What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is an incredibly powerful stimulant. It most commonly appears in a powdered form to be inhaled nasally. Similarly, crack is the crystal form of cocaine that’s commonly smoked. Regardless of the form it takes, both are extremely addictive and commonly mixed with other types of drugs being sold illegally. According to a 2020 SAMHSA report, approximately 5.2 million people used cocaine at some point that year and just under 20,000 people overdosed with cocaine in their system. Furthermore, of the 5.2 million people who used cocaine, roughly 1.3 million Americans ages 12 or older experience Cocaine Use Disorder. Cocaine dependency can impact one’s vocation, interpersonal relationships, physical and mental health and more.
How Does It Work?
This stimulant affects the brain in several key ways. First, it impacts the central nervous system (CNS). This section of your brain is responsible for regulating your breath, cardiovascular system, voluntary and involuntary movement. Moreover, it’s also involved in your thoughts, emotions, and perceptions of physical stimuli. Secondly, it impacts your orbitofrontal cortex, which is responsible for decision making skills, self insight, situational awareness and more. Lastly, cocaine affects the dopamine reward neural circuit, which is primarily involved in pleasure. The main reason cocaine becomes easily abused is it creates pleasure and the effects are short lived (15-30 minutes). After continued frequent use, people will begin to build a tolerance. To achieve their desired effect, they will have to keep using at greater doses. Notably, over a short amount of time, people can develop cocaine dependency.
Symptoms of Cocaine Use Disorder include, but are not limited too:
- Inability to stop using despite wanting to
- Loss of interpersonal relationships
- Increased respiratory rate, body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate
- Restlessness, violent, erratic or excited behavior
- Increased anxiety, depression, or panic
- Development of paranoia, hallucinations or psychosis
- Seizures or strokes
If you or your loved one is struggling with Cocaine Use Disorder, True North is here to help. Our clinical curriculum and staff are well trained in treated Substance Use Disorder. Call today to learn more about how we can help support your recovery!