What is Cocaine?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”WHAT IS COCAINE?” font_container=”tag:h1|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]


Cocaine can be taken in many forms powdered, ‘freebase’ or as crack it can be inhaled, smoked or injected. Whichever way the substance is used it acts on the brain in the same way. It comes from the leaves of the coca plant, which grows both naturally and under human cultivation in various highland areas of South America. It is illegally trafficked around the world.


The effects of using cocaine is a stimulant and has impacts on the heart, causing it to beat faster, it also raises the body’s temperature, and reduce appetite. It can make a person feel confident, alert, and arrogant and can lead them to engage in risky behaviour. Afterwards, users often experience a ‘comedown’ where they can feel depressed and run down for a matter of days.


Due to cocaine’s impact on heart rate and body temperature cocaine use can cause death by heart attack, even in healthy people. Regular use can wear away at the cartilage in the nose, which can misshape the nose. Long term use can increase vulnerability to anxiety, paranoia and panic attacks. It can also bring underlying mental health issues to the surface. If cocaine is being injected then risks associated with needle use apply, such as contracting HIV and hepatitis. Cocaine use has also been linked with premature births.


Cocaine acts by blocking the reuptake of certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. By binding to the transporters that normally remove the excess of these neurotransmitters from the synaptic gap, cocaine prevents them from being reabsorbed by the neurons that released them and thus increases their concentration in the synapses. As a result, the natural effect of dopamine on the post-synaptic neurons is amplified. The group of neurons thus modified produces much more dependency (from dopamine), feelings of confidence (from serotonin), and energy (from norepinephrine) typically experienced by people who take cocaine. In chronic cocaine consumers, the brain comes to rely on this exogenous drug to maintain the high degree of pleasure associated with the artificially elevated levels of some neurotransmitters in its reward circuits.


Some people manage to give up cocaine on their own. But evidence shows that for many a combination of specialist drugs counselling and social support gives the best results. As well as tackling the physical dependence the body has developed to the substance, counselling can address the underlying psychological reasons behind the substance abuse. Luckily people who seek help for a cocaine dependency problem have been seen to be fairly successful at giving up. Around 7 in 10 powder cocaine users totally give up or significantly reduce their intake of cocaine within 6 months.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest