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Cocaine Addiction and Treatment

1-800-315-2391  |  April 6th

Cocaine Addiction and Treatment

Cocaine is an extremely addictive and powerful stimulant that has affected millions of people throughout the world. Cocaine is produced from the coca plant that grows in South America. This illegal drug is highly addictive and has been abused by people of all ages throughout the United States. Cocaine abuse has been the cause of many addictions, overdoses, and deaths in the past.

Cocaine is a white powdery substance and is made of hydrochloride salt. This form of cocaine dissolves in water and many users inject it intravenously. Many people also snort or inhale the white powder cocaine to get high. There is also a form of cocaine that's smoked from a pipe called crack cocaine. This form of cocaine is a freebase and is just as addictive and dangerous. As mentioned above, both forms of cocaine are responsible for many drug related deaths.

Methods of Abusing Cocaine

Snorting cocaine is done through the nose; the white powder is inhaled through the nose and then absorbed through the bloodstream throughout the tissues and nasal passages. This process of abusing cocaine damages the septum in the nose over time and can actually create a hole inside the nose. Some cocaine users rub the powdery cocaine into the nasal mucous tissues as a way of getting high also.

Injecting cocaine requires a needle; the drug is injected directly into the bloodstream. This method is preferred by many users because the effects are stronger and much more intense.

Smoking cocaine reacts just as fast as injecting the substance because when the vapors are inhaled they go directly into the bloodstream from the lungs. Because of this intense and quick high smoking crack was extremely popular in the 80s. Orally consuming cocaine is also preferred by some users of this illegal drug.

Cocaine 'High' and 'Euphoria'

Cocaine and crack cocaine is abused for the purpose of stimulating pleasurable affects to the user. Cocaine is an extremely intense central nervous system stimulant (CNS) which drastically increases dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that's associated with pleasure and when it's increased due to cocaine's effects, the user experiences euphoria. Unfortunately cocaine is extremely dangerous and addictive so it doesn't take long for the user to get hooked on the substance. There are many serious health effects associated with cocaine abuse.

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What Health Related Issues Can a User Expect From Abusing Cocaine and Crack Cocaine?

Cocaine abuse takes a pretty big toll on the user. Because this drug is so addictive, dependency is formed quite easily and repeated abuse becomes necessary for the addict. When an individual abuses cocaine their:

  1. Blood vessels constrict
  2. Pupils dilate
  3. Body temperature increases
  4. Heart rate increases
  5. Blood pressure increases
  6. Many people have headaches
  7. Gastrointestinal problems can occur and the user experiences abdominal pain and nausea.

Snorting cocaine can cause nosebleeds, loss of the ability to smell, hoarseness, swallowing problems, and chronic sinus drainage. Swallowing cocaine can cause gangrene of the bowel because of decreased blood flow.

Injecting cocaine is extremely dangers because the user is at risk of contracting HIV, AIDS, and other diseases that are transferred through the bloodstream. Thousands of cocaine users have lost their lives due to this from sharing and using dirty needles. Because of the needle marks (tracks) injecting cocaine causes there is a risk of allergic reactions. There are so many unknown chemicals added to street cocaine, many people have lost their life because they were allergic to one of them.

Serious Health Related Issues from Cocaine Abuse

Abusing cocaine definitely doesn't come without a huge price to pay when it comes to the health of a user. Some people experience violent behavior from abusing cocaine in large quantities. Cocaine use can cause anxiety, panic attacks, tremors, vertigo, twitching muscles and paranoia.

The biggest dangers associated with cocaine use are; erratic heart rhythm, heart attacks, neurological problems, strokes, seizures, coma, and sudden death. Sudden death can happen following the first use, immediately after using cocaine for the first time some people have died. Cocaine is a serious and dangerous illegal drug and should never be taken lightly.

Combining cocaine with alcohol is a very dangerous mixture. Research shows that the combination of cocaine and alcohol has caused death many times. Out of all the deaths related to combining 2 drugs together, cocaine and alcohol have caused the most drug-related deaths.

Cocaine Abuse Treatment and Approaches

At this time there aren't any medications that are approved by the FDA for treating cocaine addiction. Medications are being tested all the time in hopes of finding a safe and effective medication for treating cocaine dependency. There is however effective treatment programs that are designed for treating those in need of cocaine abuse treatment.

Behavioral Treatment Therapy

This form of treatment for cocaine addiction is extremely effective. Behavioral treatment has proven to be successful for many forms of substance abuse dependency including cocaine addiction. For both outpatient and residential Behavioral Treatment, this form of therapy helps the individual abstain from using cocaine. Behavioral Treatment Therapy offers motivational incentives or also referred to as contingency management. Offering rewards for those who abstain from using cocaine and other drugs is proving to be a successful approach in community treatment programs.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This is another approach that is extremely successful in treating cocaine addiction. This form of Behavioral Therapy is also successful in preventing relapse for the patient. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps the patient to recognize the situations in their life that they would most likely use drugs, avoid these situations, and cope with problems and behaviors. This form of therapy helps the individual learn new coping skills that are positive for their future and well-being.

Therapeutic Communities (TC)

These are residential programs are usually a 6 month or year-long commitment. The person stays in the therapeutic community during that time and learns new behaviors and skills needed before re-entering back into society. There are many supportive services offered including onsite vocational rehabilitation.

A Holistic approach to cocaine dependency offers group, individual, and family group therapy. The individual's emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health is just as important as the addiction. The mind, body, and spirit are all focused upon and balanced during this treatment approach. Holistic Treatment has saved many lives from the disease of addiction because their approach to treating drug addiction works.

References & Resources

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