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How to Recognize the Signs of and Treat Cocaine Abuse

Did you know that 1.4 million people suffer from cocaine use disorder? Not only is cocaine one of the more expensive drugs out there, but it can also have devastating effects on a person’s health and social life over time.

If you believe someone you love is abusing cocaine, you might be wondering what the signs and treatment options are. That’s why we made this guide for you.

In it, we’ll break down things like cocaine addiction symptoms, effective intervention methods, and treatment options. That way, you or your loved one can get the help that they need. Let’s dive in!

Why Is Cocaine So Addictive?

Cocaine is addictive because it increases the amount of dopamine that goes to the brain. When the chemical messenger dopamine is usually produced, it recycles back into the cell.

However, cocaine gets rid of this recycling function which causes large amounts of dopamine to build up at once. Because it floods the reward circuit found in the brain it can quickly reinforce the behavior around taking it.

The brain craves the effects of happiness, energy, and mental alertness that come when you take cocaine. And because a cocaine high only lasts for thirty to forty minutes, it’s easy to want to take it again.

It’s also important to note that cocaine comes with negative immediate effects as well, like hypersensitivity, paranoia, and aggression. If you want to learn more about the addictive properties of cocaine, you can consult this resource here.

Health Effects of Taking Cocaine

Cocaine substance abuse can have both short-term and long-term health effects. The short-term health effects include things like nausea, increased heart rate and blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, tremors, restlessness, and insomnia.

The long-term health effects can include things like loss of smell, nose bleeds, respiratory distress, severe bowel decay, and difficulty swallowing.

If a person injects cocaine it can increase their risk of contracting things like HIV, Hepatitis C, and other blood diseases. People can also overdose on cocaine. This usually occurs when it’s taken together with alcohol.

Cocaine Addiction Symptoms

There are two ways you can tell someone might be addicted to cocaine. The first is the physical symptoms that come when you’re high on cocaine or craving it. These can include things like:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Weight loss
  • Nose bleeds
  • Excitability
  • Overly chatty
  • Muscle twitches
  • Runny nose

The other sign that someone might be addicted to cocaine is lifestyle signs. Because cocaine is expensive, they’re likely experiencing financial difficulties. They might also experience a boost in confidence.

Changes in eating habits, and sleeping patterns, and a loss of interest in things they used to love are also common. Lastly, you might notice an increased need for privacy.

Cocaine Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

If someone is addicted to cocaine, they’ll begin to experience withdrawal symptoms when they can’t take it. Often they’ll come across as angry and overly aggressive. However, you might also notice things like:

  • Depression
  • Slowed thinking
  • Increased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares

The extent of these symptoms will often depend on the severity of their addiction.

Cocaine Addiction Intervention

Before someone can seek treatment for cocaine addiction, they need to seek help. Sometimes this can happen naturally. Other times, it can require the use of an intervention.

If you think that someone you love has a cocaine addiction, it can be tempting to try an intervention yourself. However, it’s always best to reach out to an intervention professional.

These professionals can mediate any conflict that’s likely to happen during the intervention. That way, you have the highest chance of them seeking treatment.

Don’t be discouraged if they don’t respond to the intervention at first. It might take some time, or multiple interventions before they agree to treatment.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment Options

There are multiple ways to beat cocaine addiction. However, going cold turkey usually isn’t the way to do it, unless it’s an incredibly mild addiction. Instead, the best course of action for success involves inpatient treatment.

After a detox phase, these types of programs will use a variety of methods to set the person off for success once they’re out of rehab. That usually starts with cognitive behavioral therapy.

This type of therapy helps the person with substance use disorder identify the thoughts and feelings that led them to cocaine. From there, they can replace them with more constructive thoughts that ultimately change the behavior.

Contingency management (aka motivational incentives) is also quite effective at breaking the reward-circuit brain cycle. The importance of community also cannot be understated.

Group therapies and drug-free communities can help an individual learn more about the type of people drawn to cocaine use. This can help them understand their addiction more and change their behavior.

Just because someone is out of rehab doesn’t mean they can’t relapse. That’s why it’s important to also provide aftercare for people with cocaine addictions. This usually involves continued therapy after rehab, both in an individual and group setting.

How to Find the Best Addiction Treatment Center

When looking for an addiction treatment center the first thing you should ask is, Does insurance pay for rehab? Try to look for a treatment center that accepts a wide variety of options.

For example, here at Altitude Recovery Community, we work with almost every major insurance carrier. You also want to make sure that they use evidence-based therapies.

Things like religion can indeed be incredibly helpful for recovering individuals. However, these programs should always be paired with legitimate behavioral therapies.

Do You or Your Loved Ones Need Help? Contact Altitude Recovery Community

We hope this guide helped you learn more about cocaine addiction symptoms. Here at Altitude Recovery Community, we know that every substance use disorder is unique.

And, while evidence-based therapies are vital, it also requires a personalized treatment plan to maximize the chances of recovery. That’s why we give completely holistic remedies to anyone who walks through our doors.

So if you’re ready to join a community that’s devoted to recovery, then contact us today.