Cocaine (a.k.a. coke, blow, rock, powder) is a powerful and addictive drug made from the leaves of the coca plant, native to the Andes Mountains in South America. On the street, cocaine looks like a fine, white, crystal powder. Drug dealers will mix it with things like cornstarch, talcum powder, or flour to add volume and increase profits. If that’s not bad enough, they also mix it with other drugs such as amphetamines, or opioids, including fentanyl (a potentially lethal synthetic drug).
Adding synthetic opioids to cocaine is especially risky when people using the cocaine don’t realize it contains this dangerous additive. Increasing numbers of overdose deaths across the country are attributed to fentanyl.
If you or a loved one are addicted to cocaine, it is literally a life and death situation. Please call Wavelengths Recovery. Our experienced staff can help you put an end to cocaine addiction and its path of destruction. Think about it, a path to sobriety and a better way of living is just a phone call away.
How Does Cocaine Effect the Brain?
Cocaine increases levels of dopamine in brain circuits related to the control of movement and reward. Normally, dopamine recycles back into the cell that released it, shutting off the signal between nerve cells. However, cocaine prevents dopamine from being recycled, causing large amounts to build up in the space between two nerve cells. This flood of dopamine in the brain’s reward circuit strongly reinforces drug-taking behaviors, because the reward circuit eventually adapts to the excess of dopamine caused by cocaine and becomes less sensitive to it. As a result, people take stronger and more frequent doses in an attempt to feel the same high and to obtain relief from withdrawal.
Cocaine’s effects appear almost immediately and disappear within a few minutes to an hour. How long the effects last and how intense they are, depends on the method of use. Cocaine is commonly smoked, snorted, or injected.
Short-Term Effects of Cocaine Use
- extreme happiness and energy
- mental alertness
- hypersensitivity to sight, sound, and touch
- paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
- Large amounts of cocaine can lead to bizarre, unpredictable, and violent behavior
Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use
Long-term effects depend on how you use the drug.
- Snorting: loss of smell, nosebleeds, frequent runny nose, and problems with swallowing
- Smoking: cough, asthma, respiratory distress, and a higher risk of infections like pneumonia
- Consuming by Mouth: severe bowel decay from reduced blood flow
- Needle Injection: higher risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis C, and other bloodborne diseases, skin or soft tissue infections, as well as scarring or collapsed veins
How Does Cocaine Use Lead to Addiction?
As with other drugs, repeated use of cocaine can cause long-term changes in the brain’s reward circuit and other brain systems, which may lead to addiction. The reward circuit eventually adapts to the extra dopamine caused by the drug, becoming steadily less sensitive to it.
As a result, people take stronger and more frequent doses to feel the same high they did initially and to obtain relief from withdrawal.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Wavelengths
Behavioral therapy is commonly and successfully used in cocaine addiction treatment. Here at Wavelengths Recovery, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, therapeutic communities (our each on-teach one model), and outpatient therapy and recovery groups are what we find works best.
Our Medical Director will also work with clients to determine the appropriateness of using Medication Assisted Treatment to ease the transition to sobriety. Every client is unique, and every treatment plan is built collaboratively to address each individual’s needs. Together we will find a solution that works best. Take that first step and call us, for a better tomorrow.