Cocaine is a dangerous drug that must be treated carefully and properly. It's also one of the most highly trafficked illegal drugs in the world and seizures of cocaine have continued to increase over the years. In the U.S. alone, around 35 million Americans aged 12 and older have reported using cocaine at least once in their lives. It's also one of the drugs most frequently mentioned to the Drug Abuse Warning Network by hospitals around the country.
Cocaine, a strong central nervous system stimulant, works by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in brain circuits regulating pleasure and movement. In most circumstances, neurons in our brain regulate the amount of dopamine it releases by discharging it in spurts and then recycle it back into the cells it came from. Cocaine prevents this process from taking place resulting in an excessive amounts of dopamine to build up in the synapse or the junction between neurons. This causes disrupts the brain's communication and causes the person to feel intense, short term euphoria, energy and talkativeness.
The long-term outlook for the victim can often be deadly. In exchange for feeling short term pleasure, they often become addicted as they try but fail to achieve the same satisfaction from the first time they got high. To do this, they increase the dosage.
Instead of achieving the high, they increase the risk of suffering from adverse psychological and physiological health risks. These include, but are not limited to the following:
- Increased talkativeness
- Uptick in energy
- Steal or borrow money to pay for drugs
- Erratic mood swings
- Abandon old hobbies
- Muscle twitches
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Constriction of blood vessels
- Increased body temperature
While these are all extremely serious conditions, things get worse. Addicts can also suffer strokes and heart attacks, which may cause death. From 2001 to 2013 there was nearly a 30 percent increase in the total number of deaths from cocaine.
If you know a person who is struggling with cocaine addiction call Fairwinds Treatment Center. Founded 25 years ago by Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef, our staff of full-time psychiatrist, nursing professionals and licensed therapists uses a Dual Diagnosis method to treat patients with alcoholism and other addictions.
Dual Diagnosis combines clinical treatment and therapeutic counseling to identify the underlying reasons for addiction and resolve the psychological triggers to prevent relapse.