kathy ireland® Recovery Centers

Cocaine Addiction

According to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “drug overdose deaths involving cocaine rose from 3,822 in 1999 to 15,883 in 2019.” At kathy ireland® Recovery Centers, we support individuals and families affected by substance use disorders (SUDs) involving cocaine.

You can avoid the physical and cognitive health risks associated with cocaine misuse by attending a treatment facility. Full recovery is possible, and our expert clinicians are here to help you heal and move forward.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a stimulant. Doctors use cocaine for legitimate medical purposes, including as local anesthesia during some surgeries. However, there are also illegal versions of the drug that come in a white crystalline powder. Larger rock crystals are called “crack.” Cocaine sold on the street can be combined with a number of other substances to increase the volume. Below are some common additives:

  • Cornstarch
  • Talcum powder
  • Flour
  • Amphetamine
  • Fentanyl
  • Various synthetic opioids

Usually, people taking a mixture are unaware they have bought altered cocaine, leading to the possibility of injury, illness, or death. Most cocaine misuse involves illegal versions of the drug.

How Is Cocaine Used?

You can misuse cocaine in several different ways, including:

  • Injection
  • Smoking
  • Snorting
  • Rubbing into the gums

The way your body absorbs the substance will play a role in what health side effects and symptoms manifest over time. For example, crack cocaine is inhaled, which can damage your throat and increase the risk of lung cancer. Many people inject powdered cocaine, increasing the risk of bloodborne pathogens and infection. The form of cocaine and how you misuse it can impact treatment and long-term recovery.

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How to Recognize Cocaine Addiction

The behaviors and symptoms that indicate someone may have a SUD involving cocaine can vary from person to person. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, look for the following signs of possible cocaine use disorder (CUD):

  • Paranoid thoughts and behaviors
  • Restlessness
  • Increased mental awareness
  • Mood swings including extreme positivity and unusual or unreasonable irritability and anger

Other physical symptoms may also manifest along with changes to behaviors.

Cocaine and the Brain

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) published a study that reported “chronic cocaine use in rhesus monkeys was associated with structural changes in several brain regions that mirror effects described in humans.” In addition, “some structural changes in brain regions involved in addiction and relapse persisted after prolonged abstinence.” A few permanent changes that you may experience after prolonged cocaine use include:

  • Memory issues
  • Decreased cognition
  • Paranoid thoughts

One way to limit the damage caused by cocaine use is to get medical assistance immediately and take decisive action to avoid relapse.

Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Health Effects of Cocaine Misuse

According to NIDA, “some long-term health effects of cocaine depend on the method of use and include the following:

  • Snorting: loss of smell, nosebleeds, frequent runny nose, and problems with swallowing
  • Smoking: cough, asthma, respiratory distress, and higher risk of infections like pneumonia
  • Consuming by mouth: severe bowel decay from reduced blood flow
  • Needle injection: higher risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis C, and other bloodborne diseases, skin or soft tissue infections, as well as scarring or collapsed veins”

NIDA goes on to report that “the most frequent and severe health consequences of overdose are irregular heart rhythm, heart attacks, seizures, and strokes.”

What Is Cocaine Psychosis?

Hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia can cause some cocaine users to lose touch with reality to the point where they get diagnosed with cocaine psychosis. According to research published in the Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, paranoia occurs in 68% to 84% of patients using cocaine.” Researchers have found that “paranoia and suspiciousness are often initial symptoms of psychosis.”

Cocaine addiction
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What to Expect From Treatment

Detox and withdrawal stabilization is essential in the treatment of cocaine use disorder. An article published in Matrix Medical Communication reports that “cocaine dependence continues to be a significant public health problem in the United States.” They go on to say that “it has been demonstrated that patients who enter treatment with severe cocaine withdrawal symptoms are more likely to drop out of treatment prematurely and are less likely to attain abstinence from cocaine in outpatient treatment programs.” We offer detox stabilization and residential withdrawal management at our Williamson, West Virginia, facility, where you can get the support and treatment you need to complete your rehabilitation program and maintain sobriety. Learn more by visiting our Williamson, WV, page.

The Importance of Continuing Care

Many individuals diagnosed with cocaine use disorder have accompanying mental health disorders that require long-term therapy. After you complete a residential or outpatient program, your case manager will help you transition smoothly into the next stage of care. Your case manager will make sure you have access to necessary medical and therapeutic services. To learn more about how we can facilitate your continuing care, contact us today.

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Substance use disorders involving cocaine require dedicated treatment.

The compassionate clinicians at kathy ireland® Recovery Centers can help you overcome cocaine use disorder. Learn more by calling us today: (866) 861-9772.