Why Is Cocaine Addiction Treatment So Important?
Cocaine addiction treatment is an important part of recovery. Cocaine is the third-most popular drug in the USA today, behind marijuana and methamphetamine. The drug takes its toll on each victim. It was once considered harmless. Once you are addicted to cocaine there is a struggle. Addicts have to learn about the drug and what it done to their body. They also need to know there is hope using the tools they learn in rehab to manage their addiction.
The effects of cocaine on the body, brain and spirit are well documented. Once thought by many to be a relatively “harmless party drug”, it is now proving to be one of the most difficult drugs to quit. The introduction of crack cocaine in the 1980’s produced what was called an epidemic of cocaine use in the United States.
Cocaine was used for over 5,000 years by South American Indians where it was chewed for stamina and for endurance at high altitudes. The European explores to South America began experimenting with the coca leaves and by 1850 began cocaine extraction. By 1860 they began using cocaine as an anesthetic and tonic and by 1900 had begun to see the potential addictive qualities of cocaine.
How Does Cocaine Work?
Cocaine acts upon the dopamine receptors in the brain by blocking the re-uptake of dopamine. Dopamine floods the receptors and is prevented from being re-absorbed into the brain. Dopamine is a “feel good” transmitter naturally released during times of joy, during sexual activity and during exercise. Dopamine is naturally released, then re-absorbed into the brain via receptors. Cocaine floods the brain with dopamine, causing extreme feelings of joy. So much dopamine is released that some of the receptors are shut down, causing less receptors to be functioning.
Upon depletion of the drug in the brain, dopamine levels decrease drastically, causing a level below the person’s normal level causing feelings of depression and hopelessness. Less dopamine in the brain and less dopamine receptors means less joy. Using cocaine again will elevate the dopamine again, alleviating the feelings of depression. Cocaine addiction arises in part from the addict’s unwillingness to feel depressed and hopeless. More cocaine is the only way the addict knows, short of recovery, to feel good again. Other stimulants, such as methamphetamine, operate in a similar fashion.
Over time, cocaine use increases as the brain adjusts to the levels of dopamine and to the decreased number of receptors acting in the brain. The addict will need to use more and more cocaine, to the point of saturation. At a certain use level, the brain will become saturated and more cocaine will not make the user feel any higher. This appears to be the level at which users attempt to remain.
The Effects of Cocaine Addiction
The effect of cocaine is of short duration. Nasal inhalation, or snorting, will create a euphoric feeling for up to 20 minutes, while smoking (crack cocaine) or injecting will create a more intense but shorter euphoric feeling, for as short as 10 minutes. The addict will chase this euphoric feeling until the drugs are finished. Then they will need more.
Cocaine creates havoc on the central nervous system due to its stimulating qualities. It causes nervousness, irritability, anxiousness, an increase in blood pressure and increased temperature. Physical effects can include heart murmurs, disturbances in heart rhythms, heart attacks, seizures, strokes and comas. Many cocaine users report feelings of extreme skin sensitivity, breathing difficulty and eventually exhaustion.
Heavy users of crack cocaine report feelings of paranoia as a predominant feeling during use. These feelings produce a completely delusional effect wherein the user believes he is being watched or followed. The hallucinations can be visual, auditory and believable. The more cocaine used, the more these feelings increase. The paranoia decreases with the cessation of usage.
Recovery from cocaine can prove to be particularly difficult due to the presence of triggers in the brain caused by long-term use. Studies have shown the presence of excessive stimulation in the brain of former cocaine users for years following recovery when cocaine images were presented to the former user. These triggers can present themselves in everyday settings which were present when the user was active in addiction.
Removal from familiar people, places and settings which were associated with cocaine usage is often necessary for recovery. Re-integration with education about triggers is necessary for successful recovery from cocaine addiction. Avoiding familiar people, places and events that were involved in or associated with the usage of cocaine becomes a focus in recovery and requires restructuring of one’s environment where the focus is a healthy lifestyle.
Facts on Cocaine Addiction Withdrawal
Another thing that makes recovery a challenge is cocaine withdrawal, especially when the user is already dependent after chronic use of the substance. WebMD describes the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal as less physiological than that of alcohol, involving manageable ones such as aches, tremors, and chills.
The most common symptoms of cocaine withdrawal:
lack of pleasure
Cocaine withdrawal rarely causes medical complications, but it is still dangerous because it may trigger thoughts of suicide. Caution should be taken until the symptoms resolve in a week or two. Craving may persist, hence support would be beneficial.
Does Gender Matter When Using Cocaine- From The Web
Psychologytoday.com reports that cocaine addiction research has shown in stressful scenarios, women addicted to cocaine showed markedly increased activation of emotional regions of the brain compared to controls. Men addicted to cocaine showed very little increased activation in these emotional brain regions. In contrast, addicted men showed robust activation of brain activity in response to drug-related cues compared to controls, but women did not.
Antidote For Cocaine Addiction Treatment Shows Promise – In The News
Npr.ord reports that cocaine addiction treatment for addicts that overdose shows promising results. Stroke, kidney failure, seizures are some of the devastating effects of a cocaine overdose that kill thousands of people each year. But new research has created hope that a cocaine overdose antidote may soon be available for doctors who administer in emergency situations.
If you are seeking cocaine treatment for yourself or someone you love call Hawaii Island Recovery at 866-515-5032.