THE INSIDIOUS HARM OF COCAINE
No drug takes you down faster or harder than cocaine. There are two forms of cocaine, the powdered form that you snort, and crack that you smoke.
Cocaine is so addictive that if you give a mouse a hit of cocaine every time it presses a lever, it will do nothing else but press that lever. It won’t stop for a sip of water or a bite to eat, and eventually it will die from a cocaine overdose. The only thing that prevents people from overdosing on crack is their bank account. Once people are addicted to crack, they will sell their soul for another hit.
Cocaine produces a sense of extreme joy by causing the brain to release higher than normal amounts of some biochemical and affects the body in a variety of ways. It constricts blood vessels, dilates pupils, increases body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. It can also cause headaches and gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea. Because cocaine tends to decrease appetite, chronic users can become malnourished. Over time, snorting cocaine will seriously damage the cartilage in your nose that separates the nostrils; it is not unknown for heavy users to lose their cartilage and end up with just one really big nostril and a mis-shapen nose. However, the most serious physical risk of cocaine’s effect can be deadly. Cocaine causes your heart to speed up, in some cases resulting in cardiac arrest; and there is no correlation between how many times or how much you’ve ingested. Some people die after their first use. Other people have used cocaine hundreds of times, and then drop dead on the very next time. There are famous cases of elite university athletes who suddenly dropped dead from a cocaine induced cardiac arrest.
As with all drugs, the most important consequences of cocaine addiction are psychological, social, and emotional. But with cocaine they happen faster and harder than with other drugs. If you are a cocaine addict, you don’t have to wonder if you’ve hurt your friends and family. You can be sure that you have. Estimates of the annual cost to the cocaine addict for the drug alone vary, but are consistently over 100k.
When cocaine use is stopped or when a binge ends, a crash follows almost immediately. This crash is accompanied by a strong craving for more cocaine. Additional symptoms include fatigue, lack of pleasure, anxiety, irritability, sleepiness, and sometimes agitation or extreme suspicion or paranoia.
Although withdrawal often has no visible physical symptoms like the vomiting and shaking that accompanies the withdrawal from heroin or alcohol, the level of craving, irritability, delayed depression, and other symptoms produced by cocaine withdrawal rivals or exceeds that felt with other withdrawal syndromes.
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