Cocaine is an extremely addictive drug that acts on the brain, causing it to release excessive levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in order to produce a feeling of euphoria, or extreme pleasure, known as a high. Cocaine is so addictive that a cocaine user may develop cocaine addiction symptoms after using this drug only a handful of times. It was first used as an anesthetic by pioneering surgeon Dr. William Halsted in the late 19th century. However, it is less and less frequently used for medical purposes due to its addictive nature.
While withdrawing from cocaine does not produce the same unpleasant or potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms that are observed in patients who stop using other drugs such as heroin, cocaine addiction treatment is necessary to help recovering addicts overcome their perceived need for the drug and its effects on the brain. Cocaine addiction recovery is usually accomplished through inpatient or outpatient medical treatment followed by ongoing counseling and peer support.
The high from cocaine usually lasts only 30 minutes at most. Users sometimes quickly snort or smoke one dose after another to maintain their high.
Symptoms of Addiction
Cocaine addiction symptoms are mostly behavioral rather than physical, and when a user continues to desire to use the drug despite negative consequences, he or she is considered addicted. Cocaine does not produce the same intense physical addiction that other substances, such as heroin and alcohol, produce, but the short duration of its effects, followed by a bout of anxiety and depression known as a crash, lead to immediate cravings for the drug to relieve that crash.
The following are some typical signs of addiction to cocaine:
- Use of more cocaine than planned
- Family, work or school conflicts
- Feelings of guilt after use
- Financial difficulties
- Preoccupation with obtaining and using cocaine
- Feelings of paranoia
- Inability to stop using cocaine even if so desired
- Use in dangerous or public locations
- Lying about frequency or amount of cocaine use
- Fear of loss of energy if cocaine use is discontinued
The following side effects of cocaine use are not necessarily cocaine addiction symptoms, but they may be more pronounced or frequent in patients who have become addicted to the drug:
- Nosebleeds or bleeding sinuses
- Violent or abnormal behavior
- Increase in appetite
- Disturbing dreams
- Extreme tiredness and reduced activity
In 2008, the national Drug Abuse Warning Network reported that 482,188 out of the approximately 2 million visits to emergency rooms for drug-related medical emergencies involved cocaine.
To find out more about how cocaine addiction treatment can help you or a loved one overcome cocaine addiction symptoms and stay clean, please call us at 1-888-287-0471 . Our addiction recovery hotline can help you find the support you need as you or someone close to you starts on the path to a life without the dangers of cocaine.
Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine users who develop cocaine addiction symptoms are treated with intensive counseling. Unless a patient is also addicted to other substances, medical detoxification is not readily available or generally necessary for treating cocaine addiction. However, according to U.S. government statistics, 72 percent of those treated for cocaine addiction in 2007 were abusing at least one other substance besides cocaine., Therefore, medication often must be administered in order to treat the withdrawal symptoms caused by those other substances before therapy aimed at cocaine addiction recovery can be initiated.
A residential addiction program is usually recommended for patients whose addiction to cocaine is severe or long-term. Inpatient care enables a recovering addict to obtain intensive treatment in pleasant and relaxing surroundings that can make it easier for the patient to deal with cocaine addiction symptoms by focusing on therapy and other ways to achieve pleasure and deal with stress. Sports and athletic activities, art and music therapy, and spiritual therapy such as yoga and other forms of meditation are often part of the intensive addiction treatment offered in a residential rehabilitation center.
After a 30- to 90-day course of inpatient treatment, recovering cocaine addicts are often ready for release, and they are advised to continue outpatient therapy with addiction counselors and psychologists who are recommended by the counselors and staff of the rehabilitation facility. Peer support programs, such as 12-step programs, are also often recommended as part of the ongoing treatment program that is meant to ensure cocaine addiction recovery.
Cocaine addiction symptoms are behavioral and psychological in nature, and these symptoms are signs that a cocaine user is in need of cocaine addiction treatment in order to stop the physical, psychological and social damage that addiction leaves in its wake. When cocaine addiction symptoms make you or a loved one realize that it is time to seek addiction recovery treatment.