What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a very addictive stimulant that’s made from the leaves of a coca plant. It comes in a powder, and is often mixed with other substances. It also comes in the form of a rock crystal that people smoke.
It’s an extremely addictive substance that affects the dopamine receptors in your brain. Since the cocaine high doesn’t last very long people typically take it again and again in order to keep the high going.
The Effect Of Cocaine on the Brain and Body
Cocaine changes the way the neurotransmitters communicate across your brain. It primarily targets the dopamine receptor, which releases pleasurable feelings throughout your body. When you’re an adolescent new connections are being made in the brain, so it’s a dangerous time to be experimenting. Especially, since the teen brain is more sensitive to the drug.
Experiencing large dopamine surges during this time can actually rewire your brain, and lead to long-term dysfunction. According to a recent study, the teen brain tries to protect itself during initial exposure by altering the sensitivity of the neurons. However, once these efforts fail the intensity of the drug is increased.
These changes in brain chemistry will alter the teen’s ability to effectively experience pleasure. It also increases the likelihood the teen will act in a more impulsive and risky manner in the future.
Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse
As a parent it’s important you have a good relationship with your teen in order to reduce their chances of experimenting with cocaine. However, cocaine use and abuse does happen. Some of the common signs of cocaine use are as follows:
- High activity levels
- Decreased appetite
- Dilated pupils
- Argumentative behavior
- Runny nose, or excessive sniffling
Beyond the physical symptoms, other indicators of cocaine use include finding paraphernalia related items like, rolled up bills and razor blades, finding cocaine residue around the house, or finding them being very secretive around how they’re using their money.
Teen Cocaine Use Risks
Cocaine abuse will affect a variety of areas in your teen’s life. Even experimenting just once can lead to a host of issues.
- Accidental death: Accidental death can be caused by an overdose, or a tragic accident while under the influence.
- Transmission of disease: Cocaine use will increase the risk of unprotected sex and sharing needles, which can lead to sexually transmitted diseases.
- Drug addiction: Cocaine is an extremely addictive substance, and can lead to a host of lifelong issues with addiction.
- Problems at home and school: As drug dependence increases it will become much more difficult to maintain family relationships, and continue their performance at school.
It’s crucial to be able to recognize the symptoms of teen cocaine abuse, so you can protect your loved ones. If you suspect your teen is suffering from cocaine addiction, get in touch with Next Generation Village to begin their path to recovery.