cocaine headache، The effects of cocaine occur almost immediately after a single dose and disappear in a matter of minutes or within one hour. Those who use cocaine in small amounts generally feel euphoric, energetic, talkative and mentally alert, particularly in relation to visual, auditory and tactile sensations.
Cocaine can also temporarily decrease appetite and the need to sleep. Some consumers feel that the drug helps them perform some simple tasks, both physical and intellectual, faster, while others have the opposite effect.
The way in which cocaine is administered determines how long the immediate effect of euphoria lasts. The faster the absorption, the more intense is the “high” or euphoria that results; but at the same time, the faster the absorption, the shorter the duration of the effect of the drug. The “high” that occurs when inhaling the drug takes time to arrive but can last 15 to 30 minutes. In contrast, the effects obtained by smoking cocaine can last from 5 to 10 minutes.
What are the short-term effects of cocaine use?
The short-term physiological effects that result from cocaine use include contraction of the blood vessels, dilation of the pupils and increases in body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. If larger amounts are used, the user’s “high” can be intensified, but it can also lead to more extravagant, erratic and violent behavior. Some people who use cocaine have reported restlessness, irritability and anxiety. They may also have tremors, dizziness, muscle spasms or paranoia. In addition, there can be serious medical complications associated with cocaine abuse. Among the most frequent complications are some cardiovascular effects such as alterations in heart rhythm and heart attacks; some neurological effects including cerebrovascular attacks, seizures, headaches and even coma; and gastrointestinal complications, such as abdominal pain and nausea. Rarely, sudden death may occur the first time cocaine is tested or unexpectedly when it is subsequently consumed. Deaths from cocaine are usually the result of cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory arrest.
What are the long-term effects of cocaine use?
Since cocaine is an extremely addictive drug, it is very difficult for a person who tries it to predict or control how long it will continue to desire or consume it. Also, if the person becomes addicted, the risk of relapse is high even after long periods of abstinence. According to some recent studies, during periods of abstinence from cocaine use, the memory of the euphoria associated with its use, or only a reference to the drug, may trigger an uncontrollable desire to consume it and end in a relapse.
Image of the brain of a person who does not use drugs compared to a cocaine addict.Brain images show a decrease in dopamine (D2) receptors in the brain of a person addicted to cocaine compared to a person who does not use drugs. The dopamine system is important for conditioning and motivation, and alterations like this are likely to be responsible, in part, for the decrease in sensitivity to natural gratifications that occurs with addiction.
When repeatedly exposed to cocaine, the brain begins to adapt to it and the reward path becomes less sensitive to natural reinforcers and the drug itself. The consumer can develop tolerance, which means that he will need an increasing dose of the drug or that he will have to consume it more frequently to obtain the same pleasure as when he first started using it. At the same time, consumers may also become more sensitive (sensitized) to anxiety, seizures or other toxic effects of cocaine.
Cocaine is often consumed repeatedly and in increasing doses (in “binges”), which can lead to a state of irritability, restlessness and paranoia and can even cause a total episode of paranoid psychosis in which the sense of reality and suffers from auditory hallucinations. Increasing the dose or frequency of use also increases the risk of adverse psychological or physiological effects.
The adverse reactions that result from cocaine use vary depending on how it is administered. For example, regular inhalation can cause a loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, swallowing problems, hoarseness and general irritation of the nasal septum, which can lead to a chronic irritation and discharge from the nose. When ingested, cocaine can cause severe gangrene in the intestines because it reduces blood flow. In addition, people who inject it have puncture marks and poisonous paths known as “tracks”, usually on the forearms. Intravenous users may also experience allergic reactions, either to the drug or to some of the additives that are added to cocaine in the street and, in the most severe cases, these reactions can cause death.