Causes and Effects of Cocaine Addiction

November 9, 2011
Cocaine can cause heart arrhythmia and sudden death in a completely normal, healthy young person. There are both short and long term effects, caused by the use of cocaine, these including both physical and physiological effects. Cocaine gives you a euphoric effect where you feel like you’re on top of the world. But when you look at the effects of this drug, the temporary euphoric feeling is far from worth it. It can cause major heart, and brain problems, and sometimes resulting in death.
Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that directly effects the brain. It is one of the oldest, well-known drugs around. It is a pure chemical called cocaine hydrochloride, and has been an abused substance for more than 100 years. It was first used in many tonics/elixirs that were developed to treat a wide variety of illnesses. Now, cocaine is a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse. There are basically two chemical forms of cocaine: The hydrochloride salt and the “freebase”. The hydrochloride salt, or powdered form of cocaine, dissolves in water and, when abused can be taken by vein or through the nose. Freebase refers to a compound that has not been neutralized by an acid to make the hydrochloride salt (What Is Cocaine?). There are many street names for cocaine, such as “blow”, “yay”, ”coke”, “snow”, and “white girl”.

One of the major areas affected by cocaine addicts and users is the heart. Whether snorted, smoked or injected – affects the heart by causing increased or irregular heartbeat and constricted blood vessels. These conditions can lead to several serious or even fatal outcomes. One of those possibilities is a heart attack, cardiac arrest and sudden death. Another, Myocarditis, or heart muscle damage leading to heart failure. Theres also Endocarditis, or inflammation of the heart lining. Vascular thrombosis, or clots in the coronary arteries. Pulmonary Edema, or fluid in the lungs. And Dilared Cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart (Cocaine and the Heart). Cocaine rapidly increases your heart rate when used, and the more you abuse this drug, the worse the effects will be on you. These are all of the serious or fatal affects that cocaine can have on your heart, and this is only the beginning of it.

Cocaine has both short and long term effects. Some of the short term physical effects are fast heartbeat and breathing, increases in blood pressure and body temperature, erratic or violent behavior, blurred vision, chest pain, nausea, fever, muscle spasms, convulsions and death from convulsions, heart failure or brain failure. These side effects can appear almost immediately after a single dose, and disappear anywhere between a few minutes, or hours. Another major effect of this drug is the price. This drug is very expensive and for addicts it can break the bank. For addicts that use 2-3 grams a week, it can cost around $200. The worst thing about this drug is that, once you start using, every 20-25 minutes you need more to keep the feeling (Cocaine). This means, more cocaine, and more money. Taken in small amounts(up to 100mg) cocaine usually makes the user feel euphoric, energetic, talkative, and mentally alert. It can also temporarily decrease the temptation for food or sleep. Some short term physiological effects of cocaine include constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils, and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Large amounts of cocaine can result in bizarre, erratic, and violent behavior. The users may experience tremors, muscle twitches, or paranoia (Cocaine, Marijuana, and Other Drugs). Long term effects include more serious conditions, such as addiction, irritability and mood disturbances, restlessness, paranoia and auditory hallucinations. In some cases, this can be fatal. Some signs of serious problems are chest pains, nausea, and abdominal pain. This could possibly be an early sign of an oncoming heart attack. Since the drug rapidly increases the heart rate, there can be a lot of different serious problems with the heart and brain that may not be that easy to treat. If you suspect someone you know possibly using cocaine on a regular basis, you can look for a few warning signs such as bloodshot eyes, a runny nose or frequent sniffing, a change in eating and sleeping patterns, a change in groups of friends, depression, and losing interest in things such as school and family, which used to be important but now the drugs are more important (Cocaine Effects).

Cocaine addicts should seek treatment as soon as possible to avoid these effects on the body and life of the user. There is no quick fix to get over the addiction of cocaine, and only time can heal. The most effective way to help with addiction is to first, get away from it. The user should stop hanging around with their group of friends who also uses cocaine, and start making new friends who aren’t drug users. Next, the user should seek help from other users trying to stop. Such as a support group, like Cocaine Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. These programs can help addicts attain long term abstinence. They provide the tools and support groups to help deal with serious addictions (Cocaine Information and Treatment). Addicts also require support from family and friends, to know that they care and that getting their old life back, before the drugs, is what everyone else wants too.

Cocaine addiction is a very serious problem. Simple things such as hanging around with the wrong people, can cause lifelong addiction and effects on every aspect of your life. Just by doing this drug a few times you can become addicted for life, which can cause a loss of the user’s family, friends, health job, and most of all, money. To keep your body healthy and your life on track, never start doing this drug in the first place, because the effects are far from worth it.





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