A cocaine hangover, or comedown, is an unpleasant consequence caused by using the drug. The cocaine comedown phase occurs as the drug wears off and causes the opposite effects of those caused during the euphoric phase. Although many people experience hangovers with other substances like alcohol, those with cocaine hangovers experience some symptoms that are more intense and distinctive. If people abuse cocaine heavily, they may binge the drug in an attempt to counteract its comedown effects, which may lead to them taking excessive amounts or developing an addiction.
Continue reading to learn more about cocaine hangovers, symptoms of abuse, and effective treatment in combatting cocaine addiction.
What is a Cocaine Hangover?
After cocaine leaves your system, your body must compensate for the altered effects. In the same way that an alcohol hangover is unpleasant, a cocaine hangover is also unpleasant. Your body compensates for the drug’s influences while you are taking it as well as afterward, when it is out of your system.
After you intake the drug, you may experience a variety of physical side effects, but why? Cocaine is a stimulant that increases blood flow to the brain and releases a variety of hormones that boost your mood. Your body and brain scramble to compensate for these sudden changes after the flood of hormones has ended.
When your body goes through many transformations all at once when you come down from cocaine, you may feel both physically and mentally hungover. In many scenarios, cocaine users seeking to cushion their hangovers attempt to consume more of the drug, a move that only delays the inevitable.
Long-term use of the drug may result in additional issues, such as setting you up for cocaine withdrawals. Withdrawals are comparable to cocaine hangovers but are frequently more serious and longer to recover from. Because of the person’s unique experience, a cocaine hangover may not have the same impact as other drugs. The comedown may differ from other individuals, so your symptoms may also be different. Some people are hardly impacted, while others are severely impacted – it is truly unique and varies.
How Does Cocaine Affect the Brain?
Neurons in the brain communicate with one another using neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are discharged from one cell and enter an area known as the synapse—a tiny space between neurons. After the neurotransmitter molecules cross the synapse, they either connect with the opposite cell or are recycled and discharged again later. Neurotransmitters are taken up into the releasing cell after they are discharged into the synapse, where they can be either destroyed or recycled.
The brain’s reward and reinforcement systems are altered by cocaine as a result of its effect on a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Cocaine prevents dopamine molecules from being recaptured by the cell, resulting in a buildup of dopamine in the synapse and a resultant increase in its impact on other cells. This is how cocaine produces its characteristic euphoria and vigor.
When cocaine is frequently used, the brain reduces the number of dopamine receptors—neuron locations where dopamine binds—to compensate for the increased quantity of dopamine in the synapse. This can influence brain function and cause issues such as compulsion, apathy, and lack of motivation and pleasure.
Risks of Cocaine Withdrawal
When a patient is withdrawing from stimulant medication, they may experience significant dysphoria (depression, overwhelmingly negative thoughts and feelings). This dysphoric period could, in some cases, be associated with suicidal thoughts or attempts as well as cocaine use. Withdrawal symptoms from cocaine may last for several weeks after you stop using the drug. Many symptoms begin to fade within a few days, but some people experience more prolonged withdrawal. Symptoms include:
- Increased appetite
- Muscle aches
Long-Term Risks of Cocaine Use and Abuse
Long-term abuse of cocaine may result in a variety of physical complications. There may be some hope of reversing the damage caused by cocaine or crack cocaine addiction, but years of abuse are likely to result in irreversible damage. Medical problems resulting from chronic conditions may be treated, but they may result in a lifetime of hospital and physician visits and medical expenses.
Effects on Heart
An individual using cocaine will have an immediate rise in blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and constriction of blood vessels in the brain and throughout the body. This indicates the person’s experience of high energy, anxiety, stress, and paranoia. Cocaine can cause severe heart damage by causing blood clots that result in heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms, strokes, and deep vein thrombosis. Permanently elevated blood pressure, tachycardia, or arrhythmia may occur as a result of cocaine abuse.
Effects on the Sinuses
The septum in the nose becomes damaged and then dies as blood flow decreases and environments become drier and less humid. The mucous membranes in your nose are damaged by sniffing cocaine, and the soft tissues in your nose eventually die as a result. The cartilage that separates each nasal cavity is the septum. Once this cartilage is exposed, it too will die and form a hole. Many individuals who abuse cocaine are affected by septal perforations, which can lead to a collapsed nose structure and, ultimately, breathing issues. Sometimes, this condition can be treated with plastic surgery but not always. A similar process may occur in the palate of the mouth. Palatal perforations are not as widespread as septal perforations, but they may develop over time in long-term abusers.
Effects on the Respiratory System
When snorted, cocaine can damage the mucous membranes of the sinuses, resulting in damage to the throat and upper respiratory tract. Smoking cocaine is more likely to cause severe respiratory problems, but it may also result in serious respiratory problems. The capillaries that transport oxygen to the rest of the body can be destroyed, resulting in chronic cough, frequent infections such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, acute respiratory distress, asthma, and pulmonary edema. People who freebase cocaine chronically are prone to developing a condition known as “crack lung” or eosinophilic pneumonitis.
Effects on the Brain
Long-term constriction of the brain’s blood vessels may result in brain injury due to a decrease in oxygen supply. It may also increase the risk of an aneurysm because of vascular wall damage. Long-term effects of cocaine abuse also include mini-strokes, seizures, cerebral vasculitis, hyperpyrexia, alterations in frontal and temporal lobe function, alterations in neurotransmitter production and absorption, which may result in mood disorders, and changes in movement that cause tremors, muscle weakness, and altered gaits, among others.
Effects on the Gastrointestinal System
A person abusing cocaine might experience stomach pain, reduced appetite, nausea, vomiting, and constipation, all of which result from reduced blood flow throughout the body. Chronic short-term side effects such as necrotic bowel or death of vital GI tissues indicate that these side effects will become more permanent over time, especially in people with cocaine addiction. In addition, cocaine abuse might cause ischemic colitis, which is inflammation and injury of the large intestine resulting in serious digestive problems and even death.
Effects on the Liver
Long-term cocaine use increases the risk of overdose, and an overdose of cocaine floods the body with toxins the liver is unable to filter, resulting in liver damage. If the person recovers from an overdose or gets help quitting cocaine, most liver damage is reversible. Liver damage resulting from mixed cocaine and alcohol has resulted in death, because cocaethylene, a substance produced when the liver processes cocaine and alcohol, increases the depressive impact of alcohol, increases aggression, stresses the heart, and damages the liver.
Effects on the Immune System
Those who are addicted to cocaine are more susceptible to contracting HIV and hepatitis in addition to several infectious diseases. In some cases, needle-sharing is to blame; however, more frequently, the intense stimulant results in poor decision-making, increased risk-taking, and increased libidinal desire, which may lead to risky sexual encounters. Additionally, cocaine abuse impairs the immune system, which results in the rapid spread of diseases throughout the body.
When to Get Help for Cocaine Use
It’s hard to be objective about drug and alcohol addiction and admit that you have a problem. Your life might be negatively impacted by substance abuse if you have an addiction. You can begin your recovery right away once you accept this fact. The next step is to decide how to get clean.
There are people who opt out of getting treated due to the fact they have not hit bottom or because they do not think their issue is serious enough. In reality, if you’re questioning whether or not you need assistance to kick your cocaine habit, you probably do need professional help.
Someone who is suffering from substance abuse is likely to be negatively impacting their life and relationships. Addiction exists on a spectrum. You may determine if your addiction is mild, moderate, or severe by considering the criteria listed below:
- Inability to quit
- Loss of interest in things once enjoyed
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Risky behaviors
- Preoccupation with securing the substance
Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Oasis Recovery Center
If you want to quit cocaine use, professional addiction treatment is the best option. You must both get rid of the physical dependency and address the behavioral issues in order to beat an addiction.
The experts at Oasis Recovery are highly experienced in treating cocaine addiction at all stages and are here to assist you or your loved one overcome this dangerous addiction.
To learn more about our many services or programs, contact a treatment specialist today. We will beat this addiction together.