Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant that causes on to feel euphoric, energized, talkative, and mentally alert. The drug acts directly on the brain’s reward path, causing surges of dopamine responsible for the euphoric and pleasurable effects. The effects of cocaine are not without consequence. The brain changes caused by cocaine use quickly lead to addiction and major health complications. According the National Institute of Health, cocaine “blocks the removal of dopamine from the synapse by binding to the dopamine transporters. As shown in this image, this results in a buildup of dopamine in the synapse. In turn, this causes a continuous stimulation of receiving neurons, probably responsible for the euphoria reported by cocaine abusers.” Overtime, the brain is physically changed by cocaine abuse and addiction worsens. Users begin taking more and more of the drug to feel the same sensations that previously occurred in smaller amounts. The NIH explains, “Users take cocaine in binges, in which cocaine is used repeatedly and at increasingly higher doses. This can lead to increased irritability, restlessness, panic attacks, paranoia, and even a full-blown psychosis, in which the individual loses touch with reality and experiences auditory hallucinations.” The changes in the brain caused by cocaine may create depression, anxiety, irritability, and mood disturbances. Fatal consequences, such as stroke or intracerebral hemorrhage, described as “bleeding within the brain, and balloon-like bulges in the walls of cerebral blood vessels.,” is also possible. However, even if potentially fatal health symptoms are avoided, there exists the possibility for a user to develop neurological complications that greatly diminish their quality of life. According to the NIH, “Movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, may also occur after many years of cocaine use. Generally, studies suggest that a wide range of cognitive functions are impaired with long-term cocaine use—such as sustaining attention, impulse inhibition, memory, making decisions involving rewards or punishments, and performing motor tasks.” Cocaine addiction is a serious health concern, and recovery requires a combination of treatment, therapy, and adherence to a recovery program. Former cocaine users are at high risk for relapse even if they have been abstinent from the drug for long periods of time, which suggests that the psychological aspect of the addiction is strong. Fortunately, treatment often utilizes a variety of therapeutic techniques designed to address the psychological, physical, and spiritual aspects of addiction.
Recovery is possible. You can change your story and begin building a better life in sobriety by making the decision to seek help today. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment center in beautiful Laguna Beach, offers a variety of cutting-edge and effective treatment techniques and methodologies designed to meet each client’s individual needs. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777