Is Cocaine Addictive?
Even if you’re not very familiar with cocaine, you’re probably aware of its capacity for addiction. Cocaine is an illegal stimulant extracted from the coca plant. Medical grade cocaine has been used for more than a century, and is still available medicinally as a Schedule II narcotic. However, it’s best known — and most widely abused — as a street drug, specifically cocaine hydrochloride salt (i.e., cocaine powder) and the cocaine base (a.k.a. “freebase”).
The powder form of cocaine is rarely pure, and often includes inert “lookalike” substances like baking soda, flour, or cornstarch. However, cocaine can also contain other potent drugs, including methamphetamine or fentanyl. As a result, it can be especially challenging to know not only what’s in a given batch, but also how potent it is and how it might affect you.
You may also have heard of the other form of cocaine, known as crack. This type of cocaine is created by removing the hydrochloride from the cocaine, leaving behind the base form of the substance. It can be made smokable by processing it with ammonia or baking soda and applying heat.
Both cocaine and crack are extremely addictive substances. Both types cause changes both to the brain’s reward pathways, as well as the pathways that respond to stress. As a result, even those who have abstained from cocaine use for a long time are at high risk of relapse.
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How Is Cocaine Used And What Does It Do?
Generally, when we think of people using cocaine, we imagine people snorting it. Cocaine can also be mixed into a solution with water and injected intravenously. Or it can be rubbed onto the gums. Meanwhile, crack cocaine doesn’t allow for quite as much creativity. Because it’s designed to be smoked, crack is heated and the vapor is inhaled directly.
Both cocaine and crack provide almost immediate effects, such as a sense of energy, euphoria and talkativeness. Many people also lose interest in eating or sleeping while on cocaine. Larger doses can cause troubling side effects, like anxiety, irritability, paranoia, restlessness and erratic behavior.
Because the high from cocaine is fairly short-lived, people often find themselves taking more and more in order to maintain the sense of energy and euphoria. As a result, it is possible to overdose on cocaine, which can cause seizures, as well as stroke and heart attack. In some cases, a cocaine overdose can prove fatal. Also, it’s not unusual for individuals to consume alcohol along with cocaine — a practice that’s surprisingly dangerous, as the two react with one another to form a toxic substance that can affect heart function.
Symptoms And Signs Of Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addiction can be difficult to pinpoint, especially if your loved one is careful to hide the evidence. Also, the signs of cocaine abuse can be similar to the signs of other types of drug use. However, these indications suggest that something may be amiss and can warrant an honest conversation.
- Frequent sniffles and nasal congestion
- Burn marks on fingers or mouth
- Track marks
- Uncharacteristic talkativeness
- Sleep problems (i.e., too little or too much)
- Lack of appetite
- Dilated pupils
- Mood swings
- Financial problems
- Legal troubles
Again, these behaviors and symptoms may not mean your loved one has developed a cocaine addiction, but they’re worth monitoring. If you believe someone you care about needs help breaking free from cocaine or crack, addiction treatment at a rehab like Right Path Rehab can help.
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Treating Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addiction can be difficult to treat — especially when it’s occurred for a long time, or when it involves abuse of other substances as well. That’s why it’s vital to create a strong foundation and a sober network of support to help you through your recovery journey.
Medical detox is an essential part of recovery from cocaine addiction, as withdrawal symptoms start within hours of abstaining from the drug and peak within 24 hours. That’s why it’s a good idea to enroll in a program before the withdrawal symptoms are at their worst. At Right Path Rehab, our compassionate team offers medication to help you manage withdrawal safely and comfortably. But it’s only the beginning. Treatment begins in earnest when you and our team develop your individual recovery plan. Together, we’ll work to find the course of treatment that addresses the root causes of addiction — and provides the tools to achieve long-term sobriety.
As part of our drug rehab programs, Right Path Rehab provides a number of therapeutic options that have proven success in treating cocaine abuse, including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and acceptance commitment therapy. Provided in both group and individual therapy settings, you’ll identify and address the factors contributing to your addiction, so you’re less likely to relapse in the future. We’ll also diagnose and treat any co-occurring mental health conditions that may have been working against you as well.
While every client has different needs, we strongly recommend our residential rehab program as part of cocaine addiction treatment. It provides structure and support that are especially helpful in early sobriety. Then, when you’re ready, you can move on to greater independence in one of our partial hospitalization programs.
Don’t let cocaine addiction continue to rob you of your potential. We’re here to help you break the cycle of substance abuse. Give Right Path Rehab a call today.
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