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Warning Signs & Treatment Options For Cocaine Addiction



Cocaine is a stimulant drug that is highly addictive. Unlike other substances such as alcohol or nicotine, cocaine addiction can start very quickly. According to drugfreeworld.com, cocaine is the second most trafficked illegal drug in the world. They state that in the 15 to 34 age group, 7.5 million people have used cocaine at least once in their life, 3.5 million have used at least once in the last year, and 1.5 million have used in the past month. This drug makes users feel awake, happy, and confident. Unfortunately, it is also very dangerous. Cocaine has many adverse side effects, including an increased potential for a heart attack, anxiety, paranoia, memory issues, and more. If you suspect a loved one is struggling with a cocaine addiction, the best thing you can do is offer your support and help them seek cocaine addiction treatment. First, take some time to learn about cocaine to understand the drug and the warning signs of an addiction.

What Is Cocaine?


Cocaine comes from the coca plant. It has been around for a very long time. In fact, over 3,000 years ago, the Incas were chewing coca leaves to help fight off symptoms they were feeling from living at high elevations in the Andes mountains. In the late 1850s, a German scientist isolated cocaine. In 1884, famed psychologist Sigmund Freud actually promoted cocaine use. What these men didn’t know at the time was how deadly this drug could be. As we moved into the early 1900s, cocaine was an accepted drug amongst the medical community. Did you know that Coca-Cola used to contain a trace amount of cocaine in its original recipe? Users typically smoke or snort cocaine to get the effects. Crack cocaine is another form of the drug that is more concentrated and typically smoked.


How Does It Work?

Cocaine directly affects the nervous system. The drug works inside the brain. According to drugabuse.gov, cocaine attaches to the dopamine transporters in the brain. This attachment blocks the recycling process that normally occurs, causing dopamine to build up in the synapse. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that plays a part in how we feel pleasure. This buildup of dopamine in the brain causes users to experience feelings like euphoria, extreme happiness, and confidence. The effects of cocaine disappear quickly, usually within a few minutes to an hour. After the “feeling good” effects wear off, the user can start to experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Examples of withdrawal symptoms include depression, fatigue, insomnia, and more. As a result, users seek out more of the drug to obtain the high and avoid withdrawal.


Signs Of Cocaine Addiction

If you suspect a loved one is struggling with cocaine addiction, it’s essential to observe their behavior. Since cocaine is a stimulant, it basically speeds up the entire body. Look out for things like talking fast, shaking, twitching, not sleeping much, restlessness, and tremors. In addition, the user may experience other symptoms like dilated pupils, nausea, an irregular/fast heartbeat, elevated body temperature, elevated blood pressure, GI issues, nose bleeds, paranoia, and respiratory issues.


Cocaine Addiction Treatment Options

Cocaine addiction is terrifying because it can be deadly. A user can overdose on cocaine at any point. Sometimes a first-time user can overdose and die. As a result, it is critical that cocaine users get the help they need to fight and overcome their addiction. According to the CDC, in the 12 months ending in May 2020, there were 81,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States. The CDC notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit drug users extremely hard. Don’t let your loved one become a statistic; guide them in getting the professional help they need.

At The Bridges of San Diego, we offer different treatment plans to help our patients overcome their addictions. Our Intensive Outpatient Program is designed for individuals transitioning out of inpatient rehab. It is also an excellent option for those who can’t afford inpatient rehab or who can’t take time off work to do a full-time inpatient program. During this program, patients attend treatment sessions 3 to 5 times per week for a total of 6 weeks. That being said, each patient’s treatment plan looks different based on their unique needs. For example, one patient could attend the Intensive Outpatient Program for 6 weeks, while another might take part in it for 6 months. While at The Bridges, our counselors will create a unique, customized treatment plan to cater to each patient’s needs. Patients will experience one-on-one counseling sessions, group therapy, and learn many strategies to help them fight their addiction. We know how overwhelming it can be to think about being away from home and work for months to attend an inpatient program. That is why we have created our Intensive Outpatient Program. The program truly allows patients to receive the care and treatment they need but in a way that is less disruptive to their daily life.

Cocaine is a scary drug that can lead to a quick addiction. The side effects are intense, and the drug can be deadly. If you or a loved one are struggling with cocaine addiction, help is available. Cocaine addiction treatment is possible with a lot of hard work and the support of professionals. At The Bridges of San Diego, our Intensive Outpatient Program is the perfect option for many patients fighting addiction. The program is more flexible than a typical inpatient program and much more affordable. For more information about this program and how it can help fight addiction, contact us today.


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