Cocaine abuse, addiction, and dependency
Every year, we witness tens of thousands of deaths due to overdose and visits to the ER that are associated with cocaine abuse, addiction, or dependency. The drug is on the DEA’s current list of the primary drug threats in the US while the healthcare industry sees the drug and its potential for addiction as a serious public health threat. Most addiction treatment and recovery centers in the US feature cocaine rehab programs so that individuals can get the professional help they need and return to living a substance-free life.
Cocaine side effects
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant and exhibits a high potential for abuse, addiction, and dependency. The initial effects of the drug will last from 10 to 15 minutes depending on the individual and how they respond to the drug. Whenever you use cocaine, will experience at least 4 side effects:
- competent feelings and sexual arousal
- euphoric feelings and extreme well-being
- increased levels of energy and motor activities
The more common side effects of cocaine use include anxiety, paranoia, and restlessness. However, the more extreme cases will see an individual experience convulsions, elevated body temperature, and tremors. Certain health problems will also arise when cocaine abuse, addiction, or dependency becomes severe. Elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, hallucinations, and tachycardia are common after prolonged cocaine abuse.
The mechanism of cocaine
Granted, cocaine works on the central nervous system just like most stimulants do. But what is important is understanding how cocaine affects the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that is naturally produced in the brain, the production of which is stimulated by cocaine use which creates the euphoric effect that cocaine users typically experience. Cocaine works by preventing dopamine reuptake, which in turn intensifies the pleasure signals that the chemical produces.
5 things to look for
In addition to how cocaine affects the brain, there are certain warning signs that indicate when a person has a problem with cocaine. These include:
- Behavioral issues – when an individual is suffering from cocaine abuse, there are noticeable changes in their behavior which includes:
- being overly talkative
- changes in one’s demeanor
- erratic mood swings
- having panic attacks
- suffering with paranoia
- Drug use paraphernalia – cocaine is a drug that can be injected, smoked (in crack form), or “snorted” (inhaled). Over time and as the person’s problems become more apparent, drug use paraphernalia designed for cocaine use will start showing up in the home. This may include razor blades, storage vials, and cut up straws if they are snorting the drug. If they are smoking it in crack form, glass pipes are a common piece of paraphernalia. Finally, if they are injecting cocaine you may find needles and syringes, spoons, and items used as tourniquets such as cords or belts.
- Financial problems – cocaine addiction is not cheap. When an individual becomes dependent on the drug, whatever spare cash they have, they will spend on obtaining more of the drug. Their bank accounts get depleted and the person will make excuses as to why. In most cases, the reasons they give you won’t add up or make any sense.
- Leaving the house at all hours of the night – one of the patterns that develops when an individual is abusing cocaine or has developed a dependency on it is that they will start getting late night phone calls from so-called friends. In reality, it is most likely their supplier calling to let them know they have some for sale. If the individual has leave when people are still awake in the house, they will have made up an excuse for why they are leaving at all hours of the evening.
- Physiological warning signs – there are numerous warning signs that the individual displays physically whenever they are having a cocaine problem, whether it is abuse, addiction, or dependency. These include constant bloody noses, dilated or pinpoint pupils, loss of appetite, runny and sniffing nose, and sudden unexplainable weight loss.
Getting professional help
The professional staff of drug rehab specialists at the Freedom Center are extremely knowledgeable about cocaine abuse, addiction, and dependency and how cocaine affects the brain. A simple assessment interview will enable us to customize a program that will effectively address your personal and clinical needs so that you can overcome your problems with cocaine and get back to living a normal life.