Cocaine is a highly addictive recreational drug that’s illegal in the United States. However, that hasn’t stopped approximately 15 percent of the population from trying it and millions from becoming addicted. Because cocaine is a stimulant, it increases alertness, energy, and feelings of euphoria. It impacts neuropathways in the brain to such an extent that people can become physically and psychologically addicted after only a few uses.
How Cocaine Addiction Works
As people attempt to recreate the original pleasant effects of cocaine, they are more likely to experience many of its unpleasant side effects instead. Physical effects of prolonged cocaine use include:
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Heart arrhythmia
- Heart attack
- Increased heart rate
- Weight loss
Cocaine can also cause a host of psychological symptoms. These include:
- Abnormal and/or repetitive behaviors
- Impaired judgment
Repeated use of cocaine alters the systems in the brain responsible for memory, feelings of pleasure, and decision-making skills. Once addiction takes hold, it becomes extremely difficult to quit without help because the drug has altered the ability to resist intense cravings. As a stimulant drug, cocaine blocks the normal transport of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Eventually, the person using cocaine becomes tolerant of it and requires more of it to experience the effects they seek.
Can Cocaine Addiction Be Treated?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately six percent of people seeking treatment for drug addiction in 2013 indicated cocaine as their drug of choice. Although cocaine addiction can be frightening, the good news is that cocaine addiction help is available. Behavioral treatments are currently the most common type of intervention to help people break their physical and psychological addiction to cocaine.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely recognized treatment in the field of psychiatry and drug addiction. With this approach, people completing a cocaine addiction outpatient treatment program learn skills that can help them achieve long-term abstinence from cocaine and any other addictive substances they currently use. One strategy is to learn how to recognize situations that could expose them to cocaine and cause a relapse. Treatment participants learn how to avoid these situations and employ healthier coping mechanisms instead.
Individual and group therapy are common components of a cocaine addiction outpatient treatment program as well. One-on-one counseling aims to help treatment participants uncover reasons they began using cocaine in the first place and gets them talking about troubling thoughts, memories, and behaviors rather than pushing them away by using drugs. With group therapy, participants hold one another accountable for actions and meeting goals. They can also provide one another with empathy that can be difficult to come by from those not addicted to cocaine.
A doctor might also prescribe medications to help reduce the number and intensity of cravings in people trying to overcome drug addiction. Baclofen and Disulfiram are the two most common.
Utah Cocaine Addiction Treatment
If you’re addicted to cocaine, admitting the need for help is a difficult but necessary first step. We invite you to contact our Utah cocaine addiction treatment center to learn more about the specific components of our program and how it can help you put your life back together.