What is Cocaine Addiction?
As the effects of cocaine are very intense yet short-lived, people often take more of the drug to achieve the high they remember from the first time they used. This type of use inevitable spiral causes the body and mind to build up a tolerance making stopping difficult, if not impossible, without help.
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is made from coca plant leaves. These plants are native to South America. Once extracted from the cocoa plant, cocaine appears as a white powdery substance that can be ingested in various ways. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 15% of Americans have tried cocaine at least once.
How Is Cocaine Used?
In addition, cocaine can be processed into a form called crack cocaine and smoked. Crack cocaine is a combination of powdered cocaine, water, and (usually) baking soda. When the mixture is boiled, it crystallizes into a solid form that is sold as crack. The name is derived from the sound the material makes when heated and smoked.1
The Dangers of Cocaine Abuse
Via any of these methods, cocaine addiction or crack cocaine addiction can occur quickly, in some cases, after just one use. Another way people use cocaine is by combining heroin and cocaine. This practice is called speedballing and is said to create a more powerful, longer-lasting high.2 This practice significantly increases the risk for overdose or significant vital organ damage.
Cocaine is a commonly abused drug in the United States. In 2018, cocaine was the second most common illicit drug linked to overdose fatalities across the nation. Cocaine addiction statistics provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association (SAMHSA) showed more than six million Americans used it or began using cocaine in 2018.3
Cocaine Addiction Causes and Effects
There is no singular cause that leads to cocaine addiction. Researchers believe a range of factors contributes to someone becoming addicted to cocaine. Potential risk factors include genetics, physical predisposition, environmental factors (stress, early experimentation, poverty, family history of use, etc.), and social factors (peer pressure, availability, etc.).
Without early access to adequate, comprehensive cocaine addiction treatment, the long-term symptoms of cocaine use can lead to permanent, sometimes fatal consequences. For many, addiction, legal problems, new or worsening medical and mental health conditions, acute medical emergencies, and failing relationships are all effects of cocaine addiction.
Cocaine Use During Pregnancy
Pregnant women who use cocaine are at an increased risk for migraines, seizures, premature membrane rupture (premature delivery), and placental separation. Cocaine use during pregnancy can also cause abnormally high blood pressure, spontaneous miscarriage, complicated delivery, and preterm labor.
Infants born to cocaine-addicted moms often have lower birth weights, smaller heads, and body measurements and are delivered prematurely. Because cocaine is found in breastmilk, breastfeeding mothers who use cocaine must seek cocaine addiction to help to overcome their addiction to avoid the risk of exposing their infant to cocaine while breastfeeding.5
Cocaine Addiction Signs and Symptoms
Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug. Despite the difficult symptoms cocaine addiction can produce, it can be challenging to recognize cocaine addiction signs in a friend or loved one if you are unsure what to look for. The signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction occur in three forms: physical, psychological, and behavioral. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of cocaine use can help you ensure a friend or loved one receives the help they need to learn how to stop cocaine addiction.
With long-term cocaine use, the impacts of cocaine use can turn deadly. When someone struggles with a long-term drug addiction like cocaine addiction, the drug’s effects on their body can be permanent. These include:
Cocaine Addiction Diagnosis and Warnings
When experiencing withdrawal, it is essential to seek professional help at a cocaine rehab to ensure someone is available to help reduce the potential for significant medical complications. One may experience several possible symptoms during withdrawal, including:
Cocaine Addiction Treatment
Cocaine withdrawal does not usually lead to intense physical symptoms often experienced when detoxing from opioids or alcohol. It can, however, produce intense and overwhelming psychological symptoms that can be difficult to manage without treatment support. For this reason, detoxing from heroin at home may not be the safest or most effective way to overcome a cocaine addiction.
A rehab center specializing in treatment for cocaine addiction treatment generally focuses on teaching behavioral change through evidence-based addiction therapies. The most widely used behavioral therapy for cocaine addiction is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
CBT encourages participants to examine their harmful thoughts and behaviors to learn about the roots of their addiction and the safest and most effective ways to manage those behaviors. Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications for cocaine addiction; however, research is ongoing.6
Successfully overcoming cocaine addiction requires seeking help at a cocaine rehab specializing in cocaine addiction treatment and recovery. With the proper treatment, it is possible to put struggles with cocaine in the past and move forward on a healthy, sober path. If you (or a loved one) are ready to start your journey towards sobriety, contact a cocaine rehab near you to learn more about how their programs can help you.