What We Know
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there were 1.5 million cocaine users aged 12 or older in 2014. Adults aged 18-25 have the highest rate of using the drug, with 1.4% of this population reporting using cocaine in the past month.
Cocaine is a stimulant, meaning that it stimulates the release of dopamine, resulting in increased energy, focus, and feelings of euphoria. Because of this, cocaine is a common recreational drug and is generally snorted, smoked, or taken intravenously. There are some serious adverse effects of cocaine addiction and some of the signs and symptoms can even be life-threatening. Because of this, it’s important to get yourself or your loved one help with cocaine addiction. The first step is often cocaine detox, followed by an inpatient or outpatient treatment program and ongoing behavioral and psychological support.
Cocaine Addiction Symptoms
There are many signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction, including psychological, physical, and behavioral symptoms. Here are some of the most common symptoms of cocaine addiction:
Psychological Cocaine Addiction Symptoms
Lack of judgment
Physical Cocaine Addiction Symptoms
Nosebleeds or a runny nose
Increased heart rate
Constricted blood flow
Behavioral Cocaine Addiction Symptoms
Increased socialization and users becoming extremely talkative
In addition to the above symptoms, there is also the fact that many cocaine users combine cocaine with other substances, such as alcohol or opioids. This concoction is very dangerous and can be potentially fatal. Contact us today if you or someone you love is struggling with cocaine addiction or other substance use disorders.
Cocaine Addiction Symptoms
Although the use of cocaine can be extremely dangerous and can cause seizures, stroke, or even death, the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine are relatively mild compared to other substances, such as heroin or even alcohol. But, these symptoms are still extremely uncomfortable and users should enter a cocaine detox program to safely wean themselves off the substance.
The most common cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:
Fever-like symptoms, such as chills and body aches
Withdrawal symptoms may present themselves as soon as 90 minutes after cocaine use, and the most intense symptoms last about a week. Professional detox programs help clients get through these detox symptoms as safely and comfortably as possible, which reduces the risk of relapse.
Effects of Cocaine Use
There are many short-term and long-term effects of cocaine use on the body and brain.
The first long-term effect of cocaine use is a change in brain chemistry. Cocaine stimulates the reward circuit in the brain’s limbic system, which is responsible for our ability to control and feel pleasure. When this reward circuit is triggered, our brain’s neurotransmitters release dopamine, a feel-good hormone. These surges tell the brain to remember this process, meaning that the increased dopamine releases caused by cocaine lead to dependence and, eventually, addiction, to keep up with the increase in dopamine. The long-term effects of this can be erratic behavior, psychotic symptoms, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The next long-term effect of cocaine use is on the body. According to DrugAbuse.com, cocaine causes heart muscle damage because it induces cell death in the muscles of the heart. This can lead to serious conditions such as heart attacks and cardiac arrhythmias, which can be fatal. It can also lead to:
Inflammation of the heart muscle
Rupturing of the aorta, the major artery leading to the heart
Reduced cardiac function
Severe blood loss
Lastly, long-term cocaine use can cause kidney damage, reduced abilities to control motor functions, increased reactions to environmental stimuli, decreased cognitive performance, and bloodborne infections when used intravenously.
Dual diagnoses, or co-occurring disorders, are when a client struggles with both a substance use disorder, such as cocaine addiction, and a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, or other mood conditions. One of the most common co-occurring disorders is cocaine addiction and depression because users often turn to cocaine to help them combat their depression because of its extreme stimulant qualities. In fact, cocaine was originally used as an antidepressant.
But, this cycle is extremely problematic because those suffering from mood disorders are twice as likely to also suffer from addiction, and vice versa. To properly treat someone struggling with co-occurring disorders, we must treat both their addiction and their mean health condition. At Manifest Recovery Centers, we understand the importance of dual diagnoses and the individualized care they require.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment
When treating cocaine addiction, many clients will undergo inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, or both. Inpatient treatment accommodates clients as they undergo addiction recovery from a rehabilitation center and provides 24/7 live-in care. Outpatient treatment involves a client making appointments at a center to receive treatment on their schedule. Both treatment programs are beneficial in tackling cocaine addiction and will include the behavioral and medical therapies needed.
Both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs address the behavioral components of addiction. These therapy programs address the underlying reasons, motivations, and psychological issues that are associated with cocaine addiction. This is helpful in long-term recovery because clients can work to restructure their lives around not using substances.
One common behavioral treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. CBT is centered around the premise that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected and influenced by one another. For example, a client may feel depressed if they think their relationship with a good friend is failing, so they decide to use cocaine to feel better in the moment. Their thought (thinking of the failed relationship) led to the feeling (depression), which lead to the behavior (cocaine use). CBT works to modify these thoughts, feelings and behaviors to address substance use disorders.
These are just a few of the treatments both inpatient and outpatient clients receive. Contact us today to learn more.
Another option for clients that have undergone an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Telehealth uses technology, such as phone calls or video calls, to receive treatment no matter where you are. Many medical practitioners have started leveraging this technology and it’s making its way into addiction treatment, as well. This flexible option may be a great next step for busy professionals on their road to recovery or for individuals who live in remote areas without access to rehabilitation centers.
Are you ready to take the next step in your recovery journey? Contact our admissions team today to get started.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. What is the scope of cocaine use in the United States? May, 2016.
DrugAbuse.com. The Effects of Cocaine Use. September, 2018.
Oxford Academic. Cocaine use and kidney damage. March, 2000.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. Comorbidity: Substance Use Disorders and Other Mental Illnesses. August, 2018