Cocaine Addiction – What It Is and How to Beat It

Cocaine is a very powerful illegal drug and one that can have deadly consequences, especially if one has a cocaine addiction. It is typically available as a powder and is smoked or snorted. Some people rub the powder into their gums in order to absorb it more quickly but those who want an instant effect will inject it, thus risking overdose or death.

Cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs available and those who experiment with it often find that it becomes addictive quite quickly and that kicking the habit is then almost impossible. The substance causes feelings of euphoria, confidence, alertness and wellbeing but is followed by a severe comedown, which can last for days. The unpleasant feelings experienced when the effects start to wear off can be enough to tempt users to take more of the drug. This, in turn, leads to an increased tolerance and a deadly descent into cocaine addiction.

Cocaine is also available in a solid ‘rock’ form, and this is known as crack cocaine. These rocks are typically burned and then smoked through a pipe or injected. Crack cocaine is highly addictive, and many users find that they cannot quit this drug even if they want to; the cravings are just too intense.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine makes users feel really good – temporarily. Those who take the drug often feel great and are full of confidence. However, it can make individuals overconfident and aggressive, which can result in them taking unnecessary risks.

The short-term effects of cocaine on a person include a raised body temperature, rapid heartbeat, loss of appetite, nausea and insomnia. The effects are generally short-lived, though. Those who take the drug may find that they feel great for about ten minutes before the feelings begin to subside, at which time most feel the need to take more of the drug.

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

Those who become addicted to cocaine will be taking large quantities of the drug to achieve the desired results. Since cocaine causes a loss of appetite and interrupted sleep patterns, long-term users tend to be malnourished and gaunt. Lack of sleep can lead to hallucinations and psychosis, and many users suffer from severe depression.

Many mental and physical conditions are linked to long-term use of cocaine, including damage to the heart and brain, respiratory problems, oral problems, weight loss, sexual issues such as infertility, and addiction.

Those who do become addicted to cocaine risk a host of lifestyle issues too, such as relationship breakdowns, financial struggles, job losses, and potential homelessness. Addiction to cocaine can take over a person’s life to the point where nothing else matters. He or she will do almost anything to get their next fix, and things that were previously important will pale into insignificance.

Many cocaine addicts have resorted to criminal activity to fund their habit, with a large number ending up behind bars as a result. This has a knock-on effect on the entire family of the addicted individual, and this can lead to problems when the person is released. Many recovering cocaine addicts who have spent time in prison are unable to get a job because of their criminal record.

How to Tell if Someone Has a Cocaine Addiction

Whether you are worried about yourself or someone else, there are some signs that could indicate an addiction to cocaine. If you are concerned that you have an addiction, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you been high a number of times in the past six months?
  • Have you taken unnecessary risks while high, such as driving a car or going to work?
  • Do you feel guilty about your cocaine use?
  • Have you tried to quit or cut down but found you were unable to?
  • Do you need to take more cocaine each time in order to achieve the desired effect?
  • Do you get irritable when you have not taken cocaine?
  • Have you neglected your responsibilities in favour of taking cocaine?
  • Do you constantly think about cocaine when you are not using?
  • Do you hide your cocaine use from your loved ones and lie about what you are doing?
  • Are loved ones concerned about your behaviour?

If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, you could have a cocaine problem and one that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Even if you are not yet physically or psychologically dependent on this drug, you could be heading in that direction if your behaviour continues in this way.

Spotting Cocaine Use in a Loved One

Unlike alcohol, cocaine is an illegal substance, so it is unlikely that those who use this drug will be advertising the fact. Therefore, it can be difficult for loved ones to know when a family member or friend is abusing cocaine. You may have noticed that his or her behaviour has changed, and you may suspect that drugs are involved, but your loved one will likely be hiding this from you.

Affected individuals abusing cocaine may be acting irritable and moody, before disappearing and returning in a completely different mood. He or she may now be energetic, excitable and talkative and you may notice a sudden confidence that was not there before. Cocaine users tend to lose their appetite, and they do not have regular sleeping patterns, so this is something else to be on the lookout for.

One of the most obvious signs of cocaine abuse is traces of white powder around the nasal cavity. Those who snort the drug often fail to remove all traces of it, which is often how loved ones confirm that the individual is abusing cocaine. Other signs to watch out for are dilated pupils and sensitivity to light. You may also notice that the person has a constant runny nose or suffers from nose bleeds. This will be the result of damage to the nose from snorting the drug over an extended period of time.

If you are worried about any person you love, look for signs of drug use such as changes in behaviour and moods and regular disappearances in order to use cocaine.

Consequences of a Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is a deadly drug that can destroy the lives of those affected. Nevertheless, the effects of this substance are not restricted to the individual. Family members will also be affected by one member’s addiction, as will friends, work colleagues, and the wider community.

Addiction is referred to as a family illness because of the detrimental effect it has on all involved. Those who live with cocaine addicts will suffer great hardship. They may be lied to, stolen from, and cheated by the person they love because he or she will lose all control over their actions.

Cocaine causes powerful cravings and addicts will do almost anything to satisfy their urge to take the drug. To them, nothing else matters except getting the drug, and they will do and say anything to get it. They will make and break promises in an instant, and this can leave the people they love feeling frustrated, upset and angry. It can cause irreparable damage to families.

The repercussions of addiction can last for many years. Until the addicted family member decides to get help, there is no peace. Financial hardship is common and many addicts will be unable to hold down a job because of their illness. The entire family will suffer as a result.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction is notoriously difficult to treat due to the intense cravings experienced by those in recovery. These cravings can last for a very long time, which means that relapse rates are high. Nonetheless, recovery from a cocaine addiction is possible with the right help and support.

Here at Recovery.org.uk, we understand the difficulties faced by those with cocaine addiction. Treatment begins with a detox, where all traces of the drug are expelled from the body. This process is best carried out in a medically supervised facility, and we will make sure you are referred to the most suitable centre based on your requirements.

From there, a programme of rehabilitation is essential. To overcome a cocaine addiction, it is necessary to learn how to deal with triggers and cravings and to learn how to live a clean and sober life without relying on this deadly drug.

Rehabilitation for cocaine addiction involves various treatments, including motivational interviewing, 12-step work, individual counselling, group therapy, contingency management, cognitive behavioural therapy, and family therapy.

Contact us today for advice and information on the process of recovery from addiction. We will provide you with a free assessment and referral to a suitable treatment provider.