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The Dangers of Casual Cocaine Use

Drug Detox , Drug Rehab Alexa Iocco | November 23, 2021

The Dangers of Casual Cocaine Use Resurgence Behavioral Health

Why Casual Cocaine Use is Dangerous

For most individuals that begin using cocaine, it starts out as a casual activity that happens over the weekend or while you are at a party. Cocaine is often depicted in the media as the rich man’s drug and associated with the glamorous, fast-paced lifestyles of the rich and famous. This often normalizes the use of cocaine among its users which clouds the perception of the damages it can cause within someone’s life. 

When you are using cocaine on a “casual” basis it creates a misconception that you are not putting yourself at risk nor do you have a problem with cocaine. The truth is there is a risk every time you use cocaine as it is a highly addictive substance that can easily get a user hooked on the short-lived high it produces. Even using cocaine once, you are putting yourself at risk for a potential heart attack, stroke, or consuming cocaine that is laced with fentanyl. Many Americans across the nation have succumbed to the lethal components of fentanyl-laced drugs including cocaine. 

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How Casual Cocaine Use Leads To Drug Addiction

When you enter into casual use of cocaine, you never expect that it will lead to an addiction. In fact, many that are engaged in casual use believe that they do not have a problem with addiction because they are able to stop using on some days creating a misconception that their casual use is nothing to be concerned about. However, cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs available on the street markets. Its highly addictive components create cravings within the user almost instantaneously after using which leads to users often “binge using”. The more your use progresses, the higher the amount that you will need to use to reach the desired effect. This is the beginning stages of a cocaine addiction that is hooking you into its destructive path. 

The use of cocaine creates long-lasting changes within the brain’s functioning and structure. Through prolonged use of cocaine, you are at risk of damaging the prefrontal cortex area of your brain which impacts your ability to make sound, well-informed decisions. The damage that is created within this area of your brain often leads to high-risk behavior and activity that you would not normally engage in. 

Cocaine use also targets the receptors in your brain that are responsible for your dopamine levels. This means that your drug cravings and yearning for the allure of the euphoric feeling that it produces will be increased, therefore, making it harder for you to remain abstinent from cocaine use.  

When using cocaine, the brain becomes less receptive to natural reinforcers and begins to rely solely on the use of cocaine to feel positive feelings of enjoyment and satisfaction. Leading users to turn to cocaine more often to reach a happy content state. 

Long Term Effects of Casual Cocaine Use

When you are engaging in casual cocaine use, it is easy to feel like there will be little to no repercussions from your drug use. However, long-term use can put the user at risk for serious side effects that can be damaging to your overall physical and emotional health. 

Cocaine side effects can occur even with the short-term use of cocaine. Common short term side effects that are felt by users are:

  • Rapid heart rate 
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Heightened responses to startling events 
  • Extreme sensitivity to light, sound, or touch 
  • Elevated respiration rate 
  • High blood pressure 

Even if you view your cocaine use as “casual”, there is still potential for serious, damaging side effects that can impair your overall physical and psychological well-being. Binge use of cocaine can create an increase in tolerance to the drug. The higher the dose of cocaine used, the more likely you are to have increased symptoms of paranoia, anxiety, restlessness, and paranoia. In some cases, users will go into drug-induced psychosis where it is challenging to know the difference between reality to delusions or audio or visual hallucinations. Experiencing adverse psychological effects like this can create further complications to a person’s mental health. 

Depending on the method that you use cocaine, there can be long-lasting, severe reactions to your use of cocaine. If you snort it, you are running the risk of having long-term effects on your nose such as loss of smell, chronic nosebleeds, irritation, and damage to your nasal septum. In severe cases, permanent damage to the tissue in the nose occurs that can result in a hole in the nasal septum and roof of the person’s mouth. 

Regular use of cocaine affects the organs within your body after prolonged periods of time. A user’s gastrointestinal tract can become inflamed or the onset of ulcers can occur due to the lack of blood flow within the body’s system. The use of cocaine increases the risk of cardiovascular problems. This occurs within the short term when you first take a dose of cocaine due to the stimulant factors increasing your heart rate and when used in large doses can increase your chances of a heart attack. Long-term users will affect their heart functioning by causing deterioration of the heart’s ability to contract, inflammation of the heart muscle, and possible aortic ruptures. Long-term, chronic use of cocaine can increase your chances of having a stroke or seizures. 

As you engage further in cocaine use, the damages are done to your brain and its functioning can be irreversible and impact your daily functioning. Reports have shown that intracerebral hemorrhage, or commonly known as brain bleeding, increases with the frequent use of cocaine. As your use increases, there is a chance that your brain can develop balloon-like bulges on the walls of the cerebral blood vessels. This can impair your brain’s ability for cognitive functioning. When you reach cognitive impairment, it affects your brain’s memory function, ability to perform basic motor skills and tasks, and difficulty maintaining attention. In some cases, long-term users have been found to acquire Parkinson’s disease and other body movement impairment diseases. 

When To Seek Treatment For Cocaine Abuse

While the long-term effects of cocaine have the potential for scary and severe outcomes, you do not want to wait until the worst-case scenario happens. There are signs you can watch for that will provide you with an indicator that it is time to seek treatment through a drug rehab program

  • Physical side effects appear- Often individuals will begin to experience nose bleeds, respiratory problems, sleeping patterns change, eating habits change (eating less when using and becoming malnourished), onset of strong drug cravings, and exhibiting withdrawal symptoms. Physical withdrawal symptoms can range from having the chills, excessive sweating, fatigue, and running a fever. 
  • Behavioral concerns and side effects- Often prolonged cocaine use leads to financial difficulties due to the high price of cocaine and its addictive components lead users to needing to use larger quantities to feel the same feeling. Other signs that it is time to focus on making a change towards sobriety are decline in work performance, missing school or work shifts, lack of interest in previous interests or personal goals you had, isolation from those you care about, and increase in abusive or aggressive behavior.
  • Mental health declines- Often there will be a decrease in mental health stability with individuals feeling an onset of depression or anxiety, drastic changes in personality, delusional thinking, increase in paranoid thinking, and exhibiting levels of mania. 

Choosing Resurgence For Cocaine Drug Rehab

Due to the severity of short-term side effects as well as long-term side effects, it is highly recommended that you seek addiction support from trained individuals who specialize in supporting others to remove the influence and devastating effects of cocaine from their life. The first step before entering into cocaine rehab is to go through a medical detox program. This will ensure your safety as you move through the withdrawal symptoms with medical support from doctors and nurses. Once you are healthy, you will be able to move into a rehab program. 

At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we offer patients a comprehensive approach to treatment that helps to uncover the root causes of your addiction. Often, patients that enter into our program have entered into their addiction due to past emotions and traumas that have not been dealt with or processed. Through individual and group therapy, you will become self-aware of your emotions, and learn skills for effective emotional regulation. Often when patients turn to drugs as a means to cope, it is merely the only coping strategy that they know. With the support of our compassionate counselors, you will learn the skills to identify and feel your emotions in a healthy manner through methods of therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Through this method, you will gain perspective on how your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors impact your thinking and actions when it comes to your addiction. Through these methods of treatment, you learn the skills for relapse prevention and positive life skills that will keep you on the path to recovery. 

Contact one of our supportive staff members at Resurgence today to find out when you can start your journey to recovery and happiness with the support of our cocaine rehab program today. 

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