Above It All Treatment Center provides that freedom to those who struggle with all kinds of substance abuse issues, including addiction to cocaine but also alcohol, meth, opiates and all kinds of prescription and street drugs. Drug addiction is one of the most common public health problem in the U.S. Our dual diagnosis facility also helps individuals facing co-occurring mental health disorders. Our mission is to help those battling a crack cocaine addiction develop the skills they need to maintain sobriety over the long run. Hope and healing are here for you—but first, it is helpful to understand exactly what you are up against.
Understanding Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine is a stimulant, and those who ingest it do so in a number of ways. Cocaine can be snorted through the nose, dissolved in water and then injected into the vein, or even injected just under the skin, in a process called “skin popping.” Cocaine can also be ingested by way of a pipe, something that is most common with “crack” cocaine.
Like so many dangerous and addictive drugs, cocaine works on the pleasure centers of the brain, specifically increasing production of dopamine. This leads to a “high” feeling, but before long it grows all but impossible to achieve further highs, or to experience any kind of happiness or peace of mind at all, without the aid of increasingly large doses of cocaine. It rewires the brain, and can create strong physical and mental dependence.
Signs of Cocaine Use and Addiction
There are different signs of cocaine addiction in a friend or loved one. Because snorting is the most common form of cocaine ingestion, you can be alert to some of the physical effects of taking cocaine through the nose—including:
- Lost sense of smell
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Chronically runny nose
- Difficulty swallowing
More broadly, cocaine can impact individuals in a number of ways. Some behaviors of a cocaine addict include restlessness, anxiety, irritability and paranoia. Additionally, cocaine can lead to a number of common health problems—among them:
- Heart problems, including heart attacks
- Respiratory problems/ respiratory failure
- Strokes and other problems of the nervous system
- Problems of the digestive system
- Major infections of the skin
- Major allergic reactions
For those who use cocaine by way of the needle, the possibility of other serious infections is also possible—including HIV. Cocaine use can ultimately be fatal, but there is no one for whom cocaine addiction recovery is not possible with the right clinical intervention and ongoing, supportive care. We seek to offer these things at Above It All.
Above It All has proper staff in place to help ease symptoms, monitor health, and provide support for what can be a very challenging time. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Vivid and unpleasant dreams
How to Help a Loved one with Cocaine Addiction
If you have a loved one who is struggling with cocaine addiction, the first step is to know that it is not your responsibility to “fix” anyone, nor force anyone into cocaine addiction treatment. Your job is to offer love, support and encouragement, but also to candidly express your concern. Let your loved one know that you care about them and are ultimately worried about their health. Suggest a cocaine detox center to them, and let them know you will be there to support them at every step of the way. Remember as you do so that addiction is a mental health disorder, not a choice; it can adversely affect a person’s behavior, but it is important to remember that this is the disease
Ultimately, your goal should be to help your loved one seek clinical cocaine dependence treatment through a center like Above It All, then to provide your ongoing support and encouragement as they continue down their recovery journey. Our interventionists and substance abuse treatment specialists can assist you in encouraging your loved one to get the help that they need for cocaine withdrawal treatment.
Recovering from Cocaine Addiction
Our mission at Above It All Treatment Center is to provide a pathway to lasting sobriety. Our evidence-based approach encourages clients to awaken to their own self-worth, and to seriously commit themselves to self-recovery in our cocaine detox center. Our methods have been proven to be effective. We believe that this hope is available for all. If you or someone you know is battling cocaine addiction, we encourage you to contact our cocaine treatment center today.
Physical and Mental Effects of Cocaine Addiction
A chronic cocaine user will experience several physical and mental effects. These include damage to the blood vessels, which can result in a stroke or heart attack; aggressive behavior, heightened anxiety, depression, and paranoia. You may also experience malnutrition from lack of appetite. Every person responds to cocaine use differently but generally speaking, cocaine adversely affects the brain, heart, and immune system. You are in danger of damage to your mind and body whether you use just once or over and over.
There are different methods to ingest cocaine, which causes separate side effects. Snorting cocaine creates nosebleeds and constricts blood flow to the septum. Smoking crack cocaine damages the lungs and instigates problems with your respiratory system. And, injecting cocaine leads to health risks like hepatitis or HIV due to unsterile, shared needles. These side effects only begin to cover the toll cocaine takes on the body. It is an unpredictable drug and every use puts you at risk for serious side effects.
Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use
Side effects of long-term use include panic attacks, paranoia, hallucinations, and other psychological effects. Cocaine also causes increased stress on the brain, heart, and other organs. A person becomes more susceptible to heart attacks or coma due to long-term use.
Continual use of cocaine creates an imbalance in the brain that cannot be easily reversed. In addition, regular use allows the body to build up a tolerance, which means that more is necessary to achieve the same high as before. This dependent behavior creates an increased risk of overdose because a person will often binge use to achieve the high at a quicker rate.
Addiction is the most serious effect of long-term use because it means you are no longer in control of your body. Addiction is when the physiology makeup of your body changes and you believe you need cocaine to survive. At this stage, it can be difficult to end the cycle of cocaine use, but it’s not impossible. You can overcome addiction with the help of a rehab facility that can provide you with the right type of care and support.
What Causes Addiction to Cocaine?
There is a range of factors that determine how a person will process and react to cocaine. A person’s age, weight, height, and general health play a part in how quickly cocaine is metabolized. A person in their mid-20s, in good health, who has been using cocaine for a month will likely have a far different experience than a person who has been using cocaine for several years. Regardless of how it is processed, the frequency of use is what causes addiction to cocaine.
The more you use, the more you’ll want to use because of how cocaine affects your brain. Eventually, your body will feel like you can’t function without it. Cocaine creates a chemical imbalance in the brain, which is the reason for the changes in behavior that you will experience as well. Once addicted, it’s not as easy as simply choosing to quit. There are withdrawal symptoms that make it easy to relapse and continue the cycle of use. Withdrawal symptoms are painful and uncomfortable. They are your body’s way of trying to “normalize” itself to a state where it’s used to, a state with cocaine in the system. During treatment, the first step is always detoxification. This allows you to slowly wean off the drug, so your body can respond and recalibrate accordingly.