Coke Bloat: Addiction to Cocaine
Normally when we think of drug abuse, the immediate thing that comes to mind is when someone takes drugs every day, several times. But with cocaine addiction, signs can be ambiguous. You do not have to be taking cocaine, or crack cocaine, every day to be addicted to it. A sign of addiction is that you’ve tried to cut down or stop but are unable to. Any use of cocaine is considered abuse because it is an illegal substance.
Even when cocaine is a highly addictive drug, one of its main issues is that it may be hard to recognize an addiction to it. For example, craving cocaine, even if the use or need appears every few days, and ignoring the consequences that come with it are signs of an addiction.
The psychological addiction is often the hardest part to overcome, although there are undeniable physical symptoms of addiction as well. Someone who uses cocaine frequently will develop a dependence on it, meaning they need to have it to feel normal. Once dependence has developed, a tolerance will develop and withdrawal symptoms will occur when stopping use. Once someone becomes addicted to cocaine, it can be very hard to stop. This is because cocaine abnormally increases the level of dopamine in the brain, eventually reprogramming the brain reward system.
Is there a specific time frame that determines if you are going to become addicted to cocaine or not? How long does it take? It can depend on certain factors such as how often you use cocaine and how much of the drug you use on each occasion. Getting addicted to cocaine depends on various factors but most people who use the drug heavily become dependent within a few weeks of regular abuse.
Various factors can increase your likelihood of experiencing substance misuse issues like medical history, genetics, mental health, environment, and method of use.
What Is Coke Bloat?
It’s not uncommon to experience facial bloating and puffiness after using cocaine. It even has its own name: “coke bloat.” It’s often most apparent in the cheeks and under the chin. Here’s a closer look at why coke bloat happens.
There could be a number of reasons for coke bloat, from fluid retention to hormonal issues. But one likely explanation for bloating after cocaine use is simply that the coke isn’t pure.
Levamisole, a veterinary deworming medicine, has become one of the most common adulterants in cocaine. It’s associated with a number of complications in humans, including skin necrosis, joint pain, and seizures.
Another side effect? Swollen glands. This includes the parotid glands, which are the large salivary glands in front of your ears. As levamisole is an irritant, it can cause them to swell up, giving the appearance of puffiness and bloating. Plus, if you snort cocaine, it can irritate and inflame your nasal passages, which can also contribute to facial swelling.
General Coke Bloat
Using cocaine may also cause non-facial bloating for a few reasons. For one, cocaine causes the vasoconstriction — or narrowing — of blood vessels, resulting in a buildup of lymphatic fluid that can cause swelling and bloating.
This narrowing may also contribute to the development of peritonitis, or inflammation of the inner lining of your abdomen, according to a 2019 case study. One of the main symptoms of peritonitis is bloating.
Finally, not staying hydrated can also play a role. When your body isn’t getting enough water, it can slow down or halt digestion and hold onto excess water to help counter the effects of dehydration. As a result, you can experience some general bloating.
Is there any way to get rid of a Coke Bloat?
The internet is full of anecdotal coke bloat remedies that people swear by, but there’s no evidence to back them up. The best way to stop having side effects from cocaine consumption is to stop using with the help of a cocaine detox center, such as We Level Up California.
Here are some of the most commonly recommended tips:
- gently massaging your face for 5 to 10 minutes, followed by applying a cooling mask
- applying a cold compress or taking a cold shower
- using a derma roller on your face
- applying hydrocortisone cream
There’s no guaranteed fix, and, while you can try the above strategies, they might not offer much relief. As the cocaine leaves your system, though, the bloating should start to subside.
When to see a doctor when there is a Coke Bloat?
While bloating on its own might not be particularly serious, it might appear alongside other symptoms indicating a more serious issue. Cocaine use can increase your risk of various cardiovascular issues, including myocarditis (inflammation of the heart wall).
Symptoms to watch out for include:
- Fatigue, joint pain, and fever
- Swelling of your legs, ankles, and feet
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Cocaine use can contribute to respiratory issues, too, particularly when injected or smoked as crack. Among the most severe complications are pulmonary edema and pulmonary hemorrhage, or bleeding in the lungs. It’s worth keeping an eye out for the following symptoms, as they could indicate a serious issue:
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing and wheezing
- Chest pain
- Coughing up blood
Talk with a healthcare professional if you experience any of these symptoms. During the appointment, try to be as open about your substance abuse as possible. If you’re concerned about legal consequences, know that doctor-patient confidentiality laws prevent them from reporting this information to law enforcement.
Ultimately, the only surefire way to avoid coke bloat is to not use cocaine.
That said, making sure to stay hydrated and checking your drugs for contaminants may help minimize bloating. Keep in mind that testing is always a wise move if you use cocaine, as synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are increasingly showing up in stimulants.
Reclaim Your Life From Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addiction is a serious disease that should not be taken lightly. We Level California rehab institute can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from addiction and manage cocaine side effects such as ‘Coke Bloating‘, with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.
 Kim ST, et al. (2019). Acute and chronic effects of cocaine on cardiovascular health.
 Lee KC, et al. (2012). Complications associated with the use of levamisole-contaminated cocaine: An emerging public health challenge.
 Qureshi A, et al. (2014). Cocaine use and the likelihood of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality: Data from the third national health and nutrition examination survey mortality follow-up study.