Cocaine Addiction Health Risk Factors
Alcohol Addiction Health Risk Factors
Table of Contents
What Are the Risk Factors of Cocaine Abuse ananxid Addiction?
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug. Cocaine is made from the coca plant, and is native to South America. Cocaine is typically a fine, white powder, but it can also be found in rock crystal form. Some users report feeling intense happiness and increased energy when using this drug, but it is needless to say that the use of cocaine does not come without short-term and long-term risks and dangerous consequences. With that, it is essential to address and recognize the relevant cocaine addiction health risk factors.
By addressing the risk factors associated with cocaine, we can establish a plan of recovery. For both those immediately affected by the consequences of addiction, and those connected to them as a loved one or family member, identifying symptoms and risk factors can help raise awareness and erase stigmatization in order to best help those with a drug use disorder. Find out more about the signs and symptoms below.
Short-Term Risk Factors of Cocaine Addiction
In the short term, risk factors of cocaine abuse include mood changes and physical changes. After someone uses cocaine, the drug sends high dopamine levels to the parts of the brain that control pleasure. This leads to a feeling of euphoria and increased alertness, and this high is what makes people addicted to the drug. Those with a family history of cocaine addiction may also be at greater risk for cocaine addiction.
Short-term cocaine use can turn into addiction quickly if tolerance builds up. Tolerance to a substance is when someone no longer responds to a drug the way they initially did. This means the user must take a higher dose to feel high. Users can then become dependent on the drug, meaning quitting cocaine can lead to difficult withdrawal symptoms. Other major risk factors of cocaine use include overdose and other life-threatening effects.
Short-Term Side Effects of Cocaine Usage
The specific short-term effects of cocaine abuse include bodily changes that can be dangerous depending on the user’s health. The short-term effects set in immediately and are present for a few minutes to an hour. Short-term risk factors of cocaine use include:1
- Constricted blood vessels
- High body temperature
- High heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Muscle spasms
- Hypersensitivity to sight, touch, and sound
Some people may find that cocaine can aid them in focusing and getting tasks done due to its stimulating nature. However, it affects everyone differently, and cocaine abuse in large amounts can lead to erratic and dangerous behavior.
Long-Term Risk Factors of Cocaine Use
Like the short-term risk factors of cocaine abuse, the long-term risk factors of cocaine use affect the user mentally and physically. In addition to the havoc cocaine can wreak on the body, it can cause a host of mental disturbances if used in the long-term, including:
- Hallucinations, including visual hallucinations and auditory hallucinations
- Irritability and hostility
- Panic attacks and anxiety
- Paranoia and fear
- Psychosis, loss of touch with reality
- Restlessness and inability to relax
Teens and Cocaine Risk Factors
Some may not realize just how prevalent cocaine use is, not only among adults but also among teens. Using cocaine at an early age can significantly impact the teen’s physical and mental development and hinder the teen’s potential professionally and socially. Additionally, according to the CDC, most adults who have a substance use disorder start using substances in their teen years.2
A cocaine risk factor pertinent to teens is that their brains are not fully developed. Teens may be more likely to experiment with cocaine and other risk-taking behavior due to their age or even cocaine peer pressure. Still, these teen behaviors can carry far into adulthood. As of 2019, 27% of high schoolers in the United States reported that cocaine was easy to obtain.3
Statistics show cocaine use among teenagers is most prevalent in Hispanic males, and 8% of this population reported they had used cocaine at least once. Lesbian, gay, or bisexual students are also more likely to use cocaine; statistics show that 7% of LGBT students have used cocaine, as of 2019.4
Cocaine Risk Factors and Health Complications
In addition to the short- and long-term risks listed above, there are several more serious risk factors of cocaine use. Prolonged use of cocaine or frequent cocaine consumption can damage the gastrointestinal tract, reducing blood flow to this area, leading to tears and ulcerations. Many cocaine users also experience weight loss and malnourishment, as cocaine can cause a loss of appetite.5
Another serious risk factor of cocaine use is its effects on cardiovascular health. Cocaine use increases the risk of stroke, and studies have shown cocaine to have toxic effects on the heart and cardiovascular system. It can cause inflammation of the heart muscle and aortic ruptures, among other cardiovascular issues.
In addition to the risk for strokes, seizures, and overdose, frequent cocaine consumption can lead to neurological problems, including intracerebral hemorrhage, which refers to bleeding within the brain.
Other long-term risk factors of cocaine abuse include:
- Impaired cognitive function
- Difficulty focusing
- Poor memory
- Poor impulse control
- Issues with decision-making
What to Do When Cocaine Affects Your Health?
If you’re struggling with cocaine addiction, many resources are available to help you get sober and avoid the many risk factors of cocaine abuse and addiction. Behavioral therapy is a great first step to addressing cocaine addiction. Speaking with a professional about your history of drug use, the risk factors of cocaine addiction, and what led to cocaine abuse can help keep you on track towards sobriety.
In addition to therapy, there are therapeutic communities dedicated to those recovering from substance use disorder. These supportive communities are drug-free residencies in which the residents help each other stay on track and understand and correct the behaviors that lead to drug use. There are also non-residential support groups that can be very helpful, such as a 12-step program.
Making lifestyle modifications is another important step to take. Specific changes can make maintaining sobriety more manageable, including avoiding people who use cocaine and other substances, finding fulfilling hobbies, and getting proper nutrition and enough sleep.
Preventing cocaine relapse can be achieved. Statistics show that education and counseling regarding the risk factors of cocaine abuse are the most critical components of preventing relapse. Education and counseling can help patients understand the thoughts and behaviors that drive their substance use. Patients who understand their triggers, anticipate high-risk situations, and have alternative, healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress are most likely to maintain sobriety.6