Cocaine is among the most widely consumed illegal drugs globally, and unlike many, its use is relatively normalized in all social classes. For this reason, addiction to cocaine is one of the most common in the world.
But not because it is popular is it less dangerous as a psychoactive substance. The truth is that the ability of this drug to wear down the quality of life of the consumer is remarkable, and makes notice its effects of accumulated damage in a relatively short time, contrary to what many people believe. Therefore, knowing how to identify the warning signs of cocaine is essential . In this article we will see what they are, and what to do about this disorder.
Red flags associated with cocaine addiction
In order to facilitate the identification of this health problem in any person, below we will explain what are the typical signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction.
1. Short-term physiological and psychological symptoms
In this section we will see above all what are the physiological and psychological phenomena that appear minutes after having consumed , although the normal thing is that they disappear in a matter of hours (although it is possible that the person consumes several times throughout the day , causing relatively large amounts of this substance to remain in your blood for a long time). Knowing them serves to have proof of to what extent the person in question uses this drug often or not.
1.1. Short-term physiological symptoms
The physical signs caused by cocaine are usually the most obvious and easy to identify in anyone. The main ones include an increase in heart rate, which can cause tachycardia and an increase in body temperature .
The person's nervousness can also be identified, as well as marked restlessness or overexcitement, often manifested by repetitive movement of the legs or other parts of the body.
Besides that, dilated pupils are also another of the physical symptoms easy to detect by an outside observer.
1.2. Short-term psychological symptoms
Euphoria is another of the classic characteristics linked to cocaine use and one of the most identifiable effects on the person who uses it.
It is a general feeling of well-being both on an intellectual and physical level, which pushes the person to perform acts that under normal conditions they would not do. For this reason, it is similar to what is known as hypomania in cases of bipolar disorder: the person acts from an unreasonable optimism about their own abilities, and overvalues their chances of being successful in whatever they set out to do.
Many times, this state of artificial euphoria also causes excessive verbiage in the person, which results in long monologues by the addict.
2. Loss of appetite
The neural circuits responsible for controlling appetite lose their activation when the person suffers from a cocaine addiction, since these neurons are completely overturned in the task of rewarding (through pleasant sensations and the cessation of withdrawal discomfort) for the drug use experience .
This phenomenon occurs in many other drugs, and leads to a process of deterioration, weight loss and a propensity to disease in cocaine addicts. However, it must be borne in mind that this is a long-term effect and has accumulated effects over weeks and months; In the minutes following consumption, many people may feel very hungry and binge.
3. Alterations in self-perception
Some direct consequences of this euphoria are the perception of an increase in one's physical or intellectual capacities and a feeling of superiority in general , which influences the person to carry out all kinds of crazy behaviors even when it has been several hours or days that is not consumed.
In addition to that, cocaine addicts also completely lose the feeling of pain, tiredness or fatigue.
Due to this, it is not uncommon to see professionals from very competitive environments always accept more workload since they expect power with everything by assuming that cocaine will give them that "extra" energy, being this illusory (since evil The use of the body's resources continues to occur, although it is not experienced with as much discomfort immediately).
Problems when trying to fall asleep due to the effect of the drug, which is a stimulating substance and consequently activates the nervous system, is another aspect to consider.
It is a direct consequence of the effects of the drug on the brain, which can also cause other health problems such as headaches, general malaise and greater exposure to anxiety disorders (something enhanced both by the drug itself as from lack of sleep).
5. Radical changes in lifestyle
There are many changes at a personal, social or work level that occur in the life of a cocaine addict during the course of their addiction.
The most notable are a deterioration in family or friendship relationships , a loss of interest in occupations or activities that previously interested the person and a change in nightlife habits, with departures and arrivals home that, depending on the family context , they are often hidden. In the long run, there is also a drastic drop in academic, school or work performance, even if the stimulant effects of cocaine and its impact on the ability to work were one of the reasons why the person started using it in the first place .
In addition to that, an increase in the daily expenses or weeks of the addict is also common, since cocaine is one of the most expensive drugs that exist.
6. Changes in mood
Finally, among the classic signs that a person addicted to cocaine presents are frequent mood swings, irritability in the face of setbacks , anxiety when not consuming or depression.
These emotional symptoms can be a consequence of some of the above mentioned signs, or they can also be the cause of some of them.
How is the treatment?
The treatment of cocaine addiction must take two ways: the medical-psychiatric and the psychotherapeutic . Both work in combination with each other to not only make the effects that the drug has had on the body fade, but also for the person to learn to be autonomous again and learn to better regulate their own emotions and behavior patterns. thus avoiding relapses and better handling the initial discomfort due to withdrawal.
Regarding medical treatment, the initial phase of treatment is especially important , in which the patient's body eliminates the drug residues that were stored in the blood and tissues, and the person is prevented from engaging in harmful behaviors with so as to alleviate that discomfort of the first days. The psychiatric support will continue throughout the process, giving professional support to the challenge of living without continuing to consume and offering tools to face the possible anxiety that may arise due to this.
Psychotherapy also helps the person to know how to handle negative emotions related to drug withdrawal, but beyond this, it allows the patient to learn to find new sources of motivation, effective ways to detect thoughts and feelings in time. behaviors that can predispose you to relapse, and ways of relating to others that keep you away from drugs. To do this, it uses very diverse techniques and strategies, such as Mindfulness, the use of self-registration, etc.
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