Cocaine addiction is a particularly serious problem that usually requires professional help to overcome. Discovery Point Retreat can help you heal. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to cocaine, call us today at 855-306-8054.
Cocaine is an illegal stimulant that’s powerfully addictive. Isolated and extracted from the coca plant, purified cocaine has been available in the United States since the early 20th century as an active ingredient in so-called health tonics.
It is still used today for some legitimate medical purposes. It is classified as a Schedule II narcotic, which means that it may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. However, when used in a medical setting, cocaine is largely safe and effective. Some physicians still use cocaine to stop serious nosebleeds and for pain control prior to minor nasal surgeries. Oral surgeons or dentists may use cocaine as a form of anesthesia prior to surgery.
As a street drug, it remains highly addictive and can quickly lead to physical and psychological addiction and dependency. Cocaine is so popular that it is sometimes referred to as the “caviar” of street drugs, but its rich design comes with drawbacks.
Generally, when people think of cocaine, they think of a white, powdery substance that is played up as a sensationalized way of getting high in mass media. In reality, it is a dangerous drug that is highly addictive. There is a risk of dependency, and the purity of the drug cannot be guaranteed.
Street names include “coke,” “blow,” “C,” “crack,” and “snow.”
There are two forms of cocaine that people are most likely to abuse, cocaine hydrochloride salt and a cocaine base (a.k.a. “freebase”). The freebase form is primarily smoked, while cocaine hydrochloride salt may be injected or snorted. Most users snort cocaine into the nasal cavity after cutting it into a line, but it can also be rubbed on the gums or mixed with water and injected directly into the veins.
The base form of cocaine is created by removing the hydrochloride. By processing the substance through ammonia or baking soda and heating it, it’s possible to create a smokable form of cocaine: crack. Crack cocaine is heated to form vapor and can be inhaled into the lungs, causing an intense and rapid high.
Remember that most cocaine bought on the street has been adulterated with cheap substances such as cornstarch, flour, baking soda or crushed aspirin. It may also contain methamphetamine or fentanyl, making it especially difficult to predict how it may affect the user. When fentanyl is introduced, there is an increased risk of overdose due to the opioid’s potency.
Cocaine overdoses do require immediate medical treatment. Supportive therapies are used to help prevent complications from medical problems like hyperthermia or dysrhythmias. If another drug was mixed with the cocaine, like fentanyl or heroin, then NARCAN (naloxone) may be used to reverse the opioids’ effect on the body.
Since 2009, the use of cocaine has been relatively stable in the United States, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). In the last recorded data set in 2014, around 1.5 million people 12 and older had used cocaine within the last month. It was most likely for adults between the ages of 18 and 25 to use cocaine or to be a cocaine addict.
Cocaine use peaked in the late 1990s, and there has been a significant decrease since then. In 2014, around 913,000 Americans still met the criteria for cocaine abuse and dependency.
Statistics show that around 14% of all adults in the United States have tried cocaine at one time or another. Around 1 in 40 adults admit to using cocaine at least once in the last 12 months.
Cocaine works by traveling to the brain and affecting the way chemicals are released. As it travels to the brain, it can wreak havoc on the entire body.
The effects of cocaine are almost immediate. In small doses, it can make you feel energetic, talkative, euphoric, and disinterested in food or sleep. In larger doses, cocaine can cause restlessness, irritability, anxiety, paranoia, and even erratic or violent behavior. In withdrawal, it’s possible to become depressed and suicidal.
No matter what type or route of administration you use, cocaine is highly addictive and can cause overdose — which in turn can lead to heart attacks, seizures, strokes or death. Many people who use cocaine also drink alcohol at the same time, which is particularly dangerous. Cocaine and alcohol react and produce cocaethylene, amplifying the toxic effects of both substances on the heart.
Some of the more serious effects of cocaine addiction include:
The long-term effects of cocaine use involve changes to the brain’s reward pathways, as well as the pathways that respond to stress. Former users of cocaine are at high risk of relapse, even if they have not used cocaine for months or years.
Cocaine addiction may appear similar to other kinds of addictions as well as medical conditions, so it’s important not to jump to conclusions. However, there are still a number of telltale indications that your loved one has a problem with cocaine use, including:
Some serious signs that your loved one may need medical attention include:
If you recognize these signs in yourself or someone you love, don’t despair. Though these symptoms are serious, they can be overcome. We can help you heal and enjoy life beyond cocaine addiction by treating the underlying cause of addiction and helping prevent a relapse.
We’re here to make cocaine addiction treatment as accessible and affordable as possible — and are in network with many insurance providers. Not sure about your coverage? We can help.
People addicted to cocaine help themselves when they seek out appropriate cocaine detox support. Detox is the first step in the recovery process, because it allows people who are addicted to cocaine to ease themselves off the drug and to begin rehabilitation without the drug in their system.
There are currently no medications approved for use in the treatment of cocaine addiction, but there are medications that may help with withdrawal symptoms and to prevent relapse. Along with those medications, which may include drugs like disulfiram and modafinil, behavioral health treatments may also be used.
There are various substance abuse and addiction therapies available, such as:
The kind of therapy you choose may depend on the underlying cause of addiction. For example, if you have a diagnosed mental health condition, like depression or anxiety, then you may benefit from dual-diagnosis treatment. Alternatively, someone with childhood trauma may do well with psychodynamic therapy, because it is based on an assumption that emotional issues are related to unresolved conflicts (many of which may be from childhood).
Other alternative and supportive therapies that you may benefit from include animal-assisted therapy, art therapy or music therapy. These, as well as nutrition assistance and exercise support, can be combined to help anyone overcome the challenges of living with an addiction to cocaine.
When a person quits using cocaine, there may be signs of cocaine withdrawal. When used normally, cocaine produces a sense of euphoria and causes the brain to release dopamine and other feel-good chemicals. Unfortunately, when the drug is stopped, physical symptoms of withdrawal may become apparent.
The symptoms of cocaine withdrawal may include:
While many people think of withdrawal as a short-term issue, cravings and depressed moods may continue for many months after quitting the use of cocaine. There is a link between withdrawal symptoms and suicidal thoughts in some people, which is why it’s a good idea to work with a cocaine detox program to get off the drug safely.
There is no current medication used to treat cocaine addiction, but the symptoms of withdrawal may be able to be managed well with medications available on the market today. Some medications that may be used to treat the symptoms of withdrawal include:
It may also be possible to go through withdrawal without medication. Medications can cause side effects, like nausea, dizziness and drowsiness, so it may not always be the choice for every person. When you or your loved one enter a treatment program, a specific treatment plan will be tailored to your needs.
We understand how insidious a drug cocaine can be. Despite its “party drug” status, it’s especially difficult to deal with a cocaine addiction. The good news: Our team has ample experience in cocaine rehab, and we can help you get on the path to sobriety, too.
You can’t just overcome cocaine addiction overnight. It’s necessary to build a strong foundation for your recovery. That’s why, at Discovery Point Retreat, we offer medical detox services to help you safely detox from cocaine and manage withdrawal. In general, you’ll start to feel withdrawal within one to 40 hours after your last dose.
Most of the time, the peak of cocaine withdrawal occurs within 24 hours after it starts. Because of that, you should enroll in a detox treatment program before that happens. Also, keep in mind that withdrawal can last 10 weeks or longer.
We also strongly recommend a residential inpatient program to help with cocaine addiction. This type of program removes you from any environment that permits or encourages drug use. It also allows you to stay in a drug-free facility until you’re strong enough to resist cocaine.
In addition, research shows that one of the best treatment options for cocaine rehab is cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. CBT is a type of counseling that focuses on changing negative ways of thinking in order to stop negative behaviors — such as cocaine use.
In addition to CBT, we also offer individual, group and family therapy to help with cocaine treatment. All of these services have something unique to offer individuals who struggle with cocaine addiction. In fact, individual therapy is crucial in helping to identify the root cause of your cocaine addiction. It’s essential to deal with these problems to reduce the risk of relapse.