Why You Feel Strange After Doing Coke

Discover why you feel strange after doing coke, from neurological impacts to metabolic changes.

Understanding Cocaine Effects

Cocaine is a potent stimulant primarily abused for its ability to induce intense feelings of pleasure and increased energy. However, it also has numerous negative consequences, including low mood, psychosis, and paranoia. The pleasurable effects of cocaine contribute to its addictive nature [1]. This article aims to shed light on why one might feel strange after using cocaine.

Short-Term Effects

Using even a small amount of cocaine can lead to a state of euphoria, increased energy, and heightened mental alertness. Sensitivity to sight, sound, and touch may also be enhanced. This state often results in reduced need for sleep and food. While some users may experience heightened focus and ability to perform tasks quickly, for others, cocaine may have the opposite effect, leading to a sense of confusion or disorientation [2].

A higher dose of cocaine, on the other hand, can increase these effects and the euphoria associated with the drug. However, it can also lead to erratic and strange behavior. Users may become increasingly paranoid, violent, or anxious. The unsettling feeling or the 'strangeness' one might experience after consuming cocaine can be attributed to these short-term effects.

Long-Term Effects

Repeated and regular use of cocaine can lead to several long-term health issues. The drug can cause erratic behavior, including paranoia, violence, and anxiety, similar to the effects experienced in the short term, but these can become more entrenched and severe over time.

Furthermore, untreated depression resulting from cocaine use can increase a person’s risk of self-harm and suicide. It also raises the likelihood of a relapse as the individual might resort to using cocaine again to alleviate the painful depression symptoms [2].

Prolonged cocaine use affects the reuptake of four neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and glutamate. These neurotransmitters play a crucial role in the brain's reward system and learning and memory processes. Over time, cocaine use can lead to a decrease in the number of neurotransmitter receiving sites on nerves, reducing the effect from the drug. This decrease can make users feel the need for larger doses to achieve the same high.

These long-term effects help to explain the strange feelings and changes in behavior that cocaine users may experience after prolonged use of the drug. The good news is that these effects are not always permanent. After a period of abstinence from cocaine, the brain can recover and show increased grey matter volumes in areas that were damaged by cocaine abuse. This recovery can lead to improved cognitive function, emotional stability, and the ability to experience pleasure from other activities.

Behavioral Impact of Cocaine

The impact of cocaine on behavior can manifest in numerous unsettling ways, leading to the strange feelings that users often experience. This section will delve into two significant behavioral effects of cocaine use: erratic behavior and increased paranoia and violence.

Erratic Behavior

The use of even small amounts of cocaine can induce a state of euphoria, increased energy, heightened mental alertness, and increased sensitivity to sensory stimuli. It can also reduce the need for sleep and food, thereby affecting normal functioning. However, while cocaine often makes users more focused and able to perform tasks quickly, it can also have the opposite effect, causing erratic and peculiar behavior in some individuals [2].

Consuming large amounts of cocaine can intensify these effects and the associated euphoria, but it also leads to increasingly erratic and strange behavior. This may manifest as heightened paranoia, violence, or anxiety [2].

Paranoia and Violence

Paranoia is a common consequence of cocaine use, occurring in 68% to 84% of cocaine users. This paranoia can be so extreme that it leads to violent behaviors, which are seen in as many as 55% of patients with cocaine-induced psychiatric symptoms. In fact, cocaine use has been associated with homicide in up to 31% of victims. Additionally, the presence of cocaine has been detected in 18% to 22% of suicide cases.

Cocaine-induced paranoia can also exacerbate feelings of depression. If left untreated, this depression can increase a person's risk of self-harm and suicide. Furthermore, it can increase the likelihood of relapse as individuals may use the drug again in an attempt to alleviate the painful symptoms of depression [2].

Understanding the behavioral impact of cocaine use is a crucial aspect of comprehending why one might feel strange after using the substance. The erratic behavior, paranoia, and violence associated with cocaine use can have severe consequences for the user and those around them. It's important to seek help if you or someone you know is struggling with cocaine use.

Physiological Consequences

The physiological consequences of cocaine use are severe and varied, contributing to the strange feelings one might experience after consumption. These effects range from cardiovascular damage to respiratory issues, and can pose serious risks to an individual's health.

Cardiovascular Damage

One of the most significant effects of cocaine use lies in the damage it can inflict on the cardiovascular system. Chronic abuse of cocaine can lead to severe complications, including heart attacks, which are the leading cause of death among individuals aged 18-45 who abuse this substance, accounting for 25 percent of deaths in this population.

Moreover, the consistent constriction of blood vessels due to cocaine abuse can reduce the amount of oxygen the brain receives, potentially leading to brain damage and an increased risk of aneurysm. Long-term cocaine abuse can also increase the risk of developing dementia and long-term memory problems similar to Alzheimer's.

Respiratory Issues

Alongside cardiovascular damage, cocaine use can also lead to serious respiratory problems. This is particularly true when the cocaine is snorted, which can result in damage to the nose and mouth, including septal perforations. These perforations can result in a collapse of the nose structure and breathing problems. Similar damage can occur in the upper palate of the mouth through long-term abuse.

On the other hand, smoking crack cocaine is more likely to cause serious respiratory problems than snorting cocaine. This can lead to issues such as chronic cough, higher risk of infections like pneumonia and tuberculosis, acute respiratory distress, asthma, and pulmonary edema. Individuals who chronically abuse crack cocaine can develop "crack lung" or eosinophilic pneumonitis, further complicating their health situation [4].

In conclusion, the physiological consequences of cocaine use offer a clear explanation as to why one might feel strange after consumption. The damage caused to the cardiovascular and respiratory systems can lead to a range of health complications and contribute to the overall negative effects of this substance.

Neurological Effects

Cocaine use has profound effects on the brain, which can explain the unusual feelings that individuals experience after using this substance. Two key neurological effects are the surge in dopamine and alterations to the brain structure.

Dopamine Surge

Cocaine significantly affects the reuptake of four neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and glutamate. These neurotransmitters are crucial in the brain's reward system and in processes related to learning and memory.

The drug works by blocking the reabsorption of these neurotransmitters, especially dopamine, causing a surge in the brain's reward center. This leads to intense feelings of euphoria, which are often followed by a profound crash once the drug's effects wear off. This pattern can contribute to the strong cravings and compulsive drug-seeking behavior associated with cocaine addiction.

Neurotransmitter Role Effect of Cocaine
Dopamine Involved in pleasure and reward system Increased levels leading to euphoria
Serotonin Regulates mood and social behavior Increased levels can alter mood
Norepinephrine Involved in stress response Increased levels can intensify body's "fight or flight" response
Glutamate Involved in learning and memory Increased levels can affect cognitive functions

Brain Structure Alterations

Prolonged cocaine use can lead to physical changes in the brain. Studies have shown a decrease in the number of neurotransmitter receiving sites on nerves following long-term use, resulting in a reduced effect from the drug and a need for larger doses to achieve the same high.

These structural changes can also affect cognitive functions, emotional regulation, and the ability to experience pleasure from other activities. However, research indicates that after a period of abstinence from cocaine, the brain can recover and show increased grey matter volumes in areas that were damaged by cocaine abuse. This recovery can lead to improved cognitive function, emotional stability, and the ability to experience pleasure from other activities [1].

These neurological effects help to explain why individuals feel strange after using cocaine. It's important to note that while some of these changes can be reversed with abstinence, the risk of serious, long-term damage increases with prolonged and regular use.

Metabolic Changes from Cocaine Use

The feeling of strangeness after using cocaine can be attributed to a host of factors, including significant metabolic shifts. Cocaine use has been associated with changes in body weight regulation and appetite, leading to distinct physiological responses.

Weight Regulation

Cocaine use is known to interfere with metabolic processes, leading to an imbalance between fat intake and storage. As per an article in the NCBI, the disruption in metabolic activity from chronic cocaine abuse can result in substantial weight gain when the drug use is discontinued during recovery. This is despite the fact that cocaine-dependent individuals have been reported to have increased food intake, particularly foods high in fat and carbohydrates, without a corresponding increase in body weight during active use.

Moreover, the study found significant reductions in body weight among cocaine users, which were specifically attributed to reductions in fat mass. Contrarily, lean mass did not differ across groups, indicating a targeted impact of cocaine use on body fat.

Metabolic Effect Outcome
Fat Intake vs Storage Imbalance leading to weight gain post discontinuation
Food Intake Increased, particularly fatty and high-carb foods
Body Weight Reduced, specifically fat mass
Lean Mass No significant change

Appetite Suppression

Cocaine's influence on appetite is often misunderstood. It's widely believed that cocaine use suppresses appetite, hence leading to weight loss. However, the NCBI study challenges this assumption, suggesting that rather than globally suppressing appetite, cocaine use induces a profound metabolic alteration.

This is evidenced by the fact that regular cocaine users reported eating fewer balanced meals than non-using peers, with a preference for fatty foods, but without the expected weight gain. Therefore, the strange feeling after using cocaine may be linked to these metabolic changes, which disrupt normal appetite and weight regulation.

These findings underscore the complexity of cocaine's impact on the body's metabolic processes. While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms at play, it's clear that cocaine use can lead to significant changes in weight regulation and appetite, contributing to the feelings of unease and strangeness experienced by users.

Recovery and Reversal

While the effects of cocaine can be severe, it's important to understand that recovery and reversal of some of these effects are possible, particularly in the areas of brain healing and metabolic recovery. This section will delve into these aspects.

Brain Healing

Chronic cocaine use can lead to significant brain damage. Long-term abuse can increase the risk of developing dementia and long-term memory problems similar to Alzheimer's. The consistent constriction of blood vessels due to cocaine abuse can reduce the amount of oxygen the brain receives, potentially leading to further brain damage and an increased risk of aneurysm.

However, despite these daunting effects, the brain has shown a remarkable ability to recover after a period of abstinence from cocaine. Studies indicate that the brain can recover and show increased grey matter volumes in areas that were damaged by cocaine abuse. This recovery can lead to improved cognitive function, emotional stability, and the ability to experience pleasure from other activities.

It's important to note that brain healing after cocaine use requires time and professional help, including therapy and possibly medication. It's also essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including good nutrition, regular exercise, and enough sleep, to aid the recovery process.

Metabolic Recovery

Chronic cocaine abuse can lead to significant damage in the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in issues like stomach pain, reduced appetite, nausea, vomiting, constipation, ulcers, ischemic colitis, and necrotic bowel. Long-term abuse can also increase the risk of liver damage, kidney damage, and impair the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.

Interestingly, cocaine-dependent men have reported increased food intake, specifically in foods high in fat and carbohydrates, but without a corresponding increase in body weight [5]. This suggests that cocaine may interfere with metabolic processes, a factor that could contribute to the sense of feeling strange after using the substance.

Metabolic recovery after cocaine use involves addressing the physical health issues caused by the drug, including those related to nutrition and the gastrointestinal system. This can involve a combination of medical treatment, nutritional therapy, and lifestyle changes. It's crucial to seek professional help to guide this recovery process and ensure it's undertaken safely and effectively.

By understanding the potential for recovery and reversal of some of the effects of cocaine, it's clear that seeking help and taking steps towards recovery is a viable and important path for those who have been affected by cocaine use.

References

[1]: https://www.rehab4addiction.co.uk/guides/effects-cocaine-brain

[2]: https://windwardway.com/cocaine-rehab/effects/

[3]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181074/

[4]: https://americanaddictioncenters.org/cocaine-treatment/long-term-side-effects-of-abuse

[5]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3863945/

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