Last Updated: October 25, 2022
Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug. Medical professionals have administered cocaine in a limited capacity, but recreational use is illegal.
According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 1.9% or 5.2 million people in the United States over the age of 12 have used cocaine in the past 12 months. In 2019, almost 16,000 people who used cocaine died from an overdose. Ohio has been ranked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as one of the leading states in substance abuse and overdose deaths.
Understanding Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine is very addictive. It is not as physically addictive as other substances, like benzos, opiates or alcohol in that it doesn’t cause the same kind of severe withdrawal symptoms. However, cocaine is chemically addictive and psychologically addictive.
The DEA categorizes cocaine as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and potentially leads to severe psychological or physical dependence. Cocaine is used in multiple ways, including smoking, snorting or injecting it. Cocaine’s effects on the mind and the body contribute to its addictive properties.
Cocaine produces a euphoric feeling when used. The intensity of this feeling depends on the dosage and delivery of the drug. Cocaine affects the brain quickly, and excitement, restlessness and agitation occur within seconds of use. Those who use cocaine report building up a tolerance to its effects quickly, so continued use requires higher doses to achieve the same level of high.
Repeated cocaine use can have negative effects on the body, including irregular heart rate and blood pressure, disrupted sleep and eating habits, and severe cardiac issues or death.
Why Do People Use Cocaine?
There are many potential reasons people choose to use cocaine. They may have the desire to feel high, or they may want to participate in a social experience that accompanies the drug. Someone could also use cocaine to boost energy or performance in some area of life, or to self-treat a mental health issue like anxiety or depression.
Cocaine increases dopamine production in the brain, which causes euphoric feelings during use. Repeated cocaine use can inhibit the brain’s natural ability to produce dopamine, making depression, hopelessness and fatigue likely when someone stops using the drug.
Because it’s so addictive, stopping cocaine is not always easy. Someone may not be able to stop using cocaine, even if they understand the drug’s potential to negatively affect their life.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine comes from the coca leaf, which is native to South America and has been used for thousands of years as a stimulant. At one point in history, cocaine was considered to have a number of practical uses. Many people have heard that it was administered as a pain reliever for surgery and was used in the original version of Coca-Cola. However, researchers and medical professionals have since understood how dangerous and addictive the substance can be.
Cocaine is usually sold in the form of a fine, white powder on the streets, and it goes by several names. Some of these include “coke”, “blow”, “snow” and “flake”. When it’s sold on the street, dealers sometimes cut it with other substances in order to make it more profitable for them. Depending on the added substances, this can make cocaine even more dangerous.
Signs of Cocaine Use
Because the brain’s reward system is stimulated when cocaine is used, someone who’s using cocaine may be more alert and talkative. They may also experience insomnia and loss of appetite.
However, cocaine can cause different feelings if it is used in large doses. These include anxiety, rapid heart rate, violent behavior, a sense of paranoia and high blood pressure.
Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Addiction
Repeated cocaine use can have damaging long-term effects both physically and emotionally. Some of these are irreversible and can lead to death:
- Withdrawal: Mild to severe withdrawal symptoms can occur when someone stops using cocaine. These may include fatigue, tremors, difficulty concentrating and depression.
- Organ damage: Cocaine use can restrict blood flow to major organs including the stomach, which can cause ulcers and other gastrointestinal issues. This is why many people who use cocaine experience extreme weight loss.
- Cognitive damage: Prolonged use of cocaine has been shown to cause seizures and stroke, and impaired decision-making skills, coordination and mobility.
- Mental health issues: Cocaine abuse can cause social isolation, depression, anxiety and paranoia depending on the frequency and amount of cocaine used.
- Disease: Using cocaine intravenously comes with a high risk of skin diseases and infections, and contracting various blood diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B & C.
How to Help Someone with a Cocaine Addiction
If you or a loved one is living with a cocaine use disorder, it’s never too late to get help. Support and encouragement is an important first step to choosing cocaine addiction treatment. There are many resources that are helpful to seek out when considering treatment for cocaine addiction:
- Professional detox and rehab center
- Online therapy
- Support groups
- Primary doctor
Cocaine Addiction Treatment at The Recovery Village Columbus
When finding treatment for cocaine addiction, it’s essential to find the right approach for your unique case. There are many facilities in Ohio that offer substance use disorder treatment, but it’s important to consider available programs and the level of care that will best fit your circumstances.
The Recovery Village Columbus in Groveport is a renowned treatment center with extensive experience helping those with cocaine addiction. The Recovery Village Columbus offers a continuum of care including medical detox, outpatient, inpatient and online counseling services.
To locate a Recovery Village location near you, use the location finder to see the nearest center. To find out more about The Recovery Village Columbus, call us today and learn how to start your journey to recovery.
Our Recovery Advocates are ready to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you start your recovery.