Cocaine is an illicit stimulant drug that provides users with energy and euphoria. Although expensive and commonly seen as a party drug, cocaine is highly addictive and dangerous. As a result, people who suffer from cocaine addiction usually require professional treatment. Treatment for cocaine abuse and addiction usually involves detox, inpatient treatment, and aftercare.
Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system providing users with a jolt of energy and a rush of euphoria. The drug comes in a white, powdered form and is usually smoked, however, some people may inject or smoke (freebase) cocaine. Even though it is widely regarded as an addictive and dangerous substance, thousands still use cocaine each and every day.
The Dangers of Cocaine Abuse
Since cocaine is illegal, any use of the drug is considered abuse. Furthermore, since the drug is illegal, it’s impossible to know what a person is really getting when they purchase it on the streets. It could be cut with dangerous additives like fentanyl or other toxic chemicals. In addition, cocaine is often used at parties or clubs where people want to have endless energy, so it’s often taken in hot environments by people who are dancing, drinking, or taking other drugs. As a result, cocaine abuse may lead to dehydration, polydrug use, or even overdose.
When a person is under the influence of cocaine, he or she might seem talkative, excited, alert, or confident. However, there are many less pleasurable side effects associated with long-term cocaine abuse, including:
- Increased risk of cardiac arrest and stroke
- Cardiovascular issues like hypertension or cardiomyopathy
- Risk of endocarditis or aortic rupture
- Brain damage
- Kidney damage
- Increased risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis C
- Cognitive decline
When people abuse cocaine over an extended period of time, their minds and bodies begin to associate the drug with pleasure or reward. As a result, cocaine users might begin seeking out more and more of the drug, leading to the development of tolerance and physical dependence.
Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
Even though cocaine is highly addictive, it’s not always easy to recognize the signs of addiction. Oftentimes, the first thing people notice is that they have developed a tolerance, so they need more of the drug to get high and that they get sick when they don’t have the drug. However, these are just two of the more obvious physical symptoms of cocaine addiction. Other notable signs of cocaine addiction include:
- Dilated pupils, weight loss, and excess energy
- Neglecting one’s responsibilities to use cocaine
- Attempting to cut back on to stop use but being unable to do so
- Experiencing cravings or urges to use the drug
- Having troubles at work, school, or home due to drug use
- Spending time with people who abuse cocaine or other drugs
- Spending excess time obtaining the drug, using the drug, and recovering from the effects of the drug
- Lying to friends and family about cocaine use
After long-term cocaine abuse, users will need to take more of the drug in order to produce a high. This is known as tolerance. A person’s tolerance will increase until they stop taking cocaine for a considerable period of time. However, many people find this difficult to do because they experience withdrawal symptoms.
Since cocaine stimulates the central nervous system it causes the brain to get accustomed to an excess of dopamine. Then, when a person doesn’t take cocaine, the body has to adjust back to its normal functioning. This adjustment period is when withdrawal symptoms occur. When it comes to cocaine, withdrawals may set in as soon as a person’s high wears off. Cocaine withdrawals may consist of irritability, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and even paranoia. As a result, once someone falls into the grips of cocaine addiction, it’s extremely difficult to stop without professional help.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment
When seeking help for cocaine abuse and addiction, people should always speak with a substance abuse counselor before making a decision. An addiction specialist is qualified to help people find the treatment that best meets their needs. The level of care needed is usually determined by the severity of a person’s addiction, the quality of his or her living environment, and their psychiatric and medical needs. The different levels and stages of cocaine rehab are as follows.
Inpatient Rehab for Cocaine Abuse
Inpatient rehab, also known as residential treatment, is one of the most effective ways to beat drug addiction. Inpatient programs provide patients with a highly supervised and supportive environment where they can focus fully on their recovery. Many inpatient programs last between 30 and 90 days, but some may last longer depending on the person’s individual needs. Inpatient cocaine treatment consists of cognitive-behavioral therapy, group counseling, individual therapy, family therapy, holistic healing, 12-step facilitation, and more. This level of care is best for people with severe cocaine addictions, those who have a history of relapse, and those who suffer from mental illness.
Outpatient Programming Options
Intensive outpatient programming (IOP) and outpatient programming (OP) are, respectively, the next two levels of care that people can participate in. These programs meet several times a week for a few hours at a time and consist of the same therapies as inpatient rehab. Many patients will attend an outpatient treatment program after completing residential treatment to help further their recovery. However, people who cannot go to inpatient treatment or who don’t require intensive care can also benefit from outpatient cocaine rehab.
Aftercare and Sober Living
Cocaine addiction is a chronic and progressive condition that often requires ongoing care. As a result, many people choose to live in sober homes after completing rehab. Sober homes provide a safe, sober environment for people to learn how to practice the skills they learned in rehab. In addition to sober homes, other forms of aftercare that people benefit from include Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), alumni programs, and other types of community support groups.
Getting Help for Cocaine Abuse and Addiction
Cocaine abuse and addiction are dangerous and extremely harmful to the mind and body. However, with the right treatment, recovery is possible. Thousands of people have struggled with the same issues that you are and have come out on the other side. If you or someone you know is addicted to cocaine and can’t stop, there is no better time to reach out for help. Contact one of our dedicated addiction treatment providers today to learn more about your cocaine treatment options near you.
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