A Schedule II controlled substance, cocaine is among the most prevalent illicit drugs in the U.S. with over 1.5 million regular users. As a stimulant, cocaine causes energy, enthusiasm, and self-confidence. Cocaine is available in several forms, including a fine, pure powder that can be snorted, eaten, or administered intravenously, as well as crack cocaine, a low-purity form of cocaine commonly cut with baking soda that is usually smoked. Regardless of its structure, cocaine can be highly addictive and dangerous, contributing to over 10,000 overdose deaths in 2016 alone.
Signs of Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addiction is quite common in the U.S., with nearly 1,000,000 adults meeting the DSM-IV criteria for dependence. Many users fall into a regular habit due to the energizing nature of cocaine; while doses wear off quickly in anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or two depending on the type and delivery method. The effects are strong, immensely euphoric, and instantly felt. Individuals on cocaine are often moving quickly, speaking in a jumbled manner as if their thoughts are going too fast for words, and jumping from one task to another in no sensible order. Cocaine can also cause an increased body temperature, nervousness, and a lack of interest in things like eating or sleeping.
Common Signs of Cocaine Addiction
Increase in heart rate
Nosebleeds, inflamed nostrils, or nasal congestion
Nervousness, restlessness, and inability to concentrate
Increased susceptibility to viruses and bacteria due to a reduced immune response
Delusions and hallucinations
What is Crack Cocaine?
Crack is a poorly processed version of cocaine that is generally smoked. It appears as a dull colored crystal rock that must be dissolved during use. By inhaling this toxic drug into the lungs the experience is completely different from that of powder cocaine. The high from use comes on much more faster and is more intense. However, the feeling only lasts for 15 minutes which leads to extreme addiction where the user begins to crave high amounts of the drug. Although the drug includes cocaine powder it is highly diluted with other substances ranging from ammonia to baking powder. This creates a variety of unintended side effects from use as well as increasing the profitability of those selling it.
The Withdrawal Process
Detoxing, or working through the physical components of addiction, is the first step in recovery from cocaine and crack cocaine. The cocaine detox process lasts anywhere between 12 hours and four days, depending on everything from physiology to history of use, and is often manifested by low energy, anxiety, and agitation due to the absence of stimulants. These symptoms can be deeply unpleasant, leading to a strong desire to continue using illicit substances and contributing to the high relapse rate for drugs like cocaine.
Cocaine withdrawal rarely comes with some of the physical symptoms like shaking or vomiting, that can accompany withdrawal from other drugs, but is still an extremely unpleasant process and potentially dangerous.
The Importance of Drug Detox for Cocaine Addiction
The risks of continuing to use cocaine into late stage addiction raises the stakes for the user and is something that the user needs to be aware of. The most glaring risk is that of overdosing and death. According to NIDA, 5,000 people overdosed and died in 2013. This number rose to near 7,000 in 2015 and continues to be a problem.
As with other drugs, long-term exposure to cocaine can cause life-changing effects, including job loss, relationship deterioration, financial distress, compromised immunity, hallucinations and psychological instability, overdose, and potentially death. For those addicted to cocaine, detox and inpatient addiction treatment can set the foundation for long-term sobriety.
Other irreversible long-term health problems include stroke, seizure, heart disease, cardiovascular and respiratory complications. Cognitive disorders that affect memory and attention span can also present a risk while contracting infectious diseases (HIV, Hepatitis B/C) will also affect those users who choose to inject themselves with unsafe dirty needles.
Detox promotes healing in a safe, comfortable environment, providing resources for withdrawal that mitigate negative symptoms. With a staff of trained doctors and nurses, Palm Beach Recovery Center offers a way to detox under the watchful eye of professionals. Our goal is to minimize discomfort, offering over-the-counter and prescription medications as needed, psychological care, and personal support to encourage abstinence from cocaine and other drugs, both today and for years to come.