A Brief Introduction to Cocaine and Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug, powerful and illegal. While it has limited medical purposes, most people use it recreationally. On the street, cocaine appears as a fine white powder or small chunks known as “crack cocaine.” Drug dealers often mix the drug with powder such as flour so they can make more profits. This is called “cutting” or “stepping on” the drug. Some sellers also mix it with other synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl. This is particularly dangerous because it increases the risk of overdose. Cocaine addiction is a serious and possibly deadly condition.
How is Cocaine Used?
There are many ways individuals can use cocaine. With the powder form, it’s common to snort it or rub it on the gums. The powder can also be dissolved and then injected directly into the bloodstream. Similarly, some addicts combine cocaine with heroin and inject it. People call this combination of cocaine and heroin a “speedball.”
Another popular way to use cocaine is to smoke, or “freebase” it. First, the dealer or the user make the powder into a crack cocaine “rock.” This is a crystalized form of the drug ready for smoking. Individuals inhale the vapors into their lungs. The name “crack” comes from the crackling sound the rock makes when it gets hot. Some people also choose to sprinkle crack on cigarettes or marijuana and smoke it that way.
Signs of Cocaine Addiction
When someone uses cocaine the effects on the body come on quickly and can last anywhere from a few minutes up to an hour. The intensity of the drug depends on the method of ingestion. For example, injecting and smoking it creates a faster high with strong effects, but don’t last as long. The high may subside in as quick as five to ten minutes. When it’s snorted, however, the high can last fifteen to thirty minutes. Cocaine can help people feel like they can handle physical and mental tasks quickly. Using large amounts of cocaine often causes bizarre and violent behavior.
Signs of Cocaine Addiction:
- Increased Alertness
- Extra energy/doesn’t need sleep
- OR seems to “crash” and sleep for days
- Fast talking or thinking
- Dilated (big) pupils
- Fast heart rate or high blood pressure
- Paranoia or distrust
- Obsessively looking for items
Long Term Cocaine Addiction Effects
Long-term cocaine addiction effects also impact users. These effects differ based on how an individual uses the drug. For those who snort cocaine, they lose their sense of smell and suffer from frequent nosebleeds and runny noses. They may also have problems swallowing and can suffer from a deviated septum. Those that smoke cocaine may suffer from a constant cough and respiratory distress such as asthma and pneumonia. While those who ingest cocaine through their mouth often have problems with their bowels. Frequently their bowels decay because of the reduction in blood flow. Those who use needles and inject cocaine have a much higher risk of contracting diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C. They may get other blood borne diseases or infections in their soft tissue. These users suffer from collapsed veins and scarring on their skin.
Another long-term symptom of cocaine use are movement disorders. After prolonged use, an individual can get Parkinson’s disease. This disease may not show itself for many years after use. Those who inject the drug are not the only ones susceptible to contracting HIV. Cocaine impairs the judgment of the user and they are more likely to engage in risky behavior such as unprotected sex without considering the consequences.W
What Happens When Someone Overdoses on Cocaine?
Someone can overdose on cocaine the first time they use it. It is possible to die from a cocaine overdose. Other health risks that might occur during an overdose are irregular heartbeat, heart attack, stroke, or seizures. Additional, an individual might have trouble breathing during an overdose. They may hallucinate, become extremely anxious, or become incredibly agitated. Their blood pressure and body temperature might also increase. An overdose is a serious medical concern and requires immediate emergency treatment. In the event of an overdose, first responders or those in an emergency room will work to stop any seizures that are occurring and attempt to restore blood flow to the heart or brain.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment
Cocaine treatment is out there, no matter the circumstances there is help available. However, it works best if the person with the cocaine addiction wants cocaine treatment. Overcoming cocaine addiction is challenging and requires constant work. But it is possible. The individual first needs to detox to get all of the drugs out of his or her system. Then, they can enter an inpatient or outpatient treatment facility. To date, there are no medications available for the treatment of cocaine addiction. However, that doesn’t mean that supportive medications and tools aren’t available.
The individual should participate in therapy sessions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. They should also have motivational incentives, so they receive rewards for remaining drug free. Patients should develop a contingency plan for what they plan to do when things become overly challenging and they contemplate relapse. The odds of success increase when there’s a healthy outlet for individuals. For more information on cocaine addiction treatment, click here to view our various forms of treatment options. If you or a loved one are ready to get help for cocaine addiction, you can contact us anytime.