The Effects of Cocaine on Professional Performance
The effects of cocaine on professional performance is well documented. Since the 1980’s, cocaine has become one of the most popularly abused drugs in the United States. Cocaine has grown in popularity due to its ability to cause a person to feel a strong sense of euphoria, confidence, and awareness that is seductive and often irresistible to a user. Cocaine has a reputation of being ‘the rich man’s drug’. This is not only because cocaine use is an expensive habit to maintain, but it is also used as a sign of status when it comes to people in high positions of power, money, and influence. Because of this stereotype, it is easy to understand why it can be seen as socially acceptable in many situations.
Despite its reputation for being a drug of status that is socially acceptable by the higher classes and working class, cocaine has been found to have a devastating effect on people’s careers, job performance, and overall professional lifestyles. Many people who are career-oriented and indulge in cocaine use tend to have their drug use intertwine with their professional careers. It is not uncommon for a user to use cocaine while at work or when he or she is tending to work-related responsibilities. It is also a common occurrence for cocaine users to indulge in cocaine use the night before work, causing the crash from cocaine to occur when starting the morning at the office or on the field. Each of these habits is detrimental to a user’s work performance. Working under the influence and beginning a workday after a night of using, have been found to have damaging effects on the user’s work performance.
How Cocaine Use Affects The Brain
In order to understand how a person’s work performance is affected by habitual use of cocaine, you must first understand how cocaine use negatively affects the brain and body. Cocaine is a drug that disrupts the brain’s natural brain chemistry. When brain chemistry is disrupted, a person’s feelings, thoughts, behavior, and perception of reality will be altered for at least 36-72 hours following the first use.
Cocaine creates sensations of euphoria, which will result in:
- Feelings and beliefs that one is invincible
- Diminished inhibitions
- Mood swings
- A grandiose sense of self
- Poor judgment and information processing
- Impulsivity and poor self-control
- Erratic behavior
These effects are the result of an influx of dopamine being released into the brain. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that is responsible for administering a ‘feel good’ sensation. High amounts of active dopamine in the brain results in a depleted supply of dopamine available during the ‘sobering up’ period, as the active dopamine is exhausted, which renders it unable to administer that ‘feel good’ sensation until the brain re-stabilizes itself. This re-stabilization can take up to 72 hours, causing a person to experience a ‘crash’. Common consequences of a crash from cocaine include:
- Insomnia (inability to fall or stay asleep)
- Hypersomnia (oversleeping or feeling unable to wakeup)
- Memory issues
- Inability to focus or concentration problems
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Low self-esteem or sense of self
Effects of Cocaine on Professional Performance
Active cocaine users tend to not see the connection between these two critical points: their own cocaine use and the decline in their work performance. This can be due to a number of reasons. For example, since cocaine provides a euphoric effect that involves a sense of invincibility, it can often go unnoticed that the cocaine use is responsible for a decline in work performance. Being distracted by emotional and mental health changes, exhaustion, and a change in priorities, can also contribute to the failure to see the connection between cocaine use and the damaging effects of a person in the workplace.
Actively using cocaine causes a cycle that can be difficult to recognize or understand at first, and the longer that it goes unaddressed the more severe the consequences the user faces. In the perspective of an active cocaine user, it could be difficult at first to see the connection between cocaine use and his or her decline in work performance. However, cocaine can be devastating for a person’s career, as it creates a rift or disconnect between consciousness and work performance. Consider these points that contribute to a downward spiral in regard to work performance:
Effects of Cocaine on Professional Performance – Your Mental Health Suffers
Cocaine plays an active role in the altering of your brain chemistry when you are actively using. Whether you use every day, every weekend, or occasionally, your brain chemistry will be altered. If you’re lucky, the effects will only last 48-72 hours after beginning to use. However, it is often the case that with continued use the brain chemistry will be permanently affected. The altered brain chemistry will result in the following mental health consequences:
- You will experience mood swings. Cocaine is a mood-altering substance. It is responsible for significant and sometimes permanent changes in mental health. Such conditions that can develop from a crash from cocaine use are: anxiety, depressed mood, mood swings, anger, irritability, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness and memory problems, and poor stress management.
- Your mental health and sense of awareness is negatively affected when high on cocaine. Many cocaine users seem to believe that using cocaine enhances their performance in the workplace. What they fail to realize is this is the result of the grandiose sense of self, which creates increased sense of self-confidence and lowered inhibitions. This results in rash behavior, a lack of consequential thinking, and forgetfulness. When high on cocaine, you will develop changes in attitude, including: a grandiose sense of self and self-confidence, lowered inhibitions, impulsivity, forgetfulness, irritability, and distractibility.
- Cocaine will negatively impact your sleep. Cocaine takes a major toll on a person’s sleep habits, and often results in insomnia, hypersomnia, or other troubles with sleeping. Exhaustion that comes from little to no sleep, or poor quality of sleep, will aggravate each of the consequences that are outlined above, and cause a change in your behavior, ability to handle stress, and overall job performance.
You Slack Off
As a result of the mental health conditions listed above, you will begin to slack off at work, and may not even realize that you are doing it. Cocaine users will begin to slack off at work for a number of reasons, including:
- Cocaine alters and inhibits your sleep cycle. This may cause you to be exhausted at work, arrive to work late, and not be able to concentrate on important tasks, instructions, and conversations. It will also affect your motivation to perform your job.
- Feeling overconfident while under the influence. This causes you to feel as though you cannot make mistakes, which results in reckless, impulsive, and careless behavior.
- Losing motivation at your place of employment. A combination of exhaustion, depressed mood, lowered inhibitions, and the preoccupation of when you will get your next high, will all contribute to a decline in your motivation to perform your responsibilities.
- As your cocaine use progresses, it will turn into addiction, which will cause all of your priorities to shift from your job performance, personal life goals, and motivation to keep a healthy lifestyle, to only how and when you will get your next high.
You Fall Into The Cycle
As you continue to use cocaine, this cycle of using, crashing, using more, and crashing again, will develop in addiction. There will be a dependence formed that causes you to need cocaine to feel functional. Whether you use daily or recreationally, you will become dependent to cocaine either to function at work or decompress from work. As your cocaine use progresses, your symptoms, behaviors, and consequences with work performance will worsen. Using cocaine to enhance work performance is an illusion, and thinking cocaine does not affect work performance will only set you up for serious consequences.
Nsight Psychology & Addiction’s staff of professionals can help your loved one with treatment for Substance Abuse, Alcoholism, Trauma/PTSD, Depression, and/or Anxiety. Contact Nsight Psychology & Addiction at 888-557-8091 to learn more.