Is There a Link Between Cocaine Addiction and Brain Damage?

It is estimated that over two million Americans are afflicted with cocaine addiction. About 22 million individuals have tried cocaine at least once. Women are nearly three and a half times more likely to become cocaine addicts. Teenagers who use cocaine for the first time are four times more likely to suffer from a cocaine addiction. These statistics are quite alarming, given the fact that this addiction is beginning during the most formative years of a person’s life. Another alarming things is that excessive Cocaine Addiction Treatment presents its own health risks, and one of which is brain damage. Therefore, it is imperative that cocaine addicts start addiction treatment with whatever option is suitable for them such as, evidence-based therapies, detox, group therapies, etc.

This potent stimulant, cocaine, comes from coca plant leaves and is known for making its users talkative and energetic. While this drug is known for making its users euphoric temporarily, users will also experience the following:

  • Psychosis
  • Panic Attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Brain hemorrhaging

This is just a small sample of what cocaine users will feel on a cocaine “high,” which lasts anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour (depending on how much an individual takes in).

Cocaine Addiction and Brain Damage

Excessive usage of cocaine can cause a narrowing of the blood vessels. Even when a user thinks about cocaine, the cerebral blood flow becomes altered. Because of the narrowing of the blood vessels, the brain is unable to get what it needs in order to function properly. So, whenever an individual uses cocaine, they suffer brain damage. Prolonged use of cocaine can further the brain damage.

Use of cocaine alters the dopamine neurons. The body will start to build a tolerance to the drug. Users now have to increase the amount of cocaine they use in order to achieve that “high” that they are used to experiencing. This increases the brain damage and many other side effects, including learning difficulties and memory loss.

It is important to note that it does not take much cocaine for symptoms of brain damage to show up on tests. If it only takes a small amount of cocaine to show symptoms of brain damage, imagine what will happen with prolonged use of cocaine. Addicts who use other substances, such as alcohol and heroin, show an even more noticeable decrease in blood flow to the brain. This leads to further brain damage, and in some cases, even death.

Physical side effects of cocaine addiction

Along with the mental side effects of prolonged cocaine addiction, there are also physical side effects. These side effects include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Irreparable damage to the nasal cavity (from snorting cocaine)
  • Lung trauma from smoking cocaine
  • Loss of tooth enamel

Brain damage as a result of cocaine use is irreversible. Professional and personal relationships are affected and are often irreparable as well. It damages the individual’s ability to lead a productive and long life. If you, or someone you know, has a cocaine addiction, it is imperative that help is sought. Treating cocaine addiction early can prevent further brain damage from occurring.