Grand Falls Center for Recovery
Cocaine is considered a substance with a high potential for misuse and severe psychological or physical dependence. For this reason, cocaine remains classified as a Schedule II controlled substance illegal throughout the United States. One-time cocaine use can quickly evolve into a pattern of misuse, leading to addiction. As the effects of cocaine are very intense, yet short-lived, people often take more to re-experience the high they remember from their first use. This inevitable spiral causes the body and mind to build up a tolerance making stopping difficult, if not impossible, without help from a cocaine rehab program like Grand Falls Recovery.
Cocaine is a drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. Once extracted from the cocoa plant, cocaine appears as a white powdery substance that can be taken into the body in various ways. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 15% of Americans have tried cocaine at least once. Cocaine goes by several other names, including coke, crack, and blow, among others. Cocaine is classified as a stimulant, meaning it increases alertness and energy. The drug affects the brain’s neural pathways, making one feel talkative, euphoric, and often overly energetic.
Addiction to cocaine can be physical, meaning that your body craves the drug, but it can also be mental, which means one develops intense cravings for the drug’s effects. As previously noted, cocaine can be consumed in a variety of ways. Due to its powdery nature, it can be inhaled through the nose or liquefied and injected into a vein. It can also be injected via genital or rectal roots. Also, cocaine can be processed into a form called crack cocaine and smoked. Via any of these methods, addiction can occur quickly, in some cases, after just one use.
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Cocaine is a stimulant, and therefore, its initial effects act to energize the body. However, these effects are short-lived. Taking cocaine causes the chemical dopamine, a naturally occurring neurotransmitter, to increase its concentrations in the brain. The elevation in dopamine concentrations causes feelings of pleasure, satisfaction, and euphoria. The chemicals within cocaine prevent dopamine and other naturally occurring neurotransmitters (norepinephrine and serotonin) from being absorbed by nerve cells. This process allows large amounts of neurotransmitters to accumulate in the brain and stimulate surrounding nerve cells, only heightening a feeling of temporary euphoria.
Frequent cocaine use results in the development of a tolerance to the drug and an increased desire for its effects. Some users indicate cocaine use reduces their need for food and sleep while increasing their ability to think and perform tasks more quickly and efficiently. Ongoing, increasing use as is necessary to maintain the effects initially felt when using, can have detrimental mental and physical health effects.
The signs and symptoms of cocaine use are generally a combination of psychological and physical effects. The impacts of cocaine spread throughout the body. The psychological effects of cocaine use can be seen in changes to mood, behavior, and overall mental health. Individuals who use cocaine, whether short or long-term, often experience increased instances of paranoia and stats of panic. They often express thoughts that people are “out to get them” or experience sudden, unprovoked fear. Hallucinations are also a common side effect of cocaine use.
In addition to the above side effects, cocaine use often results in changes in mood and behavior. For example, those who use cocaine frequently exhibit displays of aggression and irritability that are not typical for that individual. They may also have repetitive or abnormal behaviors such as pacing, “checking” things (like clocks or doors), peculiar sounds or vocalizations, and other behaviors considered eccentric. Cocaine addiction can also result in increased incidences of mental illness, including depression and anxiety.
The physical effects of cocaine can be highly detrimental to each of the body systems. Some of the physical effects such as nausea, elevated blood pressure, abnormal heartbeat, increased body temperature, and enlarged pupils are often short-term; however, several side effects last much longer. Those who snort cocaine may experience frequent nosebleeds and runny nose. This is why they often appear to have “the sniffles.” Snorting cocaine can cause permanent damage to a person’s sense of smell in addition to damaging the structure of the nose. Snorting cocaine can also lead to difficulties swallowing and changes to the vocal cords. In extreme cases, it can damage the roof of the mouth, complicating everyday tasks such as eating.
Stomach and digestive issues are also a symptom of cocaine use. Some people experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain after using cocaine. With ongoing use, it can lead to intestinal damage, intestinal death, perforated bowel, and stomach bleeding, all of which can be fatal. Because cocaine acts as an appetite suppressant, malnutrition is also a common complication found with cocaine use.
Ongoing struggles with cocaine addiction can also cause long-term effects to other vital organ systems in the body. In some cases, these effects are in the form of disease processes that cause permanent damage to vital body organs. For example, when the liver and kidneys are exposed to cocaine, it can lead to liver infections, Hepatitis, end-stage renal disease, renal failure, and decreased kidney function. Cocaine use can also affect the heart. Depending on the severity of use, cocaine can lead to chest pains, heart attack, aortic rupture, elevated risk of stroke, inflammation of the heart muscles, heart failure, and coronary artery disease.
Frequent, regular cocaine use also causes permanent alterations to the brain. Eventually, the brain’s reward pathways are affected, and tolerance builds up, causing individuals to need more and more cocaine to produce the same effects they felt when they first used. Consequently, the user may become dependent on cocaine, and when they stop using it develop symptoms of withdrawal and other mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. Regular cocaine use can also lead to increased sensitivity to the drug itself. This means lower and lower doses of cocaine can provoke some of the drugs’ unpleasant side effects, such as convulsions or anxiety. When combined with increased tolerance to the pleasurable effects of cocaine, decreasing tolerance to the undesirable effects can heighten the risk of overdose.
Bleeding in the brain or bulging blood vessels in the brain are also side effects of cocaine use. These side effects and the use of cocaine alone can heighten the risk for seizures and stroke. Long-term cocaine use may also increase one’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.
Treatment at our cocaine rehab center typically involves detox and therapy in a residential inpatient treatment program. These programs significantly increase the chances of a successful recovery from the physical and psychological addiction to cocaine. At an inpatient treatment program, highly trained, compassionate therapists and medical professionals use evidence-based treatments to help a recovering addict learn how to live a healthy life without relying on cocaine.
A typical rehab program includes counseling, support groups, relapse prevention education, and aftercare planning. Because cocaine withdrawal can lead to complex and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms, seeking help at a cocaine rehab center in Missouri is the safest and most effective way to overcome an addiction to cocaine. When you begin treatment at Grand Falls Recovery, we will work with you to ensure the elements of your individualized treatment plan focus on your unique treatment needs and goals. Although recovery from cocaine addiction can be challenging, it is possible with comprehensive, evidence-based care.
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Cocaine addiction is harmful to a person’s mind, body, and overall well-being. In recovery, those who previously struggled with addiction can learn to live free from cocaine and recover the “self” they knew before drugs and addiction took hold. Each year, thousands of people who struggle with an addiction to cocaine seek help to put addiction in the past. If you are ready to begin your recovery journey, reach out to the admissions team at Grand Falls Recovery to learn more about how to re-start your life with our Cocaine rehab center in Missouri.
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Most major insurance companies can help pay for rehab. Contact us to verify your benefits and see if insurance can help pay for your recovery.