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Cocaine Effects

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Cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs out there. It therefore has correspondingly intense effects on the body - and on the mind. One of reasons that cocaine is so dangerous and addictive is because it actually changes the way the brain functions.

How cocaine affects the brain

Cocaine causes interesting effects in the brain. Scientists have long studied the effects of cocaine use on the brain, mainly to discover the secret of why it is so addictive, as well as why it is so hard to stop abusing cocaine once started.

Deep in the brain, there are centers that provide feelings of euphoria and pleasure. These are known as reward centers. An event that is "rewarding" is accompanied by the release of a chemical known as dopamine. Dopamine allows feelings of pleasure and euphoria. Normally, the dopamine is released into small gaps between neurons in the brain. It binds with proteins in the gaps and sends the appropriate signals to the brain. The dopamine eventually leaves the gap.

With cocaine substance abuse, this process is disrupted. Cocaine actually blocks the dopamine from leaving the gaps between the brain's neurons, and this leads to a buildup of dopamine; the brain then remains stimulated.

However, this alteration of how the brain works comes with a price. The body develops a tolerance - becoming used to - the level of pleasure felt with the initial use of cocaine. More and more cocaine is required to get the same effect. Additionally, the brain retains a memory of the euphoria, and can trigger intense cravings that can lead to relapse.

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Short term effects of cocaine use

Cocaine substance abuse produces some short term effects. These short term effects usually occur immediately after first partaking of the drug. Its immediate effects are among the reasons that cocaine is so addictive. Here are some of the short term effects of cocaine use:

Long term effects of cocaine use

In addition to having immediate and noticeable effects, there are also long term effects associated with cocaine substance abuse. These effects can be long lasting, and may even last for life - even if one stops using cocaine. It is important to realize the far reaching effects cocaine substance abuse can have. Here are some of the long term effects of cocaine use:

Effects of a cocaine overdose

There are some certain effects that come with cocaine overdose. It is important to be on the lookout for these signs, as they are indications that the cocaine user may need immediate medical attention:

While the initial feelings of pleasure and euphoria can make cocaine "fun," it is important to remember that the drug has very real effects on the body. And, even after all of the short term effect fade away, there are still long term effects to confront.