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It’s easy to see the allure of cocaine. Who wouldn’t want to feel more energetic, alert, and confident? Once you ingest cocaine, the brain is flooded with dopamine, which is what makes you feel so good.

The problem is that cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant that quickly turns against you. The rush is short-lived, giving way to anxiety, restlessness, and depression. If you want to know what the cocaine addiction signs are, read on.

Facts About Cocaine

Cocaine is a drug that is extracted from the coca plants in South America. It comes in the form of a white powder or a crystalized rock and is ingested in several ways. These include snorting it through the nose, injecting a liquid version, and smoking it (crack).

The effects of cocaine use are often dramatic. Someone under the influence of cocaine may take risks that result in an injury or accident. In fact, cocaine related ER visits doubled between 2014 and 2018.

Cocaine Addiction Signs

With chronic use, cocaine begins changing the chemical makeup of the brain. As it does this, the person will begin to notice cocaine cravings and that they feel lousy without it. After a while, the person cannot feel pleasure without the drug, so uses more of the drug as a result. This becomes a vicious cycle.

Cocaine addiction signs include:

  • Spends more and more time obtaining, using, and recovering from cocaine.
  • Starts to neglect responsibilities.
  • Withdraws from friends and family.
  • Stops participating in activities once enjoyed.
  • Feels out of balance without cocaine.
  • Shops for cocaine on the street or other illicit sources.
  • Begins to have major money problems.
  • Engages in impulsive, risky behaviors.
  • Lies and steals to feed the cocaine addiction.
  • Has withdrawal symptoms when the cocaine effects wear off.

Physical symptoms of cocaine abuse and addiction include:

  • Nosebleeds.
  • Mood swings.
  • Rapid speech.
  • Runny nose.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Getting little sleep.
  • Weight loss.
  • Manic behaviors.

What is Cocaine Psychosis?

Extended use of large amounts of cocaine may result in cocaine-induced psychosis, possibly caused by a dopamine imbalance. The psychotic episode resembles schizophrenia and may last for several hours to several days. The symptoms of cocaine psychosis include:

  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium
  • Anger, rage, aggression, or violence.
  • Mental confusion.
  • Homicidal thoughts.
  • Suicidal thoughts.

The Risk of Cocaine Overdose

Because cocaine purity varies so much, there has always been a fairly high risk for overdose. Without knowing just how pure the cocaine is can lead to taking a higher dose than your system can handle.

Cocaine toxicity causes serious damage to the body’s vital organs. It can harm the heart, kidneys, and liver, or may lead to heart attack or stroke. Now with the fear of fentanyl in the cocaine supply, the risk of overdose is even more pronounced.

Cocaine overdose symptoms include:

  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Intense headache.
  • Extreme dehydration.
  • Feeling very hot.
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • When fentanyl is involved, respiratory distress and failure may occur.

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Abuse and Addiction

Long-term cocaine use causes a lot of harm to the body:

  • Damage to the nasal tissues and cartilage abuse can be so severe that it requires reconstructive surgery.
  • Cocaine can cause heart damage as well as cause an enlarged heart. This damage can lead to heart attacks or arrhythmias.
  • Kidney damage is also an affect of long-term cocaine abuse.
  • Mental health issues also co-occur with cocaine addiction. The most common mental health disorders linked to cocaine are anxiety and depression. Cocaine-related depression can increase thoughts of suicide.
  • One devastating result of cocaine addiction is major money problems. Because the drug is so pricey, it causes people to go into deep debt to continue their cocaine habit.

What to Expect in Cocaine Detox and Withdrawal

If you have formed a cocaine habit and want to quit, you will first need to complete the detox process. By starting recovery free of any cocaine in your system, you are able to fully engage in all the therapies.

Detox and withdrawal will be closely monitored for both physical withdrawal symptoms and any mental health effects, such as psychosis. The support you receive during the detox process helps you complete the detox and then transition to treatment.

During cocaine withdrawal, you may experience these symptoms:

  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches.
  • Chills
  • Depression
  • Slowed thinking.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Vivid nightmares.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Cravings
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts.

Does Contingency Management Help for Cocaine Addiction?

After the detox is complete, it’s time to begin addiction treatment. Without this treatment process, you will not be able to maintain abstinence from cocaine because the addiction habit is entrenched. The various therapies and other activities in rehab are designed to help you break the addiction cycle.

One of the most successful types of therapy for cocaine addiction is called contingency management, or CM. CM is a type of behavior modification that uses a reward system to motivate changes in choices. For sustained sobriety, you will receive small monetary rewards or special privileges while in treatment. This can be highly motivating to help resist leaving treatment and relapsing. The goal is, given enough time in the CM program, to willingly choose abstinence.

What to Expect in Rehab

Treatment for a cocaine addiction involves engaging in a blend of evidence-based therapies and holistic methods. These include:

  • Talk therapy. A therapist helps you confront emotional issues that may be driving the cocaine addiction. In addition to CM, CBT, and DBT are the most common evidence-based therapies to help break the compulsive behaviors.
  • Group therapy. One of the most effective elements involves group therapy. In these small groups of peers in recovery, you will garner support as you discuss topics related to recovery.
  • 12-step program. N.A. or A.A. themes are helpful for people in recovery, and provide benchmarks and goals.
  • Recovery skills. Classes teach new coping skills that support recovery efforts, including making a relapse prevention plan.
  • Holistic. During rehab, you will learn how to manage stress through holistic activities like yoga classes, art therapy, and mindfulness.

LifeSync Malibu Can Help You Overcome Cocaine Addiction

LifeSync Malibu provides expert addiction treatment interventions within a luxury setting. If you recognize cocaine addiction signs in yourself or a loved one, please reach out to our team today at (866) 491-4426.