Signs of Teenage Cocaine Abuse
Cocaine, also known as coke, is a highly addictive, fast-acting nervous system stimulant. Cocaine is made from the leaves of a plant that is native to South America, called the coca plant. Though cocaine was originally developed as a legal painkiller, it is now classified by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule II Substance, which are “drugs, substances, or chemicals [that] are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.” It is now recognized as an illegal drug that is used recreationally. There are several different ways to ingest cocaine: via the nasal cavity (sniffed), intravenously (injected), inhaled (as a smoke or vapor) and/ or rubbed into one’s gums. The way cocaine works is by sending increased levels of dopamine (a neurotransmitter that carries signals between brain cells) to areas of the brain that reign pleasure, and the excess buildup of dopamine elicits feelings of energy, alertness, and euphoria.
Signs and Symptoms
Every young person is different, and each teen that struggles with cocaine abuse is likely to exhibit a unique set of signs and symptoms. Some of the common signs and symptoms that could present in a young person struggling with cocaine abuse could include any of the following examples, provided by the Mayo Clinic:
- Muscle twitches
- Heightened energy levels
- Erratic behaviors
- Decreased appetite
- Sexual dysfunction
- Nasal perforation
- Increased heart rate
- Dilated pupils
- Extremely talkative
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Intense mood swings
Factors such as the length of time the teen abused cocaine, the potency of the cocaine abused, the method of ingestion, the personal health history of the teen abusing cocaine, whether the teenager simultaneously abused additional substances, the presence of any comorbidities, and the frequency of use will all contribute to the type and severity of symptoms exhibited in a teenager struggling with cocaine abuse.
For Information and Support
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