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Cocaine is a stimulant that speeds up the workings of the brain. This illegal drug is extracted from the leaves of the coca plant and is processed with a blend of other chemicals to form a white powder known as cocaine hydrochloride. This type of cocaine, the most common in Australia, is typically inhaled or injected. These other chemicals may include fillers, such as glucose or lactose, which are added purely to boost profits.
However, this type is still rarely available in Australia. Dopamine is one of these brain chemicals. This chemical reinforcement makes us want to engage in those behaviours again. Cocaine works by tapping into this reward system and triggering the release of dopamine. This means that cocaine is extremely addictive, not only psychologically, but neurochemically. The effects of cocaine depend on the strength of the dose, the blend of chemicals, the physiology of the person and their state of mind at the time of taking the drug.
The cocaine rush only lasts for a short time, around 15—30 minutes after inhalation. Generally, some of the immediate effects of cocaine include:. In high doses, cocaine can make a person feel extremely agitated, paranoid and aggressive. Unpleasant physical effects include dizziness, hallucinations, nausea and vomiting, tremors, headache and heart pain. The consequences of overdose include seizures, brain haemorrhage, kidney failure, heart attack or stroke. Like many other drugs, it is possible to build up a tolerance to cocaine, which means people need to take larger and larger doses to achieve the same high.
Some people may actually experience the opposite effect — a sensitivity to cocaine — where even tiny amounts are enough to prompt a rush. Psychological withdrawal symptoms can last for weeks and may include intense cravings, depression, anxiety and angry outbursts. Physical withdrawal symptoms include nausea, tremors, sleeping problems and muscle pain. This means people may experience intense cravings for months or even years after giving up cocaine. Relapses are common. If cocaine is regularly inhaled or snorted, it can damage the lining of the nose and the structure separating the nostrils.
If injecting cocaine, there is a risk of blood poisoning, blood-borne viruses such as HIV or hepatitis from shared equipment, damaged blood vessels and skin abscesses. Heart problems are another side effect of long-term cocaine use. Some people experience mental health problems, such as severe depression.
In recent years, a wide range of synthetic products, claiming to have similar effects to cocaine, have also been available in Australia. The active ingredient in these products can potentially be a of chemicals, such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone MDPV , but it is difficult to know what exactly they contain. As a result, they can have more unpredictable effects and are potentially more harmful than cocaine. Treatment options for drug dependence include detoxification, individual counselling and group therapy.
See your doctor for information and referral, or contact an alcohol and other drug service in your area. This has been produced in consultation with and approved by:. Asking for help when you first suspect you have an alcohol or drug problem is important. If you think you have an addiction, speak to your local doctor or phone DirectLine. The size of a standard drink can vary according to the type of alcohol.
Amphetamines are psychostimulant drugs that speed up the workings of the brain. Prolonged misuse of steroids can cause liver damage and severe mood swings. Benzodiazepines tranquillisers are highly addictive and should only be used for certain conditions in a short-term or emergency situation.
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The State of Victoria and the Department of Health shall not bear any liability for reliance by any user on the materials contained on this website. Home Drugs. Actions for this Listen Print. Summary Read the full fact sheet. On this . How cocaine works Effects of cocaine use Symptoms of an overdose Dependence, tolerance and withdrawal from cocaine Damage caused by long-term use of cocaine Synthetic cocaine Treatment for drug dependence Where to get help.
Effects of cocaine use The effects of cocaine depend on the strength of the dose, the blend of chemicals, the physiology of the person and their state of mind at the time of taking the drug. Generally, some of the immediate effects of cocaine include: feelings of euphoria, exhilaration and confidence accelerated heart rate increase in body temperature a burst of energy dilated pupils loss of appetite the urge to have sex.
Symptoms of an overdose In high doses, cocaine can make a person feel extremely agitated, paranoid and aggressive. Dependence, tolerance and withdrawal from cocaine Like many other drugs, it is possible to build up a tolerance to cocaine, which means people need to take larger and larger doses to achieve the same high. Damage caused by long-term use of cocaine If cocaine is regularly inhaled or snorted, it can damage the lining of the nose and the structure separating the nostrils.
Synthetic cocaine In recent years, a wide range of synthetic products, claiming to have similar effects to cocaine, have also been available in Australia. Treatment for drug dependence Treatment options for drug dependence include detoxification, individual counselling and group therapy.
Where to get help If an overdose is suspected, call triple zero for an ambulance immediately Your doctor Alcohol and other drug service DrugInfo. Cocaine , Family Drug Support, Australia. Give feedback about this . Was this helpful? Yes No. View all drugs. Related information. Support groups Family Drug Help. From other websites DrugInfo. United Nations World Drug Report. Content disclaimer Content on this website is provided for information purposes only. Reviewed on:Cocain side affects
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s, Symptoms & Side Effects of Cocaine Use