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Effects of Cocaine Use

Cocaine can be introduced to the body in several ways, all damaging and detrimental to one's health. It can be abused by inhaling the smoke, injecting it directly into a vein, snorting it through the nasal canal, chewing it orally or finally rubbing it on the tissues of the skin. Immediately after cocaine enters the body, it impacts the brain. Cocaine triggers the production and release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin within the four major pathways of the brain, all leading to the pleasure center.

The dopamine triggers a one to five minute span of intense pleasure followed by a state of euphoria, lasting up to eight minutes. After the high has run its course, the body begins to crave more of the drug. Within seconds of use, several immediate effects of cocaine can be seen, including: dilated pupils, raised blood pressure, increased breathing rate and raised body temperature. Because the coronary arteries constrict, this causes the blood pressure to rise as the blood supply to the heart diminishes. This turn of events can result in a heart attack or an epileptic episode within an hour after using. Chronic cocaine users are the most susceptible to heart complications.

Symptoms of chronic use include but are not limited to: nausea, vomiting, red bloodshot eyes, a runny or bloody nose, cold sweats, swelling and bleeding of mucous membranes, damage to nasal cavities and lungs, hallucinations and confusion, stomach cramping and loss of appetite leading to malnutrition and rapid weight loss.

Studies show that frequent increased intake of cocaine, may desensitize the brain to the drug's effects. This means that more of the substance is needed to feel the high or euphoria whereas less substance is needed to induce a seizure. Sharing needles is a common practice for those who inject the drug directly into their bloodstream, which increases the risk of hepatitis and AIDS. Allergic reactions are not uncommon for first time cocaine users, which can be fatal. This is why even a onetime cocaine use can result in a lethal spiral to one's death.

Psychological Effects of Cocaine Abuse
Cocaine harms both an individual's body and mind. Studies indicate that a psychological dependency can develop after only one use of cocaine. The psychological effects of the addiction can be almost as damaging as the physical symptoms. Cocaine not only harms the user but also impacts the people around them, specifically friends and family.

Often in the beginning loved ones fail to notice the psychological symptoms of cocaine abuse; the signs usually begin very subtle and can sometimes be difficult to identify. However as the abuse continues, the signs become more apparent.

Cocaine abuse affects the way a person thinks feels and acts towards others. Changes in behavior are quite common among addicts; including changes in sleeping and eating habits which impact one's immediate health. The users' social interactions are often altered, along with changes in friends and social settings. Finally a mental and physical dependency become perceptible as the user goes to extreme lengths to obtain the drug. Addicts often lie, cheat, and steal to acquire the money needed to sustain their addiction. Users often become depressed, paranoid, and careless of personal appearance. Sometimes they even exhibit an increase in emotion, like anxiety and anger. Each unique individual manifests their addiction differently. However all addicts share a unifying factor, cocaine eventually becomes their life.