Please call 911 if there is an immediate risk for harm or an emergency
For suicide intervention, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to get help by phone at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) Toll-free in the U.S. 24 hours a day.
For substance abuse treatment referral and information (in English and Spanish), call the confidential Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) .
To report a sexual assault, Call 911 or contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) to speak with a trained sexual assault service provider in your area.
Cocaine (also referred to as Coke, Blow, Snow, Powder or C) is a powerfully addictive stimulant derived from the leaves of the coca plant. Due to its extremely high potential for abuse, it is classified as a Schedule II drug and may only be administered by a doctor for a legitimate medical use. Cocaine is often used diluted or “cut” with other non-psychoactive substances such as talc, flour or baking soda or with other drugs such as amphetamine or heroin. Cocaine is generally snorted, swallowed, injected or smoked but each method comes with its own additional side effects. For example, snorting cocaine may cause damage to the nasal tissue, and smoking causes respiratory issues. Similarly, intravenous consumption can lead to scarring, infection, and vein damage. According to Addiction Rehab Treatment, cocaine abuse builds up to an addiction when it is no longer a “want” to consume but a “need.” Cocaine abuse can have both short-term and long-term effects on your mental and physical well-being.
Physical and Psychological Effects of Cocaine Use
Cocaine causes the brain to release dopamine, which is often referred to as the “feel-good hormone,” as a response to pleasure. When this happens, the cells within the brain pick up as much as possible, leaving the rest to the brain tissue. The brain tissue then recycles the rest to regulate the levels of dopamine available.
When consumed cocaine moves through the bloodstream to the central nervous system, altering the brain’s chemical composition and stimulating a sense of alertness and intense energy. This is done by overstimulating the production of dopamine and by preventing the recycling process. The regulation process is disrupted allowing for continued dopamine production for extended periods of time. This initial effect is short-lived and is often followed by highly unpleasant feelings like anxiety, confusion, or sadness.
|Short-Term Physical Effects||Long-Term Physical Effects|
|Increased heart rate||Increased risk for heart disease|
|Loss of appetite||Increased risk of cardiac arrest|
|Erratic sleep||Sleep deprivation|
|Muscle spasms||Damage of organs|
|Convulsions||Deterioration of nasal tissue|
|Higher body temperature||Weight loss|
|Quicker breathing||Tooth decay|
|Intense energy||Lower libido|
|Dilation of pupils||Increased tolerance|
|Short-Term Psychological Effects||Long-Term Psychological Effects|
|Excessive stimulation||Disorientation or confusion|
|Euphoria||Loss of cognitive ability|
Table content source: Addiction Rehab Treatment
Statistics on Cocaine Abuse and Addiction:
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that more than 50% of those who are addicted live with at least one other mental illness.
- In a study of treatment patients aged 18-30, the TEDS Report states that 74% of the admissions started using while they were 17 or under. Around 10% had their first time under the age of 11.
- A study shows that 78% of cocaine abusers also consumed other drugs in addition to cocaine.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Monitoring the Future Study shows that approximately 1.4% of 8th graders, 2.6% of 10th graders, and 3.9% of 12th graders have used cocaine at least once.
- The UNODC World Drug Report states that between 14-21 million people abuse cocaine all across the world.
Signs of Cocaine Abuse:
A substance abuse disorder can have devastating impacts on a person’s mental, physical, and social well-being. However, spotting the symptoms of cocaine use is difficult unless you know what to look for. While these may vary for person to person, here are a few red flags that could be indicative of a cocaine addiction:
- Dilated pupils
- Increased confidence
- Sudden nose bleeds
- Irritability and mood swings
- Poor sleeping patterns
- Disruptions in personal or social life
- Willingness to go to extreme lengths to acquire cocaine
- Increasing tolerance for consumption
- Increased dosage
- Consumption despite the negative impact on health
How to Help Someone Struggling with Cocaine Addiction
Individuals with a family history of addiction, pre-existing mental health illness or those dealing with a dependence to alcohol or other drugs are at a higher risk for developing a substance use disorder. However, developing an addiction is not dependent on either of these factors. Anyone regardless of ethnicity, gender identity, socioeconomic status or creed can develop an addiction.
Some individuals struggling with drug addiction may be hesitant to to get treatment even if they acknowledge their addiction while others may deny there is a problem. According to the Association of Intervention Specialists, an intervention is effective when done in a positive, supportive, loving, and safe environment. Concerned family members and friends are encouraged to remember to use an empathic, compassionate approach and refrain from accusations and blame.
Cocaine addiction is a disease and recovery requires consistent work, social support, and time. For those with a loved one struggling with addiction, it is important to set clear and healthy boundaries. Listen to their perspective and talk to them about your own. Having an open, honest conversation when they’re sober can be very useful in the healing process. Addiction takes its toll on an entire family. Family counseling is a good idea for those struggling to deal with the situation.
Treating Cocaine Addiction
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Contingency Management
- Motivational Interviewing
- Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy
- 12-Step Programs
These behavioral therapies use different methods to help you correct maladaptive behaviors and make meaningful changes. Addiction Rehab Treatment offers a 24/7, confidential helpline for those seeking help or answers to questions about drug abuse treatment. Call Treatment Navigator who will connect you with the right drug and alcohol treatment centers across the United States.
The information and resources have been provided courtesy of Addiction Rehab Treatment. For further reading, see: