As cocaine abuse continues to prove problematic across the nation, so too are confusions rising over exactly what type of drug it is. Because of the many different side effects cocaine can have, it can be difficult to categorize it as a stimulant or depressant without background knowledge.
However, cocaine abuse comes with many serious and unpleasant side effects. Knowing what type of drug cocaine is and the potential health risks it can cause is important for keeping you and your loved ones safe.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a highly powerful and very addictive drug with an extensive history. For thousands of years, South American peoples would chew and ingest the leaves of the coca plant for their stimulative properties.
A little over a hundred years ago, a method to isolate and purify the cocaine hydrochloride from these plants was discovered, leading to this chemical being used to treat several ailments and illnesses in the early 1900s.
However, as further research revealed the drug’s addictive and potentially harmful properties, its medical applications began to dwindle. Of course, the use of cocaine did not stop altogether at this time.
Instead, the country began to see a widespread increase in the recreational use of cocaine. Many people began abusing this drug due to its ability to produce an intense euphoric high. With its illicit distribution, cocaine gained several nicknames over the years, including Blow, Coke, Crack, Snow, and several others.
Another term used to refer to cocaine is 8-Ball. A cocaine 8-ball generally refers to the amount of cocaine used for getting high. Regardless of the nicknames used to refer to this drug, cocaine is a highly addictive and very dangerous substance that should not be used carelessly.
Is Cocaine a Stimulant or Depressant?
Despite some common misconceptions, cocaine is a stimulant drug. Stimulants work by speeding up the central nervous system (CNS), increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and alertness.
Cocaine does this by blocking the reuptake of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that affects the brain’s sense of pleasure and motivation. This results in a surge of dopamine in the brain, which produces the euphoric effects that people experience when using this drug.
Depressants, on the other hand, slow down the CNS, causing drowsiness, relaxation, and impaired judgment. Common depressants include alcohol, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates, all of which have their own risks for abuse and addiction.
As a highly addictive drug, cocaine is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, and its use can lead to a number of serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, and seizures. It can also damage the brain and cause mental health problems, such as psychosis and anxiety.
What Are the Signs of Cocaine Abuse?
With the severe side effects that can come from abusing cocaine, it is important to know how to recognize the signs of this addiction so that you or your loved one can get help as soon as possible.
While the exact signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction can vary on a person-by-person basis, some of the most common include:
- Developing mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression, due to drug use.
- Frequent mood swings and behavioral changes.
- Hiding or lying about drug use.
- Frequently needing to borrow or steal money due to drug use.
- Withdrawing from friends and family due to drug use.
- Increased risk-taking behaviors, such as engaging in risky sex, driving while under the influence, or getting into legal trouble.
- Having or finding drug paraphernalia in common spaces.
- Developing withdrawal symptoms when cutting back on or stopping cocaine use.
If you or someone else is showing any of these signs of addiction, it is important to get help as soon as possible. When left untreated, cocaine abuse can lead to potentially life-threatening consequences. However, with the right support, recovery is possible.
How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?
When recovering from a cocaine addiction, the first step in this process will be to stop using the drug. In order for the rehabilitation process to start, your body has to be able to completely remove any trace of cocaine from its system.
This is known as the detox phase and is a period that is often accompanied by unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when not done properly. It is important to keep in mind that not everyone will experience the same withdrawal process.
How long it will take for your body to completely flush out cocaine and for your withdrawal symptoms to ease will vary based on how long you have been abusing the drug, your metabolism, your method of administration, and whether you have been abusing any other substances.
Generally, though, the cocaine withdrawal process will look something like this:
- The crash phase: This phase will begin shortly after stopping cocaine use and can be accompanied by irritability, anxiety, exhaustion, and dysphoria. The crash period can last anywhere from one to three days, and during this time, many people may want to continue using cocaine to alleviate these symptoms.
- The withdrawal phase: Lasting anywhere from a few days to several weeks, most people will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms such as increased cravings, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue. This phase can be quite prolonged and carries a high risk of relapse if done alone.
- The extinction phase: This phase is usually characterized by strong cravings and higher awareness of triggers. Extinction can last for several weeks and is usually longer for those with more severe addictions.
The withdrawal period can be a difficult time for those in recovery, but with the right support and treatment, it is possible to overcome this addiction. Finding the right treatment program and plan is essential when looking to achieve long-term recovery.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Royal Life Centers
At Royal Life Centers, we understand that recovering from cocaine abuse can be a long and complicated process. That’s why our treatment programs offer a comprehensive and compassionate approach to the recovery process.
By giving you access to a full continuum of care, our treatment facilities give you the tools and resources you need to address every aspect of your addiction. When participating in our treatment programs, you will have access to several different levels of care, including:
- Medical detox
- Residential treatment
- Partial hospitalization
- Outpatient care
- Behavioral and holistic therapies
- Aftercare services
No matter what your treatment needs may be, we are equipped to meet them. If you are interested in learning more about our treatment programs or are ready to start your recovery journey, reach out to us today!