Cocaine is an addictive stimulant drug that directly affects the nervous system. Its effects appear almost immediately after use, and even a single episode of use can lead to addiction. The drug’s euphoric effects are extremely short-lived, but other natural rewards can trigger craving long after withdrawal symptoms subside. This is part of the reason why cocaine addiction is one of the most difficult drug addictions to beat.
If you or someone close to you is abusing cocaine, it is important that you get professional cocaine addiction treatment. Reach out to Northpoint Washington at 425.437.3298 today to learn more about our substance use disorder treatment programs.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that comes from the leaves of the coca plant. It gets processed into powder, which can be snorted, smoked in a pipe, or dissolved in water and injected. You can also rub it into your gums for a prolonged effect.
Cocaine is incredibly addictive because the drug alters the way neurons communicate inside the brain’s reward center. When you use cocaine, dopamine (the neurotransmitter that triggers feelings of pleasure) floods your brain, which makes you feel amazing. The intense rush from using cocaine is why so many people become addicted to the drug.
The Effects of Cocaine Use
Cocaine works by causing a buildup of dopamine in your brain, which leads to stronger feelings of pleasure when something good happens. The short-term effects of cocaine use include:
- Increased energy and alertness
- Decreased need for food and sleep
- Hypersensitivity to sight, sound, and touch
- Feelings of euphoria
These effects generally last anywhere from a few minutes to around an hour.
Unfortunately, cocaine also interferes with the way your brain processes dopamine later on. This means you need more and more of the drug to feel this intense rush of pleasure long-term. When you continually tries to chase the high you receive from cocaine, you build a tolerance to the drug, causing you to need increased doses. Continuing to take increased doses of cocaine leads to physical dependence and addiction.
Cocaine addiction has many side effects that make it one of the most dangerous addictions out there. Cocaine abuse can affect your relationships, finances, and work. It may also lead to cardiovascular effects like heart attacks or strokes due to constricted blood vessels, increased body temperature, organ failure, and irregular heartbeats.
What Are the Signs of Cocaine Use?
- Weight loss or gain
- Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
- Erratic and extreme mood swings
- Constant sniffles due to runny nose
- Snorting and/or hoarseness
- Burn marks on hands or lips
- Appearance of dilated (wide open) pupils
- Changes in energy levels
- Unexplained absences from work or school
- Changes in performance at work or school (e.g. declining grades, sudden lack of motivation)
- Unexpected financial problems (e.g. large amounts of money going towards drug purchases)
- Secretive behavior (e.g. isolating themselves from friends and family, secret phone calls or texts)
Treating Cocaine Addiction
Treatment of cocaine addiction is very dependent on what stage of use the addicted person has reached.
Cocaine addiction treatment typically starts with detoxification, followed by an extensive drug rehab program that provides behavioral therapies and/or medications to help the addict stop using cocaine.
After detox, therapy can take the form of individual sessions, group therapy, or family therapy. Therapy addresses concerns about how addiction has hurt relationships and may include communication training, relapse prevention techniques, or anger management.
Medications may be a part of cocaine addiction treatment to help people stop using the drug and stay off of it long-term. The FDA has approved three medications—all working in different ways—to treat cocaine addiction
Bupropion SR (Zyban)
Zyban works by decreasing cravings for cocaine. It’s an antidepressant and may also help with mood stabilization. Staff in a medical detox facility will typically prescribe bupropion SR and monitor patients’ progress.
This medication works by causing an unpleasant reaction if someone relapses and consumes alcohol or cocaine. The main goal is to help people learn to stay away from drugs.
Ondansetron Hydrochloride (Zofran)
This drug blocks the effects of cocaine and has also been shown to reduce the number of relapse episodes experienced by people with addiction. It’s usually prescribed in combination with bupropion SR.
It’s also possible to seek treatment for cocaine addiction without medications. People in this situation may benefit from behavioral therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of therapy encourages healthy actions and thoughts by identifying problems, generating alternative solutions, and examining the evidence for each solution.
At Northpoint Washington, we know that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to addiction. For this reason, we use a combination of clinically grounded and more holistic, patient-centered approaches to tailor a treatment program to your individual needs.
Cocaine Addiciton Treatment at Northpoint Washington
When you suffer from an addiction to a drug like cocaine, it’s normal to feel as though you’re going to be suffering from it forever. You may have heard that cocaine is a really difficult addiction to overcome, or perhaps you’ve tried to stop using it on your own, but you weren’t able to be successful. So many others have had the same experience. However, there are also those who have been able to stop using cocaine very successfully with the right kind of support.
Our cocaine addiciton treatment programs help you stop using drugs and stay sober for life. We provide detox and residential options to hello you recover.
- Medical detox – Our medical detox is administered with the utmost care and compassion by our experienced staff. We recognize that detox can be a difficult process, so we take great care to make sure you are comfortable throughout the process.
- Residential treatment – During residential treatment, you will receive around-the-clock support from our highly qualified professionals who have experience in guiding individuals through the recovery process. We use evidence-based methods and focus on providing individualized treatment plans to fit each person’s unique needs and goals for recovery.
Here at Northpoint Recovery, we’ve had the privilege to help a countless number of people overcome their cocaine addictions. We understand how difficult it can be, but we have the tools you need to be victorious over this addiction. If you would like to learn more about how we can assist you, reach out to us at 425.437.3298 right away.