Most of the knowledge that general society has regarding cocaine addiction comes from movies and TV shows. While this provides a baseline for general knowledge, an abundance of misinformation is circulating regarding cocaine addiction and treatment. By learning the actual ins and outs of cocaine addiction, individuals can begin to understand how it affects themselves and their loved ones. Then, by reading treatment options, individuals can make an informed decision regarding a person’s next steps to recovery. Educating yourself is the best protection you can have against the disease known as addiction.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a white, powdery substance that interacts with your central nervous system. This interaction results in increased energy levels and a feeling of euphoria. The substance is usually snorted through the nose, but it can also be smoked or injected. Common street names for cocaine include coke, powder, or blow. The substance is highly addictive, with thousands of individuals using it every year despite its known risks.
Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Misuse
Various symptoms are associated with cocaine misuse and addiction because of its interaction with the central nervous system. Cocaine works by causing the brain to send out high dopamine levels, which associate the drug with pleasure and reward. This increase in dopamine levels is how addiction occurs, as the drug “hijacks” the brain’s reward system, causing it to associate use with pleasure and reward.
Tell-tale signs of cocaine use and misuse are typically apparent to observers. The drug can cause a person to feel overconfident, excited, alert, anxious, and extremely talkative. However, long-term effects of misuse are common due to frequent use to maintain the desired effects. Common signs of long-term cocaine misuse or addiction include:
- Weight loss
- Dilated pupils
- Runny nose
- Poor hygiene
- Financial problems
- Changes in appetite
- Sleep problems
- Risky behavior
- Social isolation
- Burn marks on the hands and lips
- Secretiveness regarding where time is spent
- Being overly talkative
- Drug paraphernalia including razor blades, spoons, and plastic baggies in a person’s room or on their person
- Severe cravings for cocaine
- Withdrawal symptoms when use stops
Repeated use of cocaine over a long period can result in numerous negative consequences for a person’s health and general well-being. Over time, a person may experience more significant mood swings, primarily negative emotions, when not using cocaine. Increased tolerance occurs, causing the person to need higher amounts of the drug to achieve desired effects. However, users can also develop sensitization, causing them to have anxiety or convulsions with smaller amounts of cocaine.
Binging cocaine can result in other negative symptoms, including panic attacks, irritability, paranoia, restlessness, and even psychosis. Some individuals even experience strokes, seizures, acute coronary syndrome, and hyperthermia. The most severe consequence of cocaine addiction is overdose, resulting in death if help is not given immediately. The higher amounts of cocaine that are used increase a person’s chances of developing these symptoms.
General life consequences usually occur as well, including job loss, financial problems, legal trouble, and more. Treatment is the only way to cease these symptoms and begin the journey to healing.
Treating Cocaine Addiction
A combination of medication and behavioral interventions is typically used to treat individuals struggling with cocaine addiction. Due to cocaine’s addictive qualities, ceasing use can be challenging. However, it is not impossible.
The treatment process usually begins with detoxification, which can last up to one week. The detox period allows the person’s body to rid of any toxins left behind from cocaine addiction. Withdrawal symptoms occur, which can be debilitating. For this reason, undergoing detox at an accredited facility is recommended to ensure you are as comfortable as possible until the period is over.
After detox, patients usually enter treatment in an inpatient or outpatient facility, depending on their needs. There are currently no FDA-approved medications available for cocaine treatment, so behavioral interventions are more common. These include motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), holistic therapy, health and wellness, and recreational therapy. Over time, the individual learns to address the underlying issues surrounding their addiction, learn to live life in sobriety and prevent relapse to maintain long-term recovery.
After completing the initial inpatient or residential treatment program, individuals often move on to sober living homes or other outpatient programs to help them continue their recovery journey. You can find the right program for you by evaluating your needs and going over them with an addiction treatment specialist. Remember, reaching out for help may be difficult, but not recovering will cost you more in the long run. Get help today and live the life you always dreamed of.
Cocaine is a highly addictive substance, with hundreds of individuals struggling with misusing it every day. Cocaine addiction can result in numerous consequences, especially if the person is a chronic user. Seeking treatment for cocaine addiction from an accredited treatment facility is crucial to help the person get sober. Recovery is a long and arduous journey, but its benefits are better than anything addiction can provide. NorthStar Transitions understands the challenges that come with sobriety, which is why we offer individualized programs to address your needs in recovery. Using a combination of traditional and experiential therapies, our patients find healing in ways they never imagined. From group therapy sessions to outdoor activities, recovery has never been so accessible as it is at NorthStar. To learn more about our programs and begin your recovery journey today, give us a call at (303) 558-6400. Healing starts in the mountains at NorthStar Transitions.