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The Link Between Cocaine and ADHD, Dangers of Self-Medicating and Dual Diagnosis Treatment

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Research has identified a strong association between ADHD and substance use disorders, including cocaine use. Cocaine is a stimulant drug but it is prone to misuse and addiction. Cocaine is currently classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high risk of abuse.

What to Expect With Cocaine and ADHD

Pharmaceutical stimulants are frequently used for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), while illegal stimulants like cocaine can be more harmful than helpful. One of the most prevalent mental illnesses affecting both children and adults is ADHD. The illness is thought to have been diagnosed in 6.1 million children in the US, or 9.4% of those between the ages of two and 17.

According to some studies, adult ADHD is believed to affect 2.8% of all adults or those diagnosed with it. For instance, it is considerably more challenging to identify ADHD in women because the symptoms differ from those in men. The numbers may perhaps be far higher. This could imply that both genders utilize the medication to self-medicate and address the signs and symptoms of their ADHD. This should never be done since it is very harmful. Talk about your alternatives with a doctor if you’re concerned about ADHD.

How Does Cocaine Affect ADHD?

Cocaine is a stimulant substance; therefore, even in those without ADHD, it might make them feel more energized and euphoric.

Cocaine may, however, have a calming effect on ADHD patients because it boosts dopaminergic transmission, which is malfunctioning in this condition. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that affects motivation, learning, and pleasure. Cocaine may, therefore, aid those who suffer from ADHD in controlling their impulsivity, restlessness, and inattentiveness symptoms. With that said, it is still not recommended to take cocaine and ADHD as it can result in harmful side effects when abused.

The medication has an impact on specific brain regions, including the following:

  • Both the hippocampus and the amygdala are involved in working memory.
  • Subcallosal and orbitofrontal cortices, which are involved in volition
  • The crucial executive control regions of the prefrontal cortex and cingulate gyrus

Dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin reuptake are inhibited, causing more of these “pleasure chemicals” to circulate in the blood.

Increased arousal, euphoria, attention, and alertness are the effects in those without ADHD. However, the executive and behavioral dysfunctions associated with ADHD may be improved in some people with the condition.

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Cocaine Drug Facts

Cocaine

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. Although healthcare providers can use it for valid medical purposes, such as local anesthesia for some surgeries, recreational cocaine use is illegal.


Street names:

  • Blow
  • Coca
  • Coke
  • Crack
  • Dust
  • Flake
  • Snow
  • Speedball

How do people use cocaine?

People snort cocaine powder through their noses or rub it into their gums. Others dissolve the powder and inject it into the bloodstream. Some people inject a combination of cocaine and heroin, called a Speedball.

Short-Term Effects

  • Extreme happiness and energy
  • Mental alertness
  • Hypersensitivity to sight, sound, and touch
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia (extreme and unreasonable distrust of others)

Long-Term Effects

  • Snorting: loss of smell, nosebleeds, frequent runny nose, and problems with swallowing
  • Smoking: cough, asthma, respiratory distress, and higher risk of infections like pneumonia
  • Consuming by mouth: severe bowel decay from reduced blood flow
  • Needle injection: higher risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis C, and other bloodborne diseases, skin or soft tissue infections, as well as scarring or collapsed veins

Cocaine Abuse Statistics

Among people aged 12 or older, 1.9% (or about 5.2 million people) reported using cocaine in 2020. Among people aged 12 or older, 0.5% (or about 1.3 million people) had a cocaine use disorder in 2020. In 2020, approximately 19,447 people died from an overdose involving cocaine.


5.2 million

Among people aged 12 or older, 1.9% (or about 5.2 million people) reported using cocaine in 2020.

Source: NIH

1.3 million

Among people aged 12 or older, 0.5% (or about 1.3 million people) had a cocaine use disorder in 2020.

Source: NIH

19,447

In 2020, approximately 19,447 people died from an overdose involving cocaine.

Source: NIH


What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a stimulant substance made from the leaves of the coca plant. Dopamine’s effects are enhanced, giving the user heightened energy and stamina. The increased impact of dopamine also brings on the euphoric and pleasant experience of a cocaine “high.”

Cocaine is currently classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high risk of abuse. However, a doctor can provide it for medical procedures, including local anesthetic and some ear, eye, and throat operations.

One of the main problems with cocaine and ADHD is that to boost profits, dealers frequently contaminate their products with things like talcum powder, cornstarch, flour, powder, or baking soda, especially if you’re using it to treat something like ADHD. Even worse, cocaine and ADHD may be contaminated with harmful chemicals, such as amphetamine or fentanyl. If you are not accustomed to the effects of opioids, this could result in an instant overdose.

Cocaine puts too much strain on your system, overstimulating your body. Your body works at an increased rate, which can cause side effects, including:

  • Alertness
  • Excitation
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • abnormal heartbeat
  • chest pain
  • Unexpected cardiac arrest
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Death
Coke and ADHD should be avoided as they can result in harmful side effects when abused.
Coke and ADHD should be avoided as they can result in harmful side effects when abused.
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Cocaine Effects on ADHD

Dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the reward system and the source of pleasure, is impacted by cocaine. A neuron usually produces dopamine in the synapse, connecting to dopamine receptors on an adjacent neuron during everyday communication. The procedure transmits the signal from one neuron to another by acting as a chemical messenger. Dopamine is taken out of the synapses by a particular protein called the transporter to be recycled and used again.

Cocaine and other addictive substances prevent people from communicating normally. It can be challenging to use it to treat ADHD because of this. Cocaine prevents the removal of dopamine from synapses by binding to dopamine receptors. Despite having a similar mechanism of action to Adderall, a medication used to treat ADHD, Adderall is rarely abused. Typically, cocaine is abused in binges, which depletes your brain’s supply of dopamine and causes long-term issues.

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Are ADHD and cocaine safe? Because of how unpredictable prolonged cocaine use can be, it is better to skip using cocaine if you have ADHD.
Are ADHD and cocaine safe? Because of how unpredictable prolonged cocaine use can be, it is better to skip using cocaine if you have ADHD.

Can Cocaine For ADHD Work?

Cocaine use disorder and other substance use disorders may be more common in people with ADHD. According to a study, 23% of young adults with substance use disorders also had ADHD. Some people say, “cocaine makes me tired ADHD.” Those people get tired because once the “high” of cocaine wears off, the user will experience a “crash” and feel tired after a while.

In a different study involving 6,872 adults between the ages of 20 and 39, those with ADHD and coke were considerably more likely than those without the disease to have a substance use disorder.

Regarding cocaine, remarkably, some studies suggest that adults with ADHD use the drug at a rate of roughly 26%, with 1 in 10 developing cocaine use disorder. In contrast, 1.9% of adults aged 12 and older in the general population will have used the substance during their previous year.

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Does Cocaine Help ADHD?

People with ADHD may use cocaine as “self-medication” for various causes. However, the main explanation is that cocaine’s effects on the brain may be able to lessen some of the symptoms of ADHD. Cocaine affects the systems that don’t work correctly in people with ADHD in a manner comparable to that of prescription drugs. Cocaine use boosts dopamine levels, making up for the absence of the chemical.

Cocaine use in people with ADHD could not result in the typical “rush” and high-energy state that healthy people frequently experience. Cocaine may instead help persons with ADHD focus and relax more. People who feel like they can’t keep up with the outside world may find this enticing. Due to the dangers of this illegal drug, cocaine use should never be considered a treatment for ADHD.

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Cocaine and ADHD Treatment

We Level Up NJ offers a comprehensive treatment program, including evidence-based and cognitive behavioral therapy, for people suffering from addiction who are also affected by ADHD. Depending on how severely their alcohol addiction has affected them, certain people with drug use disorders may be eligible for treatment at a specialist institution like ours.

We collaborate with highly qualified addiction specialists to provide patients with the motivation and support they need to give up drugs and maintain their long-term health. We provide dual-diagnosis treatment programs for those suffering from these illnesses and co-occurring mental health conditions.

If you are battling drug addiction, contact us to discuss your treatment options and learn how we can support you as you start your recovery. We will be there for you at every turn. With the help of our program for medically assisted detox, We Level Up NJ offers appropriate therapy and 24-hour medical staff to support your recovery. Call us immediately to speak with a therapy expert and reclaim your life. Our counselors will address your worries because they are aware of your difficulties.

Suffering from ADHD cocaine? Contact We Level Up NJ so you can get treated right away!
Suffering from ADHD cocaine? Contact We Level Up NJ so you can get treated right away!
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FAQs

What does cocaine feel like with ADHD?

While not recommended, its effects in people with ADHD, cocaine may have a calming effect, as it increases dopaminergic transmission, which is dysfunctional in ADHD.

What does cocaine with ADHD feel like?

Cocaine may help calm ADHD sufferers because it improves dopaminergic transmission, which is malfunctioning in the disorder. Although, it is still not recommended as it can worsen side effects.

Sources
  1. Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). “Treatment of ADHD in Adults.” Accessed November 3, 2021.
  2. Chang, Zheng; Lichtenstein, Paul; et al. “Stimulant ADHD Medication and Risk for Substance Abuse.” The Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology, August 24, 2014. Accessed November 2, 2021.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Data and Statistics about ADHD.” September 23, 2021. Accessed November 8, 2021.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Symptoms and Diagnosis of ADHD.” September 23, 2021. Accessed November 2, 2021.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Treatment of ADHD.” September 23, 2021. Accessed November 2, 2021.