How to Take Cocaine
Cocaine is a stimulant drug used in a variety of ways. No matter how you take it, cocaine can trigger addiction with repeated use. Still, the way in which you take cocaine may have important consequences. Those consequences include your level of motivation to abuse the drug. They also include the rate at which you become addicted. In addition, how you take cocaine may have a significant impact on the severity of your addiction. What’s more, each method of cocaine use can harm your health in specific ways.
How Is Cocaine Used?
In its main form, cocaine is fine, powdery substance. This powder can be inhaled through your nose in an act commonly known as snorting. Cocaine taken this way gets absorbed by your nasal tissues and pulled into your bloodstream. Once there, it travels to your brain.
It’s possible to mix powdered cocaine with water. This results in an injectable cocaine solution. Some people inject the drug into muscle tissue. Others inject it directly into a vein. Cocaine injected into a vein has a straight pathway to your brain. If you inject the drug into a muscle, it will also make its way to your bloodstream and brain.
Using Cocaine Orally
Some people use cocaine orally by rubbing the drug into their gum tissue. This tissue is covered with other tissues called mucous membranes. The cocaine on your gums gets absorbed by those membranes. From there, it enters your bloodstream and gets transported to your brain.
Powdered cocaine can be processed and turned into a hardened, rock-like substance. This substance, known as “crack” cocaine, can then be heated in a pipe. This turns crack into an inhalable vapor.
That vapor travels to your lungs and enters your bloodstream. Once there, it rapidly reaches your brain. Crack is also known as freebase, and smoking the drug is also known as freebasing.
Impact of How to Take Cocaine on Your Motivation for More of the Drug
Cocaine puts the area of your brain responsible for producing pleasure into overdrive. This heightened activity creates a extremely pleasurable state known as euphoria.
The amount of reward you get from euphoria far outstrips other, more typical ways of feeling pleasure. For many people, the chance to re-experience that sensation is a powerful motivator to keep using cocaine.
All of this is true regardless of how you take cocaine. However, your method of use will determine how much euphoria you feel. In turn, this may have an impact on your motivation to take more of the drug. The biggest boosts in your pleasure levels come from smoking or injecting cocaine. You will receive a smaller boost if you snort the drug or rub it on your gums.
Impact of How to Take Cocaine on the Rate of Addiction
Eventually, you will become addicted to cocaine no matter how you take it. This happens when you develop a physical and emotional dependence on the drug. Together, these dependencies drive you toward involuntary drug-seeking and drug use.
The way you use cocaine can significantly affect the length of time before you get addicted. As a rule, the more you take the drug, the faster problems occur. The biggest risks in this area come from crack abuse.
This method of use combines powerful euphoria with a short period of effect. The result is a compelling reason to smoke the drug again, and soon. In turn, this may become a rapid cycle that increases the rate at which you get addicted.
Impact of How to Take Cocaine on the Severity of Addiction
A cocaine addiction may be mild, moderate or severe. The differences between these three levels of addiction include:
- The overall number of symptoms you have
- The intensity of each of those individual symptoms
- The amount of time you have been addicted
Any method of cocaine use can lead to severe problems. Still, your chosen method of use may have an impact. Long-term, heavy crack smoking, in particular, may lead to the development of severe addiction symptoms.
Specific Types of Harm to Your Health
Each method of cocaine use comes with its own damaging impact on your health.
Over time, people who snort cocaine can damage their nasal health. They can also damage the health of other nearby areas of the body. Examples of problems you may experience include:
- Recurring issues with nosebleeds
- A decreased or absent ability to smell
- A hole in the cartilage that separates your nostrils
- Lasting inflammation of your sinuses
- Impairment of your ability to swallow
- Erosion of the bone and tissue separating your mouth and nasal cavity
Crack smoking can lead to a range of throat- and lung-related problems. The list of potential issues includes:
- Increasing the impact of existing asthma
- Frequent or chronic coughing
- A boost in your chances of getting an infection in your lungs
- Breathing problems
- Traumatic injury to your lung tissues
Cocaine injection comes with a number of related risks. For example, the practice may lead to circulation problems by scarring or collapsing your veins. It may also lead to the development of serious skin and tissue infection. In addition, you increase your odds of getting exposed to HIV/AIDS or another severe, bloodborne condition.
Dangers of Oral Use
If you rub cocaine on your gums, you may eventually develop advanced gingivitis. As a result, you may develop gum lesions or sores. These issues can substantially damage the overall health of your teeth and mouth.
Dangers Shared by All Forms of Cocaine Use
There are also dangers shared in common by all forms of cocaine use. High on the list here is the possibility of overdosing on the drug. You can overdose on cocaine no matter:
- How much you take
- The level of tolerance you have to the drug’s general effects
- How long you have used the drug
In other words, the risk is universal, unpredictable and never goes away. Many people overdosing on cocaine experience severe cardiac problems. Examples of those problems include both cardiac arrest (i.e., complete heart stoppage) and heart attack.
The list of shared problems also includes things such as:
- Intestine and bowel damage
- Clinical malnutrition
- Severe chest pain
- Bleeding in your brain
- Increased risks for Parkinson’s disease
- Inflamed heart tissues
- Declining heart muscle function
- A weakened aorta (your biggest blood vessel) that may tear open
- Declining mental function
- A psychotic mental state
- Bouts of paranoia and panic
Problems Introduced By Cocaine Additives
On its own, cocaine is harmful enough. An extra layer of danger comes from the additives often found in batches of the drug. Some additives have no major effects and pose few risks to your health. Examples here include:
- Baking soda
- Talcum powder
However, other additives are powerful drugs in their own right. Specific drugs that cocaine users may encounter include:
- The synthetic opioid fentanyl
In combination with cocaine, these substances may greatly accelerate your risks. That’s true no matter how the mixture enters your system. The presence of fentanyl or other synthetic opioids has an especially big impact on your chances of overdosing.
Unfortunately, drug dealers don’t tend to announce the fact that they’ve included additives in their product. In fact, if you use cocaine, you never really know exactly what you’re getting. Every dose is essentially a roll of the dice for your health.
Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
If you become addicted to cocaine, you can recover when you receive the right kind of treatment. Programs are available for all degrees of addiction, from the mildest to the most severe. Depending on your situation, you may need 24/7 assistance in a residential program. On the other hand, you may be able to reach your recovery goals while enrolled in an outpatient program.
The core of all research-based cocaine treatment programs, whether inpatient or outpatient, is behavioral psychotherapy. This therapy helps you achieve crucial goals such as:
- Taking an active part in your treatment program
- Meeting specific benchmarks for progress in your recovery plan
- Understanding how behavior and the way you think can support continuing addiction
- Developing behaviors and mental habits that don’t encourage cocaine use
- Learning how to steer clear of the drug when you leave treatment
- Preparing for membership in a self-help group like Cocaine Anonymous
No single approach to therapy will provide you with all of these benefits. Instead, there are multiple therapy options. Your doctor or addiction specialist will help you devise a treatment plan that best suits you particular needs.
Find Out More About the Dangers of Cocaine
If you have questions about the many dangers of cocaine use, ask the addiction specialists at The Discovery House. We can answer any question and help you get a better understanding of your risks.
The Discovery House is also dedicated to top-quality cocaine addiction treatment. Our full range of treatment options gives us the ability to help you recover, regardless of your current situation.
All plans are customized and built solidly on evidence-based care. For more information on our programs, call us today or reach out through our online form. We’re dedicated to supporting your path to a cocaine-free lifestyle.