Drug addiction has been one of the most worrying problems in the world. The number of addicts is increasing day by day instead of decreasing. Many rehabilitation centres have been opened to solve the problem, but the number continues to rise.
One of the most commonly used drugs by addicts is cocaine. Cocaine is commonly known as crack, cocaine and many other street names. At the end of the last decade, the number of drug addicts in the United States of America alone was about 1.5 million. This number has increased dramatically in the last decade.
Initially, cocaine was used for medicinal purposes. It was used as an anaesthetic during surgery. But now it has been classified as a schedule 2-drug, which means it has a high level of abuse. However, its use for medical purposes is still allowed.
Cocaine acts as a stimulant for the brain that gives pleasure. It relieves the user from feeling pain or fatigue. People usually start using it as a fun activity, but gradually it becomes a habit and eventually becomes an addiction.
People may not be aware of the physical damage that cocaine use causes apart from disrupting society. Cocaine acts directly on the brain. Therefore, it damages all activities of the brain and that certainly means all activities, since the brain controls all systems of the body.
With repeated exposure to cocaine, the brain begins to adapt, making the reward pathway less sensitive to natural reinforcements. At the same time, the circuits involved in stress become increasingly sensitive, leading to an increase in sadness and negative mood when the drug is not used, there are withdrawal symptoms. These combined effects cause the user to focus on the pursuit of the drug rather than relationships, food, or other natural rewards.
With regular use, tolerance may develop, such that higher doses, more frequent use of cocaine, or both are required to produce the same level of pleasure and relief from the withdrawal syndrome initially experienced. At the same time, users may find that less cocaine is needed to produce anxiety, seizures, or other toxic effects. Tolerance to cocaine’s rewards and awareness of its toxicity may increase the risk of regular overdose.
Consumers use cocaine during binge-eating episodes in which cocaine is consumed repeatedly and in increasingly higher doses. This can lead to increased irritability, agitation, panic attacks, paranoia, and even total psychosis, in which the person loses touch with reality and experiences auditory hallucinations. The risk of adverse psychological or physiological effects increases with the increasing dosage or frequency of use. Animal studies suggest that excessive cocaine use during adolescence increases susceptibility to the rewarding effects of cocaine and MDMA (ecstasy or molly).
Certain routes of administration of cocaine can have their own side effects. Regular snorting of cocaine can cause loss of smell, nosebleeds, difficulty in swallowing, hoarseness and general irritation of the nasal septum, leading to chronic inflammation and a runny nose. Crack smoking damages the lungs and can aggravate asthma develop puncture marks, called fingerprints, usually on the forearms and are at risk for infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C. They may also have allergic reactions to both the drug itself and the additives in street cocaine, which in severe cases can lead to death.
Cocaine damages many other organs in the body. It reduces blood flow in the gastrointestinal tract, which can lead to cuts and ulcers. Many chronic cocaine users lose their appetite and suffer from significant weight loss and malnutrition. Cocaine has significant and known toxic effects on the heart and cardiovascular system. Chest pain resembling a heart attack is common, sending many cocaine users to the emergency room. Cocaine use is associated with an increased risk of stroke as well as myocarditis, impaired cardiac contractility and aortic rupture.
In addition to the increased risk of stroke and seizures, other neurological problems may occur with long-term cocaine use. Intracerebral haemorrhage or bleeding in the brain and balloon-like swelling has been reported of blood vessels in the brain. Movement Disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, may also occur after long-term cocaine use. In general, studies suggest that a variety of cognitive functions are affected by long-term cocaine use. B. Maintenance of attention, inhibition of impulses, memory, decision making with reward or punishment and performance of motor tasks.
Former cocaine users are at higher risk of relapse, even after prolonged abstinence. Research has found that during withdrawal, the memory of the cocaine experience or exposure to signs associated with drug use can trigger strong cravings, which can lead to relapse.
The short-term physical effects that cocaine can cause are decreased appetite, increased heart rate and blood pressure and constriction of blood vessels. It can also cause a toxic reaction if you take too much.
There are thought to be affected on a newborn baby if a pregnant woman uses cocaine during pregnancy. Cocaine can cause many long-term physical damages. A continuous user becomes a violent person. They also develop confusion with regard to everything. There are many mental illnesses they can have, such as paranoia. A person starts losing weight because they don’t want to eat and lose their appetite. They become an insomniac. Long-term cocaine use severely damages blood vessels, which can also lead to a stroke or heart attack. It can cause a heart attack because cocaine causes chest pain and raises blood pressure. Another very shocking fact is that a cocaine user can get AIDS by sharing the needles used to inject cocaine.
One study showed that cocaine lowers the PSD-95 protein level in the brain, which is responsible for long-term learning and memory. Thus, a cocaine user may lose memory or learning ability.