Substance Use

Is Cocaine a Stimulant or Depressant?

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Is Cocaine a Stimulant or Depressant?

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that has devastating effects on the lives of users and their loved ones. Cocaine abuse can lead to serious physical and mental health problems and social issues such as poverty or criminal behavior. But one of the most common questions people have about cocaine is: Is it a stimulant or depressant?

Zinnia Health understands how difficult it can be to cope with cocaine addiction. That’s why we offer addiction treatment services to help clients break the cycle of drug use and regain their lives. Whether you are looking for inpatient treatment and supportive care, group counseling, or outpatient services, we can create a personalized treatment plan that suits your needs. Our experienced staff is available 24/7 at (855) 430-9439.

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Is Cocaine a Stimulant?

According to MedlinePlus, cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that has been used for centuries.

Cocaine as a Stimulant

Cocaine acts primarily as a stimulant on the central nervous system (CNS). When ingested, it increases alertness and energy levels while decreasing fatigue and appetite. It also causes increased heart rate and blood pressure due to its effects on the sympathetic nervous system.

The user may experience feelings of confidence, power, pleasure, and invincibility when using cocaine which can lead to risky behavior such as driving under the influence or engaging in unprotected sex.

Cocaine as a Depressant

Despite being classified primarily as a stimulant drug, cocaine can have depressant effects at higher doses or long-term use due to its ability to reduce serotonin levels in the brain. This can cause depression symptoms such as low moods or lack of motivation.

What is the Difference Between Stimulants and Depressants?

Stimulants are drugs that increase alertness, attention, and energy. They can also elevate mood and reduce fatigue. Examples of stimulants include cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, caffeine, and nicotine.

Depressants are drugs that slow down the central nervous system by reducing brain activity. They cause a feeling of relaxation or sedation and can be used to treat anxiety or insomnia. Examples of depressants include alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines (Valium), opioids (heroin) and GHB/GBL (date rape drug).

Where Does Cocaine Come From?

Cocaine is derived from the coca plant leaves, which grow in South America and other parts of the world. It is generally sold as a white powder.

How Do People Use Cocaine?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, individuals can snort cocaine powder or rub it onto their gums. Alternatively, they could dissolve the powder and inject it directly into their bloodstream, sometimes in conjunction with heroin, or smoke a form of cocaine called crack cocaine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), polysubstance abuse, where a person uses multiple drugs at once, is a dangerous practice because the effects of this combination may be far more intense and unpredictable than one single drug, potentially even causing death.

If you are struggling with an addiction to cocaine, Zinnia Health is here for you. Our team of addiction experts provides comprehensive inpatient treatment that can help break the physical dependence on cocaine. To ensure long-term success, we also offer regular group counseling and outpatient services to support your goal. For personalized, tailored assistance reaching sobriety, call us 24/7 at (855) 430-9439.

How Does Cocaine Affect the Brain?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cocaine use has an impact on many different areas of the brain, including the brain stem, limbic system, and cerebral cortex. It can significantly alter how someone acts and feels, influencing their decisions in an adverse manner.

1. Short-Term Effects

According to a study in the National Library of Medicine, when cocaine enters the bloodstream, it binds to dopamine receptors in the brain and causes them to release large amounts of dopamine. This creates an intense feeling of pleasure or euphoria which is why some people become addicted.

According to Get Smart About Drugs, Other short-term effects include:

  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Restlessness, irritability, anxiety, paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Appetite loss

2. Long-Term Effects

According to New York City Health, long-term cocaine use can cause changes in the structure of some regions of the brain, which are responsible for decision-making and impulse control, triggering tremendous cravings. Using cocaine on a regular basis can also cause nosebleeds and auditory hallucinations.

How Does Cocaine Affect Brain Chemistry?

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that affects the brain by increasing dopamine levels, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward.

This dopamine flood leads to euphoria and intense energy and increases heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Long-term use can lead to changes in the brain’s chemistry which can cause addiction as well as depression, anxiety, paranoia and aggression. Cocaine also interferes with other essential functions, such as sleep regulation and decision-making.

What Are the Effects of Cocaine on the Body?

Long-term use can lead to severe health problems such as stroke or heart attack due to its effect on the cardiovascular system. Cocaine addiction also increases the risk of mental health issues like anxiety and depression and other physical ailments like respiratory failure or kidney damage.

According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, those with acute cocaine toxicity need immediate medical attention to treat tachycardia, dysrhythmia, hypertension and coronary vasospasm. Left untreated, these conditions can cause stroke or death. 

Are There Any Long-Term Health Risks Associated With Using Cocaine?

Yes, there are long-term adverse effects associated with using cocaine. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), cocaine is a major contributor to nearly one in five overdose deaths. Its risks are extensive, running from respiratory issues like asthma to digestive complications such as bowel decay and an increased risk of HIV.

Additionally, cocaine can cause extreme paranoia and psychosis that may last even after quitting the drug. Seek professional help if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to minimize these risks.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Treatment for cocaine addiction includes the following.

1. Detoxification Processes and Medications

Detoxing from cocaine can be difficult, as the body needs to adjust to functioning without the drug. During detox, doctors may prescribe medication to help manage withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, insomnia and cravings. These medications can include antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs like benzodiazepines.

2. Behavioral Therapies and Support Groups

Behavioral therapies are an important part of treating cocaine addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps individuals identify triggers that lead them to use cocaine and develop strategies for avoiding those triggers in the future.

According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, many scientific studies have validated the efficacy of CBT, particularly in treating mental health issues, including addictions.

3. Inpatient and Outpatient Programs

Inpatient treatment programs offer 24/7 care in a residential setting where patients receive medical supervision while participating in group counseling sessions, individual therapy sessions and other activities designed to promote sobriety.

Outpatient treatment programs allow patients more freedom but require them to attend regular appointments with counselors or therapists while living at home or in another sober living environment outside the facility itself.

Battling addiction can feel overwhelming, but there is hope. At Zinnia Health, we understand the struggles of overcoming a cocaine addiction and want to help you on your journey to recovery. Our team of experts provides carefully tailored inpatient care and group counseling. We also offer outpatient services for shorter-term solutions to address cravings without needing overnight stays. Call (855) 430-9439 today and start your path toward recovery.

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(855) 430-9439
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