Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that can lead to serious health issues and severe psychological dependence. Overcoming a cocaine addiction often involves several stages of treatment, including detoxification, therapy, and aftercare support.
Detox is a common first step for anyone addicted to cocaine; however, it is not always necessary. It’s common for cocaine users to be sober for days or weeks and then continue binge-using the drugs. Each circumstance is different, and choosing detox should be based on addiction severity.
Treating cocaine addiction could involve either outpatient or residential drug rehab. Daily cocaine users with long histories of addiction would benefit from residential treatment. Recreational drug users or weekend cocaine users would benefit from outpatient care.
A person should seek rehab for cocaine use in the following situations:
- When experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, paranoia, restlessness, and insomnia. Withdrawal symptoms are associated with drug dependence.
- Continued use despite negative consequences. If a person continues to use cocaine despite negative impacts on their health, relationships, or other aspects of life, they may benefit from rehab.
- Unsuccessful attempts to stop using cocaine. For those who have tried to stop using cocaine on their own but were unable to maintain abstinence, rehab could provide the necessary support and treatment.
It’s also important to note that many individuals who seek treatment for cocaine use are often polydrug users, meaning they use more than one substance. This can complicate treatment and make a tailored approach necessary.
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What type of drug is cocaine?
Cocaine is an illicit stimulant drug that’s derived from the leaves of the Coca plant. Cocaine causes an intense stimulant effect on the central nervous system, increasing activity and producing a short-lived, euphoric high. The drug also has anesthetic properties and was historically used as a numbing agent in surgery before more effective medications were developed. Ingesting cocaine produces increased alertness and energy and speeds up virtually every system in the body.
What does cocaine look like?
Cocaine is mainly found as a whitish, powdery substance. Depending on the purity, the drug can be off-white or pearlescent or may have a more formed and clumped appearance. Dealers often mix cocaine with other substances that have a white, powdery appearance to boost the volume and thus profits. It can also exist in the form of Crack Cocaine, which we’ll examine separately.
How long does cocaine stay in your system?
Cocaine can remain in the system for anywhere between one and three days. As a water-soluble drug with a relatively short duration of action, it’s metabolized rapidly, staying in the urine at detectable levels for up to 72 hours with heavy use. The drug may only remain in the system for a day or two with light or infrequent use. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to quit cocaine.
Why is cocaine so addictive?
Cocaine is incredibly addictive because of how it affects people mentally and its short duration of action. The drug rapidly produces an accumulation of dopamine that gives a person an intense euphoria. But as cocaine rapidly wears off, the person “crashes” and goes from feeling very stimulated to very depressed within a short window. During the crash, they may crave cocaine intensely and likely be agitated and anxious. They’ll often want to use more cocaine, repeating this process as often as every fifteen minutes or less. It’s not uncommon for cocaine users to keep this up until they can’t get any more cocaine, however long that takes.
How is cocaine used?
Cocaine is primarily consumed nasally by snorting. Those who snort heroin often use rolled-up money, paper, straws, or empty pen tubes to inhale it. While this is the most popular method, the drug can also be smoked or injected.
What is the best treatment for cocaine addiction?
There is no one size fits all for treating cocaine addiction. There are recreational cocaine users and daily or weekly users who fall into the definition of addiction. Many cocaine users struggle with chronic relapse, and many binge use cocaine with other drugs.
The best treatment for cocaine addiction should meet individual needs based on the severity of drug use and if there is a substance use disorder.
Recreational cocaine users—Recreational drug use is still problematic and should be cause for concern. A recreational cocaine user may use the drug infrequently, like one to three times a month or less. They may even binge use cocaine once a year, for example.
Generally, their drug use has not led to severe consequences, which they begin to ignore, nor are they consumed with the desire to use cocaine or experience withdrawal symptoms. Ideal treatment may include outpatient drug rehab, 12-step meetings, Cocaine Anonymous, or even short-term drug rehab or individual counseling.
Cocaine addicts—These are individuals who use cocaine frequently, such as daily or weekly. They ignore the consequences of their drug use, experience withdrawal symptoms, and a strong desire and urge to use it.
They may also struggle with chronic relapse and multiple failed attempts at sobriety and treatment. In addition, they are likely misusing other drugs, such as alcohol. Ideal treatment may include detox and long-term residential treatment or short-term, depending on addiction severity. They would also benefit from adequate aftercare support, such as meetings or sober living homes.
How do I find drug rehab for cocaine addiction?
Generally, any drug rehab center in your state is equipped to treat cocaine addiction. Begin by consulting our directory. In addition, contact your local Medicaid office or health insurance provider.
It is vital to determine the severity of the addiction. An assessment with a qualified professional would help with this. Treatment should be based on individual needs and addiction severity.
Want to know more?
TIPS: How to Help a Loved One Addicted to Cocaine
- Learn about cocaine addiction. Education is vital to understanding what cocaine does to the person and how people struggling with addiction will react to life situations. It is also helpful to learn about the treatment options for cocaine abuse and addiction. Speaking to a professional such as one of our counselors can help you understand the treatment steps recommended for cocaine addiction and available treatments in your area.
- Let them know in no uncertain terms that you are there to support them and that they need to get help. When having a conversation about their cocaine problem, ensure they are sober and relaxed. If the person is under the influence or is preoccupied with other issues, the message might not get through and might be counterproductive.
- Do not enable the behavior associated with addiction. As you support your loved one, it is essential not to let this become enabling behavior. It is vital to support the person, but just as important to not support the addiction. Boundaries should be set to show the person that his cocaine abuse will not be supported. This can include cutting off all financial assistance, for example. It is crucial to uphold these boundaries. The same concept applies to consequences. As you let the person know the consequences they will face if they keep using cocaine and don’t get help, the consequences have to be met. Although it may seem unkind, you are helping the person. The real enemy is addiction.
- Persist in communicating with your loved one about their cocaine problem and getting help. If you need help in this regard, you can hire a professional interventionist. Some rehabilitation facilities will provide an interventionist to help with the process. An intervention is a specific process with steps designed to make the person realize they have a problem and need cocaine rehab.
- In all of this, it is essential to remember that the addict is responsible for their actions. However, many of the individual’s destructive behaviors are related to addiction. Who they were before their addiction is who they are. The only accurate help for them is to treat their addiction.