Dangers of snorting cocaine
Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug. It can be ingested in various ways, but the most popular is snorting cocaine in a powdered form. While snorting cocaine induces a desired high, the method of ingestion comes with an array of adverse side effects and risks, both physically and mentally.
What Is cocaine?
Cocaine is one of the oldest known drugs. Derived from a coca plant that originates in South America, the drug has been used for thousands of years. Originally, cocaine was utilized in the medical field for its anesthetic properties, until less dangerous and more effective drugs were discovered.
With its decline of practicality in modern medicine, recreational cocaine use gained popularity in the 80s and 90s for the desired euphoric high that it induced. There are two chemical forms of cocaine; the ‘freebase’ and the hydrochloride salt. Freebase refers to the form that has not been neutralized by acid and is typically smokeable, also known as crack cocaine. Hydrochloride salt (a powdered form of cocaine) can dissolve in water and is usually snorted or injected.
Commonly referred to as ‘coke’, ‘blow’, or ‘snow’, cocaine typically comes in a white powder form. Street dealers often mix the substance with other substances, such as talcum powder or corn starch, in an attempt to increase profits. There is the possibility that dealers could also mix cocaine with other drugs, including synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Cocaine users are often unaware of what they are buying and do not realize that it is often cut with dangerous additives, increasing the risk of users experiencing serious health consequences.
Cocaine works by increasing levels of dopamine in the brain; a natural chemical messenger that is related to our reward system. Our bodies naturally create and release dopamine when engaging in certain activities that make us feel good. Usually, dopamine is then recycled back into the cell that originally released it. However, cocaine prohibits this from happening, resulting in a build-up of dopamine. This interaction makes a user feel euphoric and the effects are present after only a few minutes.
How Do People Use Cocaine?
Cocaine can be ingested in a number of ways. The most popular way of taking the drug is by snorting the substance. Snorting cocaine involves inhaling the powder form through the nose, here it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to the brain.
Many cocaine users snort cocaine because the high lasts longer than other forms of administration, typically, the high can last anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes. However, because of the short-lived high, many cocaine users take repeated doses over a short period of time in order to maintain a steady and lasting high, this form of drug taking is also known as a binge.
Other methods of taking cocaine involve rubbing it into the gums or dissolving the powder to inject it directly into the bloodstream. Another popular method is smoking cocaine, a crystalized version of the drug, also known as freebase cocaine or crack. The crystal is heated to produce a cocaine powder that can be inhaled into the lungs.
What Are the Effects of Cocaine Use?
Substance abuse of any kind comes with an array of short and long-term effects and possible health risks. The common danger of cocaine abuse is the development of dependency and addiction. While snorting cocaine induces a short-lived euphoric high, repeated use can result in addiction due to the effects of cocaine use on the brain. The increase in dopamine activity causes the brain to associate cocaine with positive reinforcement which entices users to take more of the substance. Over time, people who use cocaine compulsively take the drug despite negative consequences to their lives.
Short-Term Effects of Cocaine
Cocaine use can cause many short-term emotional and physical side effects. There is an increased risk of effects being intensified if you mix cocaine with other substances. The effects of cocaine can be felt almost immediately and last for a few minutes up to an hour. Common short-term effects of cocaine use include:
- High body temperature
- High blood pressure
- Dilated pupils
- Extreme energy and happiness
- Unusual behavior, such as violent behavior
- Increased aggression
- Reduced blood flow due to constricted blood vessels
- Muscle twitching
- Nose bleeds
Cocaine typically makes users feel energetic and mentally alert, specifically to sensations of sound, sight, and touch. It has also been noted to temporarily decrease the need for sleep or food.
If someone is regularly snorting cocaine then there are alternative side effects that can be experienced. This includes:
- Runny nose
- Damage to the nasal septum
- Damage to sense of smell – this is due to the numbing effects of cocaine
Long-Term Effects of Cocaine
Although many of the short-term side effects of cocaine use are desirable, prolonged and repeated cocaine abuse can develop into a debilitating addiction. Other effects of prolonged cocaine abuse include:
- Stomach pain
- Cardiac arrest
- Gastrointestinal complications
- Auditory hallucinations
As users continue to take the drug, after prolonged use they will need to take more of the substance to feel the desired high. This build-up of tolerance can cause individuals to become more sensitive to the drug, explaining why sudden deaths can occur after relatively low doses of the drug. Prolonged use of cocaine can also result in paranoid psychosis, where a user loses touch with reality and can experience auditory hallucinations.
Cocaine use is closely linked to different types of heart disease. The drug has been found to cause disruption to heart rhythms, and increase heartbeat, breathing, body temperature, and blood pressure.
Risk of Overdose
It is possible for an individual to overdose on cocaine. A cocaine overdose occurs when too much of the drug is taken, causing the substance to reach toxic levels within the system. This can cause adverse life-threatening symptoms. Because the potency of the drug is unknown due to street dealers cutting it with alternative substances, the potency of one gram can differ greatly compared to another. This means that sudden death can occur even after one use.
While sudden death is the most extreme of possible health consequences, a heart attack, seizure or stroke can also be brought on by an overdose. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to get to this point. Help is available no matter what stage of your journey you are at. It can be daunting to speak out, but support is waiting for you whenever you are ready.
Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse
If you believe that a loved one or a friend is snorting cocaine, there are a number of signs and signs to look out for that may indicate drug use. However, addiction differs for everyone, so even if someone is not displaying these signs, they may still have a cocaine addiction. Signs and symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Increased energy
- Financial difficulties
- Withdrawing from loved ones or friendships
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- Presence of drug paraphernalia
Another telltale sign of drug use is the experience of withdrawal symptoms. If an individual engages in prolonged cocaine use, a psychological and physical dependence can develop. When someone is dependent on cocaine, they will develop withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop taking the drug or cut it down. At times, this can cause an individual to keep taking the drug in an attempt to avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Issues concentrating
- Body aches and pains
Although withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant, with the right help and support, they can be easily managed and you are able to pass through the process with comfort and ease.
Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addiction is a disorder that commonly occurs alongside other issues and therefore requires specialized treatment. There are multiple options for cocaine addiction treatment that are offered by different treatment centers. Treatment typically includes:
The goal of a detox is to allow the body the chance to rid itself of any toxins that are present after drug use. As discussed, when an individual who is dependent on cocaine suddenly stops taking the drug, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. When detox is undertaken in a supervised setting, such as medical detox, health care professionals are available to reduce uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and to support clients throughout the process.
Inpatient treatment involves staying in a facility where you receive 24/7 care and support from medical professionals. Clients typically attend therapy sessions and recovery meetings. Typically, an inpatient program can last from 28 days to up to six months.
Outpatient treatment is a less intensive treatment option compared to inpatient. This form of treatment requires a person to attend a treatment center for up to 10 to 12 hours a week. People are able to live in the comfort of their own homes whilst attending therapy sessions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of treatment that is used by therapists to help clients identify and deal with triggers that cause a person to abuse cocaine. It works by examining and attempting to change feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that contribute to cocaine use disorder.
Substance Abuse Treatment at Brookdale
At Brookdale Premier Addiction Recovery, we offer luxury drug and alcohol addiction treatment in a center that is like no other. Our treatment facility is situated in the heart of the Pocono Mountains where we overlook a private lake. The serene settings offer the perfect place to work towards a happy, sober, and healthy future.
We offer a client-first approach to ensure that all individuals receive the utmost compassion and care on their recovery journey. Our detoxification process is the first step in your recovery process. We will work closely with you to ensure that you are able to withdraw in a comfortable and safe manner. Substance use disorders are complex and we want to ensure that all aspects of the disease are dealt with. We achieve this by focusing on the body, mind, and spirit
If you believe you or a loved one is living with a cocaine use disorder, contact us today to discuss how we can help you on your recovery journey.