Cocaine: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Side Effects, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Cocaine Vaccine

Cocaine is a highly addictive substance and a natural painkiller. It’s extracted from the leaves of coca plant, which grows in the Andean highlands of South America. It is the most powerful and potent natural stimulant. When Coca-Cola was first made, it contained 9 milligrams of cocaine per glass. This ingredient was removed in 1903, but the drink still has the flavor of coca leaves. In 1884, an Austrian doctor named Karl Koller first used it as a painkiller during eye surgery. It was popular until the early 20th century when its addictive nature became clear. Safer alternatives were then developed, and basic cocaine is no longer used in medicine. However, cocaine and its derivative, crack cocaine, are widely used as illegal drugs for recreational purposes. For more research you can also visit Wikipedia.

What is Cocaine?

It is a highly addictive drug that boosts alertness, attention, and energy levels. It’s often referred to as a stimulant and is illegal in the U.S. Some other names for it include:

  • Coke
  • Snow
  • Rock
  • Blow
  • Crack

It comes in various forms, with the most common being a fine, white powder. It can also be found as a solid rock crystal.

What are the Fast Facts on Cocaine?

Here are some important points about it:

  • Cocaine can be smoked, injected, or snorted.
  • Crack is a form of cocaine.
  • Long-term use of cocaine raises the risk of heart disease.
  • Cocaine can cause changes in the structure of the brain.

What are the Types of Cocaine?

There are different types of it, such as:

  • Cocaine/coca paste
  • White powder cocaine
  • Crack cocaine
  • Synthetic (fake) cocaine
  • Pink cocaine
  • Black cocaine
  • Basuco (trash cocaine)
  • Fish scale cocaine
  • Yellow cocaine
  • Brown cocaine

What are the Uses of Cocaine?

As a recreational drug, it goes by many names such as powder, snow, ski, soft, blow, slopes, coca, marching powder, benzoylmethylecgonine, and nose candy. It’s typically found as a white, crystalline powder or as an off-white, chunky substance. In its powder form, it often contains hydrochloride mixed with other substances like lidocaine (a local anesthetic), sugars (lactose), inositol, and mannitol. Mixing cocaine with these substances allows sellers to increase their profit by diluting the amount of pure cocaine they have to sell. It can be consumed by:

  • Sorting or inhaling through the nose, which allows it to enter the bloodstream through nasal tissues.
  • Injecting, which delivers it directly into the bloodstream.
  • Smoking or inhaling into the lungs, where it quickly enters the bloodstream.

What are the Symptoms and Causes of Cocaine?

Symptoms can be physical, psychological, or social. The most common signs and symptoms of this addiction are listed below.

Excessive Sweating:

One physical symptom of this addiction is elevated body temperature. In some cases it can also increase the body temperature to fatal levels. Aside from generating more heat, studies suggest that it may also interfere with the body’s ability to cool when exposed to extreme temperatures.

Changes in Sleeping Patterns:

The use of cocaine increases wakefulness and causes sleep disturbance. A person struggling with cocaine addiction may develop sleeping problems due to the spike dopamine in the brain which causes alertness and wakefulness.

Paranoia:

One of the many psychiatric symptoms that is triggered by it. Cocaine induced paranoia can last for a few days or weeks. Paranoia can be due to the effects of cocaine or it can also be a pre-existing psychiatric disorder worsened by the substance.

Risk-taking Behavior:

Regular cocaine use can cause overconfidence in a person, resulting in high risk behaviors. It addicts often engage in risky behaviors while under the influence of the substance. Some examples include trading sex for it and having several sexual partners, which increases the risk for sexually transmitted diseases.

Financial Problems:

A cocaine addict may spend large amounts of money to fuel the addiction. An individual may spend a lot of money looking for cocaine which can be expensive as the addiction intensifies over time. The financial effect of regular cocaine use can also be in the form of neglecting responsibilities, including going to work and paying bills.

Negative Impact on Personal Relationship:

Prolonged cocaine use can have a negative impact on relationships with family or friends. So a cocaine addict may isolate themselves from loved ones or completely disregard family members to prioritize consumption.

What are the Side-Effects of Cocaine?

It is a powerful and illegal drug, and it can have severe side-effects. Here are some of the common side effects of it use:

  • Increased Energy
  • Elevated Heart Rate
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Anxiety and Paranoia
  • Mood Swings
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Overheating
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Heart Problems
  • Stroke
  • Nose and Throat Issues
  • Lungs Problems

Short-term effects on the brain:

  • Mentally alert
  • Talkative
  • Euphoric
  • Energized
  • Sensitive to sound touch and light

Individuals also may experience:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Increased irritability

Long-term effects on the brain:

  • Changes to the reward system
  • Stress 
  • Tolerance
  • Sensitization
  • Psychological effects
  • Brain hemorrhage
  • Stroke 
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Seizures
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Cognitive functions

What is the Diagnosis of Cocaine?

Diagnosing cocaine use often involves the following:

  • Medical History:
  • Healthcare providers ask about your health and any drug use.
  • Physical Exams:
  • They might check for signs like dilated pupils or unusual behavior.
  • Drug Test:
  • Urine or blood tests can detect cocaine or its byproducts.

What is the Treatment of Cocaine?

If you are someone you know is struggling with it use, here are some simple explanations of treatment options:

Therapy:

Talking to the therapist or counselor can help address the reason for drug use and develop coping skills.

Support Groups:

Joining the group of people facing similar challenges can provide encouragement and advice.

Medications:

In some cases medications can help reduce cravings or manage withdrawal symptoms.

Rehabilitation Programs:

Residential programs provide a structured environment for recovery.

Lifestyle Changes:

Building a healthier routine and avoiding triggers can be vital for recovery.

What to Know About Cocaine Withdrawal?

One of the defining features of any substance addiction is tolerance or needing to use the drug more frequently to achieve the same high. Tolerance is often accompanied by withdrawal. Once tolerance to it develops, withdrawal symptoms such as intense cravings, chills, and fever may occur when a person attempts to cut down on its use. So other possible cocaine addiction symptoms include:

  • Increased Irritability.
  • Extreme energy.
  • Mood Swings.
  • Pupil Dilation.
  • Loss of Interest in other activities.
  • An inability to cut down on cocaine use.

What are the Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal?

People may experience a variety of symptoms during withdrawal.

Adults:

So cocaine withdrawal symptoms are usually mild and not life-threatening. Common symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:

  • Depression
  • Excessive sleep
  • Increased hunger
  • Dysphoria, which is a general sense of unease
  • Slowed mental and physical activities

Newborns:

Initial NAS symptoms include:

  • Increased muscle tone
  • Tremors
  • Exaggerated Moro reflex
  • Excessive crying
  • Irritability
  • Sneezing
  • Diarrhea

Irritability can cause sleep disorders, and the baby might struggle to stay calm. A newborn may also have changes in their vital signs, which can lead to:

  • Tachycardia
  • Tachypnea
  • Hyperthermia
  • Hypothermia

How Long Does Cocaine Withdrawal Last?

Its withdrawal symptoms usually start within 24 hours of the last use and can last for 3-5 days. After the acute withdrawal period, a person may have protracted withdrawal symptoms, which can last for 1-2 months. So the protracted withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Lethargy
  • Anxiety
  • Mood changes
  • Erratic or disturbed sleep patterns
  • Strong cravings for cocaine

What is the Treatment of Cocaine Withdrawal?

Someone going through cocaine withdrawal can seek help from a qualified medical professional for support. So the medical professionals can monitor their withdrawal symptoms and mental health and prescribe medications if necessary. To manage withdrawal symptoms, it’s important for the person to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water to replace fluids lost through diarrhea and sweating. They can also consider taking multivitamin supplements containing B-group vitamins and vitamin C.

Treatment for Newborn:

So the treatment for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) typically starts with non-pharmacological care. This include:

  • Darkening and quieting the newborn’s surroundings to decrease visual and auditory stimulation.
  • Using claiming techniques, such as, gentle vertical rocking, side lying in the C-position, containment with hands held, swaddling, swaying.
  • Providing skin-to-skin contact
  • Applying a topical barrier cream to treat any diaper rash and reduce irritability.
  • Using a pacifier to decrease oral hypersensitivity.
  • Providing frequent, on-demand feeding

A doctor may also prescribe medications to help manage severe NAS symptoms. The aim of pharmacological treatment is to alleviate these symptoms in the short-term. If a child with NAS has diarrhea or vomiting, they might receive intravenous fluids. These are fluids given by qualified healthcare professionals through a vein to prevent dehydration.

FAQs:

What is vaccination?

Vaccination is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting you against harmful disease before you come into contact with them. So it uses your body’s natural defenses to build resistance to specific infection and makes your immune system stronger. Vaccines train your immune system to create antibodies just as it does when it’s exposed to a disease. However, because vaccines contain only killed or weakened forms of germs like viruses or bacteria.

Are there side effects from vaccines?

Like any medicine, vaccines can cause mild side effects such as low-grade fever or pain or redness at the injection site. Mild reactions go away within a few days on their own. Severe or long-lasting side effects are extremely rare. So vaccines are continually monitored for safety, to detect rare adverse events.

What disease does vaccines prevent?

So vaccines protect against many different disease, including:

  • Cervical cancer
  • Cholera
  • COVID-19
  • Diphtheria
  • Ebola virus
  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Measles
  • Meningitis
  • Mumps
  • Pertussis
  • Pneumonia
  • Polio
  • Rabies
  • Rotavirus
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus
  • Typhoid
  • Varicella
  • Yellow fever

Can a child be given more than one vaccine at a home?

Scientific evidence shows that giving several vaccines at the same time has no negative effect. Children are exposed to several hundred foreign substances that trigger an immune response every day. So the impact of eating food introduces new germs into the body and numerous bacteria live in the mouth and nose. When a combined vaccination is possible this means fewer injections and reduces discomfort for the child. It also means that your child is getting the right vaccine at the right time, to avoid the risk of contracting a potentially deadly disease.

Who can get vaccinated?

So, nearly everyone can get vaccinated. However, because of some medical conditions some people should not get certain vaccines or should wait before getting them. So these conditions can include:

  • Chronic illnesses or treatments (like chemotherapy) that affect the immune system
  • Severe and life-threatening allergies to vaccine ingredients which are very rare
  • If you have severe illness and a high fever on the day of vaccination

So these factors often vary for each vaccine. If you’re not sure if you or your child should get a particular vaccine, talk to your health provider. They can help you make an informed choice about vaccination for you or your child.

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