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 substance abuse help. Reach out to Northpoint Washington at 425.437.3298 today to learn more about our cocaine addiction 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: How Does It Work?
- Increased energy and alertness
- Decreased need for food and sleep
- Hypersensitivity to sight, sound, and touch
- Feeling of euphoria
These effects generally last anywhere from a few minutes to around an hour.
Cocaine works by causing a buildup of dopamine in your brain, which leads to stronger feelings of pleasure when something good happens.
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.
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 (leading to organ failure), and irregular heartbeats.
What Are the Signs of Cocaine Use?
Cocaine addiction frequently appears when an individual starts behaving in ways that are uncharacteristic of their usual self. They may also experience a dramatic change in their physical appearance and performance at work or school.
If you notice the following signs of cocaine abuse in someone, that person may be addicted:
- 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 for couples, relapse prevention techniques for teens who are recovering from an addiction to stimulants, or anger management for those with violent tendencies.
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)
- Disulfiram (Antabuse)
- Ondansetron (Zofran)
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.
Northpoint Washington: Your Go-To for Proven Cocaine Addiction Treatment
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.
“Once an addict, always an addict” is a myth. And with the proper type of treatment, you too can kick your cocaine addiction for good.
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.