The effects of prolonged use
If stimulants are taken for a long time and regularly, new problems arise. One of them is the development of tolerance to the drug, and in the case of stimulants its character is rather complicated. First, there is a strong tolerance to cocaine. This means that the effect of the first dose taken can be repeated a second time only if the dose increases.
This is how a person using crack describes it:
“You can take so much crack that it will kill you, and you will not notice it, because the lungs are numb and you can be delayed again and again. After the first time, you try to feel the same coming all night. You think that it will happen again with the next dose, and you put another crack in the phone and drag it deeper. But it will be no longer, it will never be like that. Nothing compares to the first puff. ”
Strong tolerance to the physiological effects of cocaine (rapid heartbeat) was studied in humans in the laboratory. This tolerance quickly disappears, usually within a day. Studies of long-term tolerance to cocaine and amphetamines have not yet yielded significant results. In some cases, the development of tolerance to the various actions of stimulants on the body is clearly observed. For example, tolerance to hyperthermia (increase in body temperature) is constantly growing. However, other studies provide results that can be called reverse tolerance or increased sensitivity as a result of prolonged drug use. In these cases, small doses are sufficient for a particular effect. This is absolutely true for the property of cocaine to cause convulsions: the convulsive effect of the drug increases with prolonged use. This phenomenon is called kindling. The effect can also be achieved by electrostimulation. Such a phenomenon can play a role in cases when death from overdose occurs when taking relatively small doses of cocaine. In any case, the presence of normal or inverse tolerance depends on a variety of complex processes occurring during a certain impact on the body.
Although the abstinence syndrome caused by cocaine or methamphetamines is not life threatening, it is still strong. The main symptoms include depression, falling out of society, severe anxiety, sleep disorders and, finally, a sense of urgent need for a drug. Many people who have gone through this say that the temptation to resume taking the drug is impossible to resist. From one to five days after the end of the reception, “breaking” lasts: a person is experiencing a deep depression, a complete breakdown and can only think about the drug. Sometimes during the break-up period, a person is so exhausted that he cannot even want to take another dose, but when he recovers a little, desire will flood with a new force. The second phase is abstinence: from 1 to 10 weeks, the person continues to feel a strong desire to take cocaine, he is still in a state of depression of severe or moderate severity, and he cannot feel pleasure. Finally, in the third phase there is a noticeable improvement, but for months or even years, the person sometimes experiences craving for the drug. This is a phase of extinction: the desire to take a dose again is caused by the “prompts” of the environment, which make a person suffer until finally he learns to extinguish these “hints”, possibly through special training.
Not all people who have experimented with cocaine or crack have an addiction, and not everyone who has taken drugs regularly for more than a year has such strong withdrawal symptoms. But if they appear, life becomes a nightmare. The risk of death in overdose, stimulatory psychosis and severe depression – this is not all. Many people who smoke crack often have chest pains associated with heart or lung damage. People who take cocaine through their nose suffer from insomnia, constant fatigue, severe headache, cramps and various infections that enter the body through the nose. Many coca women cannot stop using drugs during pregnancy, and the baby is in grave danger. Withdrawal symptoms last for a very long time, and therefore many people again firmly “sit on the needle” even after a few months of complete abstinence from cocaine.
Cocaine and other drugs.
Cocaine and other stimulants are often taken along with other drugs, especially with alcohol and opiates. As shown by the latest research, when mixing alcohol with cocaine, a new substance is formed in the body – cocaethylene. By its pharmacological properties, it is similar to cocaine, but may be more toxic. Many of the deaths from cocaine overdose are actually linked to cocaethylene poisoning. The combination of cocaine (or amphetamine) with heroin, a speedball, is especially popular among heroin addicts. A mixture of cocaine and heroin is sometimes called the cause of death from overdose (as was the case with John Belushi and Phoenix River), but experiments with a mixture of cocaine and opiates did not record the appearance of additional effects or synergism.