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How Does Cocaine Affect Adolescent Brains?

Abusing cocaine can impact teen users in many ways. Consistent use will lead to addiction causing teens to struggle with the physical and psychological impact of dependency. While many long-term users experience changes to their brain, cocaine effects in adolescents are much greater than in adults as the brain is still developing. As a result, the consequences of teens using drugs are more significant than adults—from long-term addiction to decreased brain development. In Southern California, cocaine addiction treatment is available to teens who need to fight a cocaine dependency.

How Does Cocaine Affect the Brain?

When we think about how cocaine addiction impacts users, we consider how it can hurt social standing within a community. However, cocaine’s effect on the brain is powerful in many ways. When teens use cocaine, it will change their mood and behavior. The short-term brain damage of cocaine use includes:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Erratic behavior
  • Enhanced alertness
  • Paranoia
  • Panic
  • Restlessness
  • Volatile behavior

Teens who smoke or inject cocaine will typically feel this impact immediately because of its quick transmission to their brain. However, the feelings associated with snorting cocaine will come gradually, with the high lasting up to 30 minutes. The long-term brain damage associated with cocaine use is related to a teen’s mental health. For many, they will exhibit severe mood swings. Other long-term effects of cocaine on the brain include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis

Cocaine impacts the brain’s neurons’ ability to absorb dopamine, which is why it affects the brain so much.

Cocaine’s Effects on Adolescents

Teens who are predisposed to psychosis or schizophrenia and using cocaine can trigger these conditions—especially if they binge use powdered or crack cocaine. However, even if a teen does not develop these conditions, long-term cocaine use can lead to the development of panic disorders, anxiety, depression, and aggressive behavior. In addition, since cocaine increases the stress hormone cortisol, it can raise blood pressure levels permanently. Over time, this will damage a teen’s cardiovascular system leading to heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes. The effects of cocaine on the brain are ever-present for long-term users. This long-term consequence is why cocaine addiction treatment is so vital for adolescents. The earlier a meaningful intervention occurs, the better a teen’s adulthood will be.

Learn the Effects of Cocaine on the Brain with Destinations for Teens

There are many consequences for teens abusing cocaine. Most apparent are the changes in the approach to their responsibilities, as they will spend much of their time trying to get high. Short-term consequences of cocaine use, such as irritability and anxiousness, will increase as dependency grows, making it hard for teens to live without cocaine. Long-term effects include a need for ongoing mental health support as users will develop anxiety, panic disorders, and in some cases, schizophrenia. At Destinations for Teens, our cocaine addiction treatment can support young adults who need to make a serious change in their lives. Using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), we help teens learn how to manage their emotions, understand the consequences of their substance use disorder and learn effective coping strategies. We offer the following treatment options:

  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Inpatient treatment
  • Intensive outpatient treatment
  • Creative therapy such as photography, dance, yoga, music, and art

In addition, our inpatient and residential options provide educational support, so teens never have to worry about falling behind in school while being treated. Our services allow teens to learn that they have the ultimate power to change their lives and our professional staff is always present to help. If your teen struggles with a substance use disorder, there is no time to waste. Help them find peace in sobriety today. Contact Destinations for Teens at 877.466.0620.