Cocaine belongs to a group of drugs known as stimulantssometimes referred to as uppers. It is widely available as either rocky powder for sniffing, usually known as coke, or crack or freebase – which is a powder prepared for smoking, – a rock-like form of cocaine which makes a cracking sound when smoked. Cocaine can also be injected.
Cocaine treatment at Hope Rehab has been carefully structured to get you the best results, both physically and emotionally.
Cocaine use is associated with risk-taking. Overconfidence is a common side effect of cocaine use and can result in negative behaviours, varying from unsafe sex to catastrophic decision-making regarding investments. Following a binge, the lack of dopamine available to the brain can leave the user feeling severely depressed, often suicidal for days – a high price to pay for a few moments of delusional euphoria.
The intense euphoria that can be experienced when taking cocaine is due to the fact that it increases dopamine nerve-stimulation in the brain. However, the feeling is short lived – usually between 5 and 20 minutes only. This means that cocaine, in any form, can become highly addictive in a short time, as the user tries to recreate or prolong that intensive feeling of well-being. In addition to this, as dopamine levels are depleted, the user is left with the feeling of depression or “crashing”. Cocaine users can become irritable, erratic, violent, depressed or paranoid, as a result of even relatively short-term cocaine use.
Damage to or loss of nasal septum
Ulcers and gangrene from injecting cocaine
High blood pressure leading to a stroke
Mixing cocaine use with drinking alcohol is extremely common and can be fatal. When mixed, they form cocaethylene, a highly toxic substance in its own right, while at the same time masking the levels of intoxication leading the user to believe they can use even more cocaine and alcohol. The repeated chasing of the cocaine ‘high’ can lead quickly from occasional ‘social’ using to full-fledged bingeing and addiction.
The lack of tangible physical withdrawal symptoms may often lead users to believe they do not have a problem. Nonetheless, the psychological dependence on cocaine in any form can be extremely debilitating. If a user is unable to stop and remain sober, residential treatment for addiction and the associated psychological disorders may be desirable.
In addition to the physical and psychological problems, there are usually financial and relationship or familial problems too. The lengths someone may go to, to hide or deny a problem with cocaine are extreme in many cases. Theft, fraud and mounting credit card debt can all be synonymous with cocaine use spiralling out of control.
Long-term, heavy cocaine use is known to change the brain’s ability to control impulsiveness more than any other substance. Therefore, cravings can be hard to resist, and triggers may be felt more acutely for up to a year or more.
Once the primary cocaine addiction is treated, the underlying problems that originally made cocaine use seem desirable, such as anxiety, problems in relationships, lack of self-esteem, etc., will also need to be treated. These issues do not disappear magically. Yet, with counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy and a daily recovery routine, it is possible to live a fulfilling life without the use of cocaine or any other mind-altering substances.
Cocaine latches onto to certain structures that are involved in regulating dopamine levels. It also produces changes in norepinephrine and glutamate, which are the sources of its stimulant effects, this leads to euphoria and a desire to repeat the experience again and again.
Hijacked Brain: Human reward system is designed for survival but hijacked by chemical payoffs provided by substances. The reward circuitry normally bookmarks important things: food, nurturing children, education, work and friendships. However, now it has been corrupted by the Cocaine.
A Cocaine craving is a neurological impulse: Addicts usually lose control over their cocaine addiction. This is commonly known as powerlessness or compulsive behaviour.
People with addictions are low on dopamine, causing addiction, depression, loss of satisfaction, poor focus and other symptoms. Low dopamine levels cause us to consciously and unconsciously seek out dopamine raising substances or behaviours. All substances stimulate dopamine release or increase its activity and produce the hedonic response “I like that.”
The dopamine pleasure pathway is the Go system, and the prefrontal cortex is the Stop system. When we anticipate and experience something good like food or sex, alcohol or drugs, our brain experiences a surge in the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine.