Cocaine can affect children, not only because of prenatal drug exposure but also because of drug-related behavior that mothers on cocaine exhibit. In fact, a new research study found that mothers who were verbally harsh to their children during mother-child interactions strongly predicted behavioral problems for those children including fighting, aggression, and defiance.
The study took place at the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions, led by Rina Das Elden, PhD. The research included 200 mother and children pairs and was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Previous studies on the effects of drug addiction found that when unborn animals were exposed to cocaine in the womb, a lower level of bonding hormones and less emotional engagement between mother and child resulted.
Extended use of cocaine can lead to thickening of tissues in the heart, heart attacks, and heart failure. If snorted over a length of time, cocaine can kill off tissues in the nose and an inability to use the sense of smell. It can also lead to sores in the lungs, throat, and mouth, among other significant physical impairments. Of course, other dangers of cocaine use are criminal activity, such as stealing money to maintain an addiction. Over time, a cocaine addiction could even lead to long-term life of crime.
However, the University of Buffalo did not explore the physical and social effects of cocaine use; it instead focused on the effects between mother and child, particularly on the child’s behavior after exposed to cocaine in the womb. The study found that the negative effects of cocaine on children can happen both in the womb and also because of the effects of cocaine on the mother, resulting in little mother-child bonding. Most importantly, women who use cocaine have a harder time helping their child regulate his or her emotions, which can lead to the negative behavioral concerns mentioned above. Of course, other factors that may have an impact on the behavior of children exposed to cocaine include the likelihood of the presence of both hunger and violence in the communities these mothers and children live in. The research studied women and children who were typically of low-income families.
The Effects of Using Cocaine
Cocaine is a powerful drug that causes euphoria, elation, and a feeling that is unmatched compared to other drugs. In fact, cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs out there because of the unequaled high that it produces. The intoxication of ingesting cocaine includes feeling very alert, excited, powerful, and happy. Some users of cocaine describe its euphoria as equivalent to orgasm. However, the euphoria of being high on cocaine can also bring feelings of suspicion and paranoia. In fact, after awhile the high might produce anxious feelings, compulsive and repetitive behaviors, and seeing flashes of light or hallucinations.
Cocaine has significant effects on the brain and it is particularly addictive, more so than any other amphetamine. It releases chemicals in the brain that lead to higher blood pressure, a faster heartbeat, dilation of the pupils, chills, and muscular palpitations. With high doses, cocaine can cause a cardiac arrest, heart attack, stroke, or seizure. Cocaine is a controlled substance, and although it’s illegal, it continues to be used recreationally.
The use of cocaine varies among socioeconomic populations. However, the study focused on women and children pairs that were typically of low-income families. Nonetheless, cocaine is a drug that does not play favorites and can have significant harmful physical, emotional, and psychological effects on its users. Additionally, as the study indicated, the effects of cocaine doesn’t end with the user, children and families feel the damaging effects of cocaine addiction.
Cocaine detox, withdrawal and stabilization is the first step in drug abuse help for the healing of cocaine abuse. If you or someone you know is addicted to cocaine, call upon a mental health professional. You’ll not only save the users life, but the lives of everyone involved, including children.