Cocaine is a highly addictive illegal drug that can be very difficult to quit without attending a professional treatment program. Addiction research shows that cocaine causes surges in dopamine that begin to drain the brain’s natural supply of this important chemical. This process is what fuels the cycle that keeps people using cocaine. Without help, cocaine addiction only gets worse — and can be deadly. According to the CDC, last year saw a 26.5% increase in cocaine overdose deaths. If you or a loved one is abusing cocaine, it’s a serious and dangerous problem. Learn about the signs of cocaine abuse and what cocaine addiction treatment is like.

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction side effects can be physical or behavioral. Because the drug is so addictive, it can quickly become your sole focus. Your family, job, finances, and health suffer the consequences.

Common signs of an addiction to cocaine include:

  • Financial issues
  • Work or school challenges
  • Feelings of guilt after using cocaine
  • Inability to cut back or quit cocaine
  • Obsessive thoughts about cocaine
  • Increase in cocaine use
  • Paranoid thinking
  • Memory loss, confusion, and other cognitive issues
  • Rapid speech
  • Uncharacteristic risk taking
  • Dishonesty
  • Criminal activity
  • Poor judgment and decision making
  • Mood fluctuations
  • Anger and irritability
  • Violence
  • Frequent nose bleeds

Cocaine abusers also often experience a “crash” after a cocaine binge that leaves them depressed or anxious.

Effects of Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant. It enters the bloodstream and has alarming effects on your brain. Crack cocaine can last from several minutes to a few hours, depending on the amount you use and method of use — snorting, smoking, or injecting.

Cocaine is a stimulant that increases your heart rate and blood pressure by restricting blood vessels. In some cases, cocaine has increased the heart rate so much that the cocaine user experiences cardiac arrest. This dangerous effect of crack and cocaine can happen on first use of the drug or after years of cocaine abuse. Some people have died after their first use, others have used cocaine for years before suddenly dying — even with no change in the amount they use.

The short-term and long-term effects of cocaine dependence or abuse may include:

  • Euphoria
  • Increase in energy
  • Increase or decrease in mental alertness
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Decrease in sleep
  • Blood vessel constriction
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heart irregularities
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased body temperature
  • Muscle twitches
  • Balance issues
  • Panic attacks
  • Hallucinations
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Erratic behavior
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations (audio and visual)
  • Restlessness
  • Cocaine overdose
  • HIV and other infectious diseases from injecting with dirty needles.

How Do You Treat Cocaine Addiction?

Cocaine users are affected psychologically, emotionally, and physically by continued use of the drug. Cocaine addiction treatment must address all of these issues. The first step in cocaine recovery is eliminating the substance from your body and starting to correct chemical imbalances from the drug. Following detox, inpatient or outpatient treatment helps you explore triggers and learn healthy coping skills.

Medical Detox

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms aren’t as severe as alcohol or heroin, but it should never be attempted without medical help. Withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, and you may experience intense cocaine cravings, making it difficult to refrain from using. Some addiction treatment centers use propranolol, which can reduce cocaine cravings. It’s a beta-blocker medication designed for angina which has shown results in helping anxiety and stress.

If you’re abusing more than one substance, such as cocaine and alcohol, detox will be much more complex and dangerous. It’s imperative you undergo detox and withdrawal in a medical facility or addiction treatment center.

Cocaine has a “dormant” quality that can stay in the physical system for months, even years. It is imperative that following detox, you work on the psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual challenges behind drug use. This helps you refrain from using cocaine when you have cravings for it.

Behavioral Therapy

Treatment for cocaine addiction usually involves a combination of individual therapy and group therapy. Many drug and alcohol rehab centers use addiction treatment approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). These therapeutic modalities help you:

  • Identify triggers and unhealthy thought patterns.
  • Learn how to change thoughts and behaviors that fuel substance abuse.
  • Find your own motivation for change and set goals.
  • Develop healthy coping skills.

Behavioral health professionals will help you address the underlying reasons behind substance abuse. Sometimes people with addictions abuse drugs and alcohol to numb emotional pain, anxiety, and depression that may stem from:

  • Co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Trauma and PTSD
  • Dysfunctional family dynamics
  • Grief and loss
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor coping skills

Relapse Prevention Training

An important part of alcohol and drug addiction treatment is relapse-prevention training. Cocaine has occupied a large part of your life. You must find activities to fill the space left by drugs and learn healthy ways to cope with triggers. Preventing relapse means following a continuing care plan and putting into practice what you learned in drug rehab. Common relapse-prevention practices include:

  • Attending individual therapy and/or group therapy
  • Participating in 12-step programs like Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
  • Having a sponsor
  • Regular exercise
  • Taking psychiatric medications as prescribed
  • Healthy hobbies
  • Involvement in treatment center alumni groups
  • Building a sober network of peers
  • Participating in recovery coaching
  • Staying in a sober living residence if your home environment is not healthy

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

About half of people with addictions also have at least one mental illness diagnosis according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This is called a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. People with mental health disorders may be using drugs and alcohol as a way to self-medicate their psychiatric symptoms. For instance, a depressed person may use cocaine to make them feel more “up,” or an anxious person may drink alcohol to calm their nerves. In reality, abusing drugs and alcohol only make these problems worse.

Effective treatment of cocaine abuse will include a psychiatric evaluation. If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or other conditions, a psychiatrist may prescribe medications to help you manage those symptoms. When your mental health symptoms are better controlled, you may feel less of a pull to use drugs and alcohol to self-soothe difficult feelings.

Does Insurance Cover Cocaine Addiction Treatment?

There is a good chance that your insurance will pay for treatment fully or partially. Most insurances are required to cover behavioral health conditions the same way they cover medical conditions. The best way to determine your coverage for inpatient treatment or an outpatient treatment program is to call us for a free insurance benefits check. Our treatment advisors will work directly with your insurance company to determine your benefits for substance use disorder treatment. We’ll make sure you understand your coverage and any out-of-pocket costs.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Vogue Recovery

Cocaine addiction treatment at Vogue Recovery Center blends the latest in addiction medicine with a multidisciplinary approach to provide a customized, goal-oriented experience. We consider your family history, life events, unique stress factors, relationship challenges, and individual patterns and preferences to design a customized treatment plan that meets your personal needs. Loved ones can be involved in treatment if you choose through our family program or family therapy.

We provide a full continuum of care that includes:

Addiction recovery is possible. Call us today to take the first step to a better life.

References

  1. https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/cocaine
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p1218-overdose-deaths-covid-19.html
  3. https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/rrcomorbidity.pdf
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6387265/
  5. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-are-some-ways-cocaine-changes-brain
  6. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-76182-3