Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant. When taken, it creates a sense of euphoria, energy, and improved alertness. While cocaine is a more expensive type of illicit drug, it’s still common enough to lead to numerous deaths and overdoses each year. In 2019, over 16,000 people in the United States died from a cocaine overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine comes from the coca plant that’s found in South America. In the U.S., it is an illegal drug. It looks like a crystal powder that’s very fine and white in color. Sometimes it can be mixed with other powdered substances to stretch the value of it to the dealer. It can also be mixed with other drugs. It’s sometimes called coke, coca, or blow.
What Does It Do to a Person?
Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant. As a result, it impacts the function of the brain. Specifically, it stimulates the production of the feel-good hormone dopamine. This hormone creates a sense of happiness, reward, and pleasure. When a person uses this drug often, the brain cells function in a different way, creating dependence on the drug.
The effects of cocaine use include:
- Reckless behavior due to overconfidence
- High energy
- Intense anxiety
This drug can also cause a number of physical changes, especially when used over time. It impacts the function of the heart – often speeding up the heart rate. It creates an increased risk of heart attacks as well as strokes.
What Happens When Cocaine Addiction Forms?
Cocaine addiction is likely to happen to a person even if he or she does not use a lot of it or uses it infrequently. Addiction leads to compulsive behavior; those with an addiction to it feel they cannot function normally without the drug in their system. Even if they recognize the consequences that come from continued use and want to stop using, they are unable to.
How Does Cocaine Addiction Treatment Happen?
A person who has developed cocaine dependence and addiction needs professional support to stop using. The severity of the addiction is an important factor. Some people may have such intense withdrawal symptoms and cravings when they stop using that they need a drug detox center. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can be physically and emotionally worrisome. They may include:
- Agitation and anxiety
- Reduced heart rate
- Reduced respirations
- Confusion and lack of concentration
If a person experiences these or other cravings or withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug, it’s critical to turn to a professional detox program. Doctors and nurses can provide medications and other resources to help to rid the body of the drugs and to break the dependence.
After detox, cocaine addiction treatment also involves the use of behavioral interventions and psychotherapy. Therapists work closely with patients to help them to understand their addiction and why it happened.
Many people benefit from the following types of cocaine addiction therapy:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
Holistic treatment may also be helpful. This may include nutritional therapy, acupuncture, massage, meditation, and other practices that address the entire person and help them regain confidence.
When Should a Person Seek Addiction Treatment?
A drug addiction treatment program can help today. It is not necessary to wait until symptoms are extensive or the addiction is severe before reaching out for help. The sooner help is received, the more effective it can be at restoring well-being and physical health. Some of the most common signs of needing addiction treatment for cocaine include:
- Trying to stop but being unable to do so due to cravings
- Thinking about or using cocaine daily
- Hiding how much you are using
- Feeling the need to use cocaine to just get through the day
- Finding it difficult to stop using even when your health is suffering
- Previous overdoses
We Want to Help
When you feel overwhelmed by your own or a loved one’s cocaine addiction, turn to our team for help. Our admissions team will talk with you and your family about treatment options, and help you start on the path of healing.