Like any addictive substance, cocaine can have a very adverse effect on the body. These problems can crop up from the first time cocaine is used and continue to become more severe as a dependency is formed.
Some of the effects of cocaine are outwardly visible and may be observed by friends and family. These include bloodshot eyes, insomnia, nosebleeds, and irritability. Though these outward signs may be the most noticeable, the more serious effects happen internally.
The feeling of euphoria and increased energy that a person gets from using cocaine wears off after only 15-30 minutes and will soon be followed by the negative side effects. Even the first dose of cocaine is dangerous, as it can cause increased heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure. It also causes the blood vessels to constrict and the pupils to dilate. Because of these effects, headaches are common among first time users, as are gastrointestinal issues like abdominal pain and nausea.
The short-lived high that users get from cocaine causes them to want to take another dose soon, which fosters a dependency on the drug. Once an addiction is formed, other long-term side effects begin to occur. These include a loss of the sense of smell, trouble swallowing, and nosebleeds. Ingesting cocaine slows blood flow to the intestines and can cause bowel gangrene. Injecting cocaine increases the risk of blood-borne diseases like HIV/AIDS. Many people who abuse cocaine experience auditory hallucinations and paranoia.
Cocaine use carries an additional danger that is particular to this drug. When cocaine is used with alcohol, the two substances react in the liver to produce cocaethylene, a dangerous substance that increases the effects of cocaine. This increases the risk of sudden death above that associated with cocaine alone. Many deaths associated with cocaine use can be traced back to cocaethylene.
There are currently no FDA-approved medications to help with cocaine addiction treatment. Withdrawal from the drug and breaking dependency can be very difficult, but treatment options are available. A comprehensive behavioral therapy program like those offered at Renaissance Ranch are the most effective treatments available at this time.