Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Cocaine Addiction Rehab Treatment

Cocaine is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant drug. It is used for certain valid medical purposes. However, the recreational use of cocaine is illegal. Repeated cocaine use can lead to addiction and other serious health consequences. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 900,000 Americans met the criteria for cocaine abuse in a 2014 survey. About 40 percent of all drug abuse-related emergency room visits involve cocaine. The good news is that cocaine addiction is a treatable medical condition. Treatment of cocaine addiction requires a broad context and must include co-occurring mental disorders. To fight cocaine addiction, it’s helpful for addicts and their loved ones to learn about the drug, its effects on the mind and body, and finding the best cocaine rehab program for lasting abstinence.

What is cocaine?

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that comes from the coca plant native to South America. It is available on the street as blow, crack, coke, snow, and rock. Pure cocaine is a fine, white, crystalline powder. To increase profits, dealers often mix cocaine with substances like flour, talcum powder, and cornstarch. Cocaine is also mixed with other stimulants like amphetamine or fentanyl (a synthetic opioid). Many people who use cocaine do not realize it contains dangerous additives. Tampered cocaine is the cause of many overdose deaths.

Why does cocaine use lead to addiction?

Cocaine increases dopamine levels in the human brain. Dopamine is a chemical messenger that influences movement, mood, pleasure, reward, motivation, and attention. For example, if your go-to comfort food is chocolate cake, your brain will increase dopamine levels when you smell a cake baking in the oven. Dopamine reinforces the craving for chocolate cake and the satisfaction it provides.

Cocaine floods the brain with dopamine, influencing reward circuits and reinforcing drug-using behaviors. Over time, the reward circuits become less sensitive to the extra dopamine as a result of cocaine. As a result, addicts take more frequent and stronger doses of cocaine to obtain the same high and relief from withdrawal symptoms.

Signs of cocaine addiction

It’s not always easy to identify cocaine abuse in a person. Here are some signs that should raise a red flag that a family member or loved one may be abusing cocaine.

Physical Signs

  • Dilated pupils
  • Frequently runny nose
  • Nosebleeds
  • Weight loss
  • Burn marks on lips and hands
  • Residual white powder around the mouth and nose
  • Poor hygiene
  • Drug paraphernalia like razor blades, needles, spoons, and plastic baggies in the person’s room, backpack, or pockets

Behavioral Signs

  • Excitable
  • Talkative
  • Mood swings
  • Boost in confidence
  • Change in sleeping pattern
  • Risky behaviors
  • Social isolation and increased need for privacy
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

If you notice these signs and symptoms in someone you love, it’s time to get help at a cocaine addiction rehab facility. Your vigilance in recognizing these warning signs could prevent a potentially tragic outcome.

Short-term and long-term effects of cocaine use

The short-term effects of cocaine appear almost immediately and disappear within an hour. Cocaine produces extreme happiness, increased energy, and mental alertness. There is also a hypersensitivity of the senses (touch, sound, sight). Some cocaine users experience irritability or paranoia. Large amounts of cocaine can lead to violent, unpredictable, and bizarre behaviors. The duration and intensity of the cocaine effects depend on the method of use. Snorting cocaine produces a high for 15-30 minutes. The high from smoking cocaine lasts 5-10 minutes. Injecting cocaine produces a quicker, stronger high that is shorter-lasting than snorting.

Longstanding cocaine abuse can lead to malnourishment due to decreased appetite, restlessness, irritability, severe paranoia, and auditory hallucinations (hearing noises that are not present). Many years of cocaine use can result in movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Also, cocaine use impairs judgment and puts addicts in danger from accidents, injuries, and risky sexual behavior.

Dangers of snorting, smoking and injecting cocaine

Snorting cocaine can lead to nosebleeds, loss of smell, runny nose, and problems with swallowing. Cocaine users who smoke the drug may suffer from cough, breathing problems, and increased risk of respiratory infections like pneumonia and COVID-19. Consumption of cocaine by mouth can lead to bowel decay due to a decrease in blood flow. Cocaine use by injection puts users at risk of acquiring diseases like hepatitis and HIV as well as collapsed veins and infections at the injection site.

Health effects of cocaine and cocaine overdose

Cocaine affects the human body in various ways. Some of the health effects of cocaine include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Narrowed blood vessels
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Raised body temperature
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat
  • Muscle twitches and tremors
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness

Intentional or unintentional cocaine overdose can lead to life-threatening symptoms. Severe health consequences of cocaine overdose include seizures, heart attack, and stroke. Death from cocaine overdose can occur after a single use of the drug. It is particularly risky to mix cocaine and alcohol. Another potentially deadly combination is cocaine and heroin.

Medications for cocaine addiction and cocaine vaccine

Researchers are exploring various pharmacological approaches, but at present the FDA has not approved any medications to treat cocaine addiction. A cocaine vaccine is being tested to reduce the risk of relapse. The vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce cocaine-specific antibodies. These antibodies bind to cocaine and prevent it from entering the brain. Clinical trials have shown that the vaccine significantly reduces cocaine use. However, the antibodies cannot be maintained at sufficiently high levels for more than 2 months. Research is ongoing to improve the cocaine vaccine.

Cocaine addiction rehab

Cocaine use is a challenging habit to break, but it is possible to overcome this addiction. Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management (CM) therapy are effective in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. Psychotherapy teaches recovering cocaine addicts the skills they need to cope with stressful situations and problems without resorting to drugs like cocaine. Therapy is used in conjunction with other treatments to support long-term recovery. Co-occurring mental health problems like depression and anxiety or PTSD are treated simultaneously to promote abstinence from cocaine use.

The best cocaine rehabs match addiction treatment services to the unique needs of each recovering addict. For example, an unemployed cocaine addict would benefit from vocational rehab in conjunction with cocaine addiction treatment. Cocaine addicts with marital problems will benefit from couples counseling. These measures ensure that the underlying problems that led to cocaine abuse are addressed. Simultaneous treatment of co-occurring mental health conditions (dual diagnosis) is important to prevent relapse. Once inpatient or outpatient cocaine addiction treatment is complete, aftercare services are vital to avoid a return to drug use.

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