How Long Does Cocaine High Last? 3 Alarming Effects

In the garb of providing a temporary escape from reality, drug use is a menace that can cause severe long-term effects on the individual. What are cocaine highs like? How long does a cocaine high last? What are the effects of cocaine use? What are some cocaine addiction treatment 1options? Read on to find the answers to all these questions and more.

Drug addiction, or any form of addiction, for that matter, happens when an individual relies too much on substance use or temporary pleasures from harmful modes to escape reality.

Therefore, addiction treatment also varies according to the type of addiction2 one encounters.

Cocaine addiction is one such addiction that can have several debilitating effects on the individual. The results of cocaine use can be seen in both short and long runs.

Substance abuse is something that needs to be talked about for awareness. So here we attempt to answer some questions you might have about cocaine use.

1. What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is taken in the form of a fine powder and is a powerful stimulant drug. Despite being highly addictive, doctors also use it as an anaesthetic in some cases.

Its composition includes ammonia, baking soda, and water, and the salt (hydrochloride) form is used for snorting.

This drug can be snorted in powder form, injected intravenously, or smoked after heating. Smoking cocaine is known as crack cocaine and is different from snorting cocaine or the injecting type.

1.1. Cocaine Detection

Cocaine can be detected in one’s body through several types of tests. While cocaine stays in one’s urine, blood, and saliva for about 3 days, it can be detected through one’s hair as well for up to 3 months.

How Long Does Cocaine High Last
Image by Colin Davis from Unsplash © 2021

2. Cocaine’s Effects

Cocaine use has some serious effects on the user’s health, both physical and mental. Cocaine users are bound to see these effects sooner or later.

When coupled with heroin or alcohol abuse, the effects of this potent drug manifest in even worse ways on the user’s body.

2.1. Cocaine Highs

On taking cocaine, the individual might experience several stimulating effects and a sense of disassociation from reality.

A cocaine high causes the user to become mentally alert and extra sensitive to their surroundings. There might be a sudden burst of energy and the urge to talk and be social.

2.2. Cocaine’s Effects on Short-Term

The early symptoms experienced after taking cocaine include increased blood pressure and heart rate, and dilated pupils, increased body temperature. Dizziness and muscle spasms might also be side effects in some cases.

Restlessness, irritability, panic, and anxiety might be some psychological symptoms that occur directly after taking cocaine.

2.3. Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

Once an individual starts using cocaine, it is very easy to develop an addiction. The effects wear off quickly, increasing the tendency of frequent intake.

This addiction, in turn, might lead to several other medical complications. Increased risk of cardiac arrest and stroke, erratic heartbeats, breathing problems, and gastrointestinal problems3 are just a few of the physical hazards caused by cocaine in the long run.

When the drug is taken with other drugs or alcohol, due to the toxic chemical reaction might be triggered and impact the cardiovascular system.

How alcohol influences cocaine addiction

3. How Long Does Cocaine High Last?

How long a cocaine high lasts depends on several factors, the mode of intake being the major. Other factors include drugs that might have been taken and the person’s health and tolerance levels.

Generally, cocaine powder and crack cocaine high come into effect within a few minutes of intake, while injected cocaine might take a few more. Chewable cocaine takes the longest to kick in, almost an hour or so.

The most common snorting cocaine high lasts for about 20 – 30 minutes on average, while cracking cocaine high or an injected one lasts for a comparatively lesser duration, about 10 minutes.

While the pleasurable high wears off in a short while, the lingering effects of the high can be seen until a few hours later. These effects include fatigue, irritability, and insomnia.

4. Cocaine Overdose

Knowing the symptoms of a cocaine overdose is important to get timely help. Too much cocaine can cause high blood pressure, excessive sweating, hallucinations, and severe restlessness or anxiety.

More severe effects of an overdose might be a heart attack, seizures, stroke, or difficulty in breathing.

There is an increased risk of overdose4 when cocaine is taken with other drugs. So along with being careful of how much cocaine one can take, one must consider the tolerance levels for other substances.

Cocaine: Use, Abuse, Overdose, Toxicology.

5. Cocaine Addiction

Regular cocaine use has several neurological impacts. It harms memory-related functions in the long run and can also affect one’s ability to feel pleasure without taking stimulant drugs as they block the flow of neurotransmitters.

Once addicted, the sense of reason in the individual gets impaired, resulting in the inability to perceive the harm it is causing them. Moreover, any attempt at quitting is also discouraged by withdrawal symptoms5.

More often than not, frequent intake of cocaine, or any addictive drug, for that matter, causes the body’s response to alter over time. This increases the quantity of drug intake to reach the desired state of high over some time.

6. Risk Factors

Although addiction is triggered by individual choice, some people are more vulnerable to getting addicted than others.

Individuals with a family history of addiction or are constantly around family members who have such problems, patients with mental illnesses, victims of drug abuse in general, or those who abuse alcohol are at higher risk of developing a cocaine addiction.

7. Symptoms

The primary symptom of cocaine addiction is a change in tolerance levels and extreme difficulty in stopping intake.

Other symptoms include irritability, hallucinations, psychosis, and physical withdrawal symptoms.

Physical symptoms of cocaine withdrawal 6generally include vomiting. An individual also experiences irritability, insomnia, restlessness, and negative thoughts on suddenly stopping consumption.

Apart from affecting the mind and body, cocaine also affects an individual’s quality of life. Therefore, failing relationships, social life, and excessive expenditure to obtain the substance are symptoms of substance abuse in general.

8. Diagnosis and Treatment

Cocaine addiction needs to be diagnosed by an addiction specialist. Such professionals consider factors like your health, medical history, and level of dependence to suggest a treatment plan.

Treatment facilities provide a holistic recovery from addictions. Such facilities offer therapy, support groups, and vocational skills all under one roof. The treatment duration depends on the severity of the case.

Drug rehab
Image by Dan Meyers from Unsplash © 2019

The form of therapy used to overcome addictions is behavioural therapy. This involves finding our maladaptive behavioural patterns and replacing them with normal ones to improve the quality of life of an individual.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is the specific type of therapy used in such cases. Not only does it identify problem areas and help solve them, but it also makes sure that the individual is equipped to not go back to drug abuse.

If the individual is suffering from any mental illness that is the cause behind the addiction, or maybe as a result of withdrawal, they are generally administered other medications.

While there are no specific medicines for cocaine addiction per se, antidepressants might be prescribed to manage the mood-related symptoms of addicts7.

Along with all these, people might also resort to other forms of treatment depending upon personal choice. Specific workout regimens, acupuncture, yoga, and hypnosis are some popular ones people generally take up.

However, irrespective of how helpful they might prove in individual cases, we should remember that their efficacy is not scientifically proven or standardized.

Therefore, such therapies should always be coupled with proper treatment plans to get the best results. Also, it is always advisable to consult your primary healthcare provider and addiction specialist before taking up any such therapy.

Finally, no addiction can be overcome without proper emotional support from family and friends. While it is not always possible in every case, having a good support system greatly accelerates the healing process.

How Long Does Cocaine High Last
Image by Rosie Sun from Unsplash © 2018

9. The Bottom Line

Given the fast-paced, modern-day lifestyle, addictions are very easy to develop. Therefore, it is important to understand their causes to avoid them.

If you feel you or your loved ones might be showing similar symptoms, please seek professional advice immediately. You can visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse website for more information.

Read more from us here.

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  4. Park, Tae Woo, et al. “Understanding risk factors for opioid overdose in clinical populations to inform treatment and policy.” Journal of addiction medicine 10.6 (2016): 369-381. ↩︎
  5. Horowitz, Mark Abie, and David Taylor. “Tapering of SSRI treatment to mitigate withdrawal symptoms.” The Lancet Psychiatry 6.6 (2019): 538-546. ↩︎
  6. Brower, Kirk J., et al. “A comparison of self-reported symptoms and DSM-III-R criteria for cocaine withdrawal.” The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse 14.3 (1988): 347-356. ↩︎
  7. Rounsaville, Bruce J., et al. “Diagnosis and symptoms of depression in opiate addicts: Course and relationship to treatment outcome.” Archives of General Psychiatry 39.2 (1982): 151-156. ↩︎

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