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February 8, 2021

Cocaine Addiction

Unlike many other drugs, cocaine does not cause physical dependence. Instead, it causes psychological dependence. It also does not cause an abstinence crisis like heroin.

One of the major reasons why people abuse cocaine is the false sense of increased energy that it gives them. Combined with alcohol, which is typically readily available in the places where cocaine can be found, the user gets disinhibited. This makes cocaine a drug that many use to loosen up and have fun at parties.

However, the problem arises when a few uses of cocaine turns to many years of cocaine addiction. It is ironic that the sexual power that men may sometimes feel that cocaine gives them, can eventually become impotence in the long-term. This is just one of the many long-term problems that cocaine can cause.

It is important to find help for cocaine addiction as soon as possible, as the drug can be devastating to an addict’s life. This article will let you know about the symptoms of someone using cocaine, as well as how to help someone addicted to coke.

 

A cocaine addict has prepared cocaine into lines and is ready to snort it.

 

What is cocaine and what causes cocaine addiction?

Cocaine is a Schedule II drug according to Drug Enforcement Agency scheduling. As it is produced from a plant and has no widespread medical use, its production is expensive, which in turn makes the drug expensive. As a result, as a recreational drug, it has become a status symbol of sorts. It is frequently used at parties and other social gatherings.

Many people have their first use of a drug like cocaine at such gatherings, and while addiction does not typically set in with the very first use, the individual may keep abusing the drug because of the effects which they find pleasurable. It is these repeated uses of the drug that eventually causes dependence to set in.

Why is cocaine addictive?

Cocaine is a drug that produces a lot of effects on those who abuse it. Some of these effects are desired by the person who uses it, such as euphoria and increased energy. Cocaine arrives at the brain through the blood and by binding to certain receptors in the brain, it can cause an increase in the levels of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine which are directly responsible for the euphoria that addicts feel.

However, once the drug’s effects wear off, so do the raised levels of these chemicals in the brain. The increased dopamine buildup in the limbic system is responsible for the dopamine-seeking behavior seen in addicts. This can make the individual crave the drug again as the euphoria wears off and it can eventually cause psychological dependence, in which the addict requires it to function normally. At the point that the drug begins to interfere with their normal life, the person can be said to have developed a cocaine addiction.

At the same time, In some studies, a change in the production of protein FosB caused by cocaine is said to be implicated in the addictive potential of cocaine.

Some facts about cocaine

Dr. Sigmund Freud treated his friend, a morphine addict, with cocaine. However, the result of the treatment was unfortunate. The man developed a cocaine addiction, went psychotic, and committed suicide by shooting himself.

– Some people suggest turning to other drugs such as marijuana, alcohol, benzodiazepines, and other sedatives to quit cocaine. It is said that these substances alleviate anxiety and allow people to sleep well and recover. Drug dealers may tell their customers that the “best” drug for that is heroin. Unfortunately, these addicts may switch to heroin instead, and become addicted to it.

Symptoms of cocaine addiction

If a person is trying to determine whether they have become addicted to cocaine or whether a loved one of theirs has, there are signs that they can look out for.

  • From the very first time that cocaine is tried, it has its effects on the body. Each subsequent dose of the drug reduces its intensity, and the addict has to increase the dosage to feel the same effects. This is what is known as tolerance. An addict who notices that they need to use higher doses each time has started to become dependent.
  • A cocaine addict may begin to spend large amounts of money to always have the drug around. They may begin to borrow money from others or steal it to maintain their supply.
  • There can be an array of psychological effects that can be observed. This includes nervousness or anxiety, as well as inattention. These symptoms are seen as the individual begins to crave the drug.
  • They may begin to display paranoia. This may not only be due to the effect that the drug has but because it is illegal. 
  • They may have difficulty sleeping.
  • They show increased energy and hyperactivity at times, but maybe lethargic at others. This depends on how recently they may have taken the drug.

The cocaine cycle

The use of cocaine has a pattern that can be observed. This is all related to the fluctuations that it causes in neurotransmitters.

A typical cocaine cycle starts with 1 or 2 days of intensive drug abuse. After this, they reach the crash, which is like a cocaine hangover. This is followed by 3 to 4 days of recovery during which the addict may feel depressed, experience cravings, and restart their drug use. 

 

A cocaine addict craves cocaine as part of the normal cocaine cycle.

 

This is the withdrawal phase and it is the point where the cycle typically loops back. However, there is a final phase of the cycle known as ‘extinction’. However, this is only likely to occur if a patient gets treatment for their addiction.

As the addiction develops, these cycles become increasingly destructive. They will begin to have disruptions in their social life, as well as their financial and medical status. At this point, long term effects such as paranoia and insomnia begin to set in.

The individual may be able to recognize their problematic use of the drug, but all attempts to quit may be futile.

The effects of cocaine abuse

A long time ago, cocaine had widespread medical usefulness, but its dangers far outweigh its benefits. Research has shown that there are several effects and influences that cocaine can have, both short term and long term.

The short-term effects of cocaine abuse

Some effects arise alongside the euphoria when cocaine is abused. The addicts don’t desire these symptoms, but they are part of the response that cocaine causes in the body. Those that occur within minutes to hours are the short term effects of cocaine.

 

Psychological Physical
  • Sense of increased energy and strength
  • Irritability
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Reduced appetite
  • Talkativeness
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Arrhythmias
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea

 

Get a free online consultation to learn how to manage these symptoms for you or your loved one >>>

The long-term effects of cocaine abuse

Continued and frequent use of cocaine can cause some very serious effects on the addict, both psychologically and physically. The physical effects are also capable of affecting a wide array of body systems. These include the following:

  • Psychological symptoms, such as symptoms of psychosis, frequent delusions and hallucinations. They may also have long-standing insomnia and suicidal thoughts.
  • Heart conditions such as long-standing arrhythmias, which can cause poor perfusion of blood to the heart, and ultimately cardiac arrest which can be fatal.
  • It doesn’t spare the lungs either, as chest pain and respiratory failure are frequently seen, particularly in those addicts who smoke cocaine.
  • As regards the central nervous system, there is a risk of stroke.
  • They can also begin to experience changes in their sexual function, such as impotence.

Other effects of cocaine abuse

Each route and way of taking cocaine has its specific dangers. 

  • A speedball is the slang term for when cocaine is used alongside heroin. This is an extremely dangerous combination, as it can cause several issues for the heart and lungs.
  • When snorted, it can cause loss of smell, nosebleeds (epistaxis), difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, nose mucous membrane irritation, which can lead to chronic inflammation. 
  • Oral intake can cause severe bowel gangrene accompanied by reduced blood flow.
  • Intravenous cocaine users may have allergic reactions, either to the drug or to some supplements found in street cocaine. Cocaine on the street is not pure in most cases, and it is essentially impossible to know all the adulterants that may be present. If this is severe enough, it can result in death.

Cocaine influence on health

Cocaine can impair some normal bodily functions either in the short-term when the drug is used, or up to years after the fact, especially psychologically.

Short-term consequences of cocaine use

It causes the following:

  • Can result in blurred vision, which can make it dangerous when performing precision tasks.
  • Can slow down a person’s reaction time.
  • Can cause poor judgment.

Cocaine is most commonly used with alcohol, which can be very dangerous. Both substances impair an individual’s attention and reflexes, which can double the risk if they decide to get behind the wheel. Also, research has found out that when combining cocaine with alcohol, the body turns them into cocaethylene. The effects of cocaethylene last longer and are more toxic than any of these drugs individually. It is important to note that the mixture of cocaine and alcohol is the most common combination that results in death.

 

A cocaine addict with blurred vision drives himself despite his impaired reaction time.

 

Long-term consequences of cocaine consumption

Over time, cocaine can have some very severe effects on the brain. The more cocaine that a person uses, the faster these symptoms will appear and the more severe they will be.

  • There are changes to the decision-making center of the brain, which results in mostly permanent changes to an addict’s relevant skills. This can be a vicious cycle, as it means they may continue to make decisions that are harmful to themselves and sustain their addiction.
  • There are also alterations to the body’s stress response, and this can cause rapid mood swings and other symptoms when the person finds themselves under stress. They may also use the drug as a coping mechanism for it.
  • From a social point of view, their constant need to fuel their dependence will likely result in deterioration of their relationships at home, at school, or in the workplace.
  • There is also a lot of financial damage done.

Withdrawal with cocaine

The brain’s adaptation to cocaine, also known as neuroadaptation, is fast with cocaine, and it can easily pull in youth until they get addicted. Attempting to stop cocaine results in a variety of symptoms.

When an abstinence crisis happens, and the good vibes flow of “happy” neurotransmitters is lost, depression and a feeling of loss take over. Many people have suicidal ideations when abstaining from cocaine.

It is pertinent that cocaine addiction is tackled as soon as it can be. The cocaine withdrawal does not provoke remarkable symptoms as is the case with heroin, and there are no difficulties such as vomiting and tremor. However, it is still very difficult to deal with the abstinence crisis without the assistance of experts, due to all of the psychological effects.

Treating cocaine addiction at VIP Vorobjev Clinic

For those looking for treatment for cocaine addiction, the clinic offers multiple cocaine treatment options.

Biochemical restoration is one of these, and it is a critical aspect of recovery. It deals with the biochemical and neurochemical imbalances in the brain and body that resulted from cocaine abuse. 

The patients will also undergo psychotherapy as part of cocaine abuse treatment. This aims to repair the psychological damage that years of cocaine abuse may have caused. Medication is also used to make withdrawal symptoms more tolerable.

The treatment for cocaine addictions also includes a special diet that is introduced after extensive laboratory testing. Dietary supplements are given to restore biochemical balance, so these may include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and more.

We encourage family members and other loved ones to participate in the family program. The addict’s troubles with dependence stretch beyond them alone and move towards the family members and those close to them. 

Having their family on board is important as it provides support for the person to make it through the journey.

As far as cocaine addiction is concerned, we are also particularly focused on introducing our patients to a comprehensive relapse prevention program. This is important because the main challenge in treating cocaine addiction is not just quitting, but also returning to regular daily activities after the successful completion of the cocaine addiction rehabilitation program.

 

A family bonds together for the first time since cocaine addiction caused damage in their dynamic.

 

The phases of treating cocaine addiction

The diagnostic phase is always the start of a cocaine treatment program. This includes tests such as blood analysis and psychological tests.

The core of the treatment program involves tackling psychological dependence. Pharmacological correction, information therapy, as well as physiotherapy tools are used.

During the time in the cocaine addiction treatment center, the psychological state is made to stabilize, with symptoms like depression and cravings taken care of, with improved sleep and appetite as well. Other therapeutic techniques like group psychotherapy, yoga, massages, exercise, meditation, and the like are instituted.

Following discharge, the outpatient phase for the treatment of cocaine problems takes a year. When discharged, they will be given instructions as well as prescriptions, which should be followed. Each month, they will come to the clinic or call our team for a follow-up session with medical experts where complaints and problems can easily be addressed.

The phases of treatment are as follows:

  1. Diagnostics – the first phase of treatment. It is intended to assess the physical and psychological state of the patient. A standard diagnostic examination includes medical blood and urine tests, ECG and internist examination. This also involves psychodiagnostics, which are tests that determine the level of addiction, the presence of other mental conditions, as well as how motivated the patient is for treatment.

Following the diagnostic results, a treatment strategy is drafted out. If the tests reveal any complicating factors such as risk factors or comorbidities, then new tests may be requested and the treatment structured around that.

  1. The next phase is where treatment begins. This utilizes NeuroJet treatment and infusions. Infusions are multivitamins, minerals, and amino acids, which act to improve the patient’s wellbeing and strength. This is needed for the therapies at the clinic. NeuroJet is a device that sends mildly vibrating electrical waves through neck joints to regular dopamine and endorphin levels, which helps to overcome the first stages of the crisis when a patient withdraws from a substance. Its use is completely painless.
  2. The next goal is to remove the subconscious need for cocaine, which is achieved via information therapy. The patient is placed in medical sleep and given audio-visual stimulation for some hours using special headphones and glasses. The subconscious state helps overcome mental blockade and excuses.
  3. Hypnotherapy utilizes the patient’s subconscious to get to the root of the addiction. This is useful for patients who begin to lose motivation halfway through treatment.
  4. Psychotherapy, education, and yoga are aimed on recovering psychologically helping an addict to build a defense mechanism against the substance. Psychotherapy can also include group sessions.
  5. There is a physiotherapist whose services will be added to all other therapies. This helps provide support for the body and relieve stress through the cocaine detox process.
  6. Aversion therapy uses medication to create an aversion towards cocaine to add a barrier against restarting the drug abuse.
  7. Following all of this, the patient’s condition will be assessed and compared to that before they started the program, to evaluate the achieved result.
  8. The one-year cocaine addiction rehab program starts once a patient is discharged. This involves monthly check-ups for the next year, while their condition can be monitored at regular intervals and they will state any complaints or questions.

The program at VIP Vorobjev Clinic includes transportation of the patient from a station or airport to the clinic, as well as returning them there following treatment. Those coming from a foreign country can be assisted with getting a visa if needed. Patients are treated as inpatients, and they are placed in comfortable rooms to ensure a good stay. 

The doctors are all certified, whether anesthesiologists, psychiatrists, or psychologists, each with anywhere between 10 and 25 years of experience. The healthcare workers at the clinic are available for patients around the clock, every day of the week. There are more than 60 people employed by the clinic, with a security guard on the ground to secure patients and staff. This is in addition to the video surveillance system.

Quitting cocaine can be a very difficult move to make, but it is for the best. It will ensure a healthier, stress-free life, as well as providing bonuses in terms of social life and finances. The first step is always the hardest, but with VIP Vorobjev Rehab Clinic, it can be made easier.

If you want to find out more about getting rid of your addiction and avoiding relapse, get a free and confidential online consultation to discuss treatment options and the various outcomes with an expert of the clinic >>> 

You can expect to go over the following topics:

  1. How addiction will be treated in your case?
  2. Will the treatment help to stop the urges and prevent relapse?
  3. How much does the program cost and how long does it take?

Frequently Asked Questions

What forms does cocaine come in?

Cocaine comes in three main forms when sold on the streets. It can be normal cocaine, which is what most people think of. It can be crack cocaine, which comes in clumps or ‘rocks’, and is typically smoked. Then there is freebase cocaine, which is also smoked but is extremely flammable and dangerous.

Crack addiction is particularly dangerous as it is a cheaper form of the drug and easier to obtain. Crack addicts are also known to have more severe consequences for use.

Which routes can cocaine be used?

Cocaine can be smoked only if it is crack or freebase. It can be injected when speedballing. This makes it easy to look out for paraphernalia that might suggest drug use. Finally, it can be snorted.

Is cocaine overdose possible?

Yes, it is. This can cause symptoms such as sweating, tremors, seizures, respiratory failure, coma, and eventually death if there is no help gotten.

Published on February 8, 2021
by Dr Vorobjev Clinic team

Clinic for the treatment of addiction disorders Dr Vorobjev

Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management.

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