Cocaine is one of those drug you constantly hear about, but you want to avoid at all costs. The effects of cocaine do not only involve the high levels of addiction, but also triggering of drastic alterations in the cardiovascular health of the users and Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms.
No one starts out wanting to have an addiction, but you may realize you are far too involved with it after taking your first puff. One problem that not many will reveal is the effects of the drug on the Gastrointestinal System (GI) of your body, which includes all the areas from your esophagus to your rectum. Some of the problems are minor but frequent, while others are rare but cause serious problems that can be life-threatening. They mostly occur when you use cocaine for a long period, and its use results in losses of normal flow of blood within various parts of your intestinal tract.
Of course drug dealers will not tell you that cocaine users can develop complications that can kill them, such as constriction of blood vessels leading to heart attacks, or intestinal gangrene due to death of intestinal tissue.
How Does Cocaine Affect The Body System?
The usual reasons that people decide to abuse cocaine is due to the mind-numbing chance, and these are usually due to an intensified form of pleasure – euphoria.
The drug is able to increase euphoric feelings by increasing levels of the hormone dopamine within the CNS (Central Nervous System), comprising of the spinal cord and the brain. However, it does not just affect the mind, but it increases activity within the sympathetic nervous system and changes the workings of the body. This is due to the drug increasing the levels of the chemical nerepinephrine.
In particular, the most important effect that the drug has on the gastrointestinal system is the constricting of blood vessels.
The extent of addiction is dependent on the manner that you take cocaine, which affects the duration of the high that you experience.
This means that some methods induce highs that are fast but short-lasting, and these are smoking and injections. These methods result in higher chances of addiction because of the quick effects that are short, so you need to consume more of the drug. However, gradual onset methods such as oral ingestion have lower chances of addiction.
Snorting results in a high that is almost immediate, but lasts for slightly longer than smoking or injections – roughly thirty minutes. Since this method involves the crystals passing through the nasal passages, it exerts its effects as it moves through the body system. The result is an increase in tolerance to the drug, even though this is in short order, leading to the individual needing increasing amounts of the drug, and eventual dependence on cocaine.
Since you begin using the drug, the body develops a tolerance level. This means that the amount you use to get ‘high’ gradually increases, and this makes you look for higher amounts of the drug to get the same level of high.
What Are Some Common Effects of Cocaine Use?
A common sign of gastrointestinal changes due to cocaine include general tenderness and pain in your abdominal region. Moreover, there are problems such as vomiting, nausea and bloody stools that are loose, as if you are experiencing diarrhea.
The effects will begin to show up after an hour of using the drug, though this may vary according to the body of the individual, as well as specific circumstances. It may even take up to two days after active drug use for the symptoms to appear.
Some Places of Serious GI Damage
The places that suffer the most damage will be dependent on the method that the user consumes the drug, according to a 2006 study by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
Individuals that consume the drug through snorting tend to develop issues below the pyloric sphinter, which is a muscle ring that separates the small intestine from the stomach. However, individuals taking it in form of crack cocaine (smoking) usually have issues above the pyloric sphinter, in the esophagus or stomach region.
All cocaine problems and Inflammations in The GI are usually due to a mechanism called ischemia. This happens when reducing levels of normal blood flow rob the cells and tissues of much-needed oxygen and nutrients.
The effects of damages to the system are even more apparent when the user smokes, injects or ingests the cocaine.
Intestinal Tissue Damages
Cocaine causes blood clots, and this tendency contributes to intestinal problems. For instance, when the blood clots form in the arteries that transport blood to the intestines, it results in gangrene development.
Cocaine users tend to suffer from ulcers as well as perforations of the intestines – this particularly affects individuals who smoke crack. In addition, because the liver breaks down all drugs that enter the body, individuals that abuse cocaine heavily tend to have problems with their liver as well.
Reduction in appetite is another effect of cocaine use, which leads to food binges when the person is not using the drug at that moment, resulting in gastrointestinal problems. The lack of food in the system also leads to nutritional deficiencies, especially in long-term users of cocaine.
Treating Cocaine Addictions To Prevent GI Problems
The process of cocaine detox must address the psychological and physical dependence on the drug. There are inevitable withdrawal symptoms that come with the recovery period though, and these include depression, agitation, hunger, discomfort, exhaustion and vivid bad dreams.
Since there are no official medicines that have approval from the FDA, behavioral therapy is mostly the cure to cocaine addiction. Such approaches are multiple, but all comprehensive, including strategies like cognitive therapy – encouraging the addict to examine their condition by knowing why they began abusing the drug and the practices that stop relapses from occurring.
The matrix model is also an important method, as it involves the community helping an individual recover from the addiction. It involves family therapy, relapse prevention skills, as well as education on addictions to cocaine.
The issue of Cocaine affecting the stomach and gastrointestinal area is not just about these two areas, but rather relates to the damage cocaine does to the internal organs of the body. Once someone becomes an addict, this poses a grave danger to their health, and they should receive cocaine detox, otherwise the risk of addiction and death is high.