Cocaine is a stimulant drug that’s used as a recreational substance in the United States. It was once used for medical purposes like suppressing coughs and remedying toothaches. However, it has since been replaced by better options. However, it’s still a popular choice for recreational drug users looking for a euphoric high. Cocaine is also powerfully addictive. High doses or long term use can lead to chemical dependency and addiction. Addiction can increase your risk of dangerous overdose, legal issues, and long term health problems. Learn more about cocaine addiction.


Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Addiction is a chronic disease that can get worse over time if it’s ignored. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), addiction is officially diagnosed as a severe substance use disorder. It’s identified by repeated use of a drug, even if it causes consequences in your life. For instance, if you continue to use cocaine after experiencing a dangerous overdose, you are likely addicted. Consequences can also be financial, legal, social, and vocational.

Cocaine can cause several signs and symptoms during acute intoxication. You may have an elevated mood, anxiety, paranoia, feelings of empowerment, and delusional thinking. Chronic cocaine use can cause a chemical imbalance in the brain, particularly related to dopamine, which is tied to motivation and reward. Long term cocaine use can lead to depression and an inability to feel pleasure without cocaine. Other signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction can include:

  • Money problems
  • Stealing money
  • General discomfort
  • Strange sleep schedules
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Uncomfortable withdrawal
  • Legal issues
  • Using to feel normal
  • Using outside of social settings
  • Using at odd hours

What Is Involved in Cocaine Addiction Treatment?

Addiction is chronic, but it can be treated through a process that’s personalized to your needs. Cocaine addiction treatment is a process that should address multiple areas of need in your life, including your physical and mental health, social issues, legal troubles, and financial problems. Addiction treatment also needs to be tailored to your individual needs to be effective. Addiction is a complex disease, and it may come with other co-occurring issues like mental health issues, past trauma, and medical complications.

Treatment should adapt to each of these variables. When you enter an addiction treatment program, you’ll go through a medical and clinical assessment to determine the best level of care and therapy options for you. In higher levels of care like medical detox and inpatient treatment, a greater emphasis might be placed on your physical safety and recovery. These levels may deal with drug withdrawal and medical conditions. Lower levels of care, like intensive outpatient and outpatient treatment, may involve a greater emphasis on clinical care.


How Dangerous is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant, and abusing it can be extremely dangerous. In high doses, cocaine can cause severe side effects that affect the heart and blood pressure. A cocaine overdose can cause extreme agitation, hypertension, increased heart rate, irregular heartbeat, fever, hallucinations, and cardiac arrest. Cocaine can be even more dangerous when it’s mixed with other drugs like alcohol, opioids, and other depressants.

Mixing cocaine and heroin is referred to as a speedball, and it can be a deadly combination. The drugs counteract some of their negative effects like drowsiness, which can lead users to take higher doses. There are a number of high profile deaths that are attributed to speedballs, including Chris Farley,  John Belushi, and River Phoenix.

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