Cocaine is a type of a stimulant drug, which can be very addictive. It is extracted from the leaves of Erythroxylon coca. When it was discovered in the 1800s, the substance was typically used as a painkiller or local anesthetic. At present, cocaine is used to relieve the pain of young children that have small lacerations, which may require stitches or surgical procedures. Older people are also prescribed with this drug when they have severe nosebleeds that cannot be controlled with constant pressure.
Some individuals, though, use cocaine inappropriately. They also become addicted to the drug because they experience a sudden rush and euphoric feeling by taking it. However, this feeling never lasts, and it is often replaced by a multitude of negative health effects and psychological problems.
When the drug enters the body, it interferes with the production and re-absorption of dopamine. This brain chemical is linked with movement and pleasure, and an excess of dopamine leads to an euphoric feeling. After the body receives a certain dosage of cocaine, the person may experience the following symptoms:
The "high" feeling after using cocaine usually lasts up to 30 minutes. The person may feel mentally alert, elated, restless and irritable. Some users may also become very anxious and nervous without any reason.
There are people who may crave for more dosage of the drug, which is called a cocaine binge. This happens when users want to experience more of the effect that cocaine brings. These individuals are likely to become more paranoid, irritable and restless. They may also end up feeling paranoid and suffer from auditory and visual hallucinations.
The long-term effects of the drug can cause a person to suffer from numerous health problems. For instance, they may undergo heart attack, palpitations, irregular heartbeat, respiratory failure, chest pains, seizures, and abdominal pains.
Overdose from cocaine can lead to life-threatening effects. Since the drug is a stimulant, it can cause serious effects on all body organs. The substance can cause complications on the brain, lungs, and heart. Pregnant women, for instance, are likely to cause negative effects on their unborn child when they use the drug during this stage in their life. Cocaine can lead to spontaneous abortions and congenital abnormalities.
There are many ways that can be used in detecting drug overdose among patients. Urine and drug screening are some ways that can help medical specialists determine if a person has taken too much of the drug. In addition, some signs and symptoms are linked with cocaine overdose such as the following:
Heart attack and chest pains are common among individuals who suffer from cocaine abuse. The drug leads to spasm of the arteries, which supply the heart muscle with blood. However, a disruption in the functions of the circulatory system can lead to a lethal heart rhythm. When this happens, a person may die immediately due to insufficient blood flow in the heart.
Other possible complications of cocaine overdose and abuse include kidney failure, pneumonia, clotting of the veins, fever, stroke, infections, liver hepatitis, HIV, and other blood-borne diseases due to the sharing of needles.
Psychological dependence is the primary cause of the illegal use of cocaine. Whether the drug is snorted, smoked, or injected, the substance causes a person to feel elated and high, and this may last for hours. However, the sudden rush is only a short-lived feeling, and this is often followed by a period of depression. This sinking feeling motivates a person to have more dosage of the drug, so they can maintain the high feeling.
Those who decide to stop using cocaine are up to a series of withdrawal symptoms. For instance, they may experience fatigue, anxiety, sleepiness, irritability, depression, and intense craving for the drug. Others may suffer from physical pain and discomfort including tremors, chills, and nausea. They may also have some trouble focusing or performing their daily routines and tasks because of their preoccupation with cocaine.