More than five million Americans use the stimulant drug cocaine at least once every year. More than 20% of these people are affected by addiction or severe, non-addicted abuse. Whether addicted or not, all cocaine users run the risk of experiencing a range of side effects. Many of these effects occur equally as often in men and women. However, women also have some unique side effect risks. These facts underscore the need for effective cocaine addiction treatment.
What Is Cocaine Abuse?
The term cocaine abuse can be defined in a couple of ways. First, it can refer to any use of the drug. This is true because of cocaine’s status as an illegal substance. Any consumption of an illegal drug technically qualifies as abuse. In this context, some experts use the term misuse instead of abuse.
The second definition of cocaine abuse is official. It forms part of the diagnosable condition known as stimulant use disorder. Some people with this disorder are addicted to cocaine or
another stimulant. However, others are not. Still, despite not meeting the criteria for addiction, they experience significant harm such as:
- Problems functioning at work, at home, or in school
- Repeated use of cocaine in dangerous or risky situations
- Continued use of the drug despite resulting damage to key relationships
These kinds of harms define the official criteria for non-addicted cocaine abuse.
Shared Side Effects of Cocaine Abuse for Women and Men
Regardless of your gender, cocaine abuse exposes you to certain side effects. This is true whether or not you have a stimulant use disorder. Examples of these shared potential problems include:
- High blood pressure and body temperature
- Muscle tremors
- A sense of panic
If you take large doses of the drug, your behavior may change for the worse. Possible changes include acting violently or erratically or behaving in a bizarre manner.
Some women and men experience severe complications as a result of using cocaine. Many of these complications are related to your heart function. Examples here include an irregular heartbeat and a heart attack. You may also experience seizures or severe headaches, have a stroke or even go into a coma. A very small percentage of people using the drug die without warning.
Side Effects of Cocaine Abuse Specific to Women
Research shows that the brain effects of cocaine are different for men and women. Specifically, women show greater sensitivity to the drug. When taking a given dose of the drug, women tend to become significantly more hyperactive. They also tend to feel higher levels of euphoria. This fact helps explain why women are also more likely than men to get addicted to cocaine.
The Benefits of a Women-Focused Cocaine Addiction Program
A well-designed cocaine addiction program will not only address problems common to men and women. It will also address the unique issues affecting women in particular. This dual focus increases the odds of getting the help you need to recover fully.
The mainstay of cocaine addiction treatment is psychotherapy. A high-quality, women-focused program will also include important secondary treatments. Examples of these supportive care options include trauma treatment and nutrient therapy.
Seek Help for Cocaine Abuse at Women’s Recovery
The only way to fully avoid the side effects of cocaine abuse is to stop using the drug. At Women’s Recovery, we provide the help you need to achieve this crucial objective. Our services include the treatment required to directly address your abuse/addiction symptoms. They also include a full slate of supportive options known to benefit many women in recovery. For more information, call us today at 833.754.0554 or fill out our online form.