Cocaine addiction in America is becoming increasingly prominent, especially in young adults. The number of individuals currently abusing cocaine is shown through the drastic rise in cocaine-related overdose within a ten-year time span. Cocaine is highly addictive, and it can be administered through various routes, each equally as dangerous as the other.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is an addictive stimulant, and it is often used recreationally. It is most commonly snorted, injected, or inhaled. Cocaine is a white powder derived from the coca leaves of South America.
Symptoms of cocaine use include:
- Increased heart rate
- Intense feelings of joy
- Disassociation with reality
- Increased alertness
- High blood pressure and high body temperature
Although cocaine is typically referred to on the street as “coke,” other names for cocaine include:
- White girl
Cocaine affects the reuptake of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the brain – meaning it generates an influx of these “feel good” chemicals once the drug is used. The duration of the high produced by cocaine can last from fifteen minutes to an hour, depending on the route of administration.
Cocaine abuse affects an individual psychologically more than physically. However, there are still a few acute physical symptoms associated with cocaine use.
The brain’s mood-stabilizing and pleasure receptors are affected by the introduction of cocaine into the body. Cocaine use blocks a large number of dopamine transporters – meaning the central nervous system is not getting pleasure from completing tasks that would normally lead to a reward.
Serotonin is also affected by cocaine use. Serotonin is responsible for balancing an individual’s mood. When disturbances occur in this neurotransmitter, it causes the agitation and aggression associated with continued cocaine use.
How Addictive Is Cocaine?
Individuals who use cocaine often wonder how addictive the drug is – there have been reports showing that 25 percent of people who use cocaine recreationally will develop an addiction to the drug. Often, those addicted to cocaine will not take the crucial step to realize they have an addiction. Unfortunately, they will remain in denial and not get the help they need.
What Are the Signs of Cocaine Addiction?
Cocaine Use Is Easily Distinguishable In Individuals, Especially If They Don’t Normally Display Actions Such As:
- Dilated pupils
- Increased energy
- Weight loss
- Mood swings
- Social isolation / attachment
- Risky behavior or irrational thought process
- High confidence
- Changes in sleeping or eating
- Increased need for privacy
- Financial difficulties
- Loss of interest in hobbies or daily activities
- Lack of hygiene
- Paraphernalia such as spoons, razor blades, plastic baggies, rolled bills, needles
- White residue on certain objects
Cocaine And Other Drugs
Many people experiment with cocaine, and it is usually referred to as a social drug. A majority of the time when people use cocaine is when other substances are being used. Due to this, many people with cocaine dependence may also be addicted to other substances, such as marijuana or alcohol. It is something known as poly-drug use, which is dangerous and increases the chances of a fatal overdose.
Cocaine and alcohol are the most common two drugs to be used together. Alcohol is often a trigger for recovering cocaine users, and for this reason, it’s crucial to abstain from all drugs during recovery. Someone that uses heroin and cocaine together, which is known as a speedball, is the most dangerous drug combination that involves cocaine.
What Is Involved In Cocaine Addiction Treatment?
The treatment model for cocaine abuse is simple, and it is commonly used for treating many types of addiction. Since there are very little and acute physical symptoms of withdrawal, if you are detoxing from cocaine, you will undergo a series of psychological withdrawal symptoms.
When you abuse cocaine for a period of time, the body and brain become dependant on the constant euphoria associated with cocaine use. On average, you will begin to come down from the drug in as little as 1.5 hours after the last dose.
The beginning stages of treating cocaine addiction are getting into a licensed detox facility. NCBI is the process of removing all substances from the body under the care of medical professionals. Detox is usually done in a medical facility and lasts around seven days, depending on the severity of the addiction and if they are abusing more substances other than cocaine.
After the detox process is complete, you will be suggested to enter a long-term facility such as inpatient or residential treatment. An inpatient treatment program will typically last anywhere from 30 to 90 days.
This type of program will encourage you to learn about addiction and participate in a 12-step or non-12-step-based program to further abstain from cocaine and other substances. This type of program gives you ample time to adjust to early recovery as well as provide a safe environment for you to begin the recovery journey.
Inpatient Treatment Introduces Methods Such As:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Addiction education
- Relapse prevention
- Individual therapy sessions
- Group therapy
- Amenities to introduce you to society without the use of drugs or alcohol
- Introduction to support groups
- Constant support and supervision from staff and peers
The benefits of attending a long-term treatment program are endless and effective. After an inpatient or residential program, you can continue care with an outpatient or intensive outpatient program. These programs typically last around six to nine week;, however, you will only need to attend groups for one to three days a week.
At the same time, you will be encouraged to attend outside meetings such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous to work towards maintaining your sobriety.
How Dangerous Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is more dangerous than you might think. Since the use of cocaine is often affiliated with people of high social status, the negative effects of cocaine can often be misconstrued.
Long-term use of cocaine can lead to damaging effects on the body as well as the brain.
Since cocaine affects the central nervous system, it will cause an imbalance in the production of natural chemicals in the brain. Cocaine triggers an abnormally large amount of neurotransmitter secretions each time it is used – eventually leading to an inability to produce enough on your own. This can lead to negative behaviors such as violent outbursts and extreme mood swings.
Cocaine is also known to cause heart problems. Cocaine causes blood vessels to constrict and become more narrow than usual. This causes a dramatic increase in heart rate due to the effects of cocaine on the central nervous system. People who abuse cocaine are at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Not to mention, there are also a high number of people who have experienced an overdose of cocaine, especially when mixing it with other substances.
Cocaine Abuse Statistics
Cocaine is notorious for its highly addictive properties. It doesn’t only affect those who use it. Cocaine use contributes to hospital visit costs, overdose death rates, addiction rates, money spent on funding for treatment or other cocaine-related incidents, and it contributes to the growing drug use trends currently taking hold of the United States.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse concluded the following statistics related to cocaine use:
- In 2014, approximately 913,000 Americans were reported to have met the criteria for dependence or abuse of cocaine.
- More than 505,000 of the 1.2 million drug-related emergency room visits were caused by cocaine use or related to cocaine use.
- Drug abuse costs the nation over $600 billion dollars annually.