Cocaine addiction is a significant problem in American that appears to be getting worse. The drug is classified as a stimulant and because its effects are generally short-lived, it is very easy to become dependent and even addicted to cocaine. Cocaine addiction is particularly aggressive in the way it develops and although users may not feel themselves becoming more dependent, their bodies very quickly start to crave it. Because of the insidious nature of the drug and its increasingly widespread use and abuse, many people using or abusing it are unlikely to be cognizant they have a problem and may fail to seek cocaine addiction treatment. Nevertheless, the fact remains that more people are entering into programs at cocaine rehabilitation centers than ever before.
There is a lot of street terminology surrounding cocaine which comes in two forms, powder, and crystals known as “crack”. The drug can be smoked or snorted and some may even inject cocaine to maximize its potency. The way cocaine works is by speeding up the way the mind and body work to give an extreme burst of energy that makes the user feel all-powerful. Cocaine usually starts to take effect within around 5 minutes of using it and the “high” lasts for around half an hour. When the drug’s effects are wearing off, users experience a comedown that can propel them into an intense depression very quickly. This is because cocaine is characterized by extreme highs and crashing lows, which is a pattern that very quickly leads to dependence on the drug.
The effects of taking cocaine include:
- Creates a sense of being on top of the world, supremely confident, alert and sharp although many users become arrogant and aggressive and can take careless risks.
- Increases the body’s temperature and makes the heart beast faster.
- Reduces appetite and often leads to weight loss as a result.
- Because of the intense comedown from cocaine, many people use the drug back-to-back to lessen the effects of withdrawal.
- Smoking crack brings immediate effects which peak for around two minutes and lasts for just ten, which is why users tend to smoke significant amounts in order to sustain the high.
What Are the Risks?
The risks attached to abusing cocaine are significant and increase the longer a person does not seek treatment at a cocaine rehabilitation center. Risks generally include:
- A high risk of an overdose
- Increased body temperature which carries a risk of convulsions, heart attack, and heart failure
- Serious damage to the cartilage separating the nostrils from snorting the drug through the nose
- People with high blood pressure or heart conditions face a heightened risk of fits and heart attacks
- Prolonged cocaine abuse can lead to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, paranoia and panic attacks
- Pre-existing or underlying mental illnesses can be triggered and exacerbated by cocaine abuse
- Using cocaine while pregnant can cause miscarriage, premature birth, and serious birth defects
- Smoking crack cocaine (crystal form) can lead to chest pains and respiratory problems
- Progressively more intense cravings for the drug which can lead to risky behavior or financial difficulties as a result of feeding the habit
- Those injecting cocaine face the additional risk of damaged veins, ulcers, and even gangrene
- Sharing needles has been shown to spread HIV and hepatitis infections
- Overdosing on cocaine is much more possible for users injecting the drug
- Exposure to the trend of “speedballing” where cocaine and heroin are mixed, with often fatal results
- Prolonged users of crack cocaine may resort to using heroin to reduce cravings, increasing the risk of becoming addicted to another mind-altering drug
Cocaine and Alcohol
Many people who use cocaine also abuse alcohol. This is mainly because of the social side of cocaine that makes users feel “larger than life” in the company of others. Alcohol also serves to heighten the effects of cocaine and so an individual may not feel the need to use as much cocaine in social situations. However, the combination of alcohol and cocaine in the body has the potential to produce a highly toxic chemical called cocaethylene, which creates more serious side-effects, some of which can be life-threatening.
A person who has developed dependence or addiction to both alcohol and cocaine should seek help at a cocaine rehabilitation center sooner rather than later in order to reduce the risk of fatal overdose.
Cocaine and the Law
Cocaine in all its forms is classified as a Class A drug which means it is illegal to possess, give away or sell to others. An individual found to be in possession of Class A drugs faces up to seven years in jail. Supplying other people with Class As, even if they are friends, can result in life imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
If the police apprehend someone with cocaine, they always take action. This can include anything from a formal caution to arrest and possible prosecution, depending on the circumstances. Naturally, previous drug convictions will be taken into account, but even first-time offenders face the significantly negative impact of having a drug-related offense on file.
Can Cocaine Addiction Be Treated?
In short, the answer is “yes”. Although Class A substances are extremely potent drugs that have significant effects on the brain, it is possible to work through detox and cocaine rehabilitation to go on to live a healthy drug-free life. However, the path to cocaine rehabilitation is not without its challenges and an individual with cocaine addiction is recommended to pursue a specialist cocaine addiction treatment program in a cocaine rehab center.
This is principally because of the deep psychological effects of taking cocaine which requires specialist therapy to overcome. Cocaine rehabilitation works by helping people understand their addictive behaviors and what drives them so that they can make positive changes to bring about a healthier lifestyle. A good cocaine rehab center recognizes that addiction doesn’t define a person and that they need to find their own path to sobriety that’s fully supported and reinforced with personalized cocaine addiction treatment.