Though cocaine conjures an image of white powder in a small plastic bag, the drug is actually derived from a plant and has been used as a stimulant and appetite suppressant by indigenous South American people for thousands of years. The leaves of the coca plant contain the chemical compound cocaine, which was discovered by scientists in the mid-1800s and first recreated in a laboratory setting in 1898. It had limited medical uses for some time as a numbing agent and was legal for recreational use until 1914 government action placed restrictions on many narcotic substances. Today, the US classifies cocaine as a Schedule II drug, which means it has known medical uses but also has a high potential for abuse and addiction. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, cocaine remains one of the top five most commonly abused illicit drugs, with an estimated 1.9 million Americans over the age of 12 classified as cocaine users in 2016.
What is Cocaine Addiction?
Cocaine belongs to a class of drugs known as stimulants, which means that their euphoric highs are due to an increase in activity in some areas of the brain. In particular, cocaine stimulates the production of dopamine, a chemical that triggers your body’s reward systems — when you do something good or something that feels good, your body naturally reacts by producing dopamine. Using cocaine triggers that same feeling, so your brain comes to associate cocaine use with happiness and pleasure. Continued cocaine use can cause your body to become reliant on cocaine to achieve those feelings, as your body’s natural dopamine production stops being sufficient for your reward pathways to feel stimulated. Eventually, you rely on cocaine to feel happy at all, and you start to experience withdrawal symptoms like depression and irritability without the drug. After you develop this dependency, you can easily transition into addiction as your cocaine use becomes a habit or compulsion.
Signs of Cocaine Addiction
Some common signs of cocaine addiction include:
- Manic energy followed by exhaustion
- Irritability, anxiety or paranoia
- Changes in social circles
- Poor sense of smell, nosebleeds or a chronic runny nose
- Sudden financial difficulty
If you or someone close to you may be addicted to or abusing cocaine, you should contact The Kimberly Center or a local addiction recovery center right away. Cocaine addiction is dangerous and can result in serious long-term health problems or lethal overdoses. It is important to seek professional help to ensure you receive the right kind of care and treatment throughout your recovery process.
Treating Cocaine Addiction
Unlike detox and withdrawal from opioids or heroin, there is no approved medication to treat the physical effects of cocaine addiction. It is possible for your detox to be made safe and comfortable with monitoring by a healthcare professional, but current research shows that long- term treatment with evidence-based therapy is the best way to heal and to prevent cocaine addiction from recurring. At The Kimberly Center, we know that substance-free treatment plans are often the best medicine. It is healthier and more beneficial in the long run for you to avoid relying on substances, and we believe in the power of the individual and the strength of support systems to keep you sober for life. In our programs, you will learn to replace drug habits with healthy ones and you will build a network of family, friends and counselors to help you when substance use becomes tempting. We know that everyone’s experience with addiction is different, and we have designed our programs to fit your needs and your schedule. When you choose treatment for cocaine addiction at The Kimberly Center, your options can include:
- Outpatient Treatment
- Intensive Outpatient Treatment
- Residential Recovery
- Continuing Care
Contact The Kimberly Center
The Kimberly Center is proud to provide evidence-based, compassionate addiction treatment for adults in Fort Myers, Florida. We focus on giving you the attention and tools you need to learn to live your life completely substance-free, emphasizing your inner strength and the importance of a strong support system. To learn more about our services and to find out if our programs are right for you or your loved one, contact us today at 855-452- 3683.