Cocaine Dependence

Cocaine Dependence

Cocaine Dependence

CCocaine dependence is a form of psychological dependence that develops from regular cocaine use and produces a withdrawal state with emotional-motivational deficits after stopping cocaine use.

Cocaine is a potent stimulant most frequently used as a recreational drug. Cocaine is a highly addictive drug due to its effect on the reward pathways in the brain. Cocaine acts by increasing the number of feel-good chemicals in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin.

Cocaine is commonly snorted, inhaled as smoke, or dissolved and injected into a vein. Effects usually begin within seconds to minutes of use and last between five and ninety minutes.

Prevalence

Between 1 to 3% percent of people in the developed world have used cocaine at some point in their lives.

Effects of Cocaine use

Mental and behavioral effects may include:

  • Euphoria
  • An intense feeling of happiness
  • Agitation
  • Aggression
  • Confusion
  • Restlessness
  • High amounts of energy
  • Increased talkativeness
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia/hypersomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Emotional, intellectual, and mental impairments
  • Profound changes in personality

Physical effects may include:

  • Increased body temperature
  • Irregular or rapid heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Large pupils
  • Emaciated and malnourished appearance
  • Weight loss
  • Insatiable hunger
  • Generalized aches and pains
  • Persistent runny nose

Risk Factors for Cocaine use:

Many habitual abusers of cocaine develop psychotic symptoms such as:

  • Loss of contact with reality and/or “losing their mind”
  • Severe paranoia
  • Auditory, visual, and tactile hallucinations – the latter can include the feeling of something crawling under the skin (formication), also known as “coke bugs”

These symptoms can last for weeks or, in some cases, even months.

People with cocaine dependence can also develop tolerance, needing increased amounts of the drug to achieve the desired effect or “hit.” When drug use suddenly stops, the user will experience cocaine withdrawal, comedown, or crash. The symptoms of this include irritability, depression, anxiety, exhaustion, generalized aches and pains, nausea, vomiting, insomnia or hypersomnia, increased appetite, vivid and unpleasant dreams, brain to body action retardation or agitation, and compulsive cravings.

Causes of Cocaine dependence:

Cocaine dependence often coexists with other mental health conditions such as major depressive disorder and suicidal behavior.

Cocaine dependence can cause impairment in functioning in social, academic, and work settings; and it can negatively affect interpersonal relationships. A person with cocaine dependence may amass huge amounts of debt to fund their addiction.

Cocaine use complications:

Complications of cocaine use include heart attacks, strokes, and sudden death from cardiac arrest. Those who smoke it can experience severe lung problems.

There is also the increased risk of acquiring blood-borne viruses such as HIV in users who inject and share needles.

Treatment for Cocaine Dependence:

A person with cocaine dependence can receive treatment in residential and supervised rehabilitation centres. Motivational and cognitive behavioral therapies are effective.

Effects of Cocaine use:

Mental and behavioral effects may include:

  • Euphoria
  • An intense feeling of happiness
  • Agitation
  • Aggression
  • Confusion
  • Restlessness
  • High amounts of energy
  • Increased talkativeness
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia/hypersomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Emotional, intellectual, and mental impairments
  • Profound changes in personality

Physical effects may include:

  • Increased body temperature
  • Irregular or rapid heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Large pupils
  • Emaciated and malnourished appearance
  • Weight loss
  • Insatiable hunger
  • Generalized aches and pains
  • Persistent runny nose

Risk Factors for Cocaine use:

Many habitual abusers of cocaine develop psychotic symptoms such as:

  • Loss of contact with reality and/or “losing their mind”
  • Severe paranoia
  • Auditory, visual, and tactile hallucinations – the latter can include the feeling of something crawling under the skin (formication), also known as “coke bugs”

These symptoms can last for weeks or, in some cases, even months.

People with cocaine dependence can also develop tolerance, needing increased amounts of the drug to achieve the desired effect or “hit.” When drug use suddenly stops, the user will experience cocaine withdrawal, comedown, or crash. The symptoms of this include irritability, depression, anxiety, exhaustion, generalized aches and pains, nausea, vomiting, insomnia or hypersomnia, increased appetite, vivid and unpleasant dreams, brain to body action retardation or agitation, and compulsive cravings.

Causes of Cocaine use:

Many habitual abusers of cocaine develop psychotic symptoms such as:

  • Loss of contact with reality and/or “losing their mind”
  • Severe paranoia
  • Auditory, visual, and tactile hallucinations – the latter can include the feeling of something crawling under the skin (formication), also known as “coke bugs”

These symptoms can last for weeks or, in some cases, even months.

People with cocaine dependence can also develop tolerance, needing increased amounts of the drug to achieve the desired effect or “hit.” When drug use suddenly stops, the user will experience cocaine withdrawal, comedown, or crash. The symptoms of this include irritability, depression, anxiety, exhaustion, generalized aches and pains, nausea, vomiting, insomnia or hypersomnia, increased appetite, vivid and unpleasant dreams, brain to body action retardation or agitation, and compulsive cravings.

Cocaine use complications:

Complications of cocaine use include heart attacks, strokes, and sudden death from cardiac arrest. Those who smoke it can experience severe lung problems.

There is also the increased risk of acquiring blood-borne viruses such as HIV in users who inject and share needles.

Treatment for Cocaine Dependence:

A person with cocaine dependence can receive treatment in residential and supervised rehabilitation centres. Motivational and cognitive behavioral therapies are effective.