Cocaine abuse is a significant issue in America and because of its potency, persistent use can lead to dependence, addiction, and even death. Because cocaine is a chemical substance that alters the function of the brain’s neurotransmitters, people react to taking the drug in very different ways. For this reason, someone can suffer serious and sometimes fatal consequences whether it’s the first time they’ve used or the 100th.
Cocaine is classed as a stimulant that can have significant long-term effects that can eventually result in permanent damage. The drug also causes the user to experience short-term effects which are more noticeable to others including increased energy levels, loss of appetite, increased heart rate and blood pressure. However, there are now several cocaine addiction treatment options available to people struggling with dependence an addiction.
Cocaine is a fast-acting drug that takes effect after about five minutes of snorting, smoking or injecting, lasting for around 35 minutes. Because of the “quick fix” nature of cocaine and the fact that it boosts energy levels in the user to the extent that they feel invincible, it is exceptionally compelling. Users can quickly become more dependent on cocaine’s effects rather than the drug itself.
When someone takes cocaine back-to-back so as to maintain the high feeling, they risk serious health consequences the longer they use the drug. Because of the user’s heightened sense of achievement and productivity when taking cocaine, they are likely to be attracted to continue taking the drug. The main health risk with this type of behavior is that the body’s tolerance to cocaine progressively increases the more the drug is used. This results in users seeking higher doses and making dangerous life choice in order to obtain them.
Appetite suppression is an effect of cocaine use that can be very damaging over time. Vital vitamins and minerals can be lost through poor nutrition and this can be detrimental to an individual’s overall well-being. When someone has maintained a poor diet for a period of time, they are likely to be susceptible to viral infections and other diseases and if they spend time in unhealthy environments, this risk is increased.
Going without regular nutrition can result in the following:
- Serious weight loss
- Tooth decay
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease and stroke
- Type-2 diabetes
- Some cancers
It is not uncommon for cocaine to be used to maintain a low body weight, particularly within the fashion industry. However, if this behavior is repeated over a prolonged period of time it can easily lead to dependence and addiction. An individual who is using the drug in this way is likely to look exceptionally gaunt and underweight although their issues are much more likely to be driven by a mental illness such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
Cocaine Dependence vs. Addiction
Many people are unaware of the distinction between cocaine dependence and addiction, although, in fairness, it can be difficult to discern. Addiction, which is the compulsive use of substances in the face of harmful consequences, is defined by the following psychological symptoms:
- An inability to control the frequency and volume of cocaine use or quit using
- Continued cocaine use despite the negative consequences on the individual’s life
- At times overwhelming cravings for cocaine
- Obsessive or compulsive thoughts about cocaine
Physical dependence, on the other hand, is more physical in nature and develops as the body adapts to regular cocaine use. One of the main signs of cocaine dependence is withdrawal if the individual suddenly stops using the drug. Although physical dependence on cocaine is not the same thing as addiction, the two often go hand-in-hand.
Getting Cocaine Addiction Treatment
No matter how severe an individual’s cocaine dependency or addiction, there is help available to them. However, overcoming abuse of a drug as potent as cocaine is not without its challenges. The main reason for the additional complexities of treating mind-altering substances like cocaine is because of the damage they do to a person’s psyche. When the brain is continually forced into an artificial state of alertness that cocaine induces, the negative effects have the potential to be long-lasting.
Because of our improved understanding of cocaine addiction, there are several cocaine addiction treatment paths available to individuals seeking to overcome their illness. The holistic approach has been shown to be particularly effective in cocaine addiction rehab because it addresses an individual’s emotional, physical and psychological needs with natural therapies. Ancient practices such as yoga, massage therapy, and meditation can be used to reduce withdrawal symptoms during detox and cocaine addiction rehab and in recovery as coping mechanisms against relapse.
Although cocaine is a drug that can have a significant grip on an individual, the right kind of cocaine rehab process can help them overcome their illness and enjoy a happy drug-free life. Therapy sessions as part of the cocaine rehab process are available to both the patient and their families to enable them to find a path towards recovery from cocaine dependence and addiction as a cohesive unit.