Addictive substances can be dangerous when used on their own; however, they become more deadly when used in combination with others. Combining certain drugs increases the likelihood of experiencing adverse reactions, life-threatening side effects, and overdose. One such combination is alcohol and cocaine.
Using these two substances at the same time can cause serious damage to an individual’s overall health and poses significantly higher risks than using one substance in isolation. To understand the scope of the risks in combining alcohol and cocaine, it is important to examine the qualities of each substance.
Alcohol is the most abused substance in the world due to its availability and legality. As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol affects cognitive functioning, motor skills, and chemical regulation in the brain. When used in excess, the physical body perceives alcohol as a poison, causing vomiting and unconsciousness. The CDC states that nearly 95,000 alcohol-related fatalities occur per year. Fatalities include traffic accidents, alcohol poisoning, and liver failure.
Cocaine is an illicit stimulant drug that comes in powder form. The substance is commonly snorted and generates feelings of euphoria, as well as increased energy, focus, and stamina. When used, cocaine increases dopamine levels. As a neurotransmitter that interacts with the pleasure and reward centers of the brain, dopamine manipulation makes cocaine an extremely addictive substance. Prolonged use of cocaine impacts the central nervous system which can lead to cardiac arrest, stroke, convulsions, or death.
Alcohol and Cocaine
Combining alcohol and cocaine poses many serious health risks. Side effects include high blood pressure, heart palpitations, and impaired motor functioning. The most dangerous side effect of this combination occurs once the liver begins to metabolize both substances.
Cocaethylene is a psychoactive metabolite that is produced when cocaine and ethanol are both present in a user. Cocaethylene enhances the high and increases impairment. Eventually, this metabolite builds up in the body and gradually impacts vital organs like the liver, brain, and heart. As use continues, cocaethylene levels increase and lead to toxicity which is responsible for many fatal overdoses.
Cocaethylene has been linked to liver damage, seizures, and compromised immune system functioning. The following are signs that cocaethylene has reached a toxic level:
- Heart attack
- Liver damage
- Brain hemorrhage
Knoxville Recovery Center Can Help
Combining alcohol and cocaine is extremely dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Fortunately, help is available for those battling addiction and substance abuse. Depending on the stage of an individual’s addiction, they may require detox, an intensive treatment program, or both. Fortunately, Knoxville Recovery Center offers various services to those struggling with this addiction.
Detox – Our on-site detox clinic accommodates and supports clients as the body sheds all residual traces of drugs. Clients are under medical supervision during the detox process to ensure that they remain safe and comfortable.
Addiction Treatment – During our addiction treatment program, clients will engage in introductory therapies and exercises that work to prepare them for continued, more intensive treatment outside of our facility. The goal of our addiction treatment track is to stabilize clients so that they are treatment-ready.
Mental Health Treatment – Our mental health treatment program introduces behavioral therapies rooted in self-expression and holistic exercise. Art therapy, music therapy, and yoga are just a few forms of therapy we offer at the center. Our goal is to help the client reclaim their voice and expose them to treatment within a professional facility.
Aftercare Planning – Aftercare is designed for individuals who have benefitted from our introductory addiction services and are transitioning into a more intensive addiction treatment program. Once a client is stabilized, they will be encouraged to pursue continued addiction treatment. Our experienced case managers will then work with our clients to place them in a program that addresses their specific wants and needs.Addiction is difficult to overcome alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call Knoxville Recovery Center and speak with an addiction expert today.