Whether snorted, eaten, injected or smoked, cocaine is potentially deadly and no one can predict a fatal dose. Here are some perils of long-term, unresolved cocaine addiction and even short-term abuse in some cases.
- Necrosis in nasal tissue. Snorted cocaine causes constriction of blood vessels; too much constriction means that tissue is being deprived of oxygen, which can lead to cell death.
- Arrhythmia, heart attack and stroke. Cocaine puts an enormous burden on your cardiovascular system, dramatically elevating a user’s heart rate. Even recovered addicts face a likelihood of heart attack seven times higher than the average person. Risk of heart attack is substantially more elevated in the hours after taking a dose of cocaine.
- Respiratory failure.
- Kidney damage failure.
- Serious infection or contraction of HIV/AIDS from contaminated needles.
- Circulatory embolism from insoluble elements cutting the injected cocaine.
Cocaine is seen by many especially wannabe high flyers – as a hip, glamorous drug but true addicts are not burdened by those delusions, as they desperately focused on how to score their next fix.
Here are some ways to recognize cocaine addiction.
Constantly runny nose. Snorting cocaine can lead to rhinitis, a fancy term for the inflammation of the nasal membranes. Consequently, people who snort cocaine often have an uncontrollably runny nose. In addition to runniness, addicts often suffer nosebleeds or even a loss of their sense of smell.
Pronounced fluctuations in mood and energy levels. When high on cocaine, an addict experiences a rush characterized by hyperactive tendencies, euphoria (as mentioned above), fidgetiness and elevated heart rate. Cocaine highs produce these effects in varying length and amplitude, depending upon how the cocaine is ingested.
But cocaine abuse physically alters the brain’s ability to register pleasure by any other means than gradually escalating doses of the drug. Inevitably, the high gives way to an equally powerful low, characterized by irritability, lethargy and depression.
Sleeping problems. Cocaine addiction can lead to insomnia or oversleeping.
Paranoia and psychosis. Chronic abuse of cocaine can cause the user to become paranoid and anxiety-ridden or even spiral into hallucination and psychotic episodes.
Sexual clues. Cocaine users often report heightened libido, but cocaine abuse can also cause erectile dysfunction and impotence.
Grinding teeth. There’s even a term for compulsive tooth grinding – “bruxism.” This nervous tendency is a common consequence of smoking cocaine.
Short breath. Someone who smokes crack may suffer from shortness of breath due to lung damage from the smoke. No matter how it is ingested, cocaine raises your heart rate enough that, to keep enough oxygen pumping through the veins, a person often feels shortness of breath.
Hot and cold flashes. Cocaine abuse compromises our ability to regulate body temperature.
Weight loss. Cocaine acts as an appetite suppressant, to such an extent that some addicts ultimately suffer from malnutrition.
Needle tracks. A cocaine addict who injects the drug intravenously typically has a track of needle pricks visible on the forearm. Addicts often resort to wearing long-sleeved shirts even on ridiculously hot days in their efforts to hide the evidence of their cocaine addiction.
These observable characteristics do not necessarily indicate addiction to cocaine, but where several of the observations can be made, cocaine addiction is a distinct possibility. Successful treatment is an individualised process, but the first step is identifying the problem and encouraging the addict to find help.
Mr Monkey wonders if bloggers recognise any of the above signs, in thier local councillor perhaps?