Wildly addictive, short-lived and expensive.
Those are among the hallmarks of cocaine and on its face, it would seem like they would serve as more a deterrent than anything else. No one ever said addiction was rational though and the pull of cocaine is an incredibly tough one to fight back against.
Between 2013 and 2018 alone, the rate of cocaine use nearly tripled from 1.6 per 100,000 people to 4.5 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Adding that more than 16,000 people died from a cocaine overdose in 2019.
And the addiction can start young, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that 4.1% of high seniors had already tried cocaine in their lifetime.
What Is Cocaine?
But before we get into the signs, let’s get some backstory.
Going back to NIDA, they define cocaine as “a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America” adding that “although health care providers can use it for valid medical purposes, such as local anesthesia for some surgeries, recreational cocaine use is illegal. As a street drug, cocaine looks like a fine, white, crystal powder.”
Famously, cocaine was an ingredient in Coca-Cola.
Given that cocaine is illegal and therefore bought on the streets, it’s not uncommon for dealers to “cut” or mix the cocaine with other substances, a trick that increases their profits.
The most common way to use cocaine is just as they show it in the movies: snorting it. Alternatively, it can be dissolved into liquid and injected or rubbed on the gums.
What makes cocaine so addictive is that it floods the brain with dopamine leading to a brief euphoric state of high energy and happiness, the brain craves that and which ultimately reinforces the need to take more.
Do you know what cocaine abuse looks like and what are the signs of cocaine addiction?
What Are the Signs of a Cocaine Addiction?
Cocaine addiction presents itself in quite a few ways, some more obvious than others, which only get worse the longer someone is hooked.
- Runny nose and/or nosebleeds
- Insomnia and restlessness
- Abundance of energy and acting on impulse
- Developing a tolerance that requires larger doses, more frequently
- Issues at work, school or home
- Overly confident
- Shifting social group to include other cocaine users
- Talking excessively
- Continuing to use despite negative consequences
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Skipping activities if they don’t involve or allow for cocaine use
- Secretive behavior
- Dilated pupils
- Difficulty focusing
- Irritability, agitation and mood swings
- Spending a lot of time getting, using and recovering from cocaine
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using
- Combining cocaine with other drugs
If you’re starting to see some of these, it’s important to not get in the habit of making excuses for the behavior. Take note and if more and more symptoms arise, it’s time to consider taking action.
How To Get Help With a Cocaine Addiction Today
Cocaine addiction is easy to fall into on your own and equally tough to get out of on your own.
Getting help requires acknowledging a problem exists. Once you do that, a world of options opens up before you.
Recovery starts after you break the physical addiction from cocaine through detox and what a program looks like will depend on your individual needs. An intensive outpatient program like ours at Inneractions allows you the freedom to carry on with your day-to-day life, with work and family, while also getting the dedicated care you require to overcome the mental side of addiction.
In practice that looks like a mix of one-on-one therapy and group work that helps you change your mental state and equip you with the coping mechanisms you need to avoid relapse and not succumb to triggering situations.
Help is only a phone call away! Give us a call and we can walk you through our program.