Cocaine Addiction

Once used for medical purposes, cocaine is an addictive stimulant drug derived from the Colombian coca plant.

Powdered cocaine is most often snorted, while the more potent, rock form of cocaine (also known as crack) can be smoked. Most people who abuse cocaine do so to achieve the euphoric high and boost of energy associated with its effects.

Unfortunately for the user, effects taper off quite rapidly (often less than 30 minutes) so repeated use is needed to maintain the desired high.

Cocaine Addiction - Effects

According to recent government statistics, more than 900,000 people suffered from cocaine addiction or abuse in 2014. Globally, it is also among the most commonly sold and abused illicit substances.

Binging on cocaine in this manner can quickly lead to dependence, tolerance, and overdose. Also, using cocaine in combination with alcohol or other drugs, such as opioids, is far more dangerous than using cocaine alone.

Once a dependency on cocaine has developed, it becomes a very difficult habit to quit. Dependence is a condition in which the person’s brain has become accustomed to the presence of a drug and becomes less able to function properly without it.

Frequently seen alongside dependence is tolerance – an effect of the brain’s tendency to negate the response to a substance after repeated exposure.

Cocaine abuse is often not as easy to identify, like say, alcohol addiction, because it is illicit and usually done in private. However, signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse may include the following:

  • Excitability
  • Mood swings
  • Social isolation
  • Talkativeness
  • Grandiosity
  • Paranoia
  • Risky behaviors
  • Dilated pupils
  • Weight loss
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Seizures

Also, a person who is addicted to cocaine may engage in behavior previously not seen before, such as neglecting responsibilities, favorite hobbies, family and friends, and acting in a deceptive manner. He or she may problems with relationships, academics, or employment, and be acquiring financial or legal difficulties as a result of abuse.

Furthermore, cocaine addiction can lead to a myriad of problems that continue long after use, such as the development of ulcers, appetite loss, malnourishment, and brain hemorrhages. Adverse mental effects such as inattentiveness, impulsivity, and impaired memory and decision-making skills are also common.

Finally, cocaine (or crack) use can cause life-threatening heart problems, such as inflammation around the heart, stroke, or aortic ruptures.

Dangers of Cocaine Addiction - Overdose

In the short-term, cocaine has stimulant effects that are potentially lethal and can prompt the body and brain to shut down and result in organ failure.

Typical signs of a cocaine overdose include the following:

  • Dangerously high blood pressure
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Extremely high body temperature
  • Extreme anxiety or confusion
  • Psychosis
  • Nausea
  • Agitation or tremors

If you believe that you or someone you know is experiencing a cocaine overdose, please call 911 immediately.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Fortunately, cocaine addiction is a treatable condition when employing a variety of therapeutic approaches, including detox, medication, behavioral therapy, family counseling, and group support. Receiving treatment gives those experiencing a cocaine addiction the best chance at recovery, preventing relapse, and reducing the possibility of harmful long-term effects.

Our center offers a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to cocaine addiction that is tailored to each individual. Here at our center, we can address the underlying etiology of addiction and guarantee the patient is safe and healthy during this important life-changing process.


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