Cocaine

Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Promises

At Promises, treatment for cocaine addiction is tailored to the individual’s needs. If cocaine detox is needed, clients can undergo this process in one of our state-of-the-art detox facilities or we will recommend a reputable detox center nearby. Cocaine addiction treatment addresses the physical, mental and spiritual deficits caused by substance abuse and helps clients develop resiliency and recovery skills to succeed in everyday life after drug rehab.

Cocaine can significantly impact the production of dopamine, one of the brain’s “feel good” neurotransmitters. Continued use alters the brain’s ability to produce and regulate dopamine on its own, making people who abuse cocaine at high risk for physical and psychological dependence. Those who get “hooked” may require cocaine detox monitored by medical professionals who can help ease cocaine withdrawal with research-backed medications and complementary therapies. Following cocaine detox, residential treatment will help clients maintain sobriety.

About Cocaine

Cocaine, once thought to be a relic of the 1980s, is still a recreational drug of choice in the U.S. The latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health from SAMHSA estimates that 1.5 million people are currently using cocaine.

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug that can have a variety of adverse effects on the body and mind. 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 snorted, smoked, injected, chewed (in leaf form) or swallowed (by wrapping up the cocaine in rolling paper and swallowing it). Snorting is the most common method, and any material not directly absorbed through the mucous membranes is swallowed.

Powdered cocaine and “crack” both come from the chemical manipulation of substances that appear naturally in the coca plant. Powdered cocaine is the product of the basic processing of coca; in turn, “crack” comes from a secondary processing of powdered cocaine. Both forms of cocaine trigger an increased amount of activity inside the body’s central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), as well as heightened levels of pleasure (euphoria). People who smoke crack experience a stronger form of these effects that fades away relatively quickly. People who inject a powdered cocaine solution directly into their bloodstream also experience relatively strong, short-acting drug effects. The longest lasting, least intense cocaine “highs” come from nasally inhaling the powdered form of the drug.

Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine can produce long-term brain alterations in habitual users. These alterations cause the brain to treat cocaine as an essential component of its everyday mixture of chemicals. People who undergo this basic change in brain function have a chemical dependence on cocaine’s continuing presence. Cocaine addiction sets in when a person dependent on the drug starts to develop symptoms such as a recurring urge to use cocaine, lack of control over how much cocaine he or she consumes, the onset of cocaine withdrawal when he or she gets less cocaine than expected or required, resistance to the drug effects of any given dose of cocaine and the establishment of a routine that stresses the importance of cocaine use and diminishes the importance of a generally functional lifestyle.

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. Short-term cocaine withdrawal symptoms 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 increase the risk of developing 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 cocaine addiction. Cocaine addiction treatment should happen in a medical setting to help ease cocaine withdrawal symptoms and alleviate discomfort.

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).

Cocaine Addiction Diagnosis

The stimulant use disorder diagnosis applies to anyone significantly impaired by the impact of cocaine addiction or any other form of stimulant addiction, as well as to anyone significantly impaired by the non-dependent abuse of cocaine or any other stimulant drug or medication. Doctors view impairment as significant when any given individual has at least two symptoms of cocaine/stimulant addiction or cocaine/stimulant abuse. The severity of the disorder increases with the number of symptoms present, and maximally affected people have a total of 11 separate symptoms.

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