What is Cocaine?
Addiction does not discriminate, whether you live in New Brunswick, New Jersey or Union, New Jersey. Cocaine, unlike central nervous system depressants such as heroin or alcohol, is a powerfully addictive stimulant made from coca leaves. While there are some medicinal uses to cocaine, it is illegal to use it for recreational purposes. According to some studies, cocaine is the second most addictive substance after heroin. It increases dopamine levels in the brain which is associated with Reward Mechanism and Control of Movement. The brain gets accustomed to releasing large doses of dopamine upon stimulation from substances such as cocaine or heroin and “forgets” to respond to usual stimuli such as food, hobbies or sex, making the person dependent on their substance of choice to feel normal. This dependence is addiction, and over time, larger doses of the substance are needed to get the same effect, which is called tolerance.
Health effects of cocaine addiction
Cocaine can be snorted, injected or absorbed orally through the gums. Addiction to cocaine can lead to various health complications like nausea, increased blood pressure and body temperature, tremors, restlessness, dilated pupils, constricted blood vessels and more. The long-term health effects include loss of smell, problems in swallowing, asthma, pneumonia, bowel decay etc. People who inject cocaine are at a higher risk of being infected by HIV, Hepatitis C and other such infectious diseases as well. Cocaine overdose could also lead to death.
Stopping cocaine use is difficult as cocaine withdrawal symptoms can be excruciating. Due to cocaine’s relatively short half-life (time it takes for half of the drug dose to be expunged from the body) of 90 minutes withdrawal symptoms may occur quite rapidly following the last dose. A study by Gawin and Kleber (1986) identified 3 distinct phases of cocaine withdrawal process:
Cocaine Withdrawal – Phase 1: Crash developed rapidly following abrupt cessation of heavy cocaine use. In this phase individuals experienced acute dysphoria (unease), irritability, restlessness, anxiety, increased desire for sleep, exhaustion, increased appetite, and decreased craving to use.
Cocaine Withdrawal – Phase 2: Withdrawal sets in with individuals experiencing increasing craving to use, poor concentration, some irritability and lethargy. This could last up to 10 weeks. Tremors, insomnia, apprehension and paranoia may also be present.
Cocaine Withdrawal – Phase 3: The extinction phase comprised off intermittent craving to use in the context of external cues.
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can be severe enough to cause the individual addicted to cocaine to revert back to its use in order to obtain relief. Consequently, it is advisable to try quitting cocaine use under medical supervision in a detox facility.
Cocaine Detox Treatments
It is important to realize that “cocaine detox” involves managing the crash and improving the mood of the individual suffering from cocaine withdrawal. Presently, there are no medications to directly address cocaine withdrawal symptoms, such as buprenorphine for opiate withdrawal. Outpatient treatment is better suited for treating cocaine withdrawal and addiction to cocaine as lifestyle changes, coping and relapse prevention skills play a bigger role than for other substances of abuse. We at RecoveryCNT.com have a team of seasoned medical and clinical experts to help individuals addicted to cocaine achieve long-term recovery. Our ambulatory, or outpatient detox programs could deliver much better results relative to inpatient treatment.
Fortunately, treatment for cocaine withdrawal is available in Marlboro, New Jersey, Sayreville, New Jersey, Perth Amboy, New Jersey as well as Far Hills, New Jersey and other locations in New Jersey.
Long-term Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
Evidence-based treatments that rely on scientific data and measurement like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, or CBT can work well to reduce the chances of relapse. This includes individual counselling where people learn coping skills to deal with the external triggers. These therapies along with other cocaine detox approaches can be effective for long-term abstinence. Motivational interviewing can help people tackle their insecurities while behavioral family therapy analyzes how family members influence the person going through detoxification positively or negatively.
All medical and clinical treatment ends at some point in time. Only self-help groups last a lifetime! Consequently, at CNT we make every effort to connect our patients to AA or NA. Self-help groups not only provide individuals the support to stay on the path to sobriety, they also provide a social structure to celebrate important events, holidays etc. in a sober environment along with people who wish to maintain their sobriety.
Dealing with cocaine relapse
Like all other substances of abuse, individuals in recovery from a cocaine addiction are susceptible to relapse as changes in the brain take years to reverse and function normally. One must remember that addiction, like any other chronic disease which is prone to relapse. Entering recovery through appropriate treatment and staying on the path to recovery by staying engaged in long-term treatment and attending self-help groups regularly is key to long-term sobriety.