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Understanding Cocaine Addiction
Monday, 18 March 2019

It's hard to believe, but not everyone knows quite how addictive cocaine is. Known as a party drug because of how it boosts energy and confidence levels, cocaine is so compelling on an emotional, physical and psychological level that many find themselves becoming addicted without realizing it.

Once a person has started using cocaine regularly, it is not long before they start abusing the drug and their need to enter a cocaine rehabilitation center becomes more urgent as time goes by.

Top Five Things to Know About Cocaine Addiction
  • The time it takes to feel the effects of cocaine when used varies on the way it is taken. The most common methods are smoking, injecting, taking orally or sniffing through the nose (snorting).
  • People tend to binge and crash when they use cocaine and often each binge is followed by a period of abstinence. This gives the appearance of cocaine being less addictive than it is, however it can make abusing this substance much more dangerous.
  • The risks associated with cocaine use can be reduced, although not eliminated, with harm reduction strategies.
  • After the come down from cocaine or on completing detox, withdrawal can last for weeks and sometimes much longer.
How People Become Addicted to Cocaine

Cocaine works in the same way as other addictive substances in that continued use leads to tolerance, making the person take more to get the desired effects. Because its effects are short-lasting anything from 5 minutes to half-an-hour, tolerance often develops much faster in cocaine users than those of other substances. Some people use alcohol at the same time as cocaine in attempts to prolong the high but the risks associated with this chemical combination are significant, if not potentially life-threatening.

One of the characteristics of addiction is that people continue to use even though it is starting to have a negative effect on their lives. One of the biggest obstacles to people entering cocaine rehabilitation centers is the inability to control their drug use. This is because a building tolerance has led to them abusing cocaine to such a degree that their bodies have become reliant on receiving its stimulus at regular intervals. For cocaine users who enjoy the boost it gives them in social situations, it is easy to lose control of the doses they take.

Many addiction specialists in cocaine addiction centers believe that cocaine is a much more dangerous drug than heroin because of the volatile, compulsive pattern of abuse and high fatality rate seen among people abusing the drug. In scientific experiments involving animals, those given unlimited access to cocaine rapidly developed dependence with many voluntarily taking fatal doses.

The purity of the cocaine obtained is a key factor in whether people become addicted. Illegally purchased cocaine is often cut with other substances to dilute it, making the dealers more profit in the process. This means that when individuals buy cocaine from street dealers, they might only get 10% of pure cocaine mixed with a whole host of other potentially hazardous ingredients such as baking soda, protein powders and even laundry detergent. The unknown substances used have the look, taste and feel of cocaine but they represent a significant risk to the user, especially if they contain any allergens they are sensitive to.

How Setting Affects Cocaine Addiction

According to surveys conducted among drug users in cocaine rehabilitation centers, the psychological and physical contexts of addictive behavior are very important in determining if a person becomes addicted to cocaine.

Although people who only occasionally use cocaine may not be classified as classic addicts, they still face the significant risks attached to cocaine use. It is vital that cocaine users recognize they can fatally overdose without being addicted to the drug and that it is also very easy to take too much, even on the first time of use. Even animals in lab environments showed behavior where they preferred to use the drug in certain areas of their cage rather than in other places it was made available.

The problem of associating certain places or events with cocaine use is that it creates an impression that the individual is in control of their habit. However, even though a person may not be using the drug on a daily basis, developing a strong association between certain situations and cocaine abuse heightens their risk of becoming addicted.

Some people use cocaine as a way of controlling their weight. Studies among cocaine users show that when they use more of the drug, they tend to eat less. Not only does cocaine suppress the appetite but it also speeds up metabolism so that it is very easy to develop nutritional deficiencies and related health complications. This is a very dangerous approach to weight loss that increases the risk of cocaine addiction and other serious health conditions as well.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

There are around 15,000 cocaine rehabilitation centers offering addiction treatment across America making it easy for people to access help in achieving recovery. The nature of cocaine addiction is such that once a person has used the drug on more than one occasion, it is recommended they seek rehab treatment sooner rather than later. This is because cocaine carries a high risk of fatal overdose that is not dependent on the person being a regular user or even having addiction issues at all.

Using cocaine more than once is enough to create an association between its effects and the setting in which it is taken. Early cocaine rehabilitation treatment can be very effective in preventing cocaine addiction from worsening and can also prevent it from developing in the first place if individuals seek help quickly.

The holistic approach to recovery is considered particularly effective in cocaine rehabilitation as it addresses the physical, emotional and psychological issues driving the desire to use the drug. People often use cocaine as a social prop because it makes them feel more gregarious and outgoing, finding social situations uncomfortable without it. Whatever the nature of a person’s relationship with cocaine, there is a treatment approach that can lead them into a healthy and substance-free future.
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