Cirque Lodge > Blog > Addiction > Is Cocaine a Stimulant or Depressant?

Smoked, snorted, or injected for its rapid onset euphoric high, cocaine is a street drug that usually appears as a white powder. Although cocaine can be found in its pure form, it's often mixed with substances such as talcum powder, caffeine, or prescription painkillers to bulk out supply.

As cocaine is illegal, it's unregulated. Using cocaine comes with significant risks, including short and long-term health effects. Prolonged cocaine use also can harm your employment, finances, and interpersonal relationships.

Like many other drugs, cocaine also has a high potential for addiction. Unbeknown to many, it's possible to develop an addiction after using cocaine just once.

Addictions are vicious cycles that are almost impossible to get out of without professional help. Yet, with our support and treatment, recovery is possible. If you live with a cocaine addiction, call us today to start your recovery.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a Schedule II drug, which is the highest drug category due to its risk of harm and addiction.

Derived from the leaves of two coca plant species found in South America, cocaine was initially used as an analgesic and an anesthetic. Today, it's mostly obtained for a recreational euphoric high.

As touched on above, cocaine is often presented in the form of a fine white powder, although color can vary depending on how it was made and what it is mixed with. Sometimes cocaine comes in crystal form - this is known as crack cocaine.

What Are the Immediate Effects of Cocaine Use?

The method of cocaine administration determines the immediate effects that are felt. For example, when cocaine is smoked, it enters the bloodstream very quickly, causing a high to be felt almost instantly.

When cocaine is snorted or smoked, there is a risk of damage to the nose, mouth, and throat. Injecting cocaine brings on an immediate high but has the most significant risks. Mishandling or sharing needles, for example, can lead to HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, and infections, including sepsis.

In addition to the above, there are several other immediate effects of cocaine use. These include psychological and physical symptoms.

Immediate psychological symptoms of cocaine use are:

  • Euphoria
  • Increased confidence
  • High energy
  • Excitement
  • Severe paranoia
  • Extreme agitation

Physical effects of cocaine use are:

  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • High body temperature
  • Large pupils
  • Muscle twitches
  • Tremors
  • Nausea

Cocaine also constricts blood vessels in your body, reducing oxygen flow to vital organs, leaving you at risk of heart attacks and strokes. If you have recently taken cocaine, seek immediate medical help.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Cocaine?

Taking cocaine or crack has onset effects that last around thirty minutes. However, cocaine can be detected in your breath, blood, and urine for up to three days after use. Through prolonged use, cocaine also presents several long-term effects. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Chronic nosebleeds
  • Mouth ulcers
  • A perforated septum
  • Respiratory issues
  • Mouth, throat, and lung cancer

If you have taken cocaine, by any means, it is essential to seek professional medical advice from a doctor or drug facility. Alternatively, call a helpline. It can feel overwhelming to talk about your problems, especially face-to-face, but a wide variety of support is available, and you are not alone.

What Is the Difference Between a Stimulant and a Depressant?

Cocaine is a stimulant drug. But what does this mean? Essentially, stimulant drugs increase activity in the central nervous system, speeding up messages between the brain and body.

Stimulant drugs are sometimes known as uppers. Although many stimulants, such as cocaine, are illegal, prescription drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin are stimulants, as are caffeine and nicotine. Although medications prescribed by a medical professional should only be taken as advised, prescription stimulants are often taken recreationally to elevate mood, increase confidence, or enhance focus.

Depressant drugs, on the other hand, are sometimes known as downers. These drugs have the opposite effect on the central nervous system and slow down brain activity. Common prescription depressants include opioids and benzos. Alcohol is also a depressant.

One common misconception is that you can take an upper and a downer at the same time to cancel out the dangers. This is wrong, though. Mixing substances can bring an increased risk of overdose and other adverse effects. Taking cocaine and alcohol simultaneously, for example, is particularly dangerous.

Using stimulants and depressants when they are not prescribed to you is considered substance abuse.

What Are the Dangers of Drug Abuse?

It is always dangerous to take stimulants and depressants not prescribed to you. It is also harmful to ignore medical guidance surrounding prescription drugs by consuming a larger dose than prescribed or taking them for a more extended period than recommended, for example.

The dangers of drug abuse vary depending on your personal profile and the specific drug used. The dose taken and the length of time drugs are taken also contribute to the dangers of drug abuse. However, all drugs come with risks to your psychological and physical health. There is no safe amount when it comes to drug abuse, and possible complications include:

  • Heart attacks
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Respiratory problems
  • Strokes
  • Brain injury
  • Cancers
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis
  • Exacerbation of an existing mental health disorder

Unfortunately, stimulant abuse and depressant abuse increases the risk of drug addiction. For this reason, if you are at all concerned, call one of our rehab centers to find out more about addiction treatment and start your recovery journey today.

What Treatment Is Available for Addiction?

Drug use interferes with our brain's natural reward system, causing addiction. It can be challenging to admit to yourself that you have an addiction, and it can also be difficult to determine whether you are struggling with an addiction.

However, you might have an addiction to cocaine if you:

  • are obsessed with getting your next fix.
  • are secretive about your drug habits.
  • are defensive and lie to avoid being called out on your drug use.
  • are prone to mood swings.
  • no longer enjoy things you used to.
  • have developed poor hygiene.
  • have withdrawn from friends, family, and social engagements.
  • suffer poor performance at college or work due to using.
  • are unable to stop using cocaine despite adverse effects.
  • suffer withdrawal symptoms if you stop using for a short period.

If you have an addiction, treatment is the only way to get out of it. Our rehab centers offer personalized treatment options for you to get the best care possible.

When commencing cocaine addiction treatment, you will first complete detox. Detoxification is the process of eliminating all substances from the body to overcome your physical dependence. Once your body is drug-free, you can begin to work on recovering from your psychological addiction to drugs.

Through therapy and ongoing support, you will replace harmful habits and unhealthy coping mechanisms with the tools needed to succeed in recovery. Many people with substance use disorders also undergo treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders during addiction treatment.

What Do Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms Look Like?

During the detox process, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms. These are mostly unpleasant, but they are sometimes intense and can be dangerous. As a result, you should always consult a medical professional and seek detox treatment.

Although it is possible to detox at home as an outpatient, it is in your best interest to detox at a specialized rehab facility under the safety and care of trained medical professionals.

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Sleep problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Vivid dreams
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Intense cravings

Symptoms typically last for one to two weeks and are a positive sign that cocaine is leaving your system, meaning recovery is on the horizon.

How Can I Get Help for My Cocaine Addiction?

If you are searching for help, please contact us today. We can help you take the first step in getting help for your cocaine addiction by informing you of the treatments we provide and talking you through the recovery process.

To find out more, call one of our rehab centers today to talk to one of our licensed medical professionals about personalized treatment options.

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