To understand cocaine addiction, you should first understand cocaine. Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. It is a stimulant, an appetite suppressant, and a nonspecific voltage gated sodium channel blocker. Biologically, cocaine acts as a serotonin–norepinephrine–dopamine reuptake inhibitor, known as a triple reuptake inhibitor (TRI).
It is addictive because of its effect on the mesolimbic reward pathway. It is substantially more dangerous than other CNS stimulants, including the entire amphetamine drug class. At high doses it can cause sudden cardiac death. Cocaine causes your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to constrict, which can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. Heart attacks in young patients without a history of heart disease are so frequently due to cocaine that emergency room doctors are taught to consider before any other diagnoses. Cocaine causes your heart to speed up, and in some cases go so fast that it can actually stop. What is so deadly about cocaine is that there is no correlation between how many times you’ve used cocaine or how much you used, and when you will suffer a cardiac arrest. Some people die after their first use. Other people have used cocaine hundreds of times, then drop dead the very next time.
As with all drugs, the most important consequences of cocaine addiction are psychological, social, and emotional. But with cocaine addiction, they happen faster and harder than with other drugs. If you have a cocaine addiction, you don’t have to wonder if you’ve hurt your friends and family. You can be sure that you have. Cocaine can be rubbed onto the gums, smoked, snorted, injected, or added to food and drink, depending on its form. Cocaine powder is white and is usually snorted. ‘Crack’ is cocaine made into ‘rocks’ and smoked in a pipe or foil. Cocaine powder and crack can be mixed into a liquid for injecting.
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug. People who are addicted will eventually prefer taking cocaine to any other activity. The intensity and duration of cocaine’s effects depend on the way it is administered. Injecting or smoking cocaine delivers the drug rapidly into the bloodstream, producing a quicker and stronger but shorter-lasting high. The high from snorting cocaine last 15 to 30 minutes; the high from smoking or injecting last 5 to 10 minutes. It can also be injected under the skin, know as “skin popping”. This method causes a longer high. In order to sustain the high, people who use cocaine usually use the drug in a binge pattern, taking the drug again and again in a short time. This practice easily leads to addiction, a chronic relapsing disease caused by changes in the brain and characterized by uncontrollable drug-seeking no matter the consequences. The craving for more of the drug makes this a dangerous habit. After the short high is over, the craving for more is like no other. A cocaine addict will go to almost any length to obtain more. There have been cases of mothers selling their child and professionals spending thousands of dollars on binges costing any where from $20,000 to $50,000. Cocaine addiction often turns into a cross addiction. The “come down” from cocaine is not pleasurable and is very often covered up by alcohol or other drugs like marijuana, opiates, or benzodiazapines.
Signs of cocaine addiction
- Dilated pupils
- increased light sensitivity
- traces of white powder around the nose
- People who inject cocaine have puncture marks called “track marks,” most commonly at their forearms.
- Increased activity
- Hyper behavior
- Decreased desire to eat or sleep
- Impulsive decisions
- high risk sexual choices
- Higher body temperature
- Faster heart rate
- Dry mouth
- Unpredictable behavior
Common signs of snorting cocaine include:
- loss of the sense of smell
- difficulty swallowing
- a chronically runny nose
After-effects may include:
- intense sleepiness
What are you risking with a cocaine addiction?
- Panic attacks
- Cocaine psychosis
- Aggressive behavior
- Loss of brain cells
- heart problems, including heart attacks
- respiratory effects, including respiratory failure
- nervous system problems, including strokes
- digestive problems
- contracting HIV and other diseases
- serious skin infections
Besides the health problems, using cocaine can lead to criminal behavior, financial problems, and social problems.
- craving cocaine
- difficulty sleeping
- extremely irritability
Do you have a cocaine addiction?
- Have you ever used more cocaine then you planned?
- Has the use of cocaine interfered with your job?
- Is your cocaine use causing conflict with your spouse or family?
- Do you feel depressed, guilty, or remorseful after you use cocaine?
- Do you use whatever cocaine you have, almost continually, until the supply is exhausted?
- Do you have an obsession to get cocaine when you do not have it?
- Are you experiencing financial difficulties due to your cocaine use?
- Can you only think about using cocaine even if you are with a friend or loved one?
- Do you have to use more cocaine than you used to, to get the same high?
- Have you tried to quit or cut down your cocaine use, only to realize you couldn’t?
- Have any of your friends or family members suggested that you may have a problem?
- Have you ever lied or misled those around you about how much or how often you use cocaine?
- Have you ever stolen money or other items from friends to family in order to obtain more cocaine?
If you answered yes to at least three of those questions, then you may be addicted to cocaine.
A Recovery Plan
First things first. Clear the cloud in your head at a detox or a detoxification center. If you are scared of withdrawal, don’t let it hold you back! We have many detoxification center that can help you feel as comfortable as possible during this hard time. Remember the drug is not the problem, cocaine addiction is the symptom. It is best to choose a drug treatment center to go to following drug detox to help you find the problem.
Break the cycle of guilt and shame. Revive Recovery can put you in a place with other people just like you so don’t have to go through this process alone. Revive Wellness and Detox will put you in a drug rehabilitation treatment center that will help you heal your wounds and help to cope with your feelings in a healthy way.
When completing a drug treatment program, you should leave there with an after plan! Many people go into a halfway house following their rehabilitation. Call Revive Wellness and Detox, we offer a full continuum of care from Detoxification, treatment, intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), to halfway housing/ sober living and outpatient treatment.
Revive Wellness and Detox doesn’t only put you in detox, treatment, and sober living, we also help you get involved and active with an accountability group, church group, or a 12 step group. We don’t want to see you get caught up in the vicious addiction cycle. Our main goal is your success!