Cocaine is a stimulant the effects of which make a person feel more mentally alert, energetic and euphoric. Cocaine effects the dopamine system of the brain. This is the reward pathway which can be severely disrupted by cocaine abuse. Substance abuse of any kind can cause severe psychological and long-term health problems. In the case of cocaine addiction, nasal insufflation (snorting or sniffing cocaine) it can erode the septum over time.
Cocaine in its powdered form can be snorted, crack is a more concentrated crystalised form of cocaine and is smoked or injected. Intravenous drug use is very risky and addicts can contract a number of serious diseases. Using dirty needles or sharing needles exposes an addict to HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C.
Psychical Effects of Cocaine
Cocaine interferes with how the dopamine is reabsorbed and can lead to depression as the drug disrupts the brains chemical balance. Thus, fuelling the need to use more of the drug to achieve the same effects.
The short-term physical effect of cocaine abuse includes:
- Dilated pupils,
- Constricted blood vessels and higher body temperatures,
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate.
- Erratic behavior
Long-term effects cocaine addiction can make a person restless, irritable and aggressive. Treatment may well require a detox programme at an in-patient rehab and treatment centre, but the key to long term recovery is preventing relapse and understanding why the person chooses to have a self-destructive relationship with substances.