Cocaine is highly addictive alkaline narcotics and stimulant which are taken mainly from the leaves of two species, the Erythroxylum acacia and the Erythroxylum monnieri. It’s most frequently used as a stimulant and recreational substance. However, it’s also been found to have multiple other medical uses such as treating nausea in cancer patients, controlling blood pressure, reducing constipation, and shrinking tumors. Cocaine’s effects are further extended into the circulatory system where it can act as an anticoagulant, vasodilator, and an agent that increases blood flow. Some research even suggests that cocaine’s positive effects on depression, Parkinson’s disease, and anxiety can be reversed through the use of it.
The formation of the pleasure center of the brain, the reward pathway, requires the presence of a steady level of dopamine, a neurotransmitter found in the nucleus accumbens. Dopamine is released when the brain receives pleasurable sensory stimuli, like food, drink, or sex. Although cocaine use does not change the amount of dopamine present in the nucleus accumbens, repeated use creates a significant rise in dopamine levels that cause the sensation of euphoria. Because the brain perceives the increase in dopamine as a reward, cocaine use leads to an altered state of awareness along with changes in the wiring of the brain which causes feelings of euphoria.
Another positive effect of cocaine use has to do with the heart rate. Long-term cocaine use has been shown to reduce the heart rate and increases blood pressure, both of which are associated with the sensations of pleasure associated with cocaine. When the heart rate and blood pressure rise, the body must pump more blood to supply the increased energy demand. As the heart rate and blood pressure increase, the body must pump even more blood to supply the increased energy demand, leading to a rapid rise in the heart’s workload and potential for stroke and heart attack.
The Dangers Of Cocaine Use
Many people who begin to experience cocaine cravings realize that they cannot quit this particular drug. The physical withdrawal symptoms of cocaine are unpleasant enough. However, long-term cocaine use can have damaging psychological effects on the brain and the nervous system, often times leading to a variety of emotional problems. If you decide that you must use cocaine, be sure to seek treatment to ensure that you do not develop a habit that can negatively affect your health and well-being for the rest of your life.
Because cocaine is most often found in powder form, snorting it can lead to rapid weight loss. This can be great news if you plan to use the drug in order to decrease stress or to feel more alert and energetic throughout the day. However, the consistent high doses of cocaine can lead to serious complications, including heart attack and hypertension, which are serious health risks. Cocaine users who take long-term effects of cocaine on their body can develop serious medical conditions including tuberculosis, preeclampsia, and even heart failure. It is important to be aware of the long-term effects of cocaine in order to avoid health risks that are too great to ignore.
Long-term cocaine use can leave behind a chemical imbalance in the brain called the dopamine depletion. When the body receives only a certain amount of dopamine at a time, it can create a number of different mental and physical dysfunctions, including sleep problems, extreme depression, paranoia, irritability, and increased anxiety. These dysfunctions occur as the body attempts to compensate for the lower levels of dopamine by inducing pleasurable effects, such as the feeling of euphoria. Because cocaine typically increases dopamine levels in the brain, the person using cocaine experiences what is referred to as the cocaine “high,” but this feeling usually quickly wears off, leaving them physically and mentally unwell.