Cocaine is a powerful stimulant which floods a person’s brain with dopamine, a natural chemical which prompts feelings of pleasure and well-being. Because cocaine directly affects the brain, cocaine addiction changes how a person feels, thinks, and behaves. If you or a loved one struggles with stimulant abuse, there’s hope for recovery. We can help you heal. With the proper cocaine addiction treatment, you can get your life back on track.
This article discusses cocaine addiction, its signs, risk factors, and treatment options.
The Signs of Cocaine Addiction
People with substance abuse or drug addiction disorders often go to great lengths to conceal their addictive behavior. Behavioral changes, like increased secrecy, avoiding eye contact, or isolating from loved ones, can be tactics to mask addiction. Here are some common indicators of cocaine abuse:
Physical Signs. Frequent nosebleeds (if snorting), weight loss, dilated pupils, and changes in sleep patterns are common physical signs. You may also notice increased energy levels, followed by severe “crashes” that involve fatigue and depression.
Behavioral Changes. A stimulant drug abuser will behave differently when using and coming down from a cocaine high. Increased aggression, irritability, and changes in social habits can be warning signs. People addicted to cocaine often become increasingly isolated and may withdraw from family and friends.
Financial Struggles. Cocaine abuse is an expensive habit. Cocaine addiction often leads to financial difficulties. Unexplained expenses or borrowing money can be red flags.
Neglected Responsibilities. Failing to meet work, school, or home responsibilities is another sign. This could manifest as poor performance, absenteeism, or general disinterest in previously valued activities.
Legal Issues. Engaging in risky behaviors, including illegal activities to obtain the drug, is a severe sign of addiction and requires consultation with a treatment center immediately.
Psychological. Paranoia, hallucinations, mood swings, moodiness, and irritability. A person with a mood disorder like bipolar disorder will see their mood swings intensify. Bipolar disorder always places a person at risk for manic episodes, which can become more severe.
Intense Urges. During cocaine withdrawal, a drug abuser will have an obsessive desire to resume drug use.
Fatigue. A prevalent symptom is extreme fatigue as the body adapts to the absence of cocaine’s stimulating effects.
Mood Changes. Withdrawal often triggers sadness and depression. Unstable, depressed moods result from the harm cocaine does to the brain’s delicate balance of chemical messengers. Called neurotransmitters, these brain chemicals will return to normal levels in time.
Anxiety. Restlessness, anxiety, and irritability can manifest due to changes in the brain’s stress response system.
Appetite Shifts. Cocaine’s appetite-suppressing nature leads to heightened hunger and subsequent weight gain during withdrawal.
Sleep Disruptions. Sleep problems, like insomnia, erratic sleep patterns, and vivid dreams, may occur while the body readjusts its sleep-wake cycle.
Agitation. Some individuals may become more easily agitated or exhibit increased aggression during withdrawal.
Reduced Pleasure. Cocaine’s influence on brain tissue can decrease the ability to experience pleasure. Until a person’s nervous system has finished healing, they may suffer from extreme boredom.
Heightened Paranoia. Withdrawal may intensify existing paranoia or anxiety, causing heightened perceptions of potential threats.
Physical Discomfort. Muscle aches, tremors, chills, sweating, and headaches are some of the physical effects of cocaine withdrawal.
How is Cocaine Used?
Snorting. This is the most common method of using cocaine. The drug is finely ground and inhaled through the nose. This method can lead to frequent nosebleeds and damage to the nasal passages over time.
Smoking. Crack cocaine can be smoked, which produces an intense but short-lived high and mainly damages the lungs. Crack cocaine, processed into small crystals or “rocks,” is known to cause addiction rapidly.
Injecting. Some users dissolve powdered cocaine in water and inject it into the bloodstream. Injecting cocaine poses severe risks, including the potential for infection and transmission of diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
Oral Use. Less commonly, cocaine can be rubbed onto the gums, dissolved in water, and ingested.
What are the Risk Factors for Cocaine Addiction?
While anyone can become addicted, certain factors make some individuals more susceptible than others.
Here’s a closer look at some of these risk factors:
Family History. You may be at a higher risk if you have a family history of substance abuse or addiction. Genetic factors can significantly affect how susceptible you are to developing an addiction.
Mental Health Conditions
Co-occurring Disorders. People with mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are often more vulnerable to substance abuse, including cocaine. These conditions can both contribute to and exacerbate addiction.
Emotional Trauma. Experiencing emotional or physical trauma can make individuals more susceptible to using substances like cocaine as a coping mechanism.
Social and Environmental Factors
Peer Pressure. Social circles that encourage or normalize drug use can be a significant risk factor. The influence of friends who use cocaine can make it more likely for someone to start using the drug.
Availability. Easy access to cocaine, whether due to geographic location or social environment, can increase the risk of developing an addiction.
Socioeconomic Status. While addiction affects people from all walks of life, those with stressful living conditions or limited resources may be more susceptible.
Cultural Attitudes. In some settings, drug use may be glamorized or seen as a rite of passage, making individuals more likely to engage in substance abuse.
Impulsivity. Individuals who are naturally impulsive or seek out high-risk activities may be more likely to experiment with drugs like cocaine.
Low Self-Esteem. A lack of self-worth or self-esteem can make the temporary “high” of drug use more appealing, potentially leading to a cycle of abuse and addiction.
Other drug addictions. Concurrent alcohol and drug abuse makes a person more susceptible to abusing cocaine.
What is the Difference Between Detox and Rehab?
Detox is the initial phase of an addiction treatment program, where the primary focus is eliminating the drug from your system. Detox is often medically supervised to manage withdrawal symptoms, ranging from mild discomfort to severe health risks. Medical professionals may use medications to ease these symptoms and monitor you for complications. Detox alone, however, does not address the underlying psychological aspects of addiction.
At NuLife Behavioral Health, detox is the initial step in the treatment journey, designed to eliminate cocaine from your system safely. This medically supervised process helps manage withdrawal symptoms, providing a stable foundation for the following comprehensive therapies and treatments.
Rehabilitation, or rehab, is a more comprehensive approach to treatment that usually follows detox. Rehab involves various forms of therapy, including individual therapy, group therapy, and often family therapy. Evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), are commonly used. Rehab aims to equip you with the skills and coping mechanisms needed for long-term recovery. It addresses the psychological, emotional, and behavioral aspects of addiction, helping you understand why you became addicted and how to manage triggers and cravings in the future.
Rehab at NuLife Behavioral Health Illinois goes beyond detox, offering a range of evidence-based therapies and holistic therapies. From individual therapy to group therapy and specialized programs for co-occurring mental health disorders, NuLife’s rehab addresses the root causes of addiction for lasting recovery.
Detox is the first step in the treatment process, focusing on cleansing your body of the drug. Medical detox also manages withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol and drug rehab is a more comprehensive treatment. The best rehabilitation programs help a person discover and address their addiction’s psychological and emotional aspects. An addiction rehab program also teaches a recovering person improved coping skills.
Both medical detox and a holistic rehab program are essential for recovery.
When to Ask for Help
If you or a loved one is showing signs of cocaine addiction—such as nosebleeds, frequent thoughts about using cocaine, and an inability to stop using cocaine—seek professional help as soon as possible. Delaying treatment can lead to severe health conditions, including the risk of overdose, and complicate the recovery process. The sooner you seek help, the better the chances for a successful, long-term recovery. Don’t wait for the situation to worsen; the time to act is now.
What are the Treatment Options at NuLife Behavioral Health?
While there’s no “cure” for cocaine addiction, effective treatment helps individuals achieve and maintain sobriety. Addiction treatment programs often include behavioral therapy, medication, and long-term aftercare.
NuLife Behavioral Health is a leading treatment center that offers a comprehensive range of services tailored to each individual’s unique needs. Their approach is grounded in research-based, proven therapies and holistic healing methods, ensuring you receive the most effective treatment possible.
Here’s a closer look at some of the treatment options available.
Individual Therapy. One-on-one sessions with a licensed professional help you explore the issues contributing to your addiction. This is often combined with other forms of therapy for a more holistic approach.
Group Therapy. In group settings, you can share experiences and coping strategies with others who are going through similar struggles. Peer support is a crucial element in long-term recovery.
Family Therapy. Addiction affects not just the individual but also their loved ones. Family therapy aims to repair these relationships and involve family members in recovery.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a proven, highly effective therapy for substance addiction, mental health disorders, and dual diagnosis. This form of psychotherapy helps you identify and change harmful thought patterns that contribute to addictive behaviors.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Particularly useful for those dealing with emotional regulation and anxiety management, DBT teaches mindfulness and stress management skills.
Holistic Therapies. Beyond traditional therapies, NuLife offers experiential therapies like art therapy, music therapy, and even pet therapy to provide a well-rounded treatment experience.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). This program is designed for those who require a more intensive level of care but cannot commit to full-time inpatient treatment. It includes multiple therapy sessions per week, along with medical supervision.
Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). This is a step down from inpatient treatment but still offers a high level of care. It’s ideal for those who have completed an inpatient program but still require intensive therapy and medical supervision.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment. For those dealing with co-occurring mental health conditions like depression or PTSD and substance abuse, NuLife offers specialized treatment plans.
Relapse Prevention. An essential part of any treatment plan, relapse prevention strategies are integrated into all levels of care at NuLife. This includes education on triggers and coping mechanisms.
Insurance Verification. Before starting any treatment program, NuLife offers insurance verification services to help you understand your coverage and any out-of-pocket costs you may incur.
NuLife Behavioral Health offers many treatment options, from traditional therapies like CBT to more holistic approaches like experiential therapy. Their programs are designed to treat the symptoms of addiction and their underlying causes. Whether you’re dealing with a dual diagnosis or looking for an intensive outpatient program, NuLife will create a tailored treatment plan meets your needs.
NuLife in Chicago Illinois offers cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and holistic therapies. NuLife Behavioral Health also provides partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient programs, and gender-aware programs, such as specialized rehab for women and men.