What Is Coke? Dangers, Side-Effects, & Withdrawal From This Fatal Drug

Coke is one of many street nicknames for the illegal drug cocaine.


Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug with a severe potential for addiction or misuse. Thousands of people suffer from an addiction to cocaine each year, and many overdoses or pass away due to their cocaine addiction.


Cocaine, or coke, is a hazardous drug. It is also one of the most commonly used recreational drugs. There are many reasons someone might try cocaine, including trying cocaine as a substitute for other drugs or because they need some escape from difficult situations in life.


Once you are addicted to coke or other drugs like cocaine, breaking the addiction and dependence on the substance can be incredibly difficult. Cocaine addictions are hard on many parts of your life, including finances, personal relationships, and your ability to hold a job. It can be hard to keep those things in perspective when dealing with an addiction, making it much harder to overcome or realize when addiction is interfering with other parts of your life.


A coke addiction is very serious and needs to be addressed. It is crucial to understand what coke is, how it affects the brain, the side effects and withdrawal experience, and how to get the help you need to fight a coke addiction.


If you want to learn more about coke addiction, the dangers of addiction, withdrawal, and how to help when someone you love is addicted to coke, keep reading.


What Is Coke?


Coke is made from the leaves of the coca plant, which is native to South America.


Cocaine, or coke, is not a new drug. It has been used for centuries as a medicine and an illegal narcotic. Cocaine has been considered for medicinal use but isn’t used in most settings currently because there are safer and more effective alternatives.


Coca leaves are still used religiously and culturally in parts of South America. However, the refined drug cocaine or coke is illegal throughout most of the world.


The cocaine you can buy on the street is always illegal and has been illegally imported and refined. However, its recreational use remains common in clubs and may be cultural in some areas. The main difference between coke and cocaine is the level and type of refining process and how it’s used.


Street cocaine is a white powder, similar in texture to very small crystals. It can be ingested in various ways, although the most common method of taking cocaine is to snort it up the nostrils. Coke is typically a larger crystalized form that is often smoked instead and called Crack and coke. However, both are the same basic substance and have similar effects regardless of how the drug is ingested.


Both forms of cocaine can be smoked. When cocaine is smoked, the drug appears physically different than white powder. For cocaine to be smoked, it must be processed into a rock crystal substance. This rock is called freebase cocaine, coke, or crack.


The crystal coke is heated using a torch. The user will inhale the vapors emitted from the heated drug, which gives the user a serious high effect. This is also called crack cocaine. Crack cocaine can also be smoked in marijuana joints or cigarettes.


Coke is often used as a binge drug, meaning that the user will consume a large amount of cocaine over a relatively short time. Then, they will keep using the drug to stay high for as long as possible. These binges can often indicate or even end up causing cocaine addictions.


The effect of cocaine is due to the increased levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. Therefore, when cocaine is metabolized by the body and absorbed into the bloodstream, it triggers dopamine release.


Dopamine is a very powerful neurotransmitter that affects our brain’s pleasure center as well as our reward center. Dopamine is released naturally when we feel good. For example, when we eat something we love, have an orgasm, or participate in joyful activities.


Dopamine is the primary driver of the addictive potential of cocaine. This is because our brains are wired to do the things that release dopamine and other pleasurable neurotransmitters. So when we feel the sensation of pleasure, we are drawn to the activity that caused the release of dopamine, causing us to repeat the activity again and again.


This is because the brain conditions us to crave whatever causes dopamine release. In this case, the brain will make the individual crave cocaine so powerfully that they keep using it repeatedly to get the same sensation of pleasure.


Coke is a very powerful drug, so the effects can be felt immediately after the drug is consumed. However, these effects disappear very quickly as well. Typically, the high wears off within a few minutes or an hour after coke is used.


It should be noted that the method of consumption can affect the length of time the person experiences the cocaine High. For example, those who inject cocaine intravenously or smoked crack cocaine will feel the effects quicker and more intensely. But these effects will wear off much faster than snorting cocaine.

What Are The Side-Effects & Withdrawal Symptoms Of Coke


There are many side effects of cocaine usage. Regardless of how long the person has used coke, there’s a high possibility that side effects could be long-term or even lethal. There are both short-term and long-term side effects resulting from cocaine usage.


Here are some of the most common side effects of coke withdrawal:


  • Low energy and lack of motivation
  • Hunger
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Extreme food or drink cravings


Unfortunately, unlike other recreational drugs, there aren’t any good medications that specifically address the symptoms of coke withdrawal. So instead, management is more about reducing symptoms when possible, riding them out when it’s impossible to manage them, and ensuring the person going through withdrawal is well hydrated and not suffering from any physical complications.


The same unpleasant side effects cocaine use can cause may also be present or more intense during detox.


Cocaine usage can affect the body in a variety of ways as well. Cocaine typically causes dilated pupils, a telltale sign that an individual has been using coke. Many people will also experience increased blood pressure and constricted blood vessels. In addition, restlessness, irregular or quickened heart rate, and muscular twitching are common symptoms of cocaine use.


Many people experience nausea or feeling hot and sweaty due to stimulant use, and cocaine can also cause these side effects.


The long-term side effects of cocaine usage are much more intense and can be very specific to the area where the cocaine was introduced to the body.


For those who consume cocaine by snorting it intrinsically, the typical long-term effects are issues with the nose and nasal passages. This includes things such as frequent nosebleeds and runny noses but can also cause things such as loss of smell and issues swallowing. Coke nose is another issue that can be caused by prolonged cocaine usage.


Rubbing cocaine along the gums can cause bowel decay as well as decay of the teeth and gums. This is caused by lower blood flow in these areas due to cocaine use, which can cause serious tissue damage.


Smoking crack cocaine can cause serious respiratory damage, including asthma and a chronic cough. It also increases the user’s risk of lung infections and respiratory infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis. These complications may continue to be more common even after successfully detoxing and stopping using cocaine.


Getting high on coke using intravenous methods such as injection puts the user at a much higher risk of Contracting blood-borne illnesses such as HIV or hepatitis C. It also opens the door to skin and soft tissue infections, which can be chronic conditions for the rest of their lives. Scaring and collapsed veins are also common side effects of intravenous cocaine use.


Withdrawal from cocaine use is a challenging experience. It can cause intense side effects that can be extremely uncomfortable and mentally challenging.


Cocaine withdrawal includes symptoms of depression and anxiety and physical pain such as body aches, exhaustion, nausea, and vomiting. Extreme sweating, shakiness, chills, fever, and struggling to feel pleasure or joy are other symptoms of cocaine withdrawal.

What Are The Treatment Options For A Coke Addiction? How To Get the Help You Need & Deserve


If you are struggling with a Coke addiction, it can feel like there are no easy options to cure yourself. The fact of the matter is that it will be difficult to overcome your addiction alone. However, treatment options available to people struggling with Coke addiction can be extremely beneficial.


Cocaine is a highly addictive drug and poses a huge risk of relapse and overdose. Overdoses during a relapse can frequently turn fatal, so you must have an effective and sustainable treatment plan to overcome your addiction.


Treatment centers are usually the best place to get a comprehensive treatment that includes plans to help prevent relapse, recognize the causes of addiction, and help work through coke addiction complications after you’ve detoxed.


A treatment center may also be the best place to detox if you’ve struggled with detox in the past or frequently relapse instead of completing detox.


If you or a loved one is struggling with a Coke addiction, please reach out to Epiphany today to begin discussing treatment plans in options that may work for you. At Epiphany, we know that overcoming substance use is extremely difficult, and we are proud to help people through this time of their life.




Epiphany has sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for our references. We avoid using tertiary references as our sources. You can learn more about how we source our references by reading our Editorial Policy.

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration. Cocaine. Accessed August 10, 2022. https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/cocaine
  2. Patterson E. Cocaine Withdrawal | Signs, Symptoms, Effects & Timeline. DrugAbuse.com. Published July 6, 2022. Accessed August 10, 2022. https://drugabuse.com/drugs/cocaine/withdrawal/

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