Understanding Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that gains its appeal from the sense of euphoria and energy that it creates. While under the influence of cocaine, a person is often more excitable, happy, and energetic than usual. However, it is important to understand that cocaine addiction also comes with negative effects. Once the high wears off, it can leave people feeling anxious, agitated or paranoid. It also takes a toll on the body and can be damaging to the brain, heart, and other organs. Cocaine is commonly either snorted or injected, though it can also be smoked.

With continued cocaine use, a tolerance can develop requiring higher doses to feel the same effect. This can increase risk of overdose and cause more damage to the body. Addiction can develop rather quickly as well, requiring drug addiction treatment at a facility like 1st Step Behavioral Health for safer, more effective recovery.

What Comes First, Drug Addiction or Mental Illness?

Some people may use cocaine as a way of trying to cope with symptoms from a mental illness such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder. They may also exhibit more symptoms of mental illness following use of drugs or alcohol. It is not always easy to determine whether drug addiction or mental illness came first. They can be very intertwined with one another as each affects the other. Thorough screening and evaluation from a medical professional can help to determine if drug addiction and mental illness are both present. This can allow for more effective drug addiction treatment and recovery.

How Addictive is Cocaine?

According to a recent study, cocaine is considered the third most addictive substance in the world, ranking behind heroin and alcohol. Much like heroin, it produces an excessive amount of dopamine in the brain. The brains reward system becomes overly stimulated which results in the feelings of euphoria and energy. It is estimated that around 21 percent of people who try cocaine will become addicted. As with almost any drug, once addiction occurs, there is a risk of potential overdose. The body builds a tolerance over time and higher amounts of the drug are needed to feel the same effect.

Causes of Cocaine Addiction

The causes of cocaine addiction vary from person to person, but it involves a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and social factors. Some people’s genetic makeup put them at increased risk for addiction and they should be aware of the presence of addiction in their family history. Combined with stress, peer pressure, curiosity, mental health, and other factors, they may develop an addiction after trying cocaine.

Due to the changes that occur in the brain following continued cocaine use, this can make it more difficult for someone to stop on their own. What started out as a choice to try cocaine soon spirals out of their control and they are unable to successfully stop long-term even if they want to. They need professional addiction treatment from a facility like 1st Step Behavioral Health to safely and effectively overcome addiction and reduce their risk of relapsing. Recovery is possible with proper treatment.

[banner_image_section title=”Learn More About How to Get Help for Addiction”]1st Step Behavioral Health will work with you to address both substance abuse and mental health disorders and the impact they have on your recovery.[/banner_image_section]

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction?

Some people can become very skilled at masking their cocaine addiction and downplaying its severity. They may attribute their symptoms to other things happening in their life to reduce cause for concern from others. However, recognizing the signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction is an essential part in helping someone to get the addiction treatment that they need for recovery. Common signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction may include:

  • Extreme euphoria
  • Increased alertness and energy
  • Positive mood
  • Dilated pupils
  • Quickened speech
  • Excitability

However, there can be some more negative effects that occur as well after the initial high:

  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Difficulty Concentrating

Other Negative Effects of Cocaine Addiction

  • Seizures
  • Intense Drug Cravings

The severity of symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the cocaine addiction. Another sign is that the person experiences withdrawal symptoms when they have gone a while without using cocaine. This can trigger them to continue the addiction.

How Do You Know if There is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

When a person experiences both cocaine addiction and a mental health disorder, they are diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder. This goes back to the connection between drugs and the brain. Not everyone with a mental illness has a substance use disorder, however, just as not everyone with a substance use disorder has a mental illness. They can occur together or separately. In the case of dual diagnosis, they often have overlapping symptoms but also some symptoms that are independent of one another.

A medical professional will conduct thorough screenings and evaluations to determine if a co-occurring disorder exists. Family members may notice changes in their loved one’s physical and mental health and be concerned about symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other conditions which they observe in addition to cocaine use. They should speak up about any concerns they may have or symptoms they notice that are out of the ordinary.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Cocaine Addiction and Mental Health Disorders

Fortunately, there is dual diagnosis treatment for cocaine addiction and mental health disorders available. Once it has been determined that a dual diagnosis exists, a targeted treatment plan can be developed that address both substance use and mental health issues. The client will gain a better understanding of how their cocaine addiction affects their mental illness and vice versa. This can allow them to be more proactive in reducing risk of relapse and enhancing recovery. Due to the interrelated nature of these conditions, it is important that they be treated simultaneously for more effective results. Overlooking one condition or the other can interfere with recovery.

Learn More About How to Get Help

1st Step Behavioral Health provides the drug addiction treatment and support that clients need to begin their journey to long-term recovery from cocaine addiction or co-occurring disorders. Personalized treatment plans allow clients to get the targeted help they need to create healthier routines, improve their mental health, and reduce risk of relapse. Contact us today!