What makes cocaine so addictive? Cocaine is a stimulant drug derived from the coca leaf. The coca plant is native to South America, where ancient civilizations once chewed coca leaves to achieve higher energy and heightened awareness. The production of cocaine from coca leaves distills the psychoactive alkaloid that generates the stimulant effect, concentrating it into a paste. Chemicals are added to the paste to remove impurities, and the result is the powdered form of cocaine, which may then be turned into rock crystals (crack cocaine). Cocaine is a highly potent drug that floods the brain with dopamine, which drives the feeling of reward and encourages a behavior to be repeated.
What Causes Cocaine Addiction?
What causes cocaine addiction? Why would anyone begin using cocaine? When individuals turn to drug use, they are seeking the solution to a problem, not more problems. They may be caving to social pressure, desiring an experience of euphoria, looking to suppress pain or trauma in their lives, seeking self-expression, or hunting for an escape. Some individuals are predisposed to addiction, which can be influenced by genetics, personality, and environment. This doesn’t mean they will certainly develop an addiction — only that they could more easily get trapped in the cycle of addiction if they start using drugs.
Cocaine produces a strong sense of euphoria, rewiring the brain’s reward system so that a cocaine user deeply craves the drug. It also generates a heightened sense of awareness and energy, suppressing one’s appetite and need for sleep. Cocaine may also heighten feelings of paranoia, increase heart rate (or cause heart rhythm disturbances), drive up body temperature, and even have serious effects like seizures, neurological problems, or stroke.
After the high subsides, or upon stopping the use of cocaine, individuals may experience a severe crash: fatigue, irritability, depression, increased hunger, disturbed sleep, and an inability to experience pleasure (due to the depletion of dopamine). Cravings and discomfort can be severe, compelling further use of the drug.
Common Cocaine Addiction Symptoms
Here are some common symptoms of cocaine addiction:
- Dilated pupils
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Heightened paranoia
- Loss of smell or nosebleeds (from snorting)
- Track marks on arms (from injection)
- Panic attacks
- Lack of appetite followed by extreme hunger
- Weight loss
- Digestive upset and gastrointestinal pain
- Lack of impulse control
- Memory problems
Without treatment, cocaine addiction can cause severe short and long-term health issues. Individuals are at risk of adverse events such as psychosis, cardiac arrest, stroke, or falling into a coma. Cocaine addiction may also make individuals more susceptible to using other psychoactive stimulant drugs, such as MDMA. Cocaine can be mixed with impure substances that may be toxic — or even other drugs like heroin. This significantly increases the chance of negative consequences or even fatality.
Addiction often causes individuals to steal from loved ones and isolate themselves in order to sustain their drug habit. They may neglect any responsibilities or personal care because their body and brain have been wired to pursue cocaine. If you believe someone you love may be abusing cocaine or other drugs, please get in touch with our team today.
Why Go to Residential Treatment for Cocaine Addiction?
Residential treatment offers a number of benefits to those suffering from cocaine addiction. The first is the opportunity to detox safely under the supervision of consulting physicians. Consulting medical staff and treatment professionals are often able to provide medication and therapy to help alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal during the detox process. If a person experiences a severe reaction during detox, professionals are standing by to provide assistance or transfer the individual to a hospital.
Second, residential treatment gives individuals a clean slate so they can build a new life in recovery. Whatever trauma, pain, or baggage they bring into treatment, professional counselors can help them process it and move forward.
Third, individuals also have the chance to connect with peers going through the same journey. They can find support and get training to build a life that doesn’t depend on drug use. In other words, they are able to find actual solutions to the problems they had tried to solve through drug use, eliminating the primary driver toward using drugs. They can learn how to overcome cravings and get the affirmation they need to pursue a completely different lifestyle.
Residential treatment includes a mix of therapies and an environment for healing, taking individuals outside of the context of where they used drugs and giving them a platform and support for physical, mental, and emotional restoration.
How to Know When It’s Time to Seek Cocaine Addiction Treatment
How do you know when it’s time to seek cocaine addiction treatment? If you’ve tried to quit using cocaine and have begun to experience withdrawal symptoms, please contact our team today. If your condition is severe, it’s important to be monitored and cared for by physicians who can ensure that you get through detox safely. At BeWell Network, we want to help you find the right treatment options so that you can heal from addiction — physically, mentally, and emotionally for the long-term.
Get Cocaine Addiction Treatment through BeWell Network
BeWell Network is a family of evidence-based treatment centers. We help individuals suffering from addiction find the path to recovery, offering customized treatment experiences for the restoration of the mind, body, and spirit. If you or a loved one is considering treatment for cocaine addiction, please get in touch with our team today. We can assess your situation and recommend treatment options, verifying your benefits for free. We have a no-hassle billing process and are committed to providing treatment designed specially for you.