How Cocaine Affects Your Body
Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that leads to a destructive lifestyle. If someone has recently used cocaine, you may notice that they are overly talkative, full of confidence, excited, wide awake, have decreased appetite and lowered inhibitions. These symptoms go along with the high that results from cocaine use. However, the high doesn’t last long. The user will experience a crash. During this time, you may notice the person will sleep for long periods of time and may have an increased appetite. Other symptoms of cocaine addiction may include:
- Weight loss
- Change in eating and sleeping patterns
- Mood swings
- Risky behavior
- Dilated pupils
- Isolation from friends and family
- Runny nose and/or nosebleeds
- Lack of concern for personal hygiene
- Financial troubles
- Track marks on the arms from injecting the drug
- Residue of white powder around the nose and mouth
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Burns on the hands and lips
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Cocaine Detox Symptoms & Medications
Anyone who is intent on recovering from a cocaine addiction must get through the cocaine detox process. Because cocaine is a habit-forming drug, the body becomes accustomed to receiving the drug regularly. Whenever use ceases, cravings can be intense. These cravings are so strong that they often lead to relapse. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms will last one to three weeks. During the first few days of cocaine detox, you may feel guilty and depressed. You may also wake up feeling bad. You may notice an increase in appetite. You may be irritable. A feeling of confusion and disorientation is also common during this time. During days four through seven, the intense cravings will ease somewhat, but you may still experience strong cravings. During this period you may experience:
- Dissatisfaction with life
You should start to feel better after one week. Some people begin to feel confident because cravings have stopped. However, you must keep in mind that cravings can return at any time and without warning. You will most certainly experience an increased appetite, agitation, and unpleasant dreams during this period. In the second week of the withdrawal process, your cravings may return. You will continue to experience vivid dreams, depression, anger, and hunger.
Medications for Cocaine Detox
Because there are many unpleasant symptoms that accompany cocaine detox, your doctor may prescribe certain medications to counteract such symptoms and keep you comfortable. The most commonly prescribed medications to aid in cocaine detox are:
Gabapentin – This medication promotes the release of the neurotransmitter GABA which increases feelings of well-being. It is also prescribed to prevent seizures.
Modafinil – This drug is given to prevent the fatigue and lethargy brought about by cocaine detox. It encourages healthy sleep patterns and dopamine production.
Topiramate – This medication works to ease the agitation experienced during cocaine detox by calming the central nervous system.
Antabuse – This drug discourages cocaine use by changing the way the brain processes dopamine, making it effective in preventing relapse.
Facts about Cocaine Withdrawal
Cocaine is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant drug that is sold illicitly on street corners in every town across America. Often sold in small plastic bags, powdered cocaine is fine and powdery that makes an individual’s tongue numb if it is tasted. Cocaine in powder form is usually snorted nasally, but can also be mixed with a liquid and injected directly into the body. Some individuals will even take it by mouth, but this can cause major problems within the digestive system, sometimes with fatal outcomes. Cocaine abuse can quickly lead to addiction, and then cocaine withdrawal will occur when the body begins to become tolerant. When an individual with cocaine addiction stops using cocaine, the body will begin to send urgent signals and cravings for the drug.
Many individuals who become addicted to cocaine report that the intensity of the cocaine cravings that developed in a short period of time were surprising. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms are different in intensity than those going through heroin withdrawal or opiate detox. Cocaine works within the brain creating highly pleasurable emotions as a result of the massive release of specific brain chemicals, especially dopamine. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms will begin to occur when the user starts to come down from this pleasurable high. Not only does this have a devastating effect on the body’s sense of chemical balance, it also contributes to something known as cocaine binging. Cocaine withdrawal can therefore cause depression in many cocaine addicts.
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
Cocaine withdrawal will begin as soon as the abuser lessens their doses, or stops taking the drug after a period of constant cocaine use. As with other drugs such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Fentanyl, cocaine will make an addict physically dependent in a relatively short amount of time used. Once an individual’s body has come to expect regular cocaine use, it will begin a process called drug rebounding. This basically means that symptoms that were self-medicated for with cocaine use will come back as soon as the drug use ceases, and symptoms might also come back with a vengeance.
About Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
Many wonder what cocaine withdrawal is really like since it is a stimulant, not an opiate or CNS depressant like alcohol. Because of the way the drug metabolizes within the body, there may not be any outward symptoms that an abuser is going through withdrawal. Most of the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine are physiological and psychological. When opiate addicts are going through the stages of Vicodin withdrawal or heroin detox, there are some universal physical manifestations of drug withdrawal such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and tremors. Some of the more common symptoms of cocaine withdrawal are the following:
- Unexplained exhaustion
- Restlessness and anxiety
- General feelings of illness
- Slowed moments
- Nightmares and broken sleep
- Suicidal thoughts
Cocaine withdrawal is not like other illicit or prescription drug detoxifications. The cravings that occur are relentless and are cited as the most difficult addicts have every experienced. These cravings can last for long periods of time, even months after cocaine use has stopped. Many recovering cocaine addicts cite that the depression that hung over them while in this phase of cocaine detox and healing seemed insurmountable.