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Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is a powerful short-acting stimulant drug produced from the coca plant. It’s known to produce sensations of energy and euphoria, and is very addictive with an increased risk for abuse.

About

Cocaine is commonly snorted, smoked, or injected. Chronic use of cocaine may lead to cardiovascular difficulties, infections, and other problems caused by injection drug use. Cocaine is an illicit drug in most countries and is considered to have no medical use.

Symptoms

The most common signs of cocaine abuse are the strong desires or increased need for the drug. If you have persistent thoughts about cocaine, are regularly taking it and going to extreme lengths to get it, you might have a cocaine problem. Other symptoms of cocaine abuse and addiction happen when the drug begins to have a negative influence on the user’s life. This can result in an interference with your job or school and problems with relationships. Other leading signs include:
  • A desire to increase the dosage
  • Mild withdrawal symptoms when the high wears off
  • Difficulty with stopping use of the drug
  • Using the drug frequently and using more of it
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Constriction of blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Headache
  • Malnourishment
  • Severe paranoia
  • Psychiatric problems
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Seizure
  • Sudden death
Withdrawal symptoms usually include:
  • Fatigue
  • Troubling dreams
  • Insomnia/hypersomnia
  • Increase in appetite
  • Delayed motor skills

Causes

  • Genetic: It has been known that cocaine abuse runs in families. Individuals who have a first degree relative with a substance use disorder are at an increased risk for developing the disorder as well.
  • Brain Chemicals: There is evidence that multiple exposures to cocaine can result to distortion in certain genes that change the levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is related with the rush that is experienced when an individual takes cocaine. This rush is what is commonly responsible for the addiction process.
  • Brain Structures:  Specific structures and areas of the brain such as the amygdala and prefrontal cortex have been linked to drug cravings including cocaine cravings.
  • Effects of the Pleasure Centers of the Brain: Cocaine has been shown to have negative effects on the brain’s pleasure center by leading it to stop responding to naturally occurring pleasure related stimuli.

Treatment

Cocaine addiction is more psychological than physical, treatment for cocaine addictions focuses on changing the mind of the addict. As the draw to use this drug is so powerful, treatment at an inpatient cocaine rehab center is often the most effective way to overcome a cocaine addiction. Cocaine withdrawal does not cause severe physical symptoms, but various mental and emotional problems can happen including:

  • Anxiety
  • Feeling agitated or restless
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Chronic headaches
Cocaine rehab centers assist you with the psychological symptoms while stopping drug use, while teaching you skills to avoid further abuse. Treating a cocaine addiction revolves around interrupting and redirecting the thoughts and actions that are found when using and abusing the drug. Cocaine rehab programs supply individual and group therapies aimed to assist you in figuring out why you started abusing the drug in the first place. Once you admit and examine the cause of your cocaine addiction, rehab program staff can help you learn new techniques of handling those feelings without turning to drugs.