Cocaine Addiction – What is It

Like opioids and marijuana, cocaine is a drug that is derived from a plant. Cocaine is a derivative of the Coca plant, which is native to the Andes region of South American. Coca leaves were chewed by the indigenous peoples to provide mild stimulation; however, chemists were able to convert the milder form of the stimulant found in the Coca leaf into the powerful drug that we know today.

When ingested, cocaine causes feelings of happiness, increased energy, and alertness. It is also associated with increased heart rate and blood pressure, restlessness, and mental health problems. Chronic use of large amounts of cocaine can result in feelings of anger and aggression, agitation, panic and thoughts of suicide or self-harm.

Many people do not realize that cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs in the world. The drift towards misuse and dependency can start after the very first time that someone uses cocaine or one of its derivatives like crack. In fact, a research study published in the medical journal The Lancet found studied the potential for abuse of 20 different drugs and found that cocaine is the second most addictive drug behind only Heroin.

Just a single use of cocaine can not only lead to addiction, but it can also kill. A person can suffer a fatal cocaine overdose after just a single try. For repeat users, overdoses occur when people take large amounts of cocaine in a short period of time.

Combining cocaine with alcohol or other drugs is especially dangerous. One particularly dangerous combination is called “speedball”. A speedball is a mixture of cocaine and heroin and using these two powerful drugs together greatly increases the risk of overdose through heart failure and cessation of breathing.

Why Is Cocaine Addiction So Severe?

Cocaine addiction begins in the brain. When people use cocaine, large amounts of the chemical dopamine build up in the brain, which produces intense feelings of a euphoric high. Snorting cocaine produces a high that lasts for 30 minutes or less. Smoking crack or freebasing cocaine has more powerful euphoric effects that last for just two to three minutes.

Since the feelings of euphoria that cocaine causes fade fairly quickly, this feeds a vicious cycle where people often experience a crash marked by fatigue and an intense craving to take more of the drug. These factors cause many people to repeatedly use the substance.

Over time, the drug changes the brain. People develop a tolerance to cocaine, and they need to take more to achieve the desired effects.

Signs of cocaine addiction include:

  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Need for money
  • Nightmares

Cocaine Withdrawal

People who are addicted to cocaine experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug. Cocaine withdrawal may cause drowsiness, increased appetite, slowed thinking, trouble sleeping or depression.

Typically, the most severe cocaine withdrawal symptoms will only last for between one to two weeks, but the intensity and duration of cocaine withdrawal can vary widely from patient to patient.

For a patient who is a moderate user of cocaine, withdrawal symptoms will typically subside in less than 24 hours. For heavier users of the drug, withdrawal symptoms usually reach their peak within two to four days, but they can last up to a week or even more. In some severely addicted people, withdrawal symptoms can linger for weeks or even months.

Treating Cocaine Addiction

Since there are no drugs currently available to treat cocaine addiction, New Life uses cognitive behavioral therapy to help our patients better understand their addictions and to develop the skills they need to achieve long-term sobriety that is free of cocaine and other substances. Through this approach, people learn to recognize and avoid situations that will place them in jeopardy of using and relapsing. They also learn to cope with problems related to cocaine use, such as anxiety.

New Life has a full range of counseling services that treat cocaine addiction as well as misuse and abuse of alcohol, opioids, marijuana and other addictive drugs and substances.

New Life’s Counseling Services Include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps our patients understand which modes of thinking and behavior lead them to abuse cocaine and shows them the ways that they can change that behavior. Our counselors also teach coping skills that helps our patients manage stress and change the thoughts that cause them to want to misuse drugs.
  • Individualized counseling, which focus on the life problems and stresses which could have been the trigger for their cocaine use. It can also include goal setting, talking about personal setbacks and challenges, and recognizing the progress a patient has made in the path to recovery.
  • Group counseling is also important to the New Life process. Group counseling gives our patients a chance to learn about the difficulties and challenges that others are having with their addiction to cocaine and other substances the ways they are dealing with those situations.
  • Family counseling, which includes partners or spouses and other family members who are close to the patient and who are impacted by the persons use of cocaine and other substances. Family counseling can be a critical step in the healing process when bad or disruptive behavior has damaged family relationships.
  • Peer coaching where staff members who have had their own problems with alcoholism and alcohol abuse can provide insight through their own experiences.

If you or someone you care about wants to finally address cocaine addiction in their lives, then you need to contact the doctors and clinicians at New Life Medical Addiction Services today. Our caring and highly trained staff is available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us now at 856-942-3700
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