If you or a loved one is facing cocaine addiction and looking for more information and support to handle the addiction properly, Vertava Health is here to help you. We know that dealing with addiction can be a confusing and worrying time, but we’re here to assure you that you can get all the treatment and information you need right here. To learn more about our cocaine addiction treatment program and the substance abuse treatment options available, please contact Vertava Health today at 844.451.0263.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a stimulant made from the leaves of the coca plant. Street names for cocaine include basa, base, blow, coke, crack, and toot. It is a potent stimulant that makes the signals between the brain and body move faster. This results in an increased sense of alertness and physical activity. Cocaine causes the brain to be flooded with a rapid release of dopamine, a hormone involved in mood and thinking processes.
The powdered form of cocaine is either inhaled through the nose (snorted), where it is absorbed through the nasal tissue or dissolved in water and injected into the bloodstream.
Pure cocaine is extracted from the leaf of the Erythroxylon coca bush found mostly in South America. Historically, chewing the coca leaf was the primary mode of cocaine ingestion. In the 1880s, the drug was isolated and used in eye, nose, and throat surgeries as an anesthetic to constrict blood vessels and limit bleeding. Coca leaves have also been used in teas and were incorporated in beverages such as Coca-Cola®.
How Did Cocaine Become So Popular?
As cocaine’s popularity increased in the 1880s and 1890s, reports of addiction emerged, and the potential harm from the drug was soon recognized. As a result, the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914 was passed to prohibit the importation of cocaine and coca leaves, with the exception of pharmaceutical uses. Then, shortly after the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 strictly regulated the manufacture of pharmaceutical amphetamines, the use of cocaine began increasing.
Widely popular in the 1980s, cocaine was a party drug that gave users intense feelings of euphoria, awakeness, and superiority. Famous actors and athletes used the drug and increased its reputation and popularity. Cocaine addiction became a household name when these high-profile personalities overdosed on cocaine and died. Celebrities like John Belushi, college basketball player Len Bias, and actor River Phoenix all died due to complications of cocaine use.
Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Use
Always be on the lookout for the general signs of drug addiction like job loss, excuses to borrow money, stories about whereabouts not adding up, and aggressive responses to confrontation.
The immediate and intense cocaine high lasts about 15 to 30 minutes if the drug is snorted. If cocaine is smoked, the high can last approximately five to 10 minutes. No matter the method of use, the residual effects can last for one to two hours.
- Short-term effects of cocaine may include:
- Dilated pupils
- Increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure
- Increased energy and alertness (hyperstimulation)
- Decreased appetite
- Restlessness and insomnia
- Irritability, anxiety, and paranoia
Increased possibility of risky behaviors that may lead to sexually transmitted diseases (HIV and hepatitis by sharing needles)
Other effects of cocaine use can lead to loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, problems with swallowing, hoarseness, and an overall irritation of the nasal septum, resulting in a chronically inflamed, runny nose.
Ingested cocaine can cause severe bowel gangrene due to reduced blood flow. Persons who inject cocaine have puncture marks called tracks, most commonly in their forearms. They may also experience allergic reactions either to the drug or to some additive in street cocaine, which in severe cases can result in death.
Many chronic cocaine users lose their appetite and experience significant weight loss and malnourishment.
When Does Cocaine Use Lead to Addiction?
Cocaine use on its own does not necessarily constitute an addiction. However, it can turn into one. It is possible to become physically and mentally dependent on the drug with repeated use. Once this happens, individuals can no longer control their use of the drug, and their bodies have convinced them they need the drug to function.
The human body is quite adaptable. When a drug is introduced to the body’s system, the body will gradually adjust and learn to function in conjunction with the substance. However, this is also where addiction sets in. Once the body has become accustomed to the drug, it constantly expects the substance and craves more of it, thus ending up in addiction.
Some long-term effects of cocaine may include:
- Convulsions and seizures
- Heart disease, heart attack and stroke
- Lung damage and disease (respiratory failure and difficulty breathing)
- Damage to the nasal septum (snorting)
- Irritability and mood disturbances
- Auditory and tactile hallucinations
Once tolerance to cocaine has formed, more frequent and larger doses are needed in order to feel the same effects a smaller dose once produced.
What Are Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms?
If someone tries to stop using cocaine after a tolerance has developed, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. As the body attempts to adapt to functioning without its usual substance, chemical imbalances can result, causing common withdrawal symptoms.
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Strong cravings for cocaine
- Mood swings that can make an individual feel depressed, agitated, or anxious
- Inability to concentrate
- Physical reactions such as headaches, aches, pains, increased appetite, not sleeping well
- Difficulty concentrating
Paraphernalia can also be an indication that someone is abusing or addicted to cocaine. Objects like needles for injection, rolled-up pieces of paper for snorting, or powdered covered, flat surfaces may indicate a problem with cocaine.
Cocaine Addiction In Pregnant Women
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, most women who are addicted to cocaine are of childbearing age. It is also estimated that about five percent of pregnant women use one or more addictive substances and that there are about 750,000 cocaine-exposed pregnancies every year.
Due to the negative social stigma surrounding cocaine use by pregnant women and fear of losing their children, many women are unwilling to report their substance use disorders. This can potentially lead to certain risks that include a lack of appropriate levels of prenatal care and lower overall health for both the mother and child.
Cocaine use during pregnancy has been associated with maternal migraines and seizures, premature water break, and separation of the placental from the lining of the uterus (miscarriage).
Normal cardiovascular changes in pregnant women can also be increased by cocaine use. Sometimes, this can cause serious issues like severely high blood pressure, spontaneous miscarriage, preterm labor, and difficult delivery. Formal treatment for cocaine addiction may be necessary to reduce these risks.
Cocaine and Polydrug Use
It is also more likely for people to engage in polydrug use while simultaneously using cocaine. Polydrug use refers to any instance in which multiple substances are mixed together to achieve a certain effect. Many drug combinations can be hazardous and can result in a fatal overdose.
Mixing substances can severely increase the risk of adverse side effects, including health complications, not just the increased risk of fatal overdose.
There Is Help for Cocaine Addiction Recovery and Treatment
The good news in all this is that there are excellent treatments out there for cocaine and crack cocaine addiction. Healing and recovery are possible. A program with solid inpatient or outpatient treatment services is imperative to prevent cocaine relapse.
At Vertava Health, we work closely with our patients to determine the suitable cognitive therapies to treat their addiction. The goal of cognitive-behavioral therapy for cocaine addiction is to help individuals reduce drug use and successfully prevent relapse. This approach attempts to help patients recognize, avoid, and cope. They learn to recognize the situations in which they are most likely to use cocaine and avoid these situations when appropriate.
Users also learn how to use coping skills to more effectively manage a range of problems and problematic behaviors associated with cocaine use. If you or someone you love is struggling with a cocaine addiction, Vertava Health is poised to help today. Within one hour of your call, you can be on your way to learning how to lead a new life free of addiction.
Recovery at Our Cocaine Addiction Treatment Centers
Treatment for cocaine addiction begins with detoxing from the drug. The cocaine detox process can last between one to three weeks and can be very difficult for individuals to overcome on their own. There are currently no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications to treat cocaine addiction. However, many behavioral treatments, like contingency management, have been used to treat cocaine addiction with great success.
After successfully completing detox, individuals often enter inpatient treatment programs. There, they learn about addiction and gather some tools to help ensure a more secure recovery and longer sobriety. Our cocaine addiction treatment program also considers the wide range of social, familial, and other environmental factors that lead to cocaine addiction. Inpatient treatment programs can cover subjects from a family’s role in addiction and recovery to healthy stress management, to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and more. To learn more about cocaine use, addiction, and treatment options, contact us today.
Recover from Cocaine Use with the Help of Treatment from Vertava Health
Vertava Health provides all levels of addiction recovery care in a comfortable and safe environment. Our campuses offer the perfect place to reflect, learn, change, and thrive. Our cocaine treatment programs are tailored to each client and overseen by dedicated addiction recovery professionals, from our admissions specialists to licensed counselors and medical staff. Contact us at 844.451.0263 for assistance.