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Cocaine Addiction

A brief yet powerful rush of exhilaration and euphoria followed quickly by a crash. That’s not just how we picture cocaine use, it’s based in reality and the effects that a simple plant derivative can have are simultaneously amazing and terrifying. That’s what cocaine is after all: a fast-acting stimulant made from the leaves of the coca plant.

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An Introduction to Cocaine Addiction

Plainly speaking, cocaine causes a dopamine buildup in the brain which leads to that quick blast of euphoria and the desire to take it again. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) adds that the “flood of dopamine in the brain’s reward circuit strongly reinforces drug-taking behaviors, because the reward circuit eventually adapts to the excess of dopamine caused by cocaine, and becomes less sensitive to it”.

Fleeting and intensely addictive, cocaine is a drug that nearly 15% of those 12 and older have tried at some point in their life and 2% of whom have tried it within the past year. Overall, there are in the neighborhood of 2.2 million regular users of cocaine in the US and nearly half have a use disorder.

Between 2013 and 2018 the rate of drug overdose deaths involving cocaine tripled, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While marijuana is also a natural plant, the devastation that cocaine causes is clearly in a different league. Similarly as well to cannabis, cocaine has a legitimate medicinal value and usage. Chewed by societies in South America for millennia, it was only “discovered” by explorers a few centuries ago. By the 1800’s it was shown to be an excellent local anesthetic, before it was found to be as wildly addictive as we now know it to be. These days, while still used as local anesthesia, it’s very limited in scope.

The high potential for abuse with the possibility of developing a severe psychological or physical dependence is why the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies it as a Schedule II drug.

The bulk majority of cocaine use nowadays is in the form of the illicit street drug and can be taken in a number of ways:

  • Orally – Rubbing cocaine on the gums
  • Intranasally – Snorting the powder
  • Intravenously – Injecting it straight into the vein after dissolving it in water
  • Inhalation – Smoking it

The method of intake does indeed make a difference with NIDA pointing out that “injecting or smoking cocaine produces a quicker and stronger but shorter-lasting high than snorting. The high from snorting cocaine may last 15 to 30 minutes. The high from smoking may last 5 to 10 minutes”.

While dangerous on its own, cocaine is rarely something taken in its purest form. Because recreational use is very much illegal, there are no standards or regulations on cocaine, so as a way to further increase profits, drug dealers will cut cocaine with other substances. “Cut” in this case means to mix or fill and it can be anything from the pedestrian and safe, like cornstarch, talcum powder or flour to other drugs like amphetamines, other anesthetics or really anything else that blends in.

To add insult to potentially life-threatening injury, cocaine is an extraordinarily expensive habit and addiction to maintain with a 10-year addiction estimated to cost roughly $225,000. In other words, a quarter of a million dollars.

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Cocaine Withdrawal

The quick high and euphoric feel is something cocaine users chase resulting in both physical and mental dependency and addiction. Just as quickly as the high hits, it seems to fade away leading to a crash and the relatively quick onset of withdrawal symptoms if the user doesn’t take more. 

The symptoms are:

  • Depression
  • Increased appetite
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Powerful nightmares
  • Chills and tremors
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Restlessness and insomnia
  • Intense cravings
  • Difficulty concentrating and slower thinking
  • Muscle aches
  • Suicidal thoughts

Given how unpleasant those symptoms can be, and how quickly they start, it’s incredibly tough for a person to come off of cocaine on their own and the withdrawal symptoms can linger for longer than a month.

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At Thrive Treatment℠ we accept most private insurance plans and we are in network with Cigna, MHN Health Net, First Health, and Anthem Blue Cross.  Additional payment options are available so don’t hesitate to give us a call so we can get you the help that you need.

What Are the Signs of Cocaine Addiction?

Whether it’s you or a loved one that has problematic usage, in moments of clarity the question of “am I addicted to cocaine?” has no doubt crept in. Recognizing what cocaine abuse and addiction look like is the preliminary step in moving towards getting cocaine addiction help because you can’t solve a problem unless you’re able to name and understand it.

Things to look out for that would clue you in on a problem are:

  • Being awake for extended periods of time, sleep patterns drastically altered
  • Dilated pupils
  • White powder on nostrils or around the mouth (if taken orally or nasally)
  • Burn marks on hands or lips (if being smoked)
  • Overly confident, excited and/or energetic
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Overly talkative
  • Financial issues
  • Unable to maintain work, school, home or family responsibilities
  • Resorting to criminal behavior to get money for cocaine
  • Spending more and more time focused on getting and doing cocaine
  • Building a tolerance and needing ever-larger amounts of cocaine to achieve the same high
  • Losing interest in once pleasurable and enjoyable activities
  • Increasingly risky and reckless behavior
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using

They don’t sneak up on you, symptoms of cocaine addiction – and addiction in general – are often happening right in front of your eyes. You just need to be able to call a spade a spade. Additionally, there are long term health issues that build up related to the specific ways in which cocaine is consumed:

  • If Snorting – Constantly running nose, nosebleeds, loss of smell, problems swallowing, nasal septum perforation.
  • If Smoking – Respiratory issues and general distress, asthma, elevated risk of pneumonia and the like.
  • If Taking Orally – Intestinal problems like bowel decay from reduced blood flow and potentially life-threatening issues like gangrene of the bowel. 
  • If Injecting – The risk for contracting bloodborne diseases increases dramatically the longer you are taking drugs via injection, which includes elevated risk for HIV, hep C and more as well as skin infections and destruction of veins.
Cocaine Addiction

Thrive Treatment's Benzos Rehab in Los Angeles Can Help

Benzodiazepine addiction treatment starts with the decision and commitment to take your life back from the clutches of substance abuse. Detox is the next major step in the process. As you’re slowly working your way off of the physical dependency on benzos, it’s equally important to work through the mental side of addiction as well. That’s where we come in.

At Thrive Treatment our dedicated team, lead by our Medical Director who is board-certified in Addiction Medicine and our Psychiatrist who is board-certified in both General and Addiction Psychiatry, works with you to understand your addiction and from there create a custom, personalized program. There’s no such thing as a one size fits all solution here.

Through a combination of modern and traditional therapeutic methods, we help you identify the basis of your addiction. With individual and group therapy sessions you’ll learn new ways to control your thoughts and how to cope with triggers healthily.

Get in touch with us now too and let us help you beat benzos.

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