Cocaine Addiction Information

Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Promises

At Promises, treatment for cocaine addiction will be tailored to the individual’s needs. If detoxification is needed, the client will be assigned to a detox specialist. In addition, he or she will be assigned to a family therapist, individual therapist, and nurse. The client will also be set up with an affiliated independent physician to do an assessment, and an affiliated psychiatrist who will meet with them throughout their time in treatment. Many treatment programs are available, including equine therapy, acupuncture, yoga, massage, cognitive behavioral therapy, and more. Alumni services are also provided to ensure continuing recovery.

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug that can have a variety of adverse effects on the body and mind. In 2006, 35.3 million Americans ages 12 and older reported having used cocaine, and 8.5 million reported having used crack cocaine. Regardless of the method of administration or how frequently cocaine is used, users can easily overdose. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizure followed by respiratory arrest.

Cocaine usually appears in powdered form, and is often cut with various fillers to increase its weight, such as baking soda and local anesthetics. Cocaine can also be cut with other drugs such as methamphetamine. Powdered cocaine can be made into crack cocaine, which appears in rock-like form.

Cocaine can be insufflated (snorted), smoked, injected, chewed (in leaf form), or swallowed (by wrapping up the cocaine in rolling paper and swallowing it). Insufflation is the most common method, and any material not directly absorbed through the mucous membranes is swallowed.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine

The effects of cocaine can last from 20 minutes to several hours, depending on the dosage, purity, and method of administration. The initial effects are hyperactivity, restlessness, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and euphoria. The euphoria is often followed by feelings of depression and an intense craving to experience the euphoria again. Side effects can include twitching, paranoia, and impotence, which increase with frequent usage.

Excessive or prolonged use can cause itching, hallucinations, and paranoid delusions. Overdoses can result in seizures, respiratory and circulatory failure, stroke, cerebral hemorrhage, heart failure, and death. Cocaine can also cause greater heat production resulting in hyperthermia, which can lead to muscle cell destruction and renal failure. There is no officially approved antidote for cocaine overdose, though emergency treatment often consists of administering a benzodiazepine such as Valium to decrease the heart rate and blood pressure.

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

Snorting cocaine can result in a deviated septum (the area separating the nostrils), which can eventually completely disappear. Many cocaine users experience involuntary tooth grinding, which can deteriorate tooth enamel and lead to gingivitis. In addition, cocaine may also greatly increase the risk of developing rate autoimmune diseases such as lupus and vasculitis. It can also cause kidney diseases and renal failure.

Cocaine releases large amounts of dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure and movement, into the brain’s reward circuit. Normally, dopamine is released in response to a pleasurable signal, so the brain believes cocaine to be pleasurable and wants more. With repeated use, cocaine can cause long-term changes in the brain’s reward system and in other brain systems, which can lead to addiction. Tolerance also develops with repeated use, so users must take higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect. This also leads to addiction.

Cocaine dependence can result in severe physiological damage, psychosis, schizophrenia, lethargy, depression, and potentially fatal overdose. Many habitual users develop a manic-like condition similar to schizophrenia, with symptoms including aggression, severe paranoia, and tactile hallucinations (including the mistaken belief that he or she is infested by insects).

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