There are many substances that people abuse. One common substance that people often abuse is cocaine. But how do people even develop a cocaine addiction? What are the signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction, and when should one receive cocaine addiction treatment? To answer all of these questions, it’s important to first learn about the drug itself.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a drug that interacts with the body’s central nervous system (CNS) in a way that causes people to get a boost of energy and a euphoric feeling. Often, people that take cocaine also feel highly alert and attentive. This is because cocaine is a stimulant.
Because of the euphoric and stimulant effect of cocaine, many people choose to use the substance to help them cope with life. In fact, as many as 1,800 Americans use cocaine for the first time every day. Unfortunately, cocaine is highly addictive. Thus, individuals that choose to use cocaine put themselves at risk of developing a cocaine addiction.
People that use cocaine also put themselves at risk of an overdose that could lead to death. To overcome cocaine addiction, individuals must attend cocaine addiction treatment.
What Are Forms of Cocaine?
Cocaine can come in different forms. The most common form of cocaine is a white powdery substance. Cocaine can also come in the form of a solid rock crystal.
There are three main forms of cocaine. One of them is cocaine hydrochloride, which is a white crystalline powder that’s often mixed with other substances. The second main form of cocaine is freebase cocaine. This is a pure form that’s free of hydrochloride. The third main form is crack cocaine. This form of cocaine comes in white or pink-like crystals.
Other Names for Cocaine
- Nose candy
- White dust
How Do People Use Cocaine?
Most people that use cocaine snort the white powdery version of the substance into their noses. Other ways to consume cocaine include rubbing it against one’s gums, smoking it, dissolving it in water, and then consuming it that way, or injecting it in the body with a needle.
Cocaine Abuse Statistics
Cocaine is one of the most misused substances and one of the substances that is often mixed with other drugs. In fact, according to a 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 5.5 million Americans age 12 or older had likely used cocaine or crack cocaine in the past year.
It’s because cocaine has become such a popular substance to misuse that more people are admitted into the emergency room due to cocaine use than any other substance. The fact that many people like to mix cocaine with other illegal substances contributes to the reason why so many people are hospitalized due to cocaine use. In fact, 68% of the people admitted to emergency rooms due to cocaine use had more than one drug in their system.
Cocaine Misuse By Age and Gender
According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study based on data from 2016, approximately 1.9% of individuals age 12-17 reported cocaine use. Also, according to this study, approximately 5.6% of individuals age 18-25 reported cocaine use. When it comes to individuals between the ages of 26-34, approximately 3.8% reported cocaine use. Overall, cocaine use is most prevalent during young adulthood.
When it comes to gender, males tend to use cocaine more often than women. In fact, according to the aforementioned CDC study, approximately 2.5% of adult males report cocaine use as opposed to the 1.3% of adult females that report cocaine use. Furthermore, males report more cocaine use than women throughout their entire adult lives.
Sadly, studies also show that hospitalization and death rates due to cocaine overdose have risen since 2017. For males, age-adjusted deaths due to cocaine overdose increased from 4.7% to 6.2% from 2016-2017 alone. For females, the age-adjusted deaths due to cocaine overdose increased from 1.8% to 2.5% from 2016-2017.
To help prevent overdose and relapse, it’s important for individuals that suffer from cocaine addiction to attend a cocaine detox followed by cocaine addiction treatment. It’s also important for individuals in recovery from cocaine addiction to actively seek out aftercare treatment and continue to attend individual and group therapy.
How Does a Cocaine Addiction Develop?
Many people that start misusing cocaine do so in recreational settings. It’s often in these settings that people start to mix cocaine with other illegal substances. Once individuals start to use cocaine, though, it’s easy to develop a dependency and addiction to the drug. This is because cocaine causes the brain to release high levels of dopamine, which makes people that use cocaine feel pleasure, energy, and euphoria.
Before people that chronically use cocaine know it, their brains get used to cocaine providing it with dopamine. This causes people to become dependent on cocaine to feel any sort of pleasure. Once individuals develop a dependency on cocaine, addiction isn’t far behind.
The dependency that cocaine users have on the substance is why quitting it is so difficult. While it’s possible to quit cocaine on one’s own, it’s highly unlikely. That’s why a cocaine detox and cocaine addiction treatment are so valuable.
Short-Term Effects of Cocaine Misuse
When people first use cocaine, they feel energized and euphoric. This is due to the stimulant nature.
Common short-term effects of cocaine use include:
- Boosts of energy
- Intense happiness and euphoria
- Extreme sensitivity to light and sound
- Anger and/or irritability
- Decreased appetite
Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Misuse
As people start to chronically use cocaine for longer periods of time, they start to experience more and more effects. Many of the longer-term effects of cocaine misuse are more serious and harmful to a person’s health.
Common long-term effects of cocaine misuse include:
- Convulsions and seizures
- Heart disease, heart attack, or stroke
- Lack of sex drive
- Lung damage
- HIV or hepatitis due to injecting cocaine or other substances into the body through needles or mixing cocaine with other substances
- Bowel decay
- Loss of smell
- Runny nose
- Trouble swallowing
When people become dependent on cocaine, they start to experience cocaine withdrawal whenever they minimize or discontinue their use of the substance.
Common Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
- Intense cravings
- Suicidal thoughts
- Difficulty concentrating
- Slowed thinking
- Slowed activity and physical fatigue
- Vivid dreams and nightmares
- Chills and tremors
- Muscle aches and nerve pain
- Increased appetite
- Increased cocaine cravings
A cocaine detox is when a person in recovery from cocaine addiction rids the body of all substances. It’s important to attend a professional medical detox facility when detoxing from cocaine. This is because cocaine is highly addictive, which causes severe withdrawal symptoms when detoxing.
It’s also best to taper one’s use of cocaine when detoxing. Tapering one’s use of cocaine means slowly minimizing its use until a person is no longer using cocaine at all. Tapering cocaine use during detox rather than quitting cocaine cold turkey will prevent people’s bodies from shutting down.
Professional medical detox facilities have doctors and medical staff on standby to assist patients if their cocaine withdrawal symptoms ever become too severe. Unlike with many other substances, though, there is no set medication that can treat cocaine withdrawals.
Signs and Symptoms of a Cocaine Overdose
When people consume large amounts of cocaine, they may experience a cocaine overdose. If not treated immediately, a cocaine overdose can easily lead to death. That’s why it’s so important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of a cocaine overdose. Many of the signs and symptoms of cocaine overdose are physical.
Common cocaine overdose signs and symptoms include:
- Irregular or elevated heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Difficulty breathing
- Blurred vision
- Extreme anxiety
- Feeling disoriented or confused
- Heart attacks
Cocaine Addiction Treatment
Again, while it is possible to overcome cocaine addiction without attending cocaine addiction treatment, it’s highly unlikely. Overcoming cocaine addiction without attending cocaine addiction treatment is also unsafe. Furthermore, not attending addiction treatment for a substance addiction increases the chance of relapsing. That’s why after completing a cocaine detox, people that are recovering from cocaine addiction should attend cocaine addiction treatment.
Individuals with severe cocaine addictions should receive inpatient cocaine addiction treatment. Inpatient addiction treatment programs require patients to live in a rehab facility for anywhere from 30 days to a year while receiving 24/7 care and monitoring.
Individuals that have mild or moderate cocaine addictions could receive outpatient cocaine addiction treatment. Outpatient addiction treatment programs allow patients to live in the comfort of their own homes in-between treatment sessions.
Types of Outpatient Programs for an Addiction To Cocaine
The amount of time that a person must attend outpatient cocaine addiction treatment depends on the type of outpatient treatment program that he or she is attending. People that attend partial hospitalization outpatient programs must attend rehab for approximately five to eight hours a day, five to seven days a week.
Individuals that attend intensive outpatient programs must attend rehab for approximately a few hours a day, for a few days a week. Individuals that attend standard outpatient programs must only attend rehab for around a couple of hours a day, once or twice a week.
Receive Treatment for Cocaine Addiction At Little Creek Recovery
Little Creek Recovery is an addiction treatment center that focuses on the recovery of men. As a result, all of the inpatient addiction treatment programs at Little Creek Recovery are for men only.
We here at Little Creek Recovery do offer outpatient treatment programs for both men and women though. The types of co-ed outpatient addiction treatment programs that we offer at Little Creek Recovery include partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient programs.
Here at Little Creek Lodge, we understand that there are different types of substances that people can develop addictions to. Therefore, we offer addiction treatment programs at our facility that are specialized by substance. This means that individuals can receive specialized addiction treatment for substances such as alcohol, cocaine, and more.
Our men-only inpatient addiction treatment programs here at Little Creek Lodge are in a supportive and structured environment. Throughout all of our addiction treatment programs, we focus on a 12-step philosophy in conjunction with reality-based therapies. That way our residents can treat their bodies, minds, and souls.
We also make it a priority here at Little Creek Lodge to help our residents accept their diagnoses and learn how to ask for help when it’s needed. We make these two things a priority because we know that acceptance and the ability to ask for help are two things that are often hard for men to do.
Ultimately, by going through our addiction treatment programs here at Little Creek Lodge, our goal is for all of our residents to get to a place mentally, physically, and spiritually where they can sustain sobriety long-term. To learn more about Little Creek Recovery and the various addiction treatment programs and services that we offer, contact us today! We would love to hear from you!