Cocaine is a dangerous addictive drug that is most commonly used in a white powder form. The drug can be snorted, injected, or smoked, and immediately affects the central nervous system. It specifically alters the brain’s processing of dopamine, a chemical that is associated with movement and pleasure.
Immediately after ingestion, the user may experience dilated pupils, increased body temperature, constricted blood vessels, and a higher blood pressure and heart rate. In the timeframe of about 30 minutes after the drug is taken, the user may feel more alert and energetic. They are hyperstimulated and may feel restless or anxious during this time.
Since cocaine is a very addictive drug, repeated use is common. A user will develop a resistance to the drug after multiple uses, and must ingest more of it each time to reach the same “high” that they experienced before. As users take increasing amounts of the drug, they increase the possibility of doing irreversible damage to their bodies.
Long-term cocaine use damages the heart and brain, as well as other parts of the body. Repeated use can cause an irregular heartbeat or a heart attack. It may also be responsible for chest pain and complications in the lungs such as respiratory failure. The risk of a stroke increases with continual cocaine ingestion, and it may lead to seizures and headaches.
A user of cocaine may also lose weight and become malnourished because cocaine decreases appetite. The different methods of taking cocaine, snorting, ingesting, and injecting, all have different negative effects as well. Snorting cocaine can lead to a chronically runny nose and frequent nosebleeds. It can also cause loss of smell and problems swallowing.
Ingesting cocaine can cause severe bowel gangrene because the blood flow to the intestines is hampered. When the drug is injected, the user may develop severe allergic reactions. They are also at a much higher risk of contracting HIV, Hepatitis, and other diseases that are transmitted by blood. If the user does not use clean needles when administering the drug, the chances of contracting blood-borne diseases are even higher.
When a user stops using the drug, they experience a “crash” that may include depression, fatigue, anxiety, and a craving for more cocaine. Withdrawal symptoms may also include irritability and sleepiness.
Cocaine is a very dangerous drug that interferes with vital functions of the body in the long run. Repeated ingestion is harmful to the heart and brain, and causes an addiction that is hard to break.