A Closer Look at the Effects of Cocaine on the Mind
When I started using cocaine, I was convinced that it was the greatest thing in the world. However, the amount of fun that I had with cocaine during my first year of using it doesn’t compare at all to the personal hell that I went through over the next decade. I developed a severe cocaine addiction that completely destroyed my life in multiple aspects.
When I got to South Shores Detox and Recovery, my mind was not my own. Little did I know, my brain had been completely rewired by my cocaine habit. I had no idea that my cocaine use had altered my personality so much.
You may ask yourself: what does cocaine do to your brain? In my case, my substance use disorder was so severe that I barely recognized myself.
Cocaine addiction treatment is going to be difficult for anybody, no matter what your level of addiction is. Cocaine is a very powerful central nervous system stimulant. I would stay awake for days on end, and think that I was being spied on by my own family and loved ones.
Cocaine abuse ravaged my body and mind, but I finally reached a point in my sickness where I decided to seek help. In the next few paragraphs, I will lay out how South Shores Recovery offered me that opportunity.
How Cocaine Addiction Begins
I started abusing cocaine in college. My partying and lack of interest in my studies led me to develop cocaine dependence during my freshman year. The effects of cocaine are very euphoric and will keep you partying all night. Because cocaine is what’s known as an upper, it keeps you awake and allows you the ability to keep the party going.
Asking yourself does cocaine kill brain cells doesn’t really come into the picture. At least it didn’t for me at the time.
Once I started using cocaine, I dabbled a bit with other drugs, but nothing took over my life like cocaine. It wasn’t long before I developed a chronic cocaine addiction. Cocaine users experience a drastic change in mental function due to the way the drug affects the brain. Substance abuse leads your brain to produce a large amount of dopamine, which is generally associated with euphoria.
How Cocaine Changes Your Brain
Cocaine kills brain cells and changes the way your brain operates. When your body overproduces dopamine, the high associated with cocaine use becomes less and less, requiring more and more cocaine in order to get that feeling. My mental health wasn’t in a very good place, to begin with, so my cocaine abuse made things much worse.
Chronic cocaine use leads to a rewiring of your brain, which can easily lead to personality changes. When my cocaine use disorder began, there were little changes in my behavior that should have been warning signs. I avoided all the signs because all my brain wanted at that point was more cocaine.
Cocaine use disorders lead to an increased risk of long-term addiction. Long-term cocaine abuse can create a lot of problems that aren’t easily solved without some kind of addiction treatment or medical intervention. All illicit drugs can affect the brain negatively, but not quite like cocaine.
What are the Different Forms Of Cocaine Abuse?
Cocaine can be abused in multiple ways, and each form of ingestion affects the brain differently. Injecting and smoking crack cocaine are the quickest ways for cocaine to reach the brain. I never reached the point where I would inject cocaine, but I did end up smoking crack regularly.
I couldn’t believe how intense the crack high as compared to snorting. My cocaine use ramped up dramatically once I began smoking it. The fast high was something that was very desirable, and a big reason why so many people become so heavily addicted to crack cocaine. By this point, my cocaine abuse had begun to take its toll on my body.
I began to suffer from high blood pressure and constricted blood vessels. My cardiovascular system was compromised. Even though this was unpleasant, the extreme paranoia associated with my cocaine use was the most intense side effect. I began to see things that weren’t there and think that people were using listening devices on me. My brain was so ravaged that it began to play awful tricks on me.
I now know this is called cocaine psychosis, but at the time I thought I was just going crazy, and that my mind would never begin to work reliably again.
When Cocaine Use Takes Over Your Life
The withdrawal symptoms associated with my cocaine use made it so all I cared about was getting more cocaine. I would get chronic headaches and fall into extreme depression if I went without cocaine for more than twelve hours. I began to develop anxiety on a daily basis and started suffering from panic disorders.
For me, the cocaine effect began to mimic a mental health disorder diagnosis or even several different conditions. I would be depressed when going through the worst cocaine withdrawal symptoms, then hypomanic when I began to binge cocaine again.
Cocaine increases blood pressure and blood flow and jacks up the central nervous system. In many ways, it can affect your body just as much as your gray matter and brain neurons.
Gearing Up… for a Total Collapse
My body function was weak, and my respiratory system was beginning to suffer from constant snorting and smoking. These adverse effects led me to begin questioning my situation. I knew fellow addicts who had gotten clean and held a tremendous amount of jealousy towards them.
I couldn’t imagine getting clean and not having cocaine at all times. This is how great of an effect cocaine has on the brain. I still suffer long-term effects from my cocaine use even though I have been clean for several years. If you are wondering how to help a loved one overcome cocaine, the sooner you start, the better, at least from my experience.
How To Make Cocaine Addiction Treatment Work For You
I was very weak when I got to treatment at South Shores Detox. Everything in me told me to run away and go back to my cocaine habit. Detox for cocaine was very uncomfortable, more mentally than physically, but I still appreciate all the care I got from the South Shores team during the process. I had a lot of mood swings and extreme sensitivity to light. The support I received was incredible, even though I was probably very unpleasant to be around.
I had a lot of stress about whether I would relapse or not. And as I learned in rehab, cocaine elevates stress hormones and blood pressure even further. Even after detox, I wanted to go out and get high.
Cocaine on the Brain: Breaking a Mental Obsession
I had gone through the most uncomfortable part, but I was willing to throw it all away and go back for one fix. Thankfully, I decided to stay in treatment and give it my all. I knew I would die if I went back to my old ways.
I was in treatment with people who had a way tougher time than I did. There were people there with seizure disorders and extreme mental health issues that I didn’t have to grapple with. It occurred to me then that I was in a good place to get clean. I had an upper hand in a lot of ways, and if someone in a worse position than me could get clean, why couldn’t I?
Getting Your Brain Back From Coke
I was lucky enough to not suffer permanent brain damage as a result of my addiction, like some of the other people I met in recovery. Even with my repeated cocaine use, I was able to recover all of my regular brain function following my recovery. I knew that because I had such a long-term addiction, there was an increased risk of relapse.
I desperately wanted to make recovery work for me, so I made it the most important thing in my life. I went to meetings almost every day for the first few months of my sobriety. I kept myself busy so that my mind wouldn’t wander. I did a lot of research on the long-term effects of cocaine, many of which I was able to avoid.
Reach Out for Detox and Recovery at South Shores Today
Drug abuse is different for everyone. Long-term recovery is possible for anyone that wants it bad enough. When I was in the middle of my addiction, I was convinced there was no way for me to ever be clean. I wanted to do cocaine until I died.
It’s hard for me to believe I had that mindset, but because of the wonderful people at South Shores Recovery, I was given my life back.
If you or a loved one are struggling with cocaine use, reach out to them and find out what treatment options for recovery they can offer. I know it was a call I’m glad I made and led to a life I enjoy more than I ever thought possible before.