Cocaine has classically been regarded as one of the most dangerous and widely available drugs in America. It is highly addictive, dangerous to use for prolonged periods of time, and easy to find on a street level.
The good news is that the more a person is armed with the facts about cocaine, the better prepared they will be to protect themselves and their family from the consequences that come with the abuse of the drug.
If you or a loved one are already in the midst of a cocaine addiction, New Life House can help by providing facts, resources, and guidance on how to get help. Continue reading to learn more, or please contact New Life House directly at (888) 357-7577 or email us at [email protected].
Many people will resort to thrill seeking or finding a high throughout their life. But some might turn to unhealthy ways of finding them, like drug use.
The signs aren’t always transparent to the user, and an addiction can be difficult to self-diagnose. But if you find yourself asking, “Am I addicted to cocaine?” this can be a good indicator that there is a problem.
There are different reasons why people use cocaine. These can range from built up pressure and stress, hiding from reality, or making up for a loss of energy. Despite some confusion around what constitutes an addiction, there are signs that can help with recognizing when someone is addicted to cocaine.
When used constantly, cocaine can become physically, as well as psychologically, addictive. At times, addicts do not realize that they are dependent and strung out on a particular drug.
In addition to warning signs and symptoms, there are also health risks associated with a cocaine addiction. This section will focus on the signs and symptoms of a cocaine addiction, as well as withdrawal effects from the drug.
Because of its addicting factors, cocaine can easily become a daily habit and result in serious health risks. As said before, detecting an addiction can be a difficult task to do on one’s own; however, not all signs of a cocaine addiction are as hidden as may be believed.
Just like parents and teachers always say, asking questions is a good way to finding answers. Two good starting questions to ask to determine a cocaine addiction are the following:
When someone has used a drug for a continued amount of time, their body goes through a state of dependence. The ability to function and participate in everyday actions becomes more difficult as the addiction progresses.
Another starting step to recognize if a person may be an addict is to look for typical physical signs of dependency. Some common physical signs and symptoms of a cocaine dependency include:
Physical symptoms can differ from user-to-user. As a physical dependence advances, several cocaine addicts may experience the listed symptoms above or more.
The inability to stop is the true sign of an addict. When hooked on a drug, the addict will most likely not stop on his or her own. When all the serious signs are present and family and friend interventions have happened, it’s important to understand that the addict will be unlikely to stop immediately.
When the point is reached where the individual is unable to imagine a life without using, that is when help is truly needed; yet it can also be the jumping off point for starting to consider rehabilitation.
Regular cocaine users go through the conditions of being emotionally and mentally dependent.
Cocaine is categorized as a psychotropic drug, meaning the compounds within the drug will primarily affect the functioning of the mind through action on the central nervous system. Working on the reward center of the brain, cocaine gives the user a rush of euphoria the same way it would if they were to accomplish a goal or attain something they really wanted. Basically, cocaine feels like winning.
The human brain can become dependent to an almost nonstop feeling of euphoria, which cocaine produces, and make it even harder to resist the hunger for it.
Just as the body can become reliant, the mind will wish for a constant feeling of happiness that comes with cocaine. Some common signs and symptoms of an emotional and mental dependency to look for are as follows:
Quitting cocaine does not happen overnight.
When trying to quit, users can experience a handful of unpleasant withdrawals. Withdrawals are known as a set of physical and mental symptoms experienced when substance use is reduced. The craving for the drug comes from the body trying to put a stop to the challenging symptoms it experiences without it.
A few symptoms of withdrawals for cocaine include the following:
Withdrawals are experienced differently by different people and occur when cocaine has been consistently used and suddenly stopped. A user will experience withdrawals as a biological response when the body comes to expect a drug and then it is completely taken away.
Regardless of the harmful health risks, withdrawals may push an addict to continue usage of cocaine. Since the cocaine high can decrease rather rapidly, withdrawal symptoms can follow soon after the last snort or injection.
Cocaine withdrawal is not life-threatening, so medical detox is not called for in most cases.
However, the detox process can be extremely difficult mentally, and therefore should be treated with care. This can include inpatient programs, psychological treatment, and attendance to groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and its subsidiaries. The mental factors are the most dangerous part of cocaine withdrawal, as that is what usually leads an addict away from sobriety and back to using.
Before the dangers from a cocaine addiction progress, professional help from treatment centers can be obtained to start a road to recovery. Recovery from a cocaine addiction is possible with professional help and guidance.
Children are the most important thing to their parents. This is why finding adequate professionals to help their child through a cocaine addiction is crucial to parents.
However, it may not be apparent to parents that a child is using until they are addicted. Luckily, there are many signs to look for in order to determine the truth and extent of an addiction in a person’s life.
There are three main ways that cocaine is consumed:
Since the minds and bodies of adolescents and young adults are still developing, cocaine can impose higher longtime physical and mental difficulties.
It is difficult to get a person to admit to using cocaine, especially to an authoritative figure. In the person’s mind, there is fear of consequences and repercussion from admitting to using drugs. If someone is not near to disclosing their drug use, there are some physical and behavioral signs that can show if someone is using cocaine. Look out for these if you suspect your child could be taking cocaine:
Some physical signs of cocaine usage include:
Some behavioral signs of cocaine usage include:
A person vocalizing about their usage and problem with cocaine can be difficult for him or her. Before reaching the level of comfortability to discuss with someone else, one of the best ways to notice the symptoms and signs above is to pay close attention to the person’s behavior and any abnormal physical signs.
Take note of any sudden change in their conduct and manner. Cocaine can leave both short- and long-term effects on a person. If it comes to light that they have been using the drug, it’s important to get help before deep addiction sets in. There are professional treatment centers and support groups that can help with recovery.
Cocaine is a powerful and dangerous stimulant that produces euphoric effects. It’s likely that cocaine users also use other substances concurrently, which can drastically increase the effects of both, especially when drinking. Common substances combined with cocaine are alcohol, prescription drugs, opiates, and heroin.
The combination of cocaine and other substances is unsafe because of the reactions the substances can have with one another. While the pleasurable effects become stronger to the abuser, they also put their health at deadly risk. If you or someone you know has a problem with mixing cocaine and other substances, you should seek medical or professional help.
An interview about the dangers of abusing cocaine with other drugs was done with Brian Lutz, a Therapist at Clear Recovery Center in Redondo Beach, CA. His areas of expertise focus on substance abuse, chronic illness, and helping people struggling with relationship and family issues. Lutz mentioned:
“Anytime you are combining more than one substance together, you increase more negative consequences. While mixing substances increase the reward and dopamine stimulation of your brain, you put yourself at higher threat for health risks.”
He went on to express, the stimulation of a person’s brain can create more of a dependency on keeping the euphoric effect. An easy way to think about the dangers of mixing substances is, the higher the brain stimulation while on the substances, the higher risk put on a person’s body for health complications. These health complications can also lead to heartbreaking outcomes, such as stroke, coma or even death. Brian also discussed more on the possible outcomes of abusing more than one substance together:
“If you abuse more than one substance together constantly, there is a possibility of developing Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, otherwise known as PAWS. PAWS is the second stage of withdrawals where you can experience heavier emotional and psychological withdrawal symptoms.”
A common combination for some cocaine users that mix substances is cocaine and alcohol. When a user mixes cocaine and alcohol together, the liver produces a psychoactive substance known as Cocaethylene. The substance produces a stronger and longer lasting feeling of ecstasy than cocaine can create alone.
Because alcohol overpowers the nervous system, it also acts as a depressant. Cocaethylene then has a heavier effect in the liver and bloodstream. Alcohol and cocaine can temporarily increase the high while also increasing impulsive behavior, blood pressure, and toxic levels in the liver.
The euphoria effects of cocaine and alcohol combined together can include:
The health effects of cocaine and alcohol combined together include:
One of the worst (and highly possible) outcomes of regularly using cocaine and alcohol together is death.
Cocaine mixed with other stimulant drugs such as methamphetamine or prescribed medications such as Adderall are commonly used together. Stimulants can include prescribed medications that are often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, otherwise known as ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity.
Some examples of amphetamines include the following:
When cocaine and stimulant drugs are combined, the high intensifies and creates more energy. Both cocaine and stimulants boost the dopamine release of the brain and leaves the body feeling an increase in energy, attention, and alertness.
Since the high from cocaine and stimulant drugs is greater, the high is brief and can result in health problems. The combination slows down the heart rate, respiratory system, and digestive system. While each stimulant will have different effects with cocaine, they all produce unsafe and life-threatening side effects.
Some side effects include:
Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are often prescribed to individuals suffering from mental health issues as well as physical problems. They are used to treat muscle spasms, seizures, anxiety, panic disorders, alcohol withdrawal. Typical benzodiazepines that are prescribed by doctors and commonly abused with cocaine can include:
Benzos induce relaxations in the central nervous system and the muscles. Combined with cocaine’s intense body stimulation, cocaine and opiates increase the levels of dopamine and endorphins created a high level of pleasure through the body. There are serious health effects that come with mixing cocaine with benzodiazepines.
Some health effects include:
Opiates are drugs with morphine-like effects, obtained from a species of poppy plant. They impact the brain’s pleasure systems and restrict the brain’s ability to process pain. Opiates are used to treat different forms of physical pain. They are usually prescribed to people to treat mild to severe pain such as after a serious injuries, post-surgery, and chronic pain. Some common prescribed opiates include the following:
Both cocaine and opiates create an overlapping contrasting effect that disturbs the body’s natural tendency to keep balance. Some users inject heroin or take opiates slightly before the cocaine high wears off to boost the high in the body. A popular combination of drug mixing is cocaine and heroin.
Cocaine and heroin together are known as “speedballing.” Heroin and cocaine have opposing effects to the body. Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system, while heroin slows it down. The risk of an overdose increases when cocaine and opiates are done together. Some typical health risks include the following:
When a user abuses cocaine with other drugs, the effects irritate one another and can be dangerous and deadly. While the ‘pleasurable’ effects tend to increase, so do the chances of an overdose.
If you think you may have a problem with using cocaine with other drugs, there is professional medical help you can access. Living a drug free life is possible, especially with proper help and guidance.
If there is concern that your child or loved one may be using cocaine, drug testing is one method to determine if they are abusing the drug. That brings up a commonly asked question: how long does cocaine stay in the system?
Drug testing is an important element in detecting drug use. Different drug tests detect different drugs and have different detection time frames. One of the most common drug tests is testing urine. Cocaine use can be detectable in the urine between 2-4 days for occasional users and for chronic users it can be detectable up to 10 days.
Blood testing is another way to analyze drug usage. Cocaine can be detected in a blood test up to 48 hours after use. Due to this, if there is suspicion that someone is abusing cocaine, it may be best to use an alternative drug testing method which work across longer timeframes, such as urine testing or hair follicle testing.
Hair follicle testing is often considered one of the most accurate methods of drug testing. It allows the tester to detect past usage much more accurately than urine, blood and saliva. Unfortunately, hair follicle testing is a more expensive and involved form of testing. Cocaine use can be detected through hair follicle testing for up to three months after use.
Different drug tests are more effective with particular drugs. When determining which test is best, it is important to understand that additional factors that could influence the drug testing.
Drug testing should only be used to gather information about drug usage. Drug testing will not cure addiction. While there may not be a cure for addiction, there are successful and effective ways for an addict to reach emotional and physical recovery. Cocaine is highly addictive and dangerous, and cocaine addiction can lead to serious health risks and death.
It is imperative that someone suffering from cocaine addiction seeks help immediately. If you or someone you know needs help from addiction or you would like more information about recovery, do not hesitate to contact us at (888)357-7577.
The newest development in the current trend towards “fixing” addiction with new drugs is preliminary research surrounding treating cocaine addicts with amphetamines. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently published a study where individuals with cocaine dependence were treated with amphetamine salts (the same chemicals that make up Adderall) to treat their cocaine addiction.
The preliminary results were considered encouraging to the researchers. Unfortunately though, many others feel that this treatment misses the mark. As long as the “solution” to addiction is another pill, the levels of relapse and continued addiction problems are likely to continue.
The band-aid solution mentality is one of the biggest problems when it comes to how America treats addiction. While many are busy chasing quick fix treatments that put a temporary band aid on a much larger problem, addiction is going largely untreated for thousands of Americans.
The problem is, real recovery is not an easy sell. It is something that takes lifestyle change, consistent effort, and a lot of willpower. This is a heavy contrast to the mentality of taking a pill to fix all of the problems that come with life and addiction. While the pill concept is an easy sell, it compounds the existing dependence on external means in order for an individual to function.
Proponents of this type of solution will often hide behind the fact that addiction is a disease and that treating other diseases with medicine is standard practice. This is absolutely true. Many other disease treatments, however, also incorporate holistic lifestyle changes as a big part of their solution. And any patient that has the ability to resolve their symptoms without lifelong dependence on a medication should take advantage of it.
But side effects are a big problem. When doctors are prescribing a medication to treat a problem, they must weigh the side effects that it will produce against the relief it will provide. When there is an available option that does not cause as many or as intense of side effects, that is the choice that is taken.
When treating certain addicted populations with medication instead of recovery, the side effects can be tremendous. Many find themselves falling further and further down the rabbit hole of addiction, even abusing the prescribed medications that are supposed to be “treating” their addiction. This problem is highlighted by the amount of young people using Suboxone to deal with opiate dependence.
This is because the underlying issues that cause addiction are not being treated. Any treatment protocol that simply addresses symptoms and does not deal with the underlying disease itself is ineffective.
This is not to say that there are not situations where medication can be a powerful tool for addressing addiction. It is to say however, that focusing on this as the primary means of addressing the disease is shortsighted.
Another motivating factor in the love affair with quick fix treatments for addiction is that they are cheaper than the alternatives. An insurance company that is only forced to pay for a monthly prescription is going to spend drastically less money than they would on a long term treatment plan in the short run. Unfortunately, this attitude is also short sighted.
Often, individuals that begin their treatment with medication only, find themselves relapsing worse and worse over time. This leads to an eventual bill for insurance companies that is even higher than if they would have paid for high quality long term treatment in the first place.
The studies have long since concluded that effective treatment needs to be long term. The statistical probability of an individual relapsing falls dramatically after they have achieved their first year sober. If long term treatment of over a year was the standard, the result would be relapse rates falling and many more individuals would have the opportunity to truly recover.
In order for this to work though, that treatment would have to be done appropriately. This means that underlying issues that contribute towards addiction would have to be addressed. This is an uncomfortable process for addicts to go through, but it is the only effective way of achieving long term recovery.
Again though, this is a tougher sell to an addict and their family than the promise of a quick fix. The solution? Changing the pervasive mentality and making real recovery the norm.
A telling sign of the mentality that surrounds addiction is that it was not mentioned a single time in the presidential debate. Even while America is in the midst of a sweeping addiction crisis that is being called the biggest one in history, the attention on a national level is far below what would be expected.
Overdose deaths have steadily increased since the year 2000 for opiates, benzodiazepines, heroin and stimulants. How could such a massive public health problem be overlooked?
When addiction is mentioned, the solutions presented are largely ineffective. The day that government decides that force insurance companies to support effective, long term treatment and begins pushing for comprehensive care as opposed to quick fix solutions, will be the day a real shift has actually happened.
New Life House is a highly structured sober living community with a 30-year history of success in treating various types of addiction through addressing the root source of the problem. We have helped thousands of individuals struggling with addiction by creating an environment which is conducive to getting sober in a healthy way, with no quick fixes, a large and involved graduate community, and strong values incorporated into the structure.
We can help to treat cocaine addiction by helping addicts to begin a process of self-discovery and accountability to themselves and others. Call us now at (888)357-7577 or email us at [email protected] to find out if New Life House is right for you or your loved one, and we can help you to begin a New Life, clean and sober!