At The Key To Recovery, our mission is greater than initial sobriety.
It’s alarming and strange how young Americans know about cocaine. It’s more than just speculation. Recent data from 2020 shows that 4.1% of American seniors in high school have engaged in cocaine abuse. And it doesn’t end there. The same research reveals that even 1.6% of 8th graders have used cocaine at some point. These are Americans as young as 12-years-old.
Of course, cocaine affects more than just schoolchildren. In 2019 alone, there were 15,883 overdose deaths involving cocaine in the United States.
Cocaine addiction is difficult to control without the right support and direction. But the deep stigma surrounding substance use disorders often makes individuals feel like they can’t get the help they so desperately need. This further contributes to the seemingly ever-increasing rise of cocaine overdose deaths and addiction. The Key to Recovery’s mission is to free individuals from this fate and show them how to maintain sobriety for life.
Cocaine is a powder that is typically white and snorted. However, this stimulant drug can be smoked, dissolved in water, or injected. As a stimulant drug, cocaine speeds up the body’s system and causes the brain to experience a flush of “feel-good” chemicals that can result in a cocaine addiction even after a short amount of time.
Cocaine is originally derived from the coca plant, which is native to South America. It came into American interest in the 1900s when it was synthesized into hydrochloride.
Before understanding how powerfully addictive cocaine is, surgeons used it to help treat pain. Cocaine was also an ingredient in early Coca-Cola formulas.
After a period of time, medical professionals and scientists alike realized how dangerous cocaine use could be. This discovery later resulted in cocaine becoming a Schedule II controlled substance. Doctors may still use medical hydrochloride for health purposes, but it’s different from cocaine as a street drug.
Cocaine has different names on the street which include:
Cocaine abuse can easily turn into addiction because the effects of the drug only last for 15-30 minutes at most when snorted. The euphoric effects of injecting or smoking cocaine may last for as little as 5 minutes, even though the high is more intense.
Those who use cocaine will likely continue a vicious cycle of consuming it and then crashing from it, only to consume it again, to prolong the drug’s effects. Such behavior over time will cause cocaine users to need more and more of the substance to feel its initial effects. The effects of cocaine are typically euphoria, excitement, overconfidence, talkativeness, and feeling overly affectionate.
The brain rewards people with feelings of pleasure when those people engage in certain activities. Sometimes, though, the brain can’t understand which activities may hurt it and which may benefit it. For instance, the brain has a reward system (mesolimbic dopamine system) that is connected to emotions, motivation, and pleasure. This reward pathway is activated through exercising, eating, and sex. The more a person repeats an activity that stimulates this system, the more a person is likely to want to do that activity again.
Cocaine is a drug that deeply stimulates this pathway by blocking the removal of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that plays the main role in the brain’s reward system. Coke blocks dopamine transporters, which helps recycle dopamine in the brain. In doing so, the brain has an influx of this chemical, which makes coke’s effects so intense and euphoric.
After a period of time, the brain tries to balance out the chemical influx of constant dopamine by producing less of it or making fewer receptors available for dopamine. Essentially, cocaine completely changes a person’s brain chemistry. Once that happens, the brain attempts to maintain normalcy by adapting to the level of dopamine that a person who constantly abuses cocaine has in his or her brain.
After a while, a person will develop a psychological dependence on coke. A person in this scenario will then need to consume cocaine just to feel normal, not even euphoric. Both a physical and psychological coke dependency can keep individuals addicted to cocaine, although they may wish to stop using it. Such people will also experience cocaine withdrawal symptoms if they attempt to stop.
Another factor that makes it so difficult to get over a cocaine addiction without detox and treatment is the fact that individuals with a cocaine dependency will ultimately develop a tolerance to the drug as they continue to abuse it. What this means is that they will need to consume more of the drug to feel any effect from cocaine–even if that effect is just to feel normal at that point.
The more coke a person consumes, the more difficult it becomes to stop using it in multiple ways. For one, a person consuming tons of cocaine is likely to have worse withdrawal symptoms. Also, his or her brain chemistry will be more warped as he or she continues to abuse the substance.
A substance use disorder is an extremely complex medical condition characterized by chronic relapse and the inability to stop using drugs. Addiction isn’t a choice. When people have one, their entire physical and mental chemistry is rewired through substance abuse. Therefore, cocaine addiction symptoms may not be obvious without understanding what they are in the first place.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) uses certain criteria to determine whether or not an individual has a substance use disorder. The APA classifies serious substance use disorders as addictions. They look for the following four factors to determine whether or not someone has cocaine addiction symptoms:
There are many cocaine withdrawal symptoms that a person that suffers from cocaine addiction can experience. Often, cocaine withdrawal symptoms are more psychological than physical. That’s not to say that cocaine withdrawal symptoms can’t be just as bad though, especially if a person has used them excessively for long periods of time.
It’s true that some people can get over a cocaine addiction on their own. But the fact is that most can’t. People can initially achieve sobriety, but that doesn’t mean that they will be able to maintain it.
Relapse is common among those with substance use disorders, and cocaine use disorders are no exception. Rather than leave a lifetime of sobriety up to chance, it’s necessary to attend medical detox followed by addiction treatment at a facility like The Key to Recovery.
Before treatment can take place, those struggling with a cocaine addiction must detox all the toxins and traces of cocaine from themselves. As cocaine doesn’t typically have physical withdrawal symptoms, detox will likely involve maintaining the right mindset as the cocaine leaves the body’s system.
Mental health complications may emerge as those with a cocaine use disorder detox. In a situation like this, doctors at an addiction treatment facility may prescribe individuals medications to help them with any symptoms of mental unease. Doctors also may prescribe non-addictive sleep medications to further help individuals in this situation. Key to Recovery patients may choose from outpatient detox or inpatient detox depending on their preference.
After detox, addiction treatment facility patients have a few options to choose from. There are different types of inpatient and outpatient treatment programs and modules that cocaine addiction treatment patients can take advantage of.
Just because cocaine has arguably less dangerous withdrawal symptoms than other substances, doesn’t mean it’s easier to achieve recovery from it. In fact, cocaine is extremely addictive, which makes it quite difficult to overcome.
Inpatient treatment programs allow addiction treatment patient facilities to dedicate 100% of their time to recovery. They will stay at the facility as they undergo detox and treatment.
There are two types of inpatient treatment. Standard inpatient treatment is rigid and is close to treatment at a hospital. On the other hand, residential treatment still allows patients to live at the addiction treatment facility, but it’s less rigid. Hence, patients will have more free time and time to engage in holistic therapies. Holistic therapies include yoga, writing workshops, and animal-assisted therapy.
Inpatient treatment can help individuals build the strongest foundation for a lifetime of recovery. That said, some individuals don’t have that option or have already been through an inpatient program. In this case, an outpatient program can provide the tools for addiction success without needing to live at an addiction treatment center.
There are multiple levels of outpatient treatment for those suffering from an addiction to cocaine. Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) are the most intense form of outpatient care. PHPs function like a full-time job in that PHP patients must receive care for approximately eight hours a day, five days a week.
A step down in intensity from PHPs are intensive outpatient programs (IOPs). While IOPs require less of a time commitment, they are still rigorous and will involve many of the modules present in PHPs.
General outpatient treatment is the least intense form of outpatient treatment. Individuals involved in this kind of program will only dedicate a few hours a week to addiction treatment. This kind of program is only beneficial as a form of aftercare for those who have already completed a more intensive program.
Many individuals suffer from a cocaine use disorder in Southern California. While this can feel isolating, we want you to know that you’re not alone. The Key to Recovery offers sub-acute detox and residential substance use disorder treatment programs in Huntington Beach, California.
Withdrawal symptoms of cocaine use can be impossible to overcome alone. Contact The Key to Recovery now to see how we can help you overcome addiction together as a family.