Cocaine is one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs currently being abused. Despite the well-known dangers cocaine abuse exhibits, it remains the second most commonly abused drug in the world behind only marijuana. Cocaine is an alkaloid extracted from coca shrubs indigenous to South America that has a long history of both medical and recreational use.
Cocaine is used recreationally for its intense euphoric and stimulant high in which it produces when insufflated or injected. Here we break down some of the long-term consequences commonly seen in cocaine addiction.
Changes to the brain’s reward pathway
Cocaine essentially hijacks our brain’s own reward pathway, and causes it to flood with dopamine. Repeatedly doing this, however, causes the brain to try and counteract the drug abuse by changing its own chemistry. These changes lead to cocaine dependency and are responsible for cocaine addiction being so powerful.
Long-term cocaine abuse leads to tolerance to the drug’s effects. In other words, the user needs to use more cocaine to have the same desired effect as before. Using greater quantities of the drug, however, causes the unwanted side effects to be exponentially increased.
Long-term cocaine use can cause problems to the nasal cavity, most notably of which is a deviated-septum. The septum is what separates our nose into two chambers. Long-term cocaine use can cause an erosion of the septum, thus forming a hole in between the two chambers. This can lead to a host of other problems such as infections, discomfort, and more.
Cocaine is notoriously expensive, even gaining the nicknames “the white collar drug” and the “rich man’s drug”. Cocaine dependence and addiction often leads to great financial strain over the long-term, and is often a deciding factor in forcing people to stop.
Cocaine acts as a stimulant, giving the user a tremendous sense of energy. Unfortunately, this is coupled with great strain on the heart and increased blood pressure. Long-term cocaine abuse can ultimately lead to cardiovascular disease and even heart attacks.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.