users are also at an increased risk for developing pneumonia, tuberculosis, asthma, and pulmonary edema (excess fluid in the lungs). Chronic cocaine use can result in damage to the lungs and nasal passages.

Brain Damage

In addition to the heart and lungs, cocaine and crack use can cause life-threatening damage to the brain. Those who are addicted to crack can experience a multitude of different effects on their brain, including the following:

  • Strokes
  • Seizures

  • Alterations in neurotransmitter and nerve function
  • Changes in prefrontal and temporal lobe function

As a result of these effects, users can struggle with cognition problems, impaired memory, mood disorders, and uncontrolled twitching and muscle movement. Abusing crack and developing an addiction to it can also cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and intestinal tract.

Crack and Cocaine Withdrawal

Difference Between Crack and Cocaine | Recovery in Tune

Even if they want to quit, many people who have become physiologically dependent on crack and cocaine continue to use them to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal signs and symptoms may include the following:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Extreme fatigue

  • Sleepiness
  • Increased appetite
  • Vivid, unpleasant dreams

  • Anxiety
  • Severe drug cravings
  • Psychosis

Many factors can influence the severity of crack and cocaine withdrawal symptoms, including the intensity, duration, and frequency of use. Also, withdrawal may be affected by the use of other drugs or alcohol, as well as any co-occurring mental or physical health conditions. Unlike users of other addictive drugs like heroin or benzodiazepines, cocaine and crack users may not suffer many physical withdrawal effects, such as shakiness, vomiting, and sweating.

Treatment for Crack or Cocaine Addiction

Both crack and cocaine may be very difficult to stop using, as most people who are addicted to it use it frequently and regularly. Detoxing from crack is usually the first step in the recovery process, which can be extremely unpleasant, but can also be managed when performed in a professional setting.

People who are seeking help in their quest to stop using crack can benefit from several different treatments following a medical detox, such as psychotherapy and individual and group counseling. These treatment options will teach clients how to recognize and address the underlying factors that contribute to their addiction, along with any issues that have developed as a result of it.

After sobriety has been well-established and the therapeutic aspect of treatment has been completed, those in recovery can integrate back into their communities and attend local support groups, as well as continue therapy and counseling. We offer aftercare planning services that find local treatment and other resources that help with this reintegration so that clients continue to feel cared for and supported long after initial treatment has been completed.

Treatment at Recovery in Tune is custom-tailored to treat crack and cocaine addictions. Our experienced staff members help those with substance use disorder reclaim the fulfilling lives they once had, and provide them with the tools and support they need to achieve abstinence and maintain long-lasting sobriety and wellness.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to crack or cocaine, please contact us immediately to discuss treatment options. Discover how we help people free themselves from the chains of addiction and experience the happy, sober lives that they deserve!

How Addictive is Cocaine?

How Addictive is Cocaine | Recovery In Tune

How Addictive is Cocaine? – Cocaine (coke) is a stimulant drug most commonly found as a white powder that can be snorted, smoked, injected, rubbed into the gums, or swallowed. Cocaine has a high potential for addiction because when used, it floods the brain with dopamine, a neurochemical responsible for feelings of reward and pleasure.

This feeling is short-lived, however, and typically dissipates in less than 30 minutes. Therefore, cocaine is often used in a binge-like fashion, leaving users craving more when they begin to come down from the last dose’s high. This rapid, repeated need for more cocaine serves to propel people into addiction rather quickly.

What is Crack?

Another form of cocaine known as crack looks like rocks or crystals and is most often smoked. Crack cocaine is an excess substance produced during the process of making pure cocaine. It’s known as a cheaper and less refined version of the drug and can be even more addictive than regular cocaine.

This form of cocaine has a growing reputation as a very potent and highly-addictive drug that is particularly dangerous due to its affordability and availability. Some people who become addicted to powder cocaine may find themselves resorting to crack as an inexpensive way to feed their dependence, a move that can exacerbate health risks and further progress their addiction.

How Addictive is Cocaine?

Cocaine is considered highly-addictive and one of the most habit-forming drugs in existence. Upon reaching the brain, cocaine alters the brain’s pathway and its production of specific chemicals related to pleasure. The person who uses it then associates these positive feelings with memories of their high, and as a result, begins to have cravings and wants to re-experience the sensation.

Cocaine, particularly crack cocaine, has been known to lead to addiction after just one use. The person abusing the cocaine may begin to neglect school, work or personal responsibilities in lieu of drug use. The restlessness and anxiety that tends to occur between uses can quickly become overpowering and lead to a loss of judgment.

As a result of that loss of judgment, some people deplete their finances as they actively pursue the next high. They may also rapidly develop a tolerance, which means that it takes a stronger dosage to achieve the desired euphoric effects. This behavior, if it continues, will eventually cost the person’s professional, financial, social, and emotional stability.

In addition to the destructive behavior that results from cocaine addiction, cocaine binge episodes can cause someone to lose track of how much they are using and place themselves, and others, at significant risk. A drug overdose is not an uncommon outcome of cocaine binging, and it can result in permanent damage or death.

Is Cocaine Physically Addictive?

Physical cocaine addiction may not always develop as quickly as other narcotics, such as heroin. However, psychological addiction and repeated exposure often pave the way for the development of severe physical dependence and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

The faster and more intensely the drug reaches the brain, the more susceptible a person is to developing abusive behaviors. For example, snorting cocaine takes longer to reach the brain than say, inhaling smoke or injecting. Those who smoke or inject it, therefore, have a higher risk of becoming dependent. This is also why crack use is often considered to be more likely to produce an addiction – this fact, however, does not make powder cocaine any less of a threat.

Signs of cocaine abuse include:

  • Excitability and talkativeness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Runny or bloody nose
  • Weight loss
  • Moodiness
  • Social isolation and increased need for privacy
  • Risky, impulsive behaviors
  • Increased confidence
  • Changes in sleeping and eating habits
  • White powder residue around nose or mouth
  • Burn marks on the hands or lips
  • Decline in hygiene habits
  • Financial or legal difficulties
  • Lack of interest in things that once brought enjoyment

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

There is no cure for cocaine addiction, but it can be effectively treated using a comprehensive approach that consists of a number of therapeutic modalities. These include psychotherapy, individual and family counseling, education, and group support. These treatments can be delivered in an inpatient (residential rehab) or outpatient format.

Our center employs caring medical providers who specialize in addiction and render these services to clients with professionalism and expertise. Treatment is customized to meet the needs of each client while placing their experience into the context of a whole solution.

We can help you reclaim your life and restore your sanity and wellness – contact us today to find out how!

Snorting Cocaine: What are the Risks?

Snorting Cocaine: What are the Risks? | Recovery in Tune

Snorting Cocaine: What are the Risks? – Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that despite having some potential for medical use is generally used illicitly. Powdered cocaine can be administered in several ways, but it’s most commonly snorted. Snorting coke can be detrimental to a person’s mental and physical well-being, and sudden death by heart attack or stroke is possible even after just one use.

People who regularly snort cocaine are at a heightened risk of developing an addiction. Prolonged use can result in severe inflammation and damage to the nasal cavity and mouth that may cause the nose to collapse or holes to form in the roof of the mouth.

What Happens When Someone Snorts Cocaine?

When a person snorts cocaine, fine powder penetrates the nose’s mucous membranes. Once the drug reaches the blood vessels in the nose, it takes just a few minutes to enter the brain. At this point, the user begins to experience a euphoric high and energetic rush that can last for up to 30 minutes.

During this time, cocaine constricts the blood vessels, and this decreased blood flow limits absorption of the drug. It also puts significant strain on the heart, however, and a runny or bloody nose may result.

Over time, the obstructed blood flow cocaine produces can permanently damage the fragile tissues inside the nose and other organs in the body.

Short-Term Effects of Snorting Cocaine

People use cocaine for its invigorating, excitatory effects. As a stimulant, cocaine increases heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and body temperature, making the user feel more energetic and alert.

As cocaine progresses through the veins, it sends the cardiovascular system into overdrive. Excitement and energy can rapidly give way to labored breathing, chest pain, sweating, and heart palpitations or arrhythmia. Cocaine abuse can result in heart attacks, strokes, seizures, coma, and death.

Other short-term side effects of snorting coke include the following:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Impotence
  • Restlessness and insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety, panic, or paranoia
  • Sneezing and nasal discomfort
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle twitching
  • Abdominal pain and nausea

Combining alcohol with cocaine is particularly risky. When a person drinks while snorting cocaine, a toxic byproduct (cocaethylene) is produced that is harmful to the liver and heart.

Snorting a combination of cocaine and heroin, a drug cocktail known as a speedball, is also extremely dangerous and significantly increases the risk of overdose and death.

Cocaine use impairs function in the regions of the brain involved in decision-making, and this can result in risky and impulsive actions. Some cocaine users exhibit bizarre, aggressive, and even violent behavior.

Long-Term Effects of Snorting Cocaine

Snorting Cocaine: What are the Risks? | Recovery in Tune

Habitual use of cocaine alters the way in which the brain deals with its continued presence. Cocaine is extremely addictive, and people who snort coke can rapidly develop a tolerance, and require increasing amounts of cocaine to achieve the desired high.

When someone who is dependent on cocaine stops abruptly, they will probably experience withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal, or a cocaine comedown, include depression, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, increased appetite, and sleeping difficulties.

Other long-term effects of snorting cocaine include the following:

  • Severe headaches
  • Seizures
  • Heart attack and heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Lung damage
  • Hallucinations
  • Sexual dysfunction and infertility

Long-term intranasal cocaine abuse can also lead to significant damage to the nose, mouth and nearby tissues.

When a person first begins abusing cocaine, she may suffer from a frequent stuffy/runny nose and nosebleeds. She may also experience recurrent sinus infections and a reduced sense of smell. These symptoms may easily be dismissed as inconsequential or allergies.

Snorting Coke Can Cause Nasal and Oral Deformities

Due to cocaine’s effect on blood constriction, snorting it decreases the flow of oxygen to tissues in the nose. As a person continues to snort cocaine, chronically low oxygen levels damage the lining of the nasal septum, which is the vascular wall that separates the left and right nostrils.

With little or no blood supply, the septal lining and underlying cartilage deteriorates and eventually dies. At this point, a hole may develop in the nasal septum, or the entire nose may collapse. Chronic coke users may exhibit “saddle nose,” a deformity in which the bridge of the nose collapses and the tip becomes broader and upturned. The person’s profile reveals that a nose that has taken on the shape of a saddle.

Cocaine users can also develop large holes in the roof of their mouth. When this occurs, a person will experience nasal regurgitation, in which food being consumed comes back out of their nose. These holes can be corrected by placing prosthetics at the site of the damaged bone and tissue.

Other symptoms of nasal injury from snorting cocaine include nose whistling, snoring, hoarseness and difficulty swallowing.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Although there are no medications currently indicated for cocaine addiction or withdrawal symptoms, it is still a very treatable condition that often begins with a medical detox and is closely followed by a transition to an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment program.

Our center offers comprehensive, evidence-based approaches such as behavioral therapy and counseling that are delivered by compassionate medical professionals and certified clinicians who specialize in addiction.

Please call us as soon as possible – we can help you reclaim your life and experience the happiness, wellness, and harmony you deserve!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT : Signs of Cocaine Addiction

How does Cocaine Addiction Treatment Work?

What is cocaine?

Cocaine is a highly addictive pain blocker that is extracted from the coca shrub that is native to the Andean highlands of South America, according to Medical News Today. Cocaine was used as a pain drug in the late 19th century. However, when the drug’s addictive qualities became better known by the medical community and as safer medications became available, cocaine ceased to be used in a clinical setting.

Cocaine is currently used as an illicit recreational drug. In powder form it is either inhaled, injected in a solution, or smoked. Powdered cocaine’s scientific name is cocaine hydrochloride (C17H21NO4). It is often diluted with other substances to allow the seller to make more profits. Crack cocaine is cocaine with the hydrochloride removed, making it easier to smoke. The effects of smoking crack are far more intense than using the powdered form but are also of shorter duration.

Why is cocaine so addictive?

The Foundation for a Drug-Free World reports that cocaine, next to crystal meth, creates the most psychological dependence of any recreational drug. The effect of using cocaine is the stimulation of the brain’s pleasure centers, which gives the user an intense sense of euphoria. However, tolerance for the drug develops quickly, which means that the addict has to use more and more of it to achieve the same high.

Besides an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes and the danger of over overdosing, cocaine addiction can increasingly take over the user’s life. The user becomes desperate to achieve the next high, sometimes resorting to criminal activity to pay for the addiction.

Treatment for cocaine addiction

The National Institute for Drug Abuse notes that there is currently no approved pharmaceutical method for cocaine addiction treatment. Research and development are proceeding apace to develop drugs that can help to mitigate cocaine addiction. “–disulfiram (used to treat alcoholism) has produced the most consistent reductions in cocaine abuse.” In the meantime, researchers are looking at how cocaine addiction affects the human brain to develop compounds to treat the condition. Finally, the development of a cocaine vaccine, which blocks the entry of the drug to the brain, holds great promise in preventing relapse once the addict has gone through treatment.

In the meantime, cocaine addiction treatment is performed by behavior modification techniques.

One effective form of treatment involves motivational incentives. The addict is provided incentives as a reward for reducing or stopping the use of cocaine. For example, in exchange for a drug-free urine test, the rehab patient is given points that can be exchanged for rewards, such as gym memberships, movie tickets, and dinners at local eateries. The idea is that even a small reward will provide an extra motivation for the addict to stay in treatment and avoid using cocaine.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is another approach to preventing patients from relapsing. The theory behind CBT is that drug addiction is a learned behavior. By extension, avoiding drug abuse is also a learned behavior. CBT helps rehab patients recognize and avoid situations in which they would be more likely to use. The patients are also taught to cope with such situations when they become unavoidable.

The therapeutic communities (TCs) approach involves the patient staying at a rehab facility for a six-month to one-year period. The programs included in the TCs approach include vocational rehabilitation and the teaching of skills to reintegrate into society once treatment is concluded.

Finally, the patient struggling with cocaine addiction can join a community-based recovery group. Just as there is an Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous is available to help the addict with a 12-step program. Such a group can often be of great help with mutual support and sharing experiences with other members.

For more information contact us.