Cocaine is one of the most expensive street drugs to purchase. This drug is a stimulant that is derived from a South American plant; the Erythroxylum coca bush is processed into powder cocaine and crack cocaine. Cocaine is a highly addictive and very dangerous drug. The most common users of this drug are adult males between the ages of 18 and 25 years, but it is reported by WebMD that 14 percent of Americans have tried the drug. This is a large number of people, which is why we must look for signs of the addiction carefully.
Powdered cocaine, which also has the street names of “blow,” “snow” and “coke,” will be injected or snorted by the addict. Crack cocaine, known on the streets as “rock,” an “eight ball” or “crack,” is created by a chemical process that allows it to be smoked. Those who use the drug in either form are able to get high almost instantly. The drug is absorbed into the bloodstream and interferes with transmitters in the brain. This blocks signals in the brain and causes a euphoric feeling. This is why this drug is so popular and addictive.
Side Effects of Cocaine Use
There are many different side effects reported by cocaine users. People who enjoy taking the drug report a surge of energy and attentiveness, mood promotion and feelings of euphoria, and increased confidence. Some negative side effects that users have complained about are paranoia, agitation, anxiety, irritability and difficulty sleeping. There are also physical side effects of cocaine that someone could easily notice. Constant movement, dilated pupils, enthusiastic conversations and a boost in energy are indictors of cocaine use.
Signs of Addiction
If you see someone using the drug or find it in that person’s possession, an addiction could be likely; however, there are other signs of addiction to watch out for as well. An addict will demonstrate severe mood swings, make excuses to get high and get agitated without the cocaine. Some will steal and lie to afford their substance addiction. Others may withdraw from social events and personal relationships and give up on responsibilities like work, parenting and school. If you recognize any of these signs, along with the side effects of cocaine addiction, a cocaine detox and rehab center should be found quickly.
Treatment Facilities for Cocaine Withdrawal
Getting the addict into an inpatient cocaine detox program quickly is important. At an inpatient care center, the addict has no access to the drug or outside influences. He or she will learn how to live a life without addiction, how to make healthy lifestyle changes and decisions, and how to become independent from cocaine. The patient will get one-on-one counseling sessions to address their addiction and problems, along with group sessions for support. This is one of the most effective forms of treatment available. Some addicts fear that the most difficult part of treatment is the withdrawal portion. If withdrawal is monitored by medical personnel, the process is not as scary as many fear.
During withdrawal, the addict will commonly be cut off from cocaine entirely. He or she may also be given a different medication to help with withdrawal. This decision is determined by a physician. The different symptoms that addicts may experience during withdrawal include:
- High fever
- Severe mood swings
- Intolerable cravings
Support from family members and friends will be necessary during this difficult time. Generally, a high from cocaine lasts between 30 minutes and two hours, and many addicts get high multiple times throughout the day, making the withdrawal process difficult. This is because people who use the drug frequently will have a more difficult time with withdrawal. A cocaine detox center is the safest place for an addict going through withdrawal.
Confronting the Addict
Confronting an addict about their substance abuse problem may be very difficult. Often the user will deny having a problem, and he or she may get angry with you. Explain that you are concerned about the addict’s health and well-being and have treatment information for them. It may take more than one person to reach out to the addict. Parents can force minors into a treatment program, but adults have to go on their own. This is why it’s so important to convince the addict that he or she needs help, and the best option is a cocaine detox and rehab center.
The Los Angeles Times reports that in 2009 there were more deaths in American from drugs than from automobile accidents. This shows that a large number of people are using cocaine, and those using the drug are at a high risk for addiction.