It has a reputation as a drug that gives you boundless energy and social radiance. You may have heard tall tales about staying up for days, clubbing all night, and slaying it at work all day while under the influence of cocaine.
But it’s unclear how true those tales are – the reality is that snow isn’t as harmless as it sounds. Cocaine causes problems like addiction and health issues. How do you tell the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to cocaine addiction?
Here’s the facts we found behind the 11 most common cocaine addiction myths.
Myth #1: Cocaine addiction takes time to develop
Cocaine addiction actually develops very quickly. That’s because repeated use causes tolerance fast.
When you use cocaine, your body and brain are less sensitive to it the next time. That loss of sensitivity is tolerance, and with cocaine, it starts within a single-use.
That leads to using cocaine more often and in higher doses from the very start. Many people use cocaine every 15 to 30 minutes.
It takes only a day of that kind of frequent use to cause cocaine addiction. With crack cocaine, it’s possible to develop addiction even faster, after a single-use.
Myth #2: Cocaine isn’t that dangerous
Cocaine is more dangerous than it looks.
In 2015, over 600,000 people went to the emergency room for cocaine overdoses. Over 10% of those people died, making it a total of 63,000 deaths from cocaine overdoses that year. And many people die because they don’t even make it to the hospital in time to receive life-saving care from a cocaine overdose.
That’s not even counting people who sought treatment for, or died from, cocaine-related health problems, like heart or stomach problems.
Even if you don’t die from an overdose, you can experience permanent long-term health effects from cocaine use, including:
- Cognitive changes
- Heart disease
- Gastrointestinal disease
- Vascular disease
Myth #3: Cocaine is safe in moderation
Cocaine isn’t safe, even in small amounts. Even a single dose of cocaine has effects on your health. In the short term, using cocaine causes:
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Vascular dilation, or shrinkage of your blood vessels
These effects are hard on your heart and blood vessels. Cocaine can also have effects on your brain, like seizures, after a single, moderate use.
Myth #4: Cocaine is safe if you snort it
Snorting cocaine isn’t safer than injecting it or smoking crack. Every method of using cocaine has its own negative health effects, but they all have the same effects on your brain and heart. And you’re still at risk of an overdose.
If you snort cocaine, you’re also susceptible to:
- Deviated septum
- Loss of smell
- Loss of ability to swallow
- Sinus damage
Myth #5: Cocaine makes you better at work (and everything else).
It’s true that cocaine can give some people lots of energy and motivation, but that doesn’t translate to work performance. In fact, cocaine is likely to hinder your work performance, not make you better at work.
That’s because using cocaine causes cognitive problems that can affect your executive function. Executive function is your ability to reason, make plans, and follow through on them. And it’s critical for work since cocaine use can make you overestimate your abilities and performance, which can backfire when you think you are doing better than you really are.
Using cocaine to get through work can backfire by causing:
- Attention problems
- Long-term memory loss
- Trouble focusing
- Trouble with decision-making
- Trouble assessing risk
- Working memory loss
Myth #6: Cocaine makes you socialize better
You might feel like you’re socializing better when you’re using cocaine, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. In fact, cocaine causes behavior changes that can damage your social life.
One of cocaine’s most well-known effects is its impact on sociability. When you’re using cocaine, all you want to do is talk and feel confident about what you’re saying.
Yet you’re unlikely to come off as a good socializer on cocaine because of these effects:
- Agitation: Cocaine can make you come off as anxious, antsy, or even aggressive to other people.
- Secretive behavior: Cocaine and lying go hand-in-hand. You may lie to people who don't know you're using, and they might see right through it.
- Lack of risk aversion: Cocaine makes everything feel less risky, so you may say things you wouldn't normally say or otherwise behave without a filter.
Myth #7: Cocaine makes sex better
Cocaine has a reputation as a sex enhancer. It’s true that cocaine increases your sex drive, but that doesn’t actually mean it makes sex better.
In fact, cocaine can hamper sex by causing sexual performance problems. This is true in both men and women. Cocaine is also linked to riskier sexual behavior, including unprotected sex.
Myth #8: Cocaine doesn’t make it hard to function
Old movies are full of tropes that portray the functioning drug addict, often as a rich financial officer who uses cocaine to get through 14-hour workdays.
The truth is, it’s hard to be a functioning cocaine addict.
A cocaine addiction means:
- Dosing around the clock to avoid withdrawal, often every 15-30 minutes
- Hiding behavioral signs like agitation, anxiety, hyper-sexuality, or a need to keep moving
- Hiding physical signs like fever, sweating, and pupil changes
- Staying awake for multiple days on end to keep using cocaine
Functioning without letting anyone know you’re high on cocaine is hard enough. It gets impossible when you add in days without sleeping or eating. Even if you don’t recognize your need for food and sleep, your body is still suffering the consequences while you aren’t noticing it.
Myth #9: Cocaine highs are easy to hide
It’s not that easy to hide the signs of cocaine use. When you use cocaine, the signs of being high include:
- Agitated behavior
- Increased energy, including a need to move
- Increased sexuality
- Increased focus
- Sense of confidence
The signs of cocaine addiction aren’t easy to hide, either. With addiction, you’ll start using cocaine many times in a day for days on end, which can get you caught fast.
Myth #10: Cocaine highs can last for days
You may hear people talk about staying awake on cocaine for days and wonder “how long does a cocaine high last?” The average cocaine high only lasts 15 to 30 minutes.
But the reality is, in that situation, the person using cocaine is re-dosing over a long period of time. This is known as a cocaine binge.
Myth #11: Cocaine crashes aren’t that bad
It’s true that cocaine crashes can’t cause seizures like benzo withdrawal. But that doesn’t make them any less severe in their own right.
The effects of cocaine withdrawal include:
- Dysphoria, or a general sense of feeling bad
- Intense need to sleep
- Intense hunger
- Night terrors
These effects can be bad enough to lead to relapse. It’s important to get help before stopping cocaine use.
Get Help for Cocaine Addiction at Bedrock Recovery Center
Are you seeing the signs of cocaine abuse in yourself or a loved one? Now’s the time to get treatment for cocaine addiction.
At Bedrock Recovery Center, we join you on your recovery journey to provide compassionate addiction care. Our evidence-based residential inpatient program offers:
- Gold star dining for the nutritional support you need during recovery
- Luxury amenities including beautifully renovated rooms, an on-campus movie theater, and Starbucks
- Therapy and counseling that includes the most current standard of care for addiction therapy
- Supervised detox to help you ease into recovery comfortably and safely
Call us today to learn how Bedrock Recovery Center can help you!
Bedrock Recovery Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.