The link between cocaine and alcohol consumed successively (not simultaneously), where the consumption of one substance is initiated to calm the unpleasant effects that the other substance has left, produces devastating effects.
In this article we will see what happens when the dynamics of consumption of these two addictive substances are mixed.
Two types of highly addictive stimulants
Alcohol is a toxic substance, capable of producing addiction and although in the first place it produces a disinhibiting effect , it is a stimulant, it falls into the category of depressive psychoactive substances.
This is because after a first moment of producing a disinhibiting action, which stimulates the impulses and blocks rational thought, alcohol begins to produce a general decrease in different functions of the organism that we will later describe.
Cocaine is a psychoactive stimulant substance , which alters the different functions of the organism. It is usually inhaled in the form of powder, but can also be administered via injection into the bloodstream or smoked in the form of paco (base paste) or crack, which are the ways in which cocaine can be subjected to heat, as it would otherwise burn. In all its forms, cocaine is a substance highly capable of producing addiction.
We can state that the mode of alternate and successive consumption usually occurs in the context of a link of need between the person consuming and both substances, supported by the function that each drug can fulfil according to the person and the use he or she makes of them. That is: a person may need to use cocaine to avoid the “downward” effects of alcohol , as well as needing alcohol to get off the altered state that cocaine produces.
Effects of Alcohol and Cocaine Use
The excessive consumption of alcohol produces:
- Decreased heart rate and breathing rate
- Decrease in body temperature
- Feeling of exhaustion, fatigue and drowsiness, listlessness
- Reduced psychomotor attention and coordination
With a consecutive use of cocaine, the user can seek to reactivate his body, his mind, under the conception that through this drug he will recover sleeping functions resulting from his state of inebriation and thus achieve a state of greater “stability”.
Cocaine use produces:
- Increased heart rate and breathing rate
- Increased body temperature
- Feeling of euphoria, increased mood and energy; hyperactivity, physical and mental excitement
- False sense of higher performance and success, greater security and self-confidence
In this way, the depressing consequences of the typical “downturn” that occurs in the final stage of the drinking episode are counteracted.
In turn this state of hyperstimulation generated by cocaine can produce tachycardia , muscular rigidity, hallucinations, tremors, dizziness, restlessness, anxiety, panic attacks, aggressiveness, insomnia and alcohol intake is used to “get off” this feeling of loss of control and excessive hyperactivity.
The emergence of alternate consumption
We investigate the immediate effects of each of these two substances intended for episodic use, to understand why many people maintain this type of alternate use. We do not stop to expose the various long-term effects of compulsive use that are much more extensive than those mentioned (such as physical, psychological, relationship, work, legal problems, etc.) because they are beyond the scope of this article.
In this way we describe how one substance counteracts the effect of the other without idealizing either one or forgetting the harmful character of both. Both alcohol and cocaine are psychoactive substances that have negative consequences on the whole organism, which will occur depending on how, when and how much is consumed.
Whether an addiction develops will depend on multiple factors . It is not by the simple act of using a substance that an addiction is triggered but every addiction starts with simple use.
- Baistrocchi, R. and Yaría, J. (2014) Addictions: Brain, subjectivity, behavior, culture. Ricardo Vergara Ediciones. Bs As, Argentina