Commonly known as “coke”, “white”, “packet”, “yayo” or by some other street names, cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant derived from the coca plant which generally comes in the form of a white powder.
When sniffed it produces instant feelings of euphoria, high octane energy levels, confidence, increased libido and perceptions of clarity, which begin immediately after consumption and can last for up to 45mins
Despite its comparatively high cost, it is the second-most-commonly consumed illegal drug in the UK (after cannabis) – according to a 2016 United Nations report, England and Wales have the highest rate of cocaine usage anywhere in the world, with 2.4% of all adults using cocaine annually
Some of the most apparent signs of cocaine abuse may include:
Cocaine is one of the most expensive drugs available on the market, and users can consume significant quantities in binges, financial problems may result, along with stressed relationships with partners, family and friends.
As cocaine abuse grows more frequent and increases in quantity, perhaps resulting in addiction, a user is likely to display significant behavioural symptoms including markedly increased levels of aggression, emotional volatility, severe agitation if s/he cannot obtain the drug, changes in sexual behaviour, insomnia and a lack of empathy.
Small quantities of cocaine taken infrequently are unlikely to lead to long-term problems (though even one does could prove fatal for those with pre-existing conditions). However, protracted and massive cocaine abuse and dependency will almost certainly lead to serious health consequences, both physical and mental, which may eventually prove fatal if the user is unable to break the addiction.
Cocaine use places increased strain upon the heart as it increases the heart rate (and disrupts the user’s normal biorhythms). Over the long-term, this can lead to heart muscle damage and inflammation, including cardiomyopathy (the destruction of cells in the structure of the heart) which in turn can lead to heart attacks, arrhythmia and tearing of primary blood vessels, which can all result in death.
Damage to blood vessels can also increase the risk of stroke and brain damage. Cocaine is also associated with damage to other organs including the kidneys; this can be greatly exacerbated when cocaine is consumed in conjunction with alcohol, as the two substances interact to produce dangerous toxins within the body.
Less potentially fatal – though still unpleasant – physical effects include damage to the nasal septum and throat from repeated snorting of the drug; skin conditions (especially around the nose) and dental/oral problems (from eating the drug or rubbing it into the gums).
Regular/long-term cocaine abuse can lead to an alteration of the chemistry of the brain, with resultant psychological and behavioural consequences. A user may find him/herself unable to reason and to make many questionable decisions (which can increase the risk of accidents and damage to other people, as well as the danger of exposure to sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS).
In the most severe cases, psychosis can develop, along with intense paranoia and an inability to relate to loved ones, friends and colleagues. Cocaine has also been linked with the development of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and insomnia.
Suicidal ideation has been known to result from cocaine addiction, especially when the dependency has had a significant negative impact on the addict’s personal, professional and financial life.
Next: Cocaine detox & rehab
Over the long term, cocaine affects brain transmitters and receptors to the extent that the brain becomes used to the presence of cocaine – in other words, develops a tolerance for it – and accordingly changes its production of chemicals including dopamine and serotonin (responsible for, among other things, feelings of pleasure and happiness).
The sudden absence of the drug means that those chemicals are in short supply, leading to dysphoria and depression and hence cravings for more cocaine – which may be intense, leading the addict to feel that they must do anything necessary to obtain the drug.
Because of the drug’s highly addictive nature and universal availability, many users are unable to break the habit without professional intervention, especially when suffering from extreme cravings and other unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Furthermore, rehab includes a variety of therapies addressing the root causes of an addiction, and support groups, without which an addict may return to their pattern of substance abuse even months or years after giving up cocaine.
We specialise in providing tailored detox & rehab programmes to the client with dedicated family support. Cocaine addiction rarely affects just the individual, and we appreciate that this can be a stressful time for all those concerned. If you have any questions regarding cocaine rehab, treatment needs, locations and cost – we can answer them!