Author: James Anderson

Cocaine Crack: What It Is, Side Effects, Risks, Withdrawal & Recovery Insights

cocaine health risks

Instead of using baking soda as you would with crack, you add ammonia to “free” the cocaine base from its natural form. It’s most often smoked in a pipe in the same way as crack. For this reason, you might hear the terms “crack” and “freebase” used interchangeably. Research indicates that cocaine use can significantly increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. An overdose of cocaine can lead to seizures, life-threatening heart failure, cerebral hemorrhage, stroke, and respiratory failure.

It’s important to spot the symptoms of overdose and get help immediately. Symptoms include a high heart rate and blood pressure, seizures, hallucinations, and trouble breathing. Counseling and other types of therapy are the most common treatments for cocaine use disorder. Sessions with a trained therapist can help you make changes to your behaviors and thought processes.

When you snort it, it takes slightly longer to feel the effects. The 2021 survey found no differences in rates of cocaine use among different ethnic and racial groups in the U.S. A cocaine binge is when someone uses cocaine repeatedly in higher and higher doses.

More on Substance Abuse and Addiction

People there have chewed and eaten coca leaves for thousands of years to help them stay alert and lessen their appetites. Cocaethylene prolongs the euphoric effects of cocaine and makes them more intense. The basal ganglia, a part of the brain that houses the reward system, was found to be larger among individuals who were dependent on cocaine. Some studies have shown that those who inject or smoke cocaine have a greater risk of complications than individuals who snort it.

cocaine health risks

Smokers tend to develop an addiction more rapidly than those who snort. Regular usage, even without overdosing, increases the risk of negative health consequences. People who are addicted may eventually prefer taking cocaine to any other activity. Their lifestyles may alter completely as the addiction takes hold. As the medical profession came to realize that cocaine was addictive, safer anesthetics were developed.

She is passionate about using this knowledge to raise awareness, provide clear and accurate information, and to improve the quality of treatment for these disorders. As a result, when cocaine is absent from the body’s system, a person accustomed to using cocaine becomes increasingly unhappy and experiences extreme mood swings. Treatment focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

How it feels

Normal amounts of dopamine can make us feel happy, alert and focused. Large amounts may make us feel powerful, euphoric and filled with energy. When people use cocaine, their brains release lots of dopamine. But that cocaine-driven dopamine release or rush fades quickly, leaving them wanting more of those feelings — and the drug. As people keep on using cocaine, their brains get used to the huge overstimulation and they need stronger, more frequent doses. This makes you compulsively crave or use substances like cocaine.

  1. But the most significant effect is how cocaine use changes people’s brains, setting the stage for cocaine addiction (cocaine use disorder).
  2. The effects of smoking crack are even shorter lasting, around 10 minutes, with the peak lasting for about two minutes after smoking it.
  3. While most cocaine users describe an intense euphoric feeling immediately after using the drug, there are some negative symptoms that can develop as well.
  4. At the same time, you might develop what’s called sensitization to the drug.
  5. It can affect your heart, brain, lungs, gut, and kidneys as well as your emotional health and daily life — especially if you become addicted.

Using cocaine during pregnancy can cause problems for both the parent and the developing baby. These unpleasant effects often make you want to use the drug again. Individuals who stop using the drug will have powerful cravings that can last for years. Depending on the nature of the abuse, some patients who seek help will be advised to attend a residential rehabilitation program, or a structured day program.

If you think someone you love is using cocaine, encourage them to seek help. Ask a healthcare provider about programs and services for people affected by another person’s cocaine use. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that’s extracted and processed from coca plant leaves in South America. Healthcare providers may occasionally use cocaine as anesthesia. More commonly, people use cocaine to boost feelings like being energized, happy and alert.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Powdered coke and crack can be prepared to make a solution for injecting, which is much more dangerous than snorting or smoking cocaine. The FDA hasn’t approved any medicine to treat cocaine addiction. But there are a few medication options doctors are having some success with.

The most important part of any treatment plan is to give up the drug right away. Many people who are addicted to cocaine go through a phase called withdrawal when they first do this. Withdrawal can be difficult, so it may be best to do it with the help of a medical professional. With cocaine use disorder, you may become both physically and mentally dependent on the drug. If you stop using it, you’ll likely have withdrawal symptoms. Even if you stop using it for a long time, you could still have cravings for the drug.