The discussion surrounding substance abuse and addiction is very often limited to drugs, such as prescription painkillers and other opioids like heroin that are making national headlines.
In truth though, illicit stimulants like cocaine addiction continue to be a problem for many Americans.
A 2018 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that cocaine-related deaths more almost doubled from 2014 to 2016, resulting in more than 11,000 fatalities.
Cocaine use is on the rise in part because many users who are addicted to heroin or other opiates are using cocaine to offset the effects of the opioids.
To compound matters, some of the cocaine supply that is entering the United States contains fentanyl, a powerful opioid that is the catalyst for many of the overdose-related deaths.
At Pure Recovery, we understand the distress that addiction, in whatever form, can cause in an individual’s personal, professional and family life.
Our evidence-based approaches to recovery, along with our holistic wellness plans and neuroscience driven treatment provide a supportive foundation for clients struggling to overcome an addiction to cocaine.
Why is Cocaine so Addictive?
Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant that releases a surge of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure, stronger than the body can naturally produce on its own.
With continued use, high levels of dopamine rewire a person’s brain, making it incredibly difficult to experience pleasure without a continued supply of the stimulant.
Cocaine, often referred to as “coke,” can come in “rock” form, as in crack cocaine, or a fine white powder. People ingest the drug in a number of different ways, the most common generally being:
- Snorting powder cocaine
- Smoking either “rock” cocaine or the powder itself
- Intravenous injections of the drug
Because cocaine increases a person’s energy and feelings of happiness, many who use it regularly often consider it a harmless “party drug.”
Its temporary uplifting effect, however, is one reason people find themselves continuing to use cocaine as a way to manage day-to-day stress or to self-medicate to cope with the symptoms of depression or anxiety.
Like other addictive drugs, people who regularly use cocaine quickly develop a tolerance and have to use more of the drug just to maintain a level of dopamine that will keep them from physically and mentally “crashing.”
Anyone can develop a cocaine addiction. Whether or not a person gets hooked right away often depends on how much they use in a given timeframe, as well as the way they ingest the drug.
There is no safe way to use cocaine for long periods of time without running the risk of addiction.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction?
The experts at Pure Recovery know addiction very often develops and takes hold before a person even realizes they have a problem. This is especially true with cocaine addiction. What was once just a “good time” can easily turn into a regular habit.
In a lot of cases, the signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction can show up early and be a signal to concerned friends and family members that their loved one may be struggling a cocaine dependency.
Early signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction can include some of the following:
- No longer hanging out with people or participating in activities that they once enjoyed. Very often this includes a set of new friends who are unfamiliar to family members
- Overly talkative or continually hyperactive behavior, with an inability to sit still
- Sleeping very little or consistently staying out into the early hours of the morning, despite school, work or other responsibilities the next day
- Always asking to borrow money or consistently experiencing financial problems
- Severe mood swings, ranging from overly agitated to completely depressed
- Lack of focus resulting in poor work or school performance
- Dilated pupils
The early signs of cocaine addiction are easily overlooked because they may or may not be related to other problems.
However, the presence of two or more of the above issues should necessitate a discussion with that person about what they might be going through and whether or not they need help.
Combined with the early signs, the symptoms of advanced cocaine addiction are much more evident and serious. These can include:
- Cocaine paraphernalia visible in their car, purse, pockets, bathrooms, or dresser drawers. These include razor blades, straws, rolled dollar bills, and mirrors – all containing white powder
- Traces of the cocaine around a person’s nose, on clothing or on nearby surfaces
- A continually runny nose, nosebleeds, teeth grinding or rotating one’s jaw back and forth without seeming to notice
- Extreme weight loss or gain. Some cocaine users find it difficult to eat, while others will binge-eat to ease the effect of the stimulant as it wears off
- Open sores around the nose and mouth, or needle marks on the arm, legs or in between toes
- Stealing items of value from friends and loved ones
- Isolating themselves from friends and loved ones, especially during periods of extreme anxiety and depression
These are clear signs that a person is struggling with a physical and mental dependency to cocaine.
Without treatment, cocaine addiction can send a seemingly healthy, normal person into a spiral that includes abusing other drugs, losing their job, being estranged from family, becoming homeless and eventually on a path to early death.
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms and Treatment
Withdrawal from cocaine addiction is rarely life threatening. However, it can be extremely uncomfortable and painful, which is why people who have developed an addiction often continue to take it or abuse other drugs.
The symptoms of cocaine withdrawal can start immediately after last use of the stimulant and last for a week to 10 days.
The most common cocaine withdrawal symptoms include some of the following:
- Physical cravings for cocaine
- Chills, sweats and body aches
- Restlessness, exhaustion and fatigue
- Little to no appetite
- Issues sleeping, from nightmares to insomnia
- Trouble concentrating
- Depression, anxiety and paranoia
- Suicidal thoughts or ideations
At Pure Recovery, our main objective is to provide a medically supervised detox for our clients so they can move through this difficult process in the safest, most comfortable way possible.
Only after a person successfully completes detox can they begin the path to recovery from cocaine addiction.
Our expert team of addiction doctors and therapists customize the evidence-based recovery programs to each of our client’s unique needs and challenges.
We offer 30 and 60-day residential programs as well as a 90-day inpatient recovery program that is considered the “gold standard” in the industry.
For those with addiction combined with a mental health issue like PTSD, depression or anxiety, our dual diagnosis treatment program explores the root causes of all issues to ensure a plan for proper healing and successful recovery.
In addition to our neuroscience addiction treatment and holistic wellness treatments, healthier living through exercise, nutrition and mindfulness training, we use therapies proven successful for recovery from cocaine addiction, including:
- Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
- Dual Diagnosis Treatment
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Behavior Modification
- Brain Imaging
- Biofeedback Cognitive Programs
- Relapse Prevention
Pure Recovery is specifically designed to support clients suffering from traumatic brain injury, as well as other types of injuries.
Our goal is to help each person overcome the disease addiction and live a full, productive life in recovery by healing the brain, body and the spirit.