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What is cocaine addiction?

COCAINE is a naturally derived CNS (central nervous system) stimulant extracted and refined from the coca plant grown primarily in the Andean region of South America.

Cocaine is typically a whiteish powder with a bitter, numbing taste. It is most often insulated (snorted), though it can also be injected or used orally. Freebase cocaine, also known as crack, is created from powder cocaine for smoking.

A pattern of Cocaine Use Disorder is a compulsive and repeated use of cocaine powder or freebase (crack) cocaine, which affects an individual's brain and behaviour and leads to inability to control the use.

The individual feels intense urges and with the time needs more of the drug to get the same effect. The drug use continues even if causing serious physical and psychological harm to the individual and makes them to do things that he normally wouldn't do (begging, stealing, cheating, manipulating etc.). Individuals with cocaine use disorder may become involved in prostitution, or drug dealing in order to acquit drugs or money for drugs.

Cocaine Use Disorder occurs throughout all levels of society and more common among individuals 12-25 years compared with individuals 26 years and older. Some individuals use cocaine as a stimulant to lose weight or improve performance at school, work, or athletics. Cocaine use disorder can develop rapidly with smoked administration. Patterns of cocaine smoking administration include daily (mostly daily use) and is associated with rapid progression to severe-level stimulant use disorder.

Episodic cocaine use tends to be separated by 2 or more days of non-use (e.g. intense use during the weekends or on one or more weekdays). "Binges" involve continuous high-dose use over hours or days and are often associated with physical dependence. Binges usually terminate when cocaine supply is depleted or exhaustion ensues.

Chronic daily use may involve high or low doses, often with an increase dose over time.

Risk factors:

Temperamental - impulsivity and similar personality traits may affect the individual to develop cocaine use disorder

Environmental - Predictors of cocaine use among teenagers include cocaine exposure, associating with users and dealers

Psychological - individuals suffering from mental health disorders as ADHD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, EUPD, antisocial personality disorder are in high risk of developing cocaine dependence.

Cocaine use leads to significant behavioural or psychological changes (e.g. euphoria; changes in sociability; hyper vigilance; interpersonal sensitivity; anxiety, tension or anger; impaired judgement) that develop during, or shortly after using cocaine.

Physical symptoms that might develop during or shortly after using cocaine include tachycardia, pupillary dilation, nausea or vomiting, psychomotor agitation or retardation, muscular weakness, respiratory depression, chest pain, confusions, seizures, cardiac arrhythmias.

Cessation or reduction lead to withdrawal symptoms as fatigue, vivid unpleasant dreams, insomnia, increased appetite, psychomotor retardation, drug cravings, significant distress. The withdrawal symptoms are characterised by the development within a few hours to several days after the cessation of the cocaine use.

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