The abuse of cocaine has motivated the efforts to develop more cocaine addiction treatment programs to meet the demand. As with any drug addiction, this is a complex problem that involves biological changes in the brain as well as a myriad of social, familial, and other environmental problems. 

Drug abuse and dependency are major drains on the economy and have cost society a significant amount, economically speaking. Reports say that individuals who abuse or are dependent on illicit drugs, including cocaine, have cost California’s economy close to $200 billion annually. 

two individuals discussing cocaine addiction treatment

With help from residential drug rehab or outpatient program at LA Detox, you can give yourself a chance at a new, healthy and sober lifestyle.

What Is Cocaine? 

Cocaine, also known by the names of coke, crack, blow, snow, and flake, is a drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to countries in South America. Cocaine is classified as a stimulant, meaning it increases the levels of physiological activity in the body’s central nervous system. 

As a drug and substance with highly addictive properties, dependency and addiction can develop quickly, even after only trying it a few times. While recreational use of cocaine in America is illegal, statistics from a report conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), showed that about 15 percent of people in the United States have tried cocaine.

As a result, the majority of men and women who begin to abuse the addictive drug, are most likely to develop polysubstance abuse, where the use of crack, tends to also lead to the use of another type of drug. 

The Effects of Cocaine Use

When someone does cocaine, it produces side effects of euphoria, increased alertness, and energy. The reason is, the drug affects the brain’s neurological pathways, resulting in a person feeling more happy, talkative, and energetic. 

Cocaine provokes the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, to be released within nerve cells in the brain. The drug especially reacts to the dopamine levels rising, which increases concentration, and causes feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. 

The brain being rewarded is what causes dependency and addiction because the body craves the drug with every use. Also, cocaine is an appetite suppressant, reducing one’s desire and need to eat and sleep.  

Those who suffer from cocaine addiction often experience severe paranoia, which is a temporary state of mistrust psychosis. In this state, they lose touch with reality and experience auditory hallucinations (hearing sounds that are not real).

Regardless of how or frequency of use, the dosage increases every time, which not only heightens the risk of dependency and addiction but also, causes major health risks. Common health issues that result from cocaine abuse:

  • Heart attack
  • Respiratory failure
  • Seizure
  • Stroke
  • Digestive problems
  • HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C
  • Infections in the skin
  • Allergic reactions
  • Death
  • Artificially increases dopamine release
  • Prevents dopamine reabsorption

Cocaine users also experience psychological and physical side effects which include the following:

Psychological effects of cocaine addiction:

  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic 
  • Irritability
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Impaired judgment and decision making 
  • Repetitive or abnormal behavior

Physical effects of cocaine addiction include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Nausea
  • Abnormal or unhealthy weight loss 
  • Stomach pains
  • Headaches
  • Chest pains
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Heart attack 
  • Stroke 
  • Seizures

Cocaine abusers typically experience long-term changes in the brain’s reward system and in other areas of the brain. This results in odd or unpredictable behavior toward those around them. Many people become frustrated when tolerance develops. This makes it harder to get high. 

What Causes Cocaine Addiction? 

Cocaine Craving and Addiction

Cocaine produces its psychoactive and addictive effects primarily by acting on the brain’s limbic system, a set of interconnected regions that regulate pleasure and motivation. The drug produces the cocaine high by causing a buildup of dopamine, which results in euphoria and intense drug craving.

In all cases of habitual cocaine addiction, the body builds a tolerance to the drug itself as well as the increased dopamine. Over time, the cocaine addict must use larger amounts of cocaine to achieve the same intensity of the effect.

In other words, cocaine majorly affects your brain, and it’s systems. Especially after repetitive cocaine use, it can alter the areas of the neurological areas associated with memory, pleasure, and decision-making. This is the reason for a person’s sudden changes in mood and risky behavior during drug use. 

When someone is addicted to cocaine, their ability to resist the urge to use is slim, thus, making it exceedingly harder to quit. 

All stimulants such as cocaine act to block the transport of the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. This creates a drug response and physical tolerance, meaning every time one does cocaine, they crave more and more to get the same effect.   

Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction 

There are various signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction to look out for. These include:

  • Inability to stop or reduce using 
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after a period of not using
  • Desire to do cocaine despite the major health risks and complications
  • Cocaine use has caused a decrease in quality of life, and complications with relationships, schooling, and work. 
  • A large amount of cocaine is needed to achieve a high (tolerance has developed)
  • Spending excessive amounts of money on drugs
  • Increased irritability and anxiety
  • Disappearing for binge sessions
  • Stopping activities you once loved

Who Is Most At Risk For Cocaine Addiction? 

Anyone who engages in the use of cocaine is a major risk of becoming dependent and addicted just after one use. This drug, in particular, is extremely potent. Therefore, because it is so strong, the effects it produces entices the body to think of it as a reward and as a result, wants more. 

Everyone is different, and therefore, drugs will have varied effects. There are various risk factors that lead to cocaine addiction which include:

  • Family history of cocaine use and other drug dependence
  • Addiction to other alcohol or drugs
  • Having a mental illness, such as anxiety and depression 

Addiction Liability 

The term addiction liability refers to a drug’s tendency to produce addiction. When comparing the relative addiction liability of cocaine and heroin, cocaine appears to be somewhat more addictive than heroin.

How Is Cocaine Addiction Treated? 

Cocaine Addiction Treatment 

Cocaine addiction is a complex disease, with physical, mental, social, environmental factors. There are a variety of treatment methods for cocaine addiction that address all its components. Detox, therapies such as family therapy, individual and group therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and medications are some of the major treatment methods used to treat cocaine addiction. 

Many treatments for cocaine addiction have proven to be effective in both residential and outpatient settings. This includes behavioral therapies, which are often the most well known and available effective form of treatment for various drug problems, including stimulants such as cocaine. However, the integration of behavioral and pharmacological treatments may ultimately prove to be the most effective approach.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment At LA Detox

At LA Detox our highly-qualified team of medical professionals and addiction specialists create a comprehensive treatment for those suffering from cocaine addiction. To fit everyone’s unique needs, treatment includes a plan of action with multiple treatment strategies that assess the neurobiological, social, and medical aspects of our patient’s drug abuse. 

When a drug such as cocaine is removed from the body during the detox process, the body reacts by going into withdrawal. Intense psychological and physical symptoms occur, such as sweats, chills, nausea/vomiting, seizures, hallucinations, depression, and anxiety, etc. 

Therefore, that is why, it is important that individuals being treated for cocaine addiction do not attempt to self-detox, and go to a rehab facility where withdrawal symptoms during detox can be managed safely and professionally through FDA-approved medications and other therapeutic methods.

Cocaine Addiction and Mental Health

Cocaine abuse and mental illness occur in conjunction with one another 30 to 50 percent of the time. Moreover, patients who have a variety of addictions often have other co-occurring mental disorders that require additional behavioral or medicinal intervention. We believe in treating both addiction and mental health simultaneously, to ensure that all underlying factors contributing to one’s cocaine abuse are accounted for and treated.

Begin Cocaine Addiction Treatment At LA Detox Today!

There’s no better day to begin cocaine addiction treatment than today. Through a range of addiction therapy programs, you can take back control of your life. Contact us at LA Detox today to get your life back on track.