Cocaine is perhaps the most popular illegal drug that is abused by people today. For many users, this drug is a powerful stimulant that could give them the extraordinary high that they are looking for. However, prolonged use has debilitating consequences.
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine or “coke” is a very strong central nervous system stimulant that is used as a recreational drug by users through swallowing, snorting, inhaling, dissolving and injecting powdered or crystalline forms of the drug. It’s powerful side effects often results in loss of contact with reality, intense euphoria or in some users, agitation. Understanding how this drug works can help prevent the risks involved and help people from abusing cocaine.
It is believed that cocaine is highly addictive because of its effect on the reward pathway of the brain. Many first time users have a high risk of being dependent on it but will also have to deal with the risks that cocaine use has. Users can be at risk for stroke, myocardial infarction, blood infections, and even sudden cardiac arrest/death. High doses can also result in elevated body temperature as well as increased blood pressure. While cocaine is highly addictive, it can be used in small dosages in many medical procedures. It can be used as a numbing agent and at the same time helps in decreasing the bleeding during nasal procedures.
Cocaine sold in the streets is often mixed with different ingredients. Many “dealers” mix cocaine in cornstarch, local anesthetics, quinine or sugar which often results in added toxicity. Repeated doses can make the person feel a decrease in pleasure and, ultimately, end up feeling physically exhausted.
Signs That a Person is Addicted to Cocaine
A seemingly harmless “trial” of cocaine simply because of curiosity can quickly develop into something worse. Addiction to cocaine can be life-threatening and can cause major impacts on your personal, financial, professional and family life. By identifying the signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse, you or your loved one can get the help they need even before addiction takes hold for the worse. Here are the signs and symptoms that you should watch out for:
- Over-excitement or burst of energy
- Runny nose or frequent sniffles
- Legal issues
- Missing or being late to work
- Financial problems
- Mood swings
- Dilated pupils
- Long periods of wakefulness
- Loss of appetite
- White powder around nostrils
Not only is cocaine addictive but it can also lead to serious health risks. Both the short-term and long-term users are exposed to risks like overdose or even organ failure. Sniffing or snorting cocaine can also damage the nasal cavity and septum of the user. This could result in the rotting of the flesh on the inside. Swallowing cocaine, on the other hand, can cause serious digestive problems. A large dosage of cocaine can cause violent behavior, heart attacks, nose bleeding and a whole lot more. That is why it is best to take note of the dangerous signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse. Here’s what you need to look out for:
- Intense headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe insomnia
- High blood pressure
- Coma or unresponsiveness
- Chills and profuse sweating
Users who attempt to withdraw from cocaine use to get sober can also display symptoms of withdrawal. Most of the time this could be very uncomfortable, drug addicts tend to relapse often. Here are the most common signs and symptoms for cocaine withdrawal that you should look for:
- Disturbed sleeping patterns
- Increased appetite
If these symptoms suddenly appear and are replaced by sudden energy and euphoria, this could mean that the person may be using cocaine once again.
Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
The physical decline can be seen in a person who uses cocaine simply because this drug depresses the appetite of the user. They don’t feel the need to eat regularly and they stay moving and awake for a long period of time, therefore, burning more calories than should be. Besides weight loss, a cocaine addict can also show behavioral changes. They can be easily irritated and defensive when people start to ask questions. Their finances are often down to none since cocaine can be an expensive drug. So drug addicts will often find themselves lying, stealing or cheating in order to get a hold of their substance of choice. All of these behaviors are very common in cocaine addicts. That is why when choosing treatment, loved ones and families must communicate with health care professionals to arrange a treatment program suited for the patient.
There are plenty of programs to choose from and some facilities even provide an inpatient level of care for the drug addict. This means that the addict moves out of the house and into a facility for a supervised treatment where health care providers can give them the assistance they need to recover. Outpatient programs, on the other hand, help drug addicts to overcome their addiction while they continue receiving treatment at home. Keep in mind that there are a number of factors to consider when you are looking for the right drug rehabilitation setting. This is to avoid relapsing and using cocaine again.
For some people, the risk of relapsing is great if they continue to be treated at home. This could be due to the fact that there are people around them who could be using cocaine and they may find it hard to stay away from using again. That is why inpatient care is the best option for people with cocaine addiction as it removes all triggers that could lead to cocaine use again.
The inpatient care helps drug addicts to work on their skills and resistance so that when they are sober, they have the tools to lean on when they are tempted to use again. Not only that, but inpatient care also helps patients to realize that they have the chance to recover and stay sober for longer.
The support of family and friends can also provide the recovering addict with the help and understanding they need. It is the family’s duty to motivate their addicted members to stay in treatment and to stay on track with the treatment. Keep in mind that moving into a rehab facility can be hard, so the support and love of family and friends can help them get well and recover fully from their addiction.
Recovery is Very Possible
Truth is, the temptation to use cocaine again can stay for a long time, even after formal treatment is done and completed. However, this does not mean that it could be a permanent thing. Recovery is possible and can be done if one simply chooses not to use cocaine again. There have been countless stories of people who were once addicted and became successful after rehabilitation.
If you are addicted to cocaine, seek immediate help. The use of drugs like cocaine cannot do anything good in your life. It’s not too late to recover from this addiction, so make the right choice for you.