Cocaine is an extremely powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It is commonly snorted, injected or smoked in its powder form; crystal cocaine, also known as crack cocaine, is created by processing powder cocaine with baking soda and water to create a solid form. Cocaine use can cause serious physical and mental health issues, including but not limited to organ damage, depression, paranoia, and hallucinations. It produces an intense high, followed by a crash that can cause users to feel dysphoria and depression. Cocaine use can also lead to increased risk of stroke, heart attack and overdose.
Cocaine addiction often begins with recreational use of the drug. People may start using cocaine casually or in social situations, believing that they can control their usage and limit its effects. However, as time goes on and tolerance to the drug increases, it can be difficult to keep using cocaine in moderation. Before users know it, they may be suffering from compulsive and uncontrollable cravings for the drug. Sometimes, these compulsions can be so strong that users neglect their personal responsibilities, relationships, and health in order to pursue cocaine.
Effects of Cocaine Use
Cocaine acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system, causing increased alertness, energy levels and heart rate. It also blocks the re-absorption of some neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to an increase in their availability and subsequent changes in brain functioning. This can result in feelings of euphoria, confidence, and self-esteem. However, cocaine can also cause irregular heartbeat, sweating, sleeplessness, and paranoia. In higher doses it can cause seizures, coma, or death due to heart attack or stroke.
Long term use of cocaine can lead to permanent damage to the circulatory system and organs such as the liver and kidneys. It can also have negative effects on mental health including anxiety and depression. Cocaine addiction is a serious problem and can lead to both physical and mental health issues as well as dangerous behaviors. In addition, cocaine is highly addictive and withdrawal symptoms may occur if the user stops using.
According to the National Institute of Health, drug overdose deaths involving cocaine rose steadily from 5,419 in 2014 to 19,447 in 2020.
Withdrawal symptoms include depression, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, insomnia and craving for more cocaine. When an individual is addicted to cocaine, they may start to experience physical side effects of the drug. These include exhaustion, tremors and shakes, and a decreased appetite. Further, cocaine can cause an individual to experience mental changes as well, such as anxiety, depression, paranoia, and hallucinations.
Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
It is important for those who are struggling with cocaine addiction to get help before their condition worsens. There are many treatment options available that focus on both the physical and psychological aspects of cocaine addiction.
Treatment for cocaine addiction is highly individualized and can involve a combination of behavioral therapy, counseling, support groups, lifestyle changes and medications. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be used to help individuals identify triggers that lead to drug use and work on coping skills for dealing with cravings. Contingency management provides incentives in the form of rewards for staying abstinent and avoiding drug use. Support groups like Cocaine Anonymous help provide peer support while promoting abstinence.
Medications like buprenorphine and naltrexone can be used to reduce cravings and block the effects of cocaine. However, these medications are primarily used as part of a comprehensive treatment approach that also includes psychosocial interventions.
Finally, lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly and avoiding stress can help improve overall health and promote recovery from cocaine addiction. Ultimately, treatment for cocaine addiction requires a comprehensive approach that addresses all aspects of an individual’s life. With the right support, it is possible to overcome this difficult condition and lead a healthier, more fulfilling life.
Soberman's Estate is a residential men's addiction treatment center that provides discreet, individualized, sophisticated recovery and wellness services for adult men that want to recover from substance use disorders, and or other behavioral issues such as trauma, anxiety, depression, stress, or other addictions.