Addiction, or a substance use disorder as it’s referred to by medical professionals, is a chronic disorder that affects millions of people in the United States as well as worldwide. There is currently no known cure for addiction. It is a progressive and persistent disorder, which means an individual diagnosed with a substance use disorder will likely have to deal with symptoms for the rest of his or her life. It is a treatable disorder and can be brought under control.
Cocaine is perhaps one of the most well-known illicit drugs in the world. With its use spanning across history, it has been a drug of choice for addicts for hundreds of years. It even once had its place in the medical community, used as a medication and even in a variety of other products.
Cocaine, however, is a highly addictive substance that many people find themselves hooked to. Cocaine addiction, like other substance use disorders, is a chronic condition. However, there is hope for people struggling by means of undergoing correct cocaine addiction treatment.
WHAT IS COCAINE?
Cocaine is a stimulant drug that is derived from the coca plant indigenous to South America. Originally used for medical purposes, the drug is now predominantly utilized as a recreational drug. As a stimulant, the drug has the ability to speed up mental and physical processes within the body. It can be snorted, inhaled, or injected.
When the user ingests the drug, it causes feelings of euphoria and an increase in heart rate. Users also feel a massive increase in mental alertness as well. Cocaine is a fast-acting drug, and the effects can be felt within seconds of ingestion. The drug is among one of the most addictive in the world due to the manner in which it affects the brain.
Cocaine works by inhibiting the reuptake of the neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. This causes a larger amount of these neurotransmitters to be present in the brain than usual. The presence of cocaine in the system also triggers the reward center of the brain, making the user crave more of the drug. Ultimately, after continued use, an individual can develop a cocaine addiction.
Cocaine typically comes as a fine white powder substance. It has a crystalline appearance. As mentioned earlier, it can be used in a number of different ways. Users will sometimes smoke the cocaine after turning it into rock crystal called crack.
Regardless of the way in which a person takes the drug, its use is usually binge-style. This is because the effects of cocaine are extremely intense, but wear off quickly. In order to maintain the euphoric rush associated with cocaine use, addicts tend to continuously ingest the drug in larger and larger quantities.
Cocaine has a number of different names it may go by as well. As one of the most popular illicit drugs for addicts throughout history, over time it has acquired a number of different titles. Some of the nicknames for cocaine you may encounter are:
Prolonged cocaine use can develop into a tolerance and even an addiction among its users. Cocaine is a highly addictive substance, and due to the bing-type using style people engage in, often people succumb to a full-blown cocaine addiction.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF COCAINE ADDICTION?
If you believe you or a loved one may be suffering from a cocaine addiction, identifying the cocaine addiction symptoms is vital. Since cocaine addiction can both manifest and escalate very quickly, spotting the red flags of cocaine abuse is very time sensitive. Here are some of the more common cocaine addiction symptoms to look out for in yourself or your loved ones:
- Dilated pupils
- Weight loss
- Withdrawal from social obligations or activities
- Talkative habits
- Financial difficulties
- Intense mood swings
- Runny nose
- Preoccupation with obtaining the drug
- Inability to stop using despite negative side effects
- Suicidal ideations
These are just a few of the many different cocaine addiction symptoms that you may encounter in yourself or a loved one. Addiction is a disease that presents itself differently in all people, so keep an eye out for any of these different signs that point toward cocaine addiction.
Cocaine can have negative side effects on the physical, mental, and financial areas of a person’s life and should not be taken lightly. If you feel you or a loved one may have cocaine addiction symptoms, getting help is the number one priority.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN COCAINE ADDICTION TREATMENT?
Cocaine addiction treatment is important whenever attempting to tackle a dependence on the drug. Cocaine is a very mentally and physically addictive drug, which can make it next to impossible to quit on one’s own. That’s why undertaking the full continuum of care when it comes to cocaine addiction treatment is so important.
The full continuum of care refers to following through all levels of care throughout the entire cocaine addiction treatment plan. This starts off with a higher level of care (most clinical and medical intervention) to the lowest level of care. This gives the client the opportunity to slowly amass more personal responsibilities and freedoms without overwhelming them right away. This allows for an adjustment period in which a client can work through their addiction and slowly acclimate to a life as a sober individual.
Detox refers to the level of care in which a client has intense medical and clinical intervention to help them rid their bodies of the drug. Since many drugs change the chemistry of the brain and body, the sudden cessation of use can send the body into withdrawal.
Even though cocaine withdrawal is not life-threatening like some other substances, it’s still important to understand users may have intense cravings within the first few days, which can be dangerous. Also, many people engage in polydrug use or using more than one drug at a time. Depending on the other substance, it may require direct medical intervention during the withdrawal phase.ADDICTION TREATMENT
If you decide you would like or need to take the first step and head off to detox, you’ll be given an intense medical assessment by the medical team upon your arrival. They take a look at the severity of your addiction, as well as your overall physical health. They will then craft an individualized detox plan to meet your needs, and distribute and monitor a number of different withdrawal medications. The idea is to make your detox as safe and comfortable as possible.
Your progress will be monitored 24/7 by medical staff, who will ensure that treatment is effective and that you’re physically healthy. Since some of the withdrawal symptoms are mental, it’s also important to know you’ll be surrounded by clinical staff as well.
Clinical staff members such as therapists, case managers, and support staff will be available 24/7 as well. They can help you process the difficult emotional portion of cocaine addiction treatment and will begin to offer some of the therapeutic services.
Since addiction is both a physical and mental health disorder, it’s important to treat both aspects. That is why heading off and completing the full continuum of cocaine addiction treatment is vital to your success.
The next step in cocaine addiction treatment is inpatient. Inpatient requires you to live onsite at the facility. During this stage, you’ll also be under 24/7 surveillance both clinically and medically. However, at this stage, you should be medically stabilized, meaning you’re no longer at-risk for health complications.
The primary focus of this level of care is the therapeutic aspect of cocaine addiction treatment. You’ll undergo full-time intensive therapy to get to the root cause of your addiction, as well as work out any other underlying emotional and mental health issues you may struggling with.
Every single treatment facility is different, offering various amenities and therapy techniques to their clients. It’s important to know just what you’re looking for when selecting your addiction treatment facility.
However, for the most part, facilities operate on a communal basis, meaning you’ll go through treatment with other addicts. Most treatment centers offer a strict curriculum for their clients to follow as they go through treatment. This curriculum is designed to maximize a client’s time in treatment and help them work through their issues.
Inpatient allows for clients to focus solely on recovery and their therapy sessions without the outside distractions of the community at large. By allowing clients to have this time to really get to the core of their problems, it can help them obtain different coping skills and life skills they can bring with them even after treatment ends.
After successfully completing inpatient treatment, clients will move to the level of care known as Intensive Outpatient (IOP). IOP requires clients to find alternative housing since clients no longer live at the facility. Many clients opt to move into a structured sober living facility or halfway house, while others decide to return home. Either way, clients instead must live elsewhere.
IOP occurs on a less frequent basis than inpatient, offering part-time therapy in lieu of full-time. However, at this level, clients are still undergoing intense therapy sessions multiple times a week for several hours at a time. This allows for clients to slowly begin to acquire more personal freedoms and responsibilities, while still having intense clinical support and intervention at their disposal.
Clients will also be subjected to random drug testing during this time. This helps keep clients accountable for their recovery, even with the freedom to move among the community at large.
The final level of the full continuum of care for cocaine addiction treatment is outpatient. Much like IOP, clients must find their own living arrangements on this level of care. Therapy occurs on a part-time basis but occurs even less frequently than IOP. Most outpatient clients will only have therapy for about one hour per week.
The idea is that by the time clients reach this level of care, they will have a solid foundation in their recovery and cocaine addiction treatment program. They will have more freedom and personal responsibilities in life, but still maintain a small level of clinical intervention and support that they may utilize if they find they need it.
Outpatient client must also submit to random drug tests. Again, this helps keep clients accountable and on track despite the lower amount of time they may be spending in therapy.
HOW DANGEROUS IS COCAINE?
As one of the most addictive substances available to addicts, cocaine has a number of different negative health side effects.
Cocaine, like most stimulants, puts a strain on your cardiovascular system. Over time, cocaine damages your heart muscles and can put you at-risk for a heart attack or stroke, which can be fatal or have long-lasting health side effects.
Cocaine is also extremely addictive. Cocaine is a fairly expensive street drug, and the intense cravings to use it may cause individuals to partake in activities they wouldn’t normally consider such as burglary or prostitution in order to get the funds for the drug.
Cocaine also has a nasty impact on the mental state of its users. Prolonged, intense cocaine use may also result in experiencing a cocaine psychosis. Cocaine psychosis is a condition that affects the user’s brain and causes them to feel crazy and irrational and may even resort to violent behavior. Intense cocaine use can cause the addict to suffer a break from reality. This condition may be temporary or permanent but is extremely dangerous.
COCAINE ABUSE STATISTICS
The cocaine addiction statistics are also quite shocking. Cocaine addiction is a serious condition impacting millions in this country alone, not to mention worldwide. Here are some of the up-to-date cocaine addiction statistics you need to know according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
- There were over 1.5 million current cocaine users within the past month, aged 12 and over.
- Approximately 913,000 Americans meet the DSM-V criteria for having a cocaine addiction.
- Over 40 percent of all emergency department visits for drug abuse or misuse involved cocaine.