Coke JawFrank Montalvo
Overcoming the Side Effects of Cocaine and Seeking Treatment
My cocaine abuse led to a lot of damage to my body, mind, and soul. I became a shell of my former self due to my cocaine addiction. I arrived at Icarus Behavioral Health in Albuquerque with a lot of baggage. Every part of my body was in rough shape. When I began receiving cocaine addiction treatment, I was unrecognizable from my former self.
The withdrawal symptoms associated with cocaine addiction are bad enough, but the physical effects of cocaine use can take a long time to overcome. My substance abuse led to dramatic weight loss, tooth decay, gum disease, and respiratory problems. It went way beyond ‘coke jaw’ for me, and using both crack and cocaine powder for as long as I did create a lot of problems. Cocaine can be ingested in a lot of different ways, and they all do damage.
Keep reading to learn more about the effects of cocaine on your mouth, mind, and central nervous system, and get details on how I was able to get help at Icarus as well!
Dealing With Cocaine Jaw
Cocaine jaw is one of the most brutal occurrences that coke users suffer from. My experience with coke jaw and the damage it caused to my oral health was terrifying. Any type of involuntary action such as cocaine jaw is uncomfortable, and knowing that you can’t make it stop unless you quit using cocaine makes it a harder pill to swallow.
When I finally came out on the other side of my addiction, I had a lot of work to do in order to fix my body. It had been many years since I was healthy. I had to start from zero and work on not only getting my mind back but my physical appearance. Read more to find out how I did it.
From Cocaine Abuse To Cocaine Addiction
I dabbled with substance abuse in my early years, but things got out of control after I went to college. I began experimenting with many different drugs, including opiates, cocaine, and hallucinogens. Of all the drugs I tried, cocaine quickly had a hold of me.
I began using cocaine socially, usually if I was at a party or drinking with friends. The cocaine users I surrounded myself with seemed fun at first, but it wasn’t long before all of us began to develop serious addictions. I began to smoke crack, and soon after that, I was injecting cocaine as well.
My crack cocaine addiction quickly led to my oral health becoming worse and worse. I began to suffer from what is known on the street as ‘coke jaw’. Cocaine addiction affects all different parts of the body, but it does its most damage to your oral palate.
Jaw Pain From Cocaine Use
The first side effects of cocaine are typically noticed in the form of jaw pain and jaw clenching. Many cocaine users suffer from teeth grinding and uncontrollable jaw movements. You will clench your jaw and grind your teeth without even realizing you are doing it.
Prolonged cocaine abuse will cause coke jaw to become a regular occurrence, along with other forms of what I later learned is called ‘temporomandibular disorders.’
And when it comes to both grinding and the worst sort of dry mouth, crack cocaine causes even worse issues. Both forms of the drug constrict blood vessels and make the salivary glands that much less productive in getting your mouth to its natural state.
Getting Clean from Coke as the Foundation for Recovery
And there are no easy coke jaw remedies, at least when it comes to those that are still using cocaine. In order to completely eliminate coke jaw movements, stopping all forms of the substance is the starting point.
The teeth grinding associated with snorting and smoking cocaine can lead to dental erosion and gum disease. Just typing this makes my teeth hurt. There’s nothing quite like dental pain. It is all-consuming. Even as bad as tooth pain is, your cocaine or crack addiction will lead you to neglect your oral health and forget all about your coke mouth and damaged blood vessels.
Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
Long-term cocaine use wears away the enamel on your teeth, with makes your teeth much more vulnerable. Combine this with tooth grinding and coke jaw, and you will begin to notice your teeth slowly dying. When you don’t have cocaine, the pain associated with these issues is unbearable. The only thing that will take your mind off of it is more cocaine.
A lot of cocaine users rub powder cocaine on their gums, causing the gums to recede and raising the risks of oral cancer. This can increase the risk of broken teeth and bleeding gums. When I got gum disease, it didn’t occur to me for one second to seek help. That would mean paying attention to my well-being, which the average drug addict is not concerned about. If it didn’t involve more cocaine, it was a waste of time for me.
What is the Difference Between Coke Jaw and Coke Mouth?
Coke jaw refers to the jaw clenching and erratic movement of the jaw as a result of cocaine abuse. It’s not hard to spot a cocaine addict. Not only can you not sit still, you can’t keep your jaw from moving around all over the place. I have tried to not make it obvious, but it’s an uncontrolled movement that can even continue during a cocaine comedown.
It’s impossible to stop coke jaw when you are using the amount of cocaine that I was using. We’ve all seen those before and after images of drug addicts. One of the first things you notice is the damage to the face and mouth.
How Does Coke Jaw Affect Your Appearance?
It’s easy to look at someone with coke mouth and say you would never let yourself get that bad. I probably thought that at one time too. When cocaine is all that matters, and your life has spiraled out of control, you’re not thinking too much about how your teeth look to other people.
Perspective is an interesting thing depending on the way you view the world. As an active addict, the world is a cruel, awful place and all your problems seem to be someone else’s fault. When you have the benefit of being clear-headed, you realize that you create a lot of your own problems. The only person that can fix those problems is you.
What are the Other Side Effects Of Cocaine Addiction?
Other than the damage to your oral health, cocaine creates a lot of personal problems that will lead you to an unfulfilling life of pain and frustration. Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that affects the entire body. My mental health suffered tremendously, as did my physical appearance. Beyond my teeth-grinding disorder, tooth loss, and damaged jaw muscles, I had lost an unhealthy amount of weight, and my skin was pale and sickly.
Rubbing cocaine on the gums can also lead to periodontal disease, which weakens the periodontal tissue around the gums. This is how I lost a lot of my teeth. It’s impossible to understate the effect that cocaine abuse has on your oral palate. Sitting here and reliving these issues is causing me flashbacks. Tooth decay, gum disease, and coke jaw are no joke.
Cocaine Use And The Nasal Cavity
I suffered from oral palate perforation, which was just one more bit of damage associated with the decline in my oral health. Snorting cocaine for an extended period can wear away the tissue in the nostril, which leads to a deterioration of the septum. This can make eating and swallowing much more difficult.
I snorted so much cocaine that I actually developed a hole between my nostrils. The blood vessels in my septum were so damaged that they wore away to nothing. This reduced blood flow can impact jaw movement and lead to necrosis of the tissue. Even with all of the issues I was suffering from, I didn’t take any of them seriously. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see the damage I had caused. I looked right past all of it.
I had what I guess you could call ‘coke vision,’ I thought I looked a little rough, but more tragically cool, even as my nose looked like it was hanging on by a thread and my teeth hurt to high hell constantly. The delusions I held on to, fueled by cocaine in whatever form I could find, was that strong.
Recovering From Chronic Cocaine Addiction
I tried to get sober multiple times, but I had done so much damage that I felt I was too far gone. I didn’t think people like me had a chance of getting clean. Between my coke jaw, dental erosion, and tooth loss, there were plenty of other factors as well. I had been avoiding all of the mental trauma that I suffered in my youth through my cocaine abuse.
My low self-esteem and disinterest in life are what led me to this point. How could I fix my body if I didn’t fix my mental health? I had no desire to live when I hit rock bottom. I had no desire to not snort cocaine all day long. When I finally showed up at Icarus Behavioral Health, I was ready to give sobriety one more chance. I finally recognized how bad my cocaine use was, and how badly my health had suffered.
Making It Through Addiction Treatment
I knew the detox would be rough, but my cocaine use disorder had already gotten so bad that I was used to being in pain all the time. I assumed the detox could kill me. Although very uncomfortable, a detox from cocaine is typically not fatal.
After several days of wrestling with withdrawal symptoms such as mood swings and suicidal thoughts, I was finally able to sit there and deal with the effects of cocaine use. I knew how bad it would be, but I was ready.
Struggling Through and Seeking Recovery
Drug abuse is often something we engage in to mask something else that we are dealing with. I had years of mental trauma to deal with. I suppressed this trauma for years via cocaine use. A powerful stimulant drug like cocaine will mask many things, but they will always come to the surface eventually.
The uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms were nothing compared to the demons I had been keeping at bay all those years. It’s easy to hide your problems in the short term, but it’s much more difficult to keep them hidden for a long period of time. No amount of drugs can mask the pain forever.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Icarus
There is always an increased risk of relapse when you have suffered from drug addiction for a period of many years. Nobody just quits using cocaine without some kind of help. Behavioral therapy did a lot of good for me and gave me some of the tools that I still use in my everyday life. Living without drugs is difficult when your brain has been rewired by addiction. Support groups have also had a hugely positive effect on me and prevented me from falling back into drug abuse.
Abusing cocaine for all those years made me a different person. I literally had to become somebody else in order to stay sober. Being a cocaine abuser for as long as I was had turned me into someone that I barely recognized. The euphoric effects associated with my cocaine use were the only thing that brought me joy. I had to learn how to find joy in other ways and work through my feelings when I felt myself struggling to stay sober.
The long-term side effects and struggles with substance use disorder can last long into your recovery. It’s important to recognize that while it can be difficult to deal with, every day you stay sober is progress. I will always remember the negative effects of my cocaine addiction, and how uncomfortable every day of my life was.
I had to have a lot of dental work done to fix my deteriorating teeth and constricted blood vessels, but it was well worth it for me to start feeling like the new person I had become. My substance abuse problem had broken me, but I slowly began to build up a new and improved version of myself through therapy and support groups.
Reach Out to Icarus for Support with Cocaine Today!
Whether you are suffering from cocaine addiction, alcohol abuse, or any other form of substance misuse, it’s important to remember that you can solve this problem with a little bit of help. It takes a big personal effort, but finding sobriety is the most rewarding feeling for anyone who has struggled with drug abuse. Without Icarus Behavioral Health, I’m not sure where I would have ended up.
If any of this sounds familiar from your life, or the life of someone you care about, consider reaching out to Icarus in New Mexico for their support and to get options. Make the call today!