Cocaine Use, Duration, and Side Effects
Cocaine can be snorted, rubbed on the gums, injected into the bloodstream, or smoked. The method of use changes how quickly your body absorbs the cocaine and how long the high lasts.
The effects of cocaine also vary when the drug mixes with other substances, which is a common practice.
If you or your loved ones are trying to understand how cocaine affects the body, here’s what you need to know.
If you’re thinking about quitting cocaine, Zinnia Health can help. Call our team today to learn more about our customized and confidential approach to treatment. Our helpline is open 24/7; dial (855) 430-9439.
How Long Do the Effects of Cocaine Last?
Snorting is one of the most common ways to take this drug, but people can also rub cocaine on the gums, mix it with water, and inject it.
It can also be smoked in the form of crack cocaine. How someone takes cocaine determines how quickly it absorbs into the bloodstream, changing how fast the high comes on and how long it lasts.
- When you snort cocaine or rub it on the gums, you start to feel the effects of cocaine in about 1-3 minutes. The high will last for about 15-30 minutes
- When you smoke or inject it, you start to feel the effects of cocaine in about 10-15 seconds. The high will last for about 5-15 minutes
After several uses, many people become tolerant to cocaine, which means they won’t feel as strong of a high even though they’re taking the same amount.
This often leads individuals to take more, which can rapidly put them at risk of a cocaine overdose.
Some people will also start mixing cocaine with other substances to amplify its effects.
Mixing cocaine and heroin in a process known as “speedballing.” While this might restore the high feeling they’re after, long-term use of cocaine and other substances can lead to dangerous side effects.
What Does a Cocaine High Feel Like?
Cocaine is a potent stimulant that makes a person feel energetic and uplifted. The “high” that follows cocaine use activates various receptors in the brain that promote dopamine release, often called the “happy hormone.”
While dopamine occurs naturally in the body, drugs like cocaine lead to a rush of dopamine in the system, which is why a cocaine high often feels euphoric.
Your body uses dopamine naturally to reward behavior that promotes survival, like eating a big meal. This means your brain is conditioned to do more of any activity that leads to extra dopamine, and this relationship forms the basis of addiction.
Aside from an overall sense of wellness, using cocaine can temporarily lead to:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased body temperature
- Higher confidence
- More outgoing or talkative personality
These side effects might seem positive, but they are short-term rewards.
What follows can include psychological dependence, intense cravings, personality changes, and adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, among other risks.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use?
After a few times using cocaine, your brain begins to transform, making the reward center less sensitive to natural reinforcers. This means activities that usually stimulate the dopamine response, like eating a big meal or spending time with friends, no longer bring as much pleasure.
Meanwhile, circuits involved in the stress response become more sensitive. Together, these changes in brain chemistry can lead to worsened mood and lower motivation, making you seek out cocaine more often to feel “good” again.
The psychological effects of using cocaine can completely change a person’s behavior, leading to the breakdown of professional and personal relationships in a very short period.
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Paranoia and psychosis
- Chest pain that feels like a heart attack
- Increased risk of stroke and seizures
- Bleeding in the brain
While mood changes can happen early on, family members often don’t suspect cocaine use until a long period has passed. They want to give their loved ones the benefit of the doubt.
With the dangerous and potentially irreversible risks of cocaine use, cocaine addiction must be addressed sooner rather than later. Fortunately, several treatment options exist.
Treatment Options for Cocaine Addiction
To recover from a stimulant drug like cocaine, your body must undergo a period known as detox.
During detox, the brain must adapt to no longer having the stimulant in its system, which means the brain’s structure and function must re-adapt.
This process can take weeks or months in chronic users, but it’s not something a person has to face alone.
Substance use disorders are now better understood than ever, and many treatment programs are designed to protect a person’s physical and mental well-being as they recover.
For instance, cocaine withdrawal symptoms can include heart rhythm changes and high blood pressure, along with feelings of anxiety, anger, and paranoia.
Addiction recovery specialists can help individuals minimize and manage these symptoms through therapy sessions and other techniques.
If you have pre-existing health conditions, including anxiety disorder or a heart condition, going through addiction treatment with the help of professionals is especially important.
When seeking medical advice for recovery, your healthcare provider will handle your case with the utmost confidentiality and care. All you need to do is take the first step.
Struggling With Cocaine Abuse? Get Help Today
Hospitalization and inpatient treatment are far from your only options if you’re trying to recover from cocaine abuse.
At Zinnia Health, we know there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. We offer customized programs, outpatient treatment, and various support groups to ensure you feel listened to and understood.