04 October 2016

The Effects of a Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is an extremely powerful and highly addictive drug that increases the release of dopamine from the brain; this is what produces the ‘high’ feeling that comes with the substance abuse. Those who suffer from a cocaine addiction will know all too well that this harmful substance only provides a short-lived euphoric feeling, which is usually followed by an extreme comedown. Those who are addicted to cocaine will often keep abusing the drug so that they do not have to experience this come-down. In this blog post, we will discuss the effects of cocaine as well as the risks that come with it.

Different Forms of Cocaine

Cocaine is a substance that can come in various forms:

  • Crack cocaine is a rock-like form of the drug that can be smoked, meaning that the drug can reach the brain extremely quickly. The effects of crack cocaine are almost immediate; it peaks for around two minutes and lasts for roughly only ten minutes.
  • Freebase cocaine is a powdered form of cocaine that has been prepared for smoking.
  • Powder cocaine which is snorted gets to the brain more slowly. When snorting cocaine, it takes longer to peak but the effects still only last approximately thirty minutes.

Side Effects

Although cocaine may seem appealing to many due to the perceived positive effects it can have on mood, once these feelings of pleasure cease, the user could experience a whole host of side effects, including:

  • anxiety
  • paranoia
  • irritability

Although these behavioural changes are noticeable, there are some long-term consequences as well. A few of these are:

  • severe allergic reactions
  • stroke
  • heart attack
  • respiratory problems
  • digestive problems

Turning Life Around After a Cocaine Addiction

One famous Hollywood A-lister who knows the effects of cocaine all too well is Mark Wahlberg. He had developed a cocaine addiction by the age of just thirteen. His addiction had caused him to have one too many bust-ups, and he was eventually jailed for forty-five days.

Upon release, he vowed to change his life for good. He found religion, and now he is a devoted Catholic who goes to mass and prays nearly every day. He has not used cocaine since finding God and has confidently said that he will never touch the deadly substance ever again.

Many people like Mark have turned their lives around after a drug addiction, but to successfully do so, the individual needs to commit to recovery fully. This can prove to be very challenging for anyone with a cocaine addiction; however, once the initial withdrawal symptoms have stopped, and with the right support, it does get easier.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Cocaine withdrawal produces a range of extremely unpleasant side effects. Usually, these side effects only last for around one or two weeks. They can include:

  • tremors
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • body aches
  • intense cravings

In many cases, the addict will continually abuse the drug to avoid having to face withdrawal. For many cocaine addiction sufferers, the withdrawal symptoms are what actually stops them from trying to quit. Obviously, dealing with the withdrawal symptoms will be hard work, but getting into recovery is definitely worth it in the end.

Possible Causes of a Cocaine Addiction

Many different factors –biological, genetic, environmental, psychological, and more – can all work together and cause a cocaine addiction to develop in certain individuals. Interestingly, experts have come up some theories, which we will list below:

  • Biological factors such as changes in the physical structure of the brain have been linked with addiction problems. When dopamine levels are quite low, the person may abuse drugs to feel pleasure.
  • It has been highlighted that individuals that come from an unstable background are at greater risk of developing an addiction. Traumatic past events such as the death of a loved one or physical/sexual abuse can also have a significant impact.
  • Those who have a relative with an addiction are more likely to develop an addiction when compared to someone who does not have any genetic links with an addict. The chances are higher if the relative is a parent.

What Happens If You Are Caught in Possession of Cocaine?

If you are caught by police in possession of cocaine, some form of action will be taken against you, whether this is a formal caution or an arrest and prosecution. You will never get away lightly if caught with the substance.

Convictions for drug-related offences can have an enormous impact on a person’s life moving forward. For example, he or she can be denied entry to some countries, such as the United States, for instance. It would also limit the choice of job that the affected individual could apply for, and it would stay on the person’s record permanently.

In conclusion, a cocaine addiction is a very difficult situation to get yourself out of. There are many side effects that can have serious consequences on your life going forward; even knowing this, many still choose to abuse this harmful substance. If you think you or a loved one is suffering from a cocaine addiction, contact us today at UKAT for free advice and information on your next steps.

Source: Mark Wahlberg’s redemption from teen delinquent to Hollywood power player (Evening Standard)

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