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Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction is a substance use disorder that is dangerous to health and life. The habit has caused addiction in millions of American men and women. Many of them are young and between the ages of 18-30. General overdose rates are high and overdose death rates are stunning! This drug is so dangerous and lethal that people have died from their first dose.

Based on a 2014 report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), cocaine use remains persistent since 2009. Further, over 1 in 3 drug abuse incidents that led to emergency room visits involved cocaine. That was a staggering 505,224 of the nearly 1.3 million visits. Also, in 2009, overdose deaths involving cocaine were 3,822. In 2017, the numbers climbed to 13,942. In 2013 alone, almost 5,000 people died from a cocaine overdose.

It is crucial for you to know if you or someone you love is using or abusing cocaine. The symptoms listed below can help you determine this. Knowing the symptoms is the first step toward getting diagnosed and treated at a cocaine addiction treatment center.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a white, powder-like substance made from the leaves of the cocoa plant. It also comes in a rock formation called crack cocaine. It is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant sold illegally by drug pushers and abused by drug addicts. This illegal drug goes by several street names including “coke,” “powder,” “dream,” and “blow.” It can be smoked (crack cocaine), snorted, or dissolved in water to make a solution for injection.

Addiction to Cocaine

Cocaine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that boosts energy and triggers the release of high levels of dopamine, a brain chemical responsible for helping you to feel pleasure. This is why the stimulant is so addictive. Those who use cocaine or get hooked on crack are trapped in a cycle of trying to get the same euphoria or “high” they felt the first time they used it.

What essentially happens is the drug causes chemical changes in the brain cells. These changes keep the brain stuck in a reward and pleasure mode. The brain signals tell you if you take the drug, you will feel good. But the more you feed the brain the drug the more addicted you become, the more drugs you need, and the higher the risk of overdose. You may also get to a point where you are unable to feel pleasure in things you used to do prior to abusing cocaine.

Addiction and Overdose Risk Factors

The cocaine purity, substances it is mixed or “cut” with, and frequency and pattern of use, e.g., binge and crash, influence the level of addiction. The manner in which you take the drug also helps determine how addicted you’ll get. For example, injecting cocaine as a solution into a vein and directly into the bloodstream causes it to take effect on the brain immediately.

This stimulant causes a quick “high” within 5-30 minutes then quickly leaves the body causing you to feel a “crash.” Some users may take back-to-back doses to maintain the high and avoid the withdrawal symptoms that set in after the crash. This pattern is called cocaine binge and crash and leads to dependence fast.

In addition to dependency, The stimulant can cause health complications such as high blood pressure, stroke, or cardiac arrest, and even death by overdose. Using cocaine with other substances such as alcohol or heroin makes it even more addictive and lethal. Possibly the most dangerous combination is using cocaine with heroin, also known as “speedballing.”

Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

  • Talkativeness
  • Excitement
  • Alertness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Anxiety
  • Overconfidence
  • Fewer inhibitions or risky behaviors
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nosebleeds
  • Promiscuity
  • Needle marks at the injection site
  • Burn marks on lips or hands
  • Social withdrawal
  • -Poor hygiene
  • Financial trouble
  • Possessing drug use paraphernalia, e.g., syringes and razor blades

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Cocaine abuse causes physical and psychological dependence. Once it reprograms the brain into total dependence, quitting on your own can be extremely difficult and dangerous. Many people are required to undergo treatment at rehab to fully get off crack.

Withdrawal symptoms develop when the drug is no longer being supplied to the brain, such as when you try to quit or are going through detox at rehab. Symptoms are more psychological unlike in the case of heroin, for example, where physical symptoms such as shaking or vomiting occur. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Sleepiness
  • Paranoia
  • Increased appetite
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Formal addiction treatment is an effective way to quit cocaine. Treatment addresses physical and psychological dependence and provides you with tools to manage drug use triggers after you leave rehab. The two main components of addiction treatment are physical detox and psychotherapy which can be done at a residential or outpatient rehab.

Detoxification for Cocaine Abuse

Drugs and toxins from cocaine and other illicit substances such as alcohol remain in your body until you go through withdrawal during detox. Your physician on-site may administer medication to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms, e.g., pain, insomnia, or depression.

Therapists and counselors are also present to monitor physiological symptoms and give you emotional support as needed. 24-hour medical supervision at an inpatient rehab increases your chance of recovery and sustained sobriety. This is because you will be housed in a safe environment removed from drug abuse triggers, e.g., drug abuse peers, or drug use paraphernalia, e.g., syringes.

Therapy for Addiction to Cocaine

Underlying mental health conditions usually co-occur with cocaine addiction. To give you a real chance at successful recovery and long-term sobriety, it is crucial for your treatment plan to include psychiatric therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can effectively treat conditions or disorders such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

The goals of therapy are to get you to understand why you turn to drugs and how you can change your thinking to foster abstinence. You’ll get to identify drug use triggers so you can manage them when you go back to your social environments. Family counseling is usually done during rehab to help reinforce your relapse prevention plan. The role of loved ones is to provide emotional support and encouragement when drug use triggers make you want to go back to crack.

Getting Addiction Treatment At The Detox Center of L.A.

Withdrawal symptoms during detox can be unpleasant. However, keeping in mind that the end result is sobriety can give you the emotional strength you need to overcome addiction. The trained medical and mental health professionals at The Detox Center of L.A. are compassionate and will give you the medical and psychological support you will need to get through treatment.

We perform dual diagnosis before setting up a treatment plan tailored to suit your needs. Our programs are designed and delivered in a way that helps reduce the risk of relapse while increasing your chance of staying sober after rehab. Contact us today for more information on admissions.

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Residential Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation

The Detox Center of LA Residential facility in Los Angeles, California offers an in-house detox programs and rehabilitation programs for those who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. Out patients reside at the facility full-time in a highly structured environment with knowledgeable, experienced staff that can relate to each resident. Individuals can expect personalized care and programming throughout each day of the week.
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