Cocaine Addiction and Abuse


Cocaine Addiction and Abuse is a highly addictive and damaging drug made from the purified extract from the cocoa bush. The drug is a stimulant, and after ingesting it, users report feelings of alertness and euphoria. However, cocaine has serious negative effects on the brain and internal organs, and its use can result in respiratory arrest and death.

Powdered cocaine is generally snorted, but can also be injected. When snorted, users usually divide the powder into lines and inhale it through a rolled bill or a straw. The drug is absorbed through the nasal tissue and reaches the brain quickly, with the high lasting between 15 and 30 minutes.

Users may also take powdered cocaine via injection. Injecting the drug delivers it to the brain in a short time period, with users feeling the rush in just a few seconds. Although the high is more intense, it only lasts for 5 to 15 minutes, and addicts may need to inject the drug frequently to maintain its effects.

Crack cocaine is cocaine that has been processed into a crystal rock form. It’s generally cheaper and easier to find than powdered cocaine. Users smoke crack in a pipe, heating it to inhale the vapors. Smoking crack allows the user to feel the effects quickly, but the high may last only 5 to 10 minutes.

Short-Term Effects

Cocaine acts on dopamine in the brain to give users a rush of energy and sense of well-being. A person high on cocaine may become talkative, feel extremely energetic, and experience a heightened sense of alertness.

Other short-term effects include:

  • Suppression of appetite
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Higher body temperature

As the drug constricts blood vessels, it increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and seizures. Along with their high, users may also experience feelings of anxiety, paranoia, and irritability.

Long-Term Effects

Using cocaine repeatedly is addictive and can lead to damaging long-term effects. As the brain adapts to the drug, users will need to take an increasingly higher dosage to obtain a sense of well-being. When taken in high amounts, cocaine users may experience a distorted sense of reality and can become psychotic.

Long-term use may cause:

  • Weight loss and malnutrition
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Repeated nosebleeds
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Chronic runny nose

Cocaine Addiction and Abuse

When a person is unable to get through the day without using cocaine, they may be addicted. A cocaine addiction can be expensive to maintain, and users may resort to stealing to obtain money for their habit. Perhaps most importantly, cocaine addiction can ruin relationships with friends and family.

An inpatient treatment center can be beneficial to a Cocaine Addiction and Abuse in a number of ways. They will receive assistance in detoxing from cocaine, making it much more likely that they will succeed. Patients will then receive counseling and learn healthy ways to cope with cravings and stress. If someone has any underlying mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, they’ll be able to access treatment from a medical professional.

Cocaine Addiction Requires Inpatient Treatment

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug, and for that reason cocaine treatment is an involved process. Clients who are treated for cocaine addiction may need assistance in not only dealing with the effects of the drug but also in finding ways of avoiding further use.

The nature of the drug is such that cocaine treatment is usually done in an inpatient facility. The rehabilitation of cocaine addicts involves both general group therapy and a therapy targeting the needs of the particular client, with the specific goal being a form of education that will stop the person from using the drug. Rehabilitation can continue over a period of up to three months.

The addiction to cocaine is related to the fact that the drug has a relatively short “high” period. And although the physical symptoms of withdrawal from cocaine are not considered life-threatening, the psychological effects and cravings can continue much longer. Physical symptoms associated with cocaine addiction include mental restlessness, although in some cases excessive use of the drug can lead to extended periods of sleep. Less obvious symptons are increased appetite or depression, the latter of which can occur during withdrawal and can present additional risks by inducing a relapse. This can frustrate cocaine treatment. Users who have experienced a physical withdrawal and resume using the drug can suffer from the same reaction of an overdose, which itself can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

As the effects of snorting cocaine usually decline about one hour after using the drug, further use is required to maintain a feeling of intoxication. This psychological aspect of cocaine use is a factor in the continued use of the drug by many individuals. Its physical and psychological addicting qualities and the need to limit the client’s access to cocaine account for why treatment is conducted on an inpatient basis.

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