With all the focus on opioid addiction in the past decade, it might appear that other drugs no longer pose a threat. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Not just a notorious 80s drug, cocaine is still a grave problem in the U.S.
What Is Cocaine?
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the U.S. Department of Justice lists these facts about cocaine:
- It’s an “intense, euphoria-producing stimulant drug with strong addictive potential.”
- It’s derived from coca leaves found predominantly in Columbia, South America.
- Cocaine is also known as “blow, coca, coke, crack, flake, rock, snow, and soda cot.”
- Cocaine is often a small fine powder cut with other substances and household products, but another derivative, crack, is base cocaine in solid
- white chunks or rocks.
- Powered cocaine is either snorted or dissolved in water and injected. It’s often combined with heroin. Crack is most commonly smoked alone or laced with marijuana or tobacco. These substances are practically identical in their chemical makeup.
Cocaine is now classified as a Schedule II drug by the DEA under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it has “a high potential for abuse and has an accepted medical use for treatment in the United States.” However, medical usage is now rare as other, more suitable, approved anesthetic methods are common.
Cocaine & Crack Cocaine: In the Top 5 List of Addictive Substances
WebMD states that cocaine and crack rank 2nd among the most addictive substances. They are, in order:
- Heroin (opioids are included in this category)
- Methamphetamines or meth
Depending on the method used, cocaine or crack affects the brain in seconds, known as a “rush.” When it’s over, individuals experience a “crash: mental and physical exhaustion, sleep, and depression lasting several days.” People develop a high tolerance to the drug’s effects, requiring greater and more frequent dosing over time, as displayed through intensified cravings. This is why both cocaine and crack are considered highly addictive.
Symptoms & Side Effects of Cocaine Use
The Cleveland Clinic indicates that symptoms of cocaine addiction often include the following signs, listed verbatim:
- Becoming more angry, impatient, or nervous
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Constant runny nose
- Experiencing hallucinations
- Frequent upper respiratory infections
- Hearing voices that aren’t there, or feeling paranoid
- Periods of severe depression
- Loss of interest in friends, family, and social activities
- Loss of interest in food, sex, or other pleasures
- Not taking care of personal hygiene or appearance
- Offering sex for money to get drugs
- Unable to explain having large sums of money
- Weight loss
Cocaine and crack use results in numerous side effects, and overdose is common. Some more severe effects include:
- Brain seizures
- Heart attack
- Heart valve infections
- Holes in the roof of the mouth
- Irregular heartbeat/increased heart rate
- Increased anxiety and blood pressure
- Lung infections
- Nasal septum damage
- Skin and soft tissue infections
- Violent behavior, often uncontrollable
Cocaine Addiction Withdrawal & Treatment
All too often, people put off drug addiction treatment because they fear what might happen as they go through detoxification and withdrawal. While it’s true that the first 4 to 6 days of detox might be challenging depending on the length of drug use, this is one primary reason why cocaine isn’t a drug someone can simply quit “cold turkey.”
At our inpatient residential treatment facility at Willingway, our dedicated team of professionals provides medically-supervised detoxification from cocaine and crack. We design a safe detox protocol to treat individuals with many levels of chemical dependency.
Physical withdrawal from cocaine usually happens within a few hours of detoxification. For some people, they might last one to two weeks. Individuals often experience:
- Bad dreams
- Frequent and possibly intense headaches
- Muscle tremors
- Trouble processing thoughts and emotions
Part of the withdrawal process also includes an introduction to better nutrition to help ease the impact of drug use and set the mind and body on a course of effective healing.
During early treatment for cocaine addiction, clients will also begin understanding the mental and emotional causes for the disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy, 12-Step programs, individual and group therapy, and self-care methods are just a few of the extensive techniques used by Willingway’s board-certified staff.
As an individual’s journey through recovery continues, they’ll receive other aspects of qualified care, such as relapse prevention methods, family therapy, and other tools to help address a whole-person level of wellness.
We Are Ready to Help
Ask a member of our admissions team how our approach to crack and cocaine addiction treatment provides tangible, healthy, and long-lasting results.