Cocaine and Pregnancy: A Lethal Attraction

Some of you are probably already thinking about how crazy this post is…

How could anyone ever do drugs while pregnant, but especially cocaine? Well, while it might seem a bit out of the ordinary to most, it is not that farfetched of an idea for a select few.

While carrying a child, it is being grown and nurtured by your body. You are its safe harbor and its incubator. So, anything that you do to your body – rather it is an outside action or ingestion – can affect the baby. And, sometimes, it can affect them in an irreversible way.

So, if you are thinking about trying cocaine just that one time before the baby gets here… Don’t. The risks are not worth that one little moment of euphoria. Consider the dangers to your baby. Your baby does not have the ability to say “no” to the cocaine for itself, so you are selfishly subjecting it to something harmful based on your own choices.

Cocaine already can lead to very serious short-term and long-term mental and physical health effects even if you are not pregnant. But, if you are pregnant, the same health effects still apply plus a few more that can also affect your baby.

A few problems cocaine can cause during pregnancy include:

  1. Premature birth
    Premature birth is simply when the baby is born too early. However, this can open the door for a wide array of complications and even death. Because the baby is not fully developed yet, they could have several internal and external ailments and deformities.
  2. Miscarriage
    In some cases, cocaine use could actually cause you to lose the baby before they are even born.
  3. Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)
    Would you ever wish a drug addiction on your child? It seems absurd, but by taking drugs while pregnant, you might just be inadvertently subjecting them to a drug addiction, too.

    NAS is when the baby becomes addicted to drugs before birth and then goes through drug withdrawals after birth.

  4. Placental abruption
    This is one of the biggest threats posed to both the baby and the mother. In the event of placental abruption, the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth. Because the placenta provides the baby with food and oxygen (via the umbilical cord) it could result in the death of the baby. It can also result in very heavy bleeding and death of the mother, as well.

Anytime you are participating in taking drugs, consider just who it is you are putting at risk. Your actions don’t only affect you – especially while pregnant.

Cocaine in Canada: The Path to Destruction

For most people, they have at least a basic knowledge of the danger of drugs. Most people are not so oblivious that they think drugs won’t harm them or, rather yet, are good for them. But, some people greatly underestimate the true effects that drugs have on them.

In our post on the overview of what cocaine actually is, we discussed a few of the short and long-term side effects that cocaine can have on your body. However, the side effects are so great, that we feel the need to go further into detail.

Using it only one time could lead to an addiction. And, an addiction could lead to a lifelong struggle with the side effects. Or, even worse, it could possibly rob you of your life far too soon.

The side effects encompass every aspect of your life – from physical side effects to mental side effects.

Short-Term Mental Effects

Side effects of cocaine can be felt almost immediately after taking the substance – whether it is by inhalation, injection, or snorting. The drug increases the level of norepinephrine and serotonin. Symptoms might include:

  • An increase in energy
  • Expressing a more talkative behavior
  • Increased mental alertness
  • Lowered desire for sleep or food
  • Hypersensitivity to touch, sound, and smell.

Short-Term Physiological Effects

The effects listed above are just the mental aspect. In combination, users might also experience:

  • An elevated heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Stroke
  • And in some cases, a coma.

Long-Term Physical Effects

But, as time goes on and cocaine consumption increases, the long-term physical effects increase in terms of risk and grow stronger. These long-term physical effects include:

  • Liver damage and kidney damage
  • Brain swelling
  • Brain bleeding
  • Increased risk of seizure or stroke
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • And, even death.

Effects on the Heart

In addition to all of the short-term and long-term physical and mental effects that cocaine can result in, it is especially hard on the heart. It can lead to:

  • Inflammation of the heart
  • Imbalances in vital sodium, calcium, and potassium channels.
  • Narrowing of blood vessels
  • Heart attacks
  • Blood clot development
  • Aortic rupture

Conclusion

It is obvious that the negative side effects of cocaine go far beyond just the issues that addiction leads to. Not only could it lead to broken relationships and the loss of your job, but it could also lead to serious physical ailments that are expensive. And, some of these could even result in death.

Is it really worth the risk?

Cocaine Triggers: How to Prevent Relapse

When it comes to any addiction, there is always the chance that a user will relapse.

When someone relapses it means they have been clean for an allotted amount of time, but a trigger triggers them to use again. And, this one lapse in judgment is a relapse. Unfortunately, someone who has a history of abusing drugs is always at risk for a relapse, regardless of how long they have been sober. But, there are ways to help prevent a relapse…

And, it starts with understanding the triggers and signs.

What are triggers?

Cravings, or triggers, are often brought on by experiencing something that reminds you of your previous experiences while using cocaine. For example, going back to your parents’ old house might bring back nostalgic memories of your childhood. You might go up to your old room, walk around, and experience emotions and be reminded of vivid memories.

Well, a cocaine craving is very similar to this. When exposed to certain surroundings or when you experience certain thoughts and feelings, you might have vivid memories of how cocaine made you feel.

These cravings, or triggers, can be something such as visiting the place where you used to buy cocaine, experiencing a sad feeling like you experienced when you wanted to use cocaine. It is all based on personal experiences. But, these triggers are what lead to relapse. While you can’t always avoid all triggers, you can avoid some and you can combat the others.

Symptoms Associated with Triggers

One way to avoid relapse is to first understand what a trigger is. Now, that we understand the definition of a trigger and what might cause it, it is time to pinpoint signs that something might be a trigger.

If you experience these physical and mental characteristics in a situation or around a person, it might be a trigger:

  • Elevated heart rate.
  • Elevated blood pressure.
  • An increase in sweating.
  • Cramping of the stomach.
  • An elevated feeling of anticipation.
  • Heightened awareness.

How do you stop these triggers?

Of course, you cannot completely avoid all triggers. As hard as you might try, sometimes one will just sneak past you or come your way unexpectedly. It is just part of life.

But, here are some ways to help combat those triggers or feelings of craving cocaine:

  • Pay attention to your diet. Try to eat healthy foods that encourage good mental and physical health.
  • Make a point to exercise. Keeping your body in check will help reduce the cravings.
  • Find a distraction such as volunteering.

4 Myths About Addiction

Rather it is a cocaine addiction, heroin addiction, alcohol addiction or something else, people suffering from addiction all get lumped into one big group. And, unfortunately, there is a lot of social stigmas that surround this group – often stemming from a lack of understanding of the issue.

Furthermore, people often hear (or develop) myths surrounding drug use and addiction. These are then shared with others, such as children, to scare them away from drugs.

However, one of the first steps to helping someone avoid an addiction is appropriately educating them on it. It is important to know what addiction really is and what the consequences are.

So, rather than feed the social stigmas around addiction, such as cocaine addiction in Canada, why not try to help prevent the addiction in the first place?

A few myths about addiction to be aware of include:

  1. Drug addiction is voluntary.
    The first thing people assume when they see someone addicted to drugs is that they made the choice themselves. Oftentimes, this is followed with, “Why don’t you just stop?”

    While it is true that they are the ones who picked the drugs up in the first place, they made the decision to use them knowing it was an addictive substance, there is something that happens over time. As the user continues to abuse the drug, their body undergoes physical changes and literally becomes dependent on it.

    Once this happens, it is not just as easy as putting it down. In many cases, quitting cold turkey can result in serious and sometimes dangerous symptoms.

  2. Willpower is all you need to succeed. 
    This goes hand-in-hand with myth No. 1…

    Yes, a successful recovery does require willpower, but, that is not all. However, many people do believe that it is possible to overcome addiction with just willpower alone.

    But, those serious and sometimes dangerous symptoms, known as willpower, are extremely difficult psychologically. So, recovery takes therapy, physical monitoring, and more.

  3. One treatment will fix you.
    Unfortunately, drug addiction is a chronic disorder – just like chronic depression – therefore, it requires several cycles of treatment to overcome it.
  4. You can never have a normal life again.
    Despite it being a common assumption that once you are an addict you could never have a normal life again, there is hope after tragedy. With a little faith, determination, and hard work, you can be back on your way to fulfilling your mission in life.

The Truth About Cocaine

When it comes to addiction, there are many substances that can be the center of the individual’s addiction – from heroin to cocaine. Regardless of the substance, it can be hard to cope with the addiction of a friend or family member.  But, helping them get better starts with better understanding what is going on.

What is cocaine?

Cocaine comes from the coca leaves, often found in South America, and is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug. You have probably heard tales of when, once upon a time, it was even used as an ingredient in the early formulations of Coca-Cola.

However, it is now known that it is a powerfully addictive substance that can alter brain function and even brain structure if used repeatedly.

On the street, it appears as a fine, white, crystalline powder and is sometimes known as Powder, Blow, Snow, C, or Coke.

What are the short-term effects?

Even within a few minutes of using the drug, users can begin to see symptoms appear. When used in small amounts, cocaine might give off a euphoric feeling, users might also feel energetic, mentally alert, talkative, and be hypersensitive to sight, touch, and sound.

It can also temporarily decrease a user’s need for sleep and food.

What are the long-term effects?

As time goes on, the brain will begin to adapt to the use of cocaine and the reward pathways become less sensitive to the natural reinforcers.

As with most drugs, over time the tolerance level will also develop and higher doses and more frequent use will be needed to feel the effects. Some users might also develop anxiety, convulsions, or a variety of other toxic effects from the drug.

The Bigger Picture

Of course, like any other drug, cocaine can have several negative effects on the body. It can lead to some temporary health issues, permanent ones, and even could cost someone their life.

In addition, participating in high-risk drugs like cocaine is also just a gateway to several other bad habits. People who use cocaine also do not have fear or using other terrible drugs as well.

For example, some people will combine cocaine and heroin for a dangerous combination called a Speedball.

Remember, it only takes one time…

That first time could be just too much and could permanently damage you or even kill you.

That first time could get you addicted – without even doing it repeated times, first.

Cocaine is dangerous and several residents of Canada have become victims of it.