Cocaine often begins as a recreational habit, something that is used to help individuals drink longer, dance longer or feel more social at gatherings.
For some, it’s a way to stay awake in order to get work done or be creative. However cocaine addiction starts, it always ends the same way – with health problems, relationship problems, mood swings and financial issues that require rehabilitation.
Although numbers of patients struggling with addiction are not as high as decades past, cocaine is still a threat to the safety and health of those who abuse it. The negative effects of the drug can hurt both the health of the user as well as greatly compromise the success they have in their lives. Few addicts can overcome drug abuse without help; drug rehab can offer that help. Help for dependence can address the main issues cocaine users have when trying to overcome their addiction, such as the need for support and the opportunity to learn new coping methods that don’t require use of cocaine while also giving them the chance to work through underlying and associated psychological issues.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, relapse occurs in 50 to 90 percent of drug and alcohol users who attempt to stop using drugs on their own. Those who seek help are much more likely to avoid relapse.
If you would like to learn more about your treatment options, contact us at the phone number above today. The call is free and we can help you find a cocaine rehab that will provide you or your loved one with the addiction treatment you need.
Causes of Dependence
Cocaine stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain – particularly in a region of the brain known as the ventral tegmental area (VTA), according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Cocaine blocks the removal of the dopamine that is used to stimulate the synapses and act as a reward system within the brain. This causes the dopamine to constantly rebind to the synapses and continually reward the brain.
As a result, the user feels the euphoric high associated with cocaine when the drug is present in the system, triggering the beginnings of a physical and psychological addiction to the cocaine.
In order to maintain the ability to achieve a cocaine high, it becomes necessary to increase the dosage of the cocaine over time as tolerance develops. This phenomenon is exacerbated as the presence of dopamine becomes expected by the brain, causing natural production levels of the neurotransmitter – associated with comfort and pleasure – to shift downward. As a result, the user only feels a sense of normalcy while cocaine is present in the body. In the period in between uses, or during attempts at cessation, the user feels a chemical imbalance brought on by chronic cocaine usage, triggering the association with the drug and causing the user to crave cocaine again.
Signs and Symptoms
An addiction that requires rehab is characterized by three basic factors. These include:
- Psychological dependence or cravings
- The development of problems in everyday life due to addictive cocaine use
- The inability to quit alone
Dependence often occurs amid hallmark physical signs of use are evident. Over time, the physical signs of a person experiencing a cocaine high can include bloodshot eyes accompanied by dilated pupils, hypertension (high blood pressure), and core temperatures that exceed normal levels. Additionally, it is often marked by a lack of appetite and insomnia. Many cocaine users experience nasal congestion, bloody noses, or nasal wheezing (colloquially termed “coke nose”) due to the breakdown of tissues in the nose from insufflations (snorting) of the drug. Cocaine users may also experience rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) or irregular and skipped heartbeats (arrhythmia) as the drug begins to act on the Central Nervous System (CNS).
Psychological harm can also result from chronic cocaine use, according to a study published in the Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 1999 August; 1(4): 109–113. Signs of chronic cocaine use may include high bursts of energy and focus, particularly during the peak of a cocaine high. Cocaine users may also experience negative emotions while cocaine is active in the body as well, including sensations of irritability, aggression and restlessness. Many individuals also exhibit disproportionately high levels of confidence while under the influence of cocaine, even including delusions of grandeur.
If you find that your finances are destroyed due to the cost of abuse and legal fees that crop up due to getting arrested for possession, assault or driving under the influence, then that’s an everyday issue that signifies that it is a problem.
If your spouse has left you or is threatening to leave due to your cocaine abuse or if family members express concern, this too is a sign of cocaine addiction. Unfortunately, it often takes something major to physically stop a cocaine addict before they recognize that their drug abuse has reached a crisis point. Health problems can be serious and life-threatening, and certainly if your doctor tells you that continued abuse will exacerbate your health issues, it’s time to get some help.
Withdrawal symptoms are one of the characteristics of cocaine addiction and a primary signifier that cocaine rehab is necessary, according to Medline Plus. Due to the brevity and intensity of a cocaine high, cocaine warning signs of withdrawal symptoms may set in with extreme rapidity. In fact, many users experience withdrawal from cocaine within an hour of the last dose of the drug. This phenomenon, also known as a cocaine “crash,” actually marks the onset of withdrawal as deficiencies of important neurotransmitters – particularly dopamine – begin to be felt and experienced by the brain and body. As a result, cocaine users often experience feelings of anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, malaise, an increased appetite, and even paranoia. In fact, once the cocaine high has worn off, users tend to exhibit deep depression and fatigue until reuse occurs.
Beyond these dynamics, a craving for more cocaine is the strongest and most marked symptom that persists throughout withdrawal – often long into the detoxification process itself. Because of the long-term chemical alterations that cocaine causes in the brain, psychological cravings can outlast the physical aspect of withdrawal by far. Until the brain has experienced enough of the chemical imbalance triggered by chronic cocaine use to resume natural production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, cravings and withdrawal symptoms may persist.
In many cases, psychological counseling, medical supervision and occasionally, psychiatric medications may be necessary in order to safely and comfortably guide cocaine-addicted individuals successfully through the withdrawal phase of recovery.
Dangers of Going Through Detox Alone
The intense psychological withdrawal symptoms associated with cocaine cessation can result in depression, anxiety or even psychosis in chronic cocaine users. Psychological counseling can be critical for users in danger of mental breakdown, depression, anxiety or suicide. Also, many cocaine users relapse into addictive use of the drug – or turn to other drugs (most commonly alcohol or marijuana) – in attempts to self-manage psychological withdrawal symptoms, giving rise to ancillary addictions.
As is the case with many patients struggling with addiction, many users first begin using cocaine to medicate undiagnosed mental illnesses or other emotional issues such as unresolved trauma. The stress of quitting cocaine may give unidentified or suppressed psychological symptoms an opening to reappear at full strength and/or withdrawal symptoms can exacerbate the symptoms of the mental health issue. It is important, for these reasons, that patients get medical assistance when they begin the process of breaking free from addiction and follow up with comprehensive psychological addiction treatment in order to fully address the issues of mental health.
The Need for Addiction Treatment
Because chronic cocaine abuse results in powerful psychological and physical addiction, alterations to brain chemistry, and potentially permanent bodily damage, cocaine has long since been considered one of the most addictive stimulants in existence. Just in 2007 alone, national estimates suggested that 1.6 million individuals across the country suffered from cocaine addiction – often with debilitating or even fatal results, according to SAMHSA. In fact, it’s estimated that one-third of all drug-related emergency room visits involve the use of cocaine, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network.
Despite the addictive nature of cocaine, recovery from addiction is attainable with professional cocaine rehabilitation services.
For many cocaine users, the duration of use and need for medically supervision during the cocaine detox and addiction treatment process necessitate inpatient care in order to achieve long-term sobriety.
Why People Avoid Rehabilitation
Even when faced with the devastating effects, many people continue to avoid treatment. For each person, the reason for avoiding treatment is different.
Some common reasons include:
- Money A lack of financial resources is the most commonly cited reason for avoiding cocaine rehab. Even though many cocaine addicts recognize that they have a serious problem that requires treatment, many feel that they don’t have the financial support to pay for a costly rehab stay.
- Time Many cocaine addicts are highly functional in their lives. They are overachievers who have jobs and multiple responsibilities in the community. Though they fully admit that they have a dangerous cocaine habit, they are loathe to take a break from their responsibilities to pursue treatment.
- Denial Despite divorce, losing custody of their children, losing a job and being told by doctors that if they don’t quit using cocaine they are going to die, many still don’t believe that they have a drug dependency issue that requires treatment.
- FearFor some, it is the physical illness that sometimes follows addictive cocaine abuse that makes them fearful of cocaine rehab. For others, it is the prospect of having to spend the rest of their lives without cocaine or any other drug or alcohol. Attempting to learn new ways to handle stress, busy schedules and social engagements – even just to wake up in the morning – can be intimidating; many avoid cocaine rehab to avoid those issues.
- Family responsibilitiesFor those with children at home or dependent elderly family members, taking time away to attend a treatment program – even an outpatient program – may strain their schedule to the breaking point.
Outpatient cocaine treatment is also beneficial, especially in situations where it is not possible to get away long enough to attend inpatient cocaine rehab, a mild or moderate problem is the issue, or the individual cannot afford inpatient treatment.
Residential treatment is the most highly recommended help option, because it removes addicts from their lives for a period of time so their recovery can become the main focus.
There is a treatment option for everyone. The type that is chosen will depend on the patient’s personal needs according to the presence of co-occurring diagnoses, co-occurring addictions, financial resources and personal preference.
According to NIDAMED
, some cocaine rehab options patients have to choose from include:
- Detox. Cocaine detox programs address the physical withdrawal symptoms that may occur when the individual attempts to stop using cocaine.
- Inpatient Centers. Inpatient or residential treatment programs are all-inclusive and provide constant care as well as room and board.
- Outpatient Program. Outpatient cocaine rehab provides therapy and educational classes on a schedule that allows patients to go home at night and keep up with responsibilities at work, home and school.
- Holistic Treatment. Holistic care may include a wide range of different therapies that stem from a variety of treatment philosophies, including alternative and cutting-edge treatment options.
- Religious Rehab. Based upon the tenets of a specific religion, this rehab option includes treatment and therapy with a focus on spiritual development.
- Traditional Plans. Based on the 12 steps, this is a classic treatment modality.
Find a Treatment Program Today
Cocaine addicts trying to recover independently may find it challenging when they’re still surrounded by people and things that were part of their life when they were using cocaine. With temptations still surrounding them, cocaine addicts may relapse quickly. In drug treatment for cocaine addiction, addicts are removed from their old lifestyle and provided the opportunity to simply focus on recovery, learning how to resist giving into the temptation to use cocaine.
If you would like to learn more about your options in recovery, contact us at the phone number listed above today.