As a toxic and potent stimulant, cocaine produces an intense high. Moreover, this creates a false euphoria that intensifies all emotions. This type of intoxication tends to dramatically increase the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain. Cocaine and methamphetamine addicts are prone to living a life of risk, often resulting in violence, risky sexual behaviors, or suicide. However, the Cocaine Addiction Treatment Center at Beacon House is here to help.
- Cocaine Addiction Facts & Statistics
- Understanding Cocaine Side Effects
- What Are The Cocaine Addiction Symptoms?
- Coping With Cocaine Withdrawal
- Treatment For Cocaine Addiction
Beacon House helps our residents detoxify quickly and with as little discomfort as possible. Therefore, they may gain the full benefit of counseling and therapy. The Admissions team will arrange a time to meet with our Medical Director to complete a history and physical history of addiction.
COCAINE ADDICTION FACTS & STATISTICS
Cocaine addiction in the United States is a public health epidemic that destroys individuals and families. From legal and financial troubles to damaging physical effects, millions of people have struggled with the consequences of abuse to this dangerous and highly addictive drug.
According to the most recent cocaine addiction statistics available, more than 35.3 million Americans aged 12 and older have reported using cocaine regularly, and some 8.6 million of them have also used crack cocaine, the “freebase” form of the drug that is smoked. Among high school students, nearly 10 percent have tried cocaine at some point in their lives, and the national drug abuse warning network utilized by emergency rooms reports that cocaine continues to be the most frequently reported illegal drug leading to ER visits-to date—nearly 500,000 per year.
When it comes to crack cocaine and addiction rates it’s estimated that nearly nine million people use the drug on a regular basis, and those that do cross all age, gender, race and socioeconomic lines. Public health experts and drug abuse professionals also report that the use of crack cocaine, which declined in the late 1990s, may be on the rise again, as crack is an often less expensive alternative to powder cocaine.
When our government declared a “war on drugs” in the early 1980s cocaine was placed at the top of the list of most trafficked illegal drugs in the world. And today it remains in the number two position, with some 800 metric tons in circulation between North and South America every year. Additionally, there are more than 7,000 cocaine-related deaths each year in the United States alone.
UNDERSTANDING COCAINE SIDE EFFECTS
Aside from the serious physical effects of both short- and long-term cocaine abuse, other consequences result from addiction to the drug, most of which revolve around damaging behaviors that lead to problems with personal relationships and depression that comes from cocaine addiction denial.
Issues with cocaine addiction and relationships are perhaps the most obvious indicators that someone is abusing the drug. Because of the highly addictive nature of cocaine, users make choices and behave in ways that prioritize their needs for the drug while dismissing the needs of family and friends. In addition to financial and legal problems that can result from addiction, chronic users become so preoccupied in securing their use of cocaine that little time is left to foster connections with children and spouses. In essence, users’ withdrawal from relationships, and as a result those family members and close friends develop their own problems—both emotional and psychological—to cope and adapt.
Within the family unit, children who have seen a parent withdraw into cocaine addiction are twice as likely to develop addiction problems of their own, whether due to a mimicking behavior pattern or simply because they are experiencing a lack of attention. And when loved ones choose to confront the addict about his or her behavior serious conflicts can erupt, a common sign of cocaine addiction behavior.
Cocaine addiction and depression is a condition nearly all long-term users experience at some point. Because of the drug’s effect on dopamine levels—the chemicals that lead to feelings of pleasure—once cocaine’s effects have worn off mood swings occur and users find themselves experiencing extreme sadness characterized by feelings of hopelessness. For those who use cocaine less frequently, this depression is likely short term; however, studies show that for chronic users this depression can be severe and cause a person to make rash decisions to obtain more of the drug, including committing crimes. And those same studies have made a direct link between cocaine abuse and suicide as a result of these depressive episodes.
Lastly, like expectant mothers who drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, children exposed to cocaine are often delivered prematurely, have low birth weights and smaller head circumferences and are shorter in length. And for women in the 1980s who abused crack cocaine during pregnancy the result was a generation of “crack babies,” infants born with cognitive problems and severely compromised social and information processing skills.
WHAT ARE THE COCAINE ADDICTION SYMPTOMS?
Understanding the symptoms of addiction is the first key to conquering that addiction. A powerfully addictive stimulant made from the leaves of the South American coca plant, cocaine use results in short-term euphoria and a burst of energy and talkativeness, combined with a dangerous rise in heart rate and blood pressure.
Typically, cocaine in its powdered form is inhaled through the nose, where it becomes absorbed through the nasal tissue. The drug can also be dissolved in water and injected directly into the bloodstream. Crack, on the other hand, is a form of cocaine that has been processed into rock crystals, which are then smoked and absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs. Each method of taking cocaine or crack has the potential for different effects: inhaling cocaine can result in 15 to 30-minutes of intense pleasurable effects, whereas the effects of smoking the drug may last less than 10-minutes.
Cocaine addiction results when users, in order to sustain their high, continue to take the drug in a short period of time in an effort to maintain the euphoric effects. However, this binge pattern, quickly leads to an addictive state where changes in the brain begin to occur, changes that lead to a strong urge to seek more of the drug at increasingly higher doses. Essentially, cocaine increases the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical that regulates pleasure and movement in the body. Normally dopamine is released by neurons in the brain and then recycled back into the cells, ceasing signals between these neurons. Cocaine, however, prevents dopamine from being recycled and causes excessive amounts to accumulate in the junctions between neurons. The dopamine then disrupts normal communications within the brain, causing the characteristic cocaine “high.” Additionally, the drug alters the brain’s ability to maintain rational thinking, leading to periods of extreme impulsive behavior.
Because it works on the central nervous system, with repeated use of cocaine the drug constricts blood vessels and increases body temperature as well as heart rate and blood pressure.
- In the short term, it can cause gastrointestinal problems including pain and nausea and decrease appetite: chronic users may even become malnourished due to a lack of food intake. Additionally, regular inhaling of cocaine can lead to a loss of the sense of smell, cause repeated nosebleeds—to the point where cocaine abuse nose damage is permanent—and interfere with the ability to swallow normally, as well as reduce blood flow to vital organs such as the stomach.
- The long-term effects of cocaine use include heart attacks and strokes at substantially higher rates than non-users, and many people who inject cocaine put themselves at risk for contracting HIV by sharing needles. Additionally, research shows that the continued use of cocaine leads to a wide array of reckless and risky behaviors.
- The visual effects of long-term cocaine addiction are most commonly characterized by irritability, extreme restlessness and uncontrollable anxiety. Chronic abusers also experience severe paranoia—and in some cases, may have psychotic breaks—during which time they lose touch with reality and suffer from hallucinations.
COPING WITH COCAINE WITHDRAWAL
Cocaine addiction signs are obvious due to their physical characteristics, as are the signs of withdrawal. Along with the depression that occurs when the drug is suddenly absent from the body, abusers most commonly experience:
- agitation and restless behavior
- extreme bouts of fatigue and malaise
- a sudden increase in appetite
- difficulty in being active
- vivid and unpleasant dreams.
Additionally, during withdrawal the cravings for cocaine can be intense and last for months, and as such cocaine addiction relapse rates are among the highest of any abused or addictive drug: more than 60 percent of cocaine addicts relapse at least once during treatment for recovery. However, today there are more tools available to healthcare professionals than ever before, including prescription medications that can ease the effects of withdrawal by slowly coaxing the neurons into a relaxed state that curbs the cravings and depression.
And of course, addiction treatment specialists are constantly learning new and innovative ways to help cocaine addicts permanently kick their habit, most especially during the critical 90 to 120-day period when cravings for the drug are at their worst. Management of cocaine addiction withdrawal and recovery often focuses on changing the addict’s way of thinking, helping them cope with their feelings, identifying the triggers associated with the brain’s craving for the drug and instilling a series of self-reinforcing thoughts and behaviors to ease urges for the drug.
In some cases, as with persons who have been using cocaine regularly for many years, a condition known as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) can occur. The condition of PAWS refers to symptoms that continue to bother an individual after the initial detoxification has taken place, and these symptoms can last for weeks, months and, in rare cases, for years.
Characteristics of PAWS include
- persistent confusion
- mood swings (including an outward defensiveness)
- wavering energy levels
- a low enthusiasm for life, poor concentration
- sleep problems and anxiety
Therefore, the risk of a relapse into cocaine use is substantially higher if the addict does not receive comprehensive support from an addiction counselor or treatment center.
GETTING COCAINE ADDICTION TREATMENT
Once an addict makes the decision to seek cocaine addiction rehab, it’s vitally important that—because cocaine addiction relapses are common—the individual finds a quality recovery center that can help manage their withdrawal and provide the strong support needed to reach positive outcomes. Cocaine addiction differs from addiction to other substances due to the drug’s many forms and its highly addictive nature. Therefore, specialized and customized treatment, including a comprehensive continuing care program, greatly increases the chances for long-term recovery.
Often, cocaine addiction recovery in an inpatient or outpatient setting begins with a cocaine urine test, which physicians and counselors use to establish a baseline of cocaine use in the individual: such a test is repeated often during the initial recovery stages to ensure the addict hasn’t relapsed into drug use. Additionally, cocaine abusers are evaluated and assessed both physically and psychologically so that the best course of treatment, which often includes a combination of individual and group therapies and addiction education, can be effectively planned and managed.
Once the first days and weeks of cocaine withdrawal have passed, it becomes crucial that the addict—relying on support from not only counselors and therapists but also from friends, family members and loved ones—avoid high-risk situations that often lead to a relapse into cocaine use. Such high-risk situations to cope with are: avoiding people who they have used cocaine with on a regular basis, especially those who they’ve had conflicts with or those they’ve celebrated with by taking cocaine; places where they either got or used drugs; and of course, all the things that remind them most of cocaine use. Avoiding these high-risk situations is difficult at times, but by planning ahead and being aware that they will occur the addict can prevent the cravings that come with these scenarios. Many addiction professionals even recommend making a list of one’s high-risk situations so that they can be easily spotted and avoided.
Of course, because of cocaine’s physical effects, it’s important that an addict begin their recovery by taking proper care of themselves. For instance, cocaine abusers often don’t eat properly, so one element of recovery is to begin a healthy diet. Another crucial part of cocaine addiction recovery is to find ways to relax the body and mind, as one of the main reasons people use drugs in the first place is to relieve tension and as an escape from reality.
Just as becoming addicted to cocaine and recovering from that addiction occurs in stages, so does the process of relapse into abuse. In recent decades addiction professionals have come to understand the most common causes of relapse, and have formulated effective strategies to prevent the process. Relapse is a major cause of concern for any addict, but the reasons for it vary from person to person. However, there are typical stages of relapse that the addict should be particularly aware of so they can best fight the effects.
One stage is emotional relapse, when the addict is struggling with feelings and behaviors urging them to return to cocaine use. The signs of this phase are virtually identical to those symptoms that occur during post-acute withdrawal, and it’s critical that the addict:
- recognize that they need to rely on others for help
- practice relaxation techniques
- look for guidance on how to change the behaviors that led to their addiction.
During the mental relapse stage, the addict’s mind is telling them how much it wants to use cocaine by evoking images of what life was like during use:
- the glamour of cocaine
- spending time with fellow users
- thinking about the places where they used the drug.
Techniques for dealing with mental relapse include calling on a support system to let them know about these urges and distracting oneself by taking a walk or even restarting a healthy hobby that was given up when cocaine addiction began. Fortunately, mental relapses are generally short in duration, and pass quickly if the mind is kept busy with distractions.
Although millions of people have struggled with abuse to cocaine, millions have also found the strength to reach long-term recovery with help from addiction specialists and counselors and a strong support system of family and friends.
COCAINE ADDICTION TREATMENT CENTER IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
At our Cocaine Addiction Treatment Center, you can reinvent your life. Therapies such as Family Therapy and Experiential Therapy also provide great value during treatment. For example, Experiential Therapy includes the use of outdoor activities, such as golf, during rehab. These “real-life” situations provide the opportunity to hone your coping skills and relapse prevention techniques. In addition, further programs at Beacon House include:
- Heroin Addiction Treatment
- Meth Addiction Treatment
- Sedatives Addiction Treatment
- Valium Addiction Treatment
Depending on the substance in question, we can develop an individual treatment plan for you. Moreover, this plan will address your specific concerns in rehab. With our Cocaine Addiction Treatment Center, you will learn why you abuse cocaine in the first place, before developing new strategies to remain sober in the future.
CONTACT BEACON HOUSE FOR HELP TODAY
Cocaine is one of the most highly abused drugs in America today. However, you don’t have to fall victim to addiction for the rest of your life. Join us at our Cocaine Addiction Treatment Center today and overcome substance abuse in your life. Contact us now at 866.418.0235 to learn more about the Rehab Admissions process.