Drug addiction is a serious problem that requires treatment to properly manage. Among the most addictive drugs in the U.S. is cocaine. In fact, more than 670,000 people above the age of 12 took this drug for the first time in 2019. The addictive properties of cocaine can cause numerous physical and mental health issues if the drug is taken regularly for a lengthy period of time. Before you or a loved one seeks cocaine addiction treatment, you should understand the dangers of cocaine use and the treatment options available to you.
What Is Cocaine?
This drug is a type of stimulant that’s made from coca plant leaves. Cocaine is either synthesized into rocks or sold as a white powder. Furthermore, taking the drug in either form elicits euphoric and exhilarating sensations. These sensations can last anywhere from a few minutes to upwards of an hour. Afterward, most users experience a comedown that’s uncomfortable and can create serious withdrawal symptoms.
Even though it’s possible for small amounts of cocaine to be administered in a medical setting, most uses are illegal. Despite its illegality, cocaine remains a popular drug of choice for many recreational users. The “high” that the drug causes is short-lived, which is why most users take another dose hours later. Consequently, the possibility of being addicted to the drug increases. Keep in mind that addiction is a long-term disease, which is why early treatment is important.
How Is Cocaine Used?
People can use cocaine in a variety of ways, which include:
- Taking the drug orally
- Inhaling the drug through the nostrils
- Dissolving the drug in water before injecting it in a vein
- Smoking the drug when it’s in a freebase form
Injecting and smoking cocaine creates the most intense high. However, cocaine is particularly dangerous when you mix it with other products to improve yields. Regardless of the method you use to take cocaine, it’s important that you seek cocaine addiction treatment to keep harmful side effects at bay.
Primary Side Effects of Cocaine Use
Standard cocaine use brings about a wide range of side effects, some of which are more harmful than others. These side effects separate into initial effects and eventual side effects. However, all of these effects are harmful and can lead to addiction.
The initial effects of cocaine use include:
- Having high amounts of energy
- Being extremely talkative
- Mental alertness
- Dilated pupils
As for the eventual side effects of using cocaine, they include:
- Aggressive behavior
- Sensitivity to sound and light
- Muscle twitches and tremors
- Decreased appetite
- Fast heartbeat
In addition to the aforementioned side effects, you may experience a “crash” once you stop taking the drug, which causes additional side effects like fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
Is Cocaine Addictive?
If you have yet to use cocaine, it’s highly recommended that you don’t if you want to avoid becoming addicted. Cocaine is known to be a highly addictive drug, which is why you should never use it. Furthermore, the drug stops the brain from getting rid of dopamine, which is a chemical that increases the reward and motivation sensations you feel. The short-term effect of higher dopamine levels involves a feeling of euphoria.
However, the long-term effects include a restructuring of the brain that makes it more difficult to stop using. Moreover, repeated cocaine use is known to enhance stress levels, which makes it more likely that you will continue using the drug. The sense of euphoria that occurs with one dose of cocaine usually lasts for five to 60 minutes, which is why repeated use is common.
Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
Along with all of the side effects of cocaine use mentioned previously, there are some signs and symptoms that indicate that standard use has become an addiction. A cocaine addiction occurs when you continue taking the drug despite understanding the consequences of doing so. The primary signs of cocaine addiction include:
- Ignoring personal hygiene
- A pattern of risky behaviors
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Financial issues from buying too much drugs
- Continued paranoia and mood swings
- No longer enjoying personal hobbies
- Lying and general secrecy with acquaintances, friends, and family members
Eventually, anyone with an addiction to cocaine will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the drug. The severity of these symptoms depends on the severity of the addiction. Keep in mind that the effects of withdrawal increase the possibility of relapse. As such, it’s important to go through withdrawal in a facility that offers 24/7 medical care.
If someone continues to take too much cocaine, they may experience long-term side effects. The long-term effects that can occur with repeated cocaine use include:
- Issues with swallowing
- A loss of smell
- Different types of respiratory infections
- Higher risk of infections like HIV, pneumonia, and Hepatitis C
Should You Mix Cocaine With Other Drugs?
As is the case with any illicit drug, you should never mix cocaine with another substance. Moreover, mixing cocaine with other drugs increases the likelihood of an overdose. It’s common for people to combine substances like heroin and alcohol with cocaine, which is very dangerous. These particular combinations can be fatal because of their potency.
It’s especially important that you avoid mixing heroin with cocaine. In most cases, the effects of cocaine wear off before the effects of heroin. As a result, your breathing may slow to the point of respiratory failure. As for mixing alcohol with cocaine, this combination is popular because of the sharper and more intense high it creates. It’s also possible for alcohol to lessen the comedown that occurs after using cocaine. However, this exact combination is considerably more harmful than taking cocaine on its own.
Cocaine Overdose Issues
Among the most dangerous aspects of using cocaine is the possibility of overdosing on the drug. In fact, nearly 15,000 people died in 2018 as a result of overdosing on cocaine. Regardless of the perceived severity of the overdose, it’s essential that you seek immediate medical attention if you believe that an overdose has occurred. There are many signs and symptoms of a cocaine overdose, the primary of which include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chest pain
- Increased heart rate
- Increased body temperature
If you have yet to suffer from an overdose, seeking treatment from cocaine addiction centers can help you avoid this problem.
Treatment Options for Cocaine Addiction
If you or a loved one is addicted to cocaine, it’s essential that you look into cocaine addiction treatment before the effects worsen. Cocaine rehab involves three separate types of treatment, which include detoxification, inpatient rehab, and outpatient treatment. The cocaine rehabilitation path that you choose largely depends on the severity of your addiction.
No matter which form of cocaine addiction treatment you use, most treatment programs begin with detoxification. Anyone who is addicted to cocaine goes through withdrawal when they stop taking the drug in question. In fact, withdrawal symptoms commonly cause people to relapse if they don’t receive medical detoxification.
During the medical detox process, patients receive medications that mitigate any withdrawal symptoms. The length of the detox process depends on the severity of the person’s addiction. In most cases, a patient can get through detox in less than one week. As a result, the drug is out of the patient’s system, which means that they can start a cocaine rehabilitation program.
Outpatient Cocaine Treatment
When you are searching for the ideal cocaine addiction treatment, you can choose between outpatient treatment and inpatient rehab. Outpatient cocaine rehab is a common option that involves attending treatment around three to five times per week. What’s more, patients can attend treatment while maintaining their everyday schedule. It’s possible to fit treatment around work or school requirements. During this type of cocaine addiction treatment, you’ll receive numerous therapies to assist with managing your addiction. These therapies include everything from group therapy to individual counseling.
While there are many advantages of outpatient cocaine rehab, there are also some issues to keep in mind. For instance, people who attend outpatient treatment may still have access to cocaine. If you had easy access to drugs at your home before treatment, the same may apply during treatment, which makes it more difficult to avoid relapsing. Because of these difficulties, outpatient treatment is only ideal for patients who don’t have a severe addiction.
Inpatient Cocaine Rehab
The more comprehensive form of cocaine addiction treatment is inpatient cocaine rehab. In fact, an inpatient rehab program can last anywhere from one month to more than one year. The entire goal of this program is to make sure that patients learn about their addiction and how to manage it. This type of treatment occurs in cocaine addiction centers, which house patients on a 24/7 basis. A core aspect of inpatient rehab involves being in a safe and drug-free environment. In addition to the better environment, patients also have access to medical professionals who can provide immediate assistance whenever necessary.
If you enter an inpatient rehab program, you will receive numerous therapies and treatments. These treatments include family therapy, behavioral counseling, group therapy, individual therapy, co-occurring mental health therapy, and a nutritional assessment. Because of the intensive nature of this cocaine addiction treatment, it’s useful for people with severe addictions. During treatment, you’ll be among other individuals who are going through the same thing you are.
BRC Healthcare Can Help You
It’s never easy for anyone to admit that they have an addiction to drugs like cocaine. However, admittance is the first step towards a sustained recovery. If you or a loved one are ready to seek treatment, contact us today to find out more about how our treatment services are right for you.