“With coke, you are like a moth stuck on a light. It attracts you more and more and you can’t stop it. It’s not physical. It’s in your head. The more you have it, the more you take it. I have injected it in myself every ten minutes. I borrowed money from the bank to buy it. One day I became unemployed. It was worse. I used to shoot up all the time. This thing made me insane. I knew it, but I continued. I became a total failure.” -Anonymous Addict
Does this resonate with you?
Many cocaine addicts have shared their real life experiences with The Foundation for a Drug Free World online to help people realize the dangers of cocaine abuse. Think about your story. How is cocaine disrupting your life? You have the opportunity to change things if you want to, and we can help you. In an effort to motivate you to seek treatment for your drug addiction, we will discuss what this powerful stimulant drug is doing to your mind and your body.
First, it is important for you to understand the difference between cocaine and crack cocaine. They are different in how they are made, how they are abused, what they cost, and the side effects they produce.
Cocaine, a fine white powder, bitter to the taste, comes from the leaves of the Erythroxylum coca plant that grows in the Andes Mountains in South America. The cocaine alkaloid is available in many forms: coca leaves, coca paste, powder cocaine, and cocaine base, known as crack. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency reports that all of the cocaine coming into our country arrives as powder cocaine. It is modified and made into crack by dissolving pure cocaine in a mixture of water and either ammonia or baking soda.
Crack, which is almost always smoked, takes about 20 seconds to reach the brain. Its effects last for about 30 minutes. When powder cocaine is snorted, it can take up to 20 minutes to reach the brain. In terms of cost, cocaine is much more expensive than crack.
Both crack and cocaine produce euphoric, energetic, and mentally alert feelings that are taking lives and sending more than 180,000 people to rehabilitation each year. In 2019, 15,883 people died from a cocaine overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Cocaine Addiction and Abuse
Were you at a party or simply having a bad day when you decided to try cocaine for the first time? Maybe a friend pressured you into it or you wanted to feel more confident in social situations. What began as recreational use can turn quickly into addiction. In order to sustain cocaine’s short-lived high, did you fall prey to the common cocaine binge pattern? This is when you abuse substances repeatedly within a relatively short period of time, at increasingly higher doses. Naturally, you are going to run out of your supply and need to come up with more money to support your habit.
Are you willing to go that far? You might be if you do not seek help for your cocaine addiction. Medical research shows that people with an addiction do not always have control over what they are doing. In combination with a drug like cocaine, that can be very dangerous.
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Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse
The effect that cocaine has on your brain is strong. It can harm or kill your brain cells that trigger the high that you are after. As you continue to abuse cocaine, your brain’s dopamine “pleasure center” is reset. When that happens, you are no longer taking the drug because it makes you feel good. You are taking it to avoid the negative feelings associated with the absence of cocaine.
If a person has been using cocaine for a long period of time, you may see behavioral indicators which show they have an addiction to this drug. Some of them include:
- Tolerance – If a person has been using cocaine for a long period they often become tolerant to it. This causes them to have the desire and the need to want more and more of it and in much higher doses to get the usual effect.
- Moodiness – When a person is coming down from cocaine it may seem they are moody. They might act hostile, aggressive, and irritable.
- Financial problems – Cocaine is expensive. So, anyone using it for a long time may experience financial problems. This is because they spend money on coke instead of on bills, food, or housing.
- Avoidance – Many people who are coming down off their cocaine high do their best to avoid social activities. They may also try to stay away from family and friends.
- Mental disorders – Over time people who are using cocaine may develop mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. This is one of the many reasons why a cocaine addict need a dual diagnosis treatment in a cocaine rehab facility.
- Loss of smell – Along with having regular nosebleeds someone who has used cocaine regularly for long periods of time eventually may have trouble smelling. Some even lose their sense of smell completely from snorting cocaine through the nose.
- Deterioration of well-being – The longer a person uses cocaine, the more they become addicted to it and the easier it is for them to experience deterioration of their mental and physical well-being.
- Withdrawal symptoms – After a person has been using cocaine for a long period of time, then decide to quit using, they will probably experience symptoms of withdrawal. Some withdrawal symptoms a person might have to overcome when they stop using include restlessness, difficulty concentrating, trouble thinking, nightmares, and inability to experience sexual arousal.
Side Effects of Cocaine
- Dilated pupils
- Decreased appetite
- Heightened mental alertness
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Constricted blood vessels
- Increased body temperature
- Loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, problems with swallowing, chronic runny nose; all caused by snorting cocaine
- Bowel gangrene
- Severe allergic reactions
- Irritability, restlessness, and anxiety
Your cocaine abuse also puts you at risk for contracting HIV and Hepatitis C whether you share needles or not. This is because your addiction impairs your judgment, which might lead to risky sexual behaviors.
Overdose Symptoms of Cocaine
The more cocaine you take, the more life-threatening the side effects and symptoms become. Symptoms of a cocaine overdose include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Cold sweats
- Strokes or convulsions
- Heart attack or cardiac arrest
- Severe paranoia – a temporary state of full-blown paranoid psychosis in which you lose touch with reality and experience auditory hallucination
Cocaine Withdrawal and Detox
We understand that detoxification might be the scariest thing you will ever do. We can pair you with an experienced medical professional who will help you get through the first phase of your treatment in a safe environment. A lot of cocaine abusers report having similar withdrawal symptoms while in rehabilitation. The more you know about what to expect, the better prepared you will be.
- Cocaine cravings – During your drug detoxification process, you might experience a strong desire to take more cocaine. This craving is common. A normal response to pain is to seek pleasure. This is your opportunity to figure out what else, besides cocaine, makes you happy? It might be exercise, or chocolate, or reading a book.
- Mood changes and depression – It is normal to feel depressed, anxious, or irritable during withdrawal. Cocaine depletes your brain’s supply of “feel good” chemicals or endorphins. Euphoria does not last forever, and unfortunately, cocaine abuse amplifies the sadness. This will pass.
- Fatigue – Allow yourself to rest. Cocaine abuse is exhausting and you might have worn yourself out through lack of sleep and energetic activity while you were high.
- Insomnia – It might be hard to sleep at first, and it is not unusual to have vivid and unpleasant dreams during cocaine withdrawal.
- Increased appetite – You probably were not eating properly while you were high on cocaine, so do not be surprised when you feel hungry more often.
Cocaine Treatment and Rehab
You already know what it is like to live with cocaine. Are you wondering how you will live without it? There will be a period of transition as you make peace with yourself and your past. You might discover things about yourself you do not like and need to work on. This can be painful, but is an important part of your healing. It is possible to enjoy life again.
You can reconnect with friends and family you might have neglected to maintain your addiction. The treatment programs for addiction we recommend will support you through aftercare programs and possible outpatient treatment once you leave the rehabilitation center.
How long will this process take? We cannot say for sure because all cocaine abusers respond to treatment differently. But the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that rehabilitation should last three months or longer to be your best assurance of success. What matters most, though, is the result – lasting sobriety.
Cocaine abuse can change the way you think, how you react to the world around you, and your behavior. The drug might give you the confidence you never had so you feel like you can do anything, say anything, and overcome anything. But once the drug wears off, you might sleep for long periods of time, and become depressed.
As a result, you might neglect your obligations to work or school. Everyday tasks such as cleaning the house, walking the dog, doing your homework, or cooking dinner will become a challenge.
Steps to Cocaine Rehab
Addressing Cocaine Addiction
Coming to Terms with Your Cocaine Addiction
Whether you have used cocaine for the first time or have been an addict for many years, you might feel guilty. You will learn through drug rehabilitation treatment that you should not punish yourself for your addiction. Maintaining a positive mindset in rehabilitation will help you realize that we all make mistakes and you deserve a second chance.
Helping a Friend or Family Member Address Their Cocaine Addiction
Your loved one’s cocaine abuse might be destroying your family. You might be so consumed with his or her addiction that you have lost yourself in the dysfunction. There are a number of ways you can try to help your loved one and cope at the same time.
- Educate yourself on addiction and recovery
- Try not to accuse or judge
- Provide a drug-free environment to reduce triggers
- Allow your loved one time to go to meetings
- Understand that your lives will change
- Do not enable
- Do not shield your loved one from the consequences of addiction
- Set boundaries that you agree upon
- Recognize and acknowledge your loved one’s potential
The Bottom Line: You Can Beat Cocaine Addiction
If you’ve reached this point it is hard to deny the fact that you’re serious about beating your Cocaine addiction, and that is something to have pride in and celebrate. Your life matters and there is no reason why you should allow a drug to dictate the rest of your life when the help is available.
Remember, choosing to go into a Cocaine rehab treatment center for Cocaine abuse will help you rid yourself off the horrible side effects you’ve had to endure, extend your life span, and most importantly place you on track towards regaining your own life back. So don’t fight addiction alone. Instead, allow us to help you live the life you deserve to have.
Payment Options for Cocaine Abuse Treatment
We are hoping that you’ve made the decision to enter a treatment facility, but you’re probably wondering how you’re going to pay for it. That is why we are here. We coordinate everything between your insurance provider and our treatment facilities. We verify your insurance, discuss the best treatment for you and give you a free quote. Start the path to your recovery today!
Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.
Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.