SOBA New Jersey Helps People with Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine is known as a high-end drug, often made out to be the drug of choice for the wealthy and famous. Its high price tag and glamorized clientele make it seem attractive when, in reality, it is anything but. In fact, cocaine is a powerful and highly addictive substance that, over time, can ruin the lives of those who use it.
On This Page
- What is Cocaine?
- Effects of Cocaine Use
- Signs of Cocaine Abuse
- Signs of Injected Cocaine Abuse
- How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Cocaine?
- Dangers of Cocaine Addiction
- How to Help Someone Struggling with Cocaine Addiction
- Overcoming Cocaine Addiction with SOBA New Jersey
Cocaine is a purified extract from the coca bush. It is a powerful narcotic that often leads to a life-long struggle with addiction and severe negative effects on the heart, brain, and mental/emotional health of users. The two major forms available on the street are the powdered form of cocaine and crack, the latter being a crystallized version. Powdered coke is snorted or injected, and crack is smoked through a crack pipe. Neither method is considered “safer” than the other because they both can and do cause so much immediate harm to the user.
Cocaine addiction facts according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
- 2% of adult Americans use cocaine at least once each year
- Approximately 250,000 people aged 18 to 25 have cocaine use disorder
- About 756,000 people aged 26 or older have cocaine use disorder
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant, which means that it can “speed up” the messages sent between the brain and the body. This unique effect of stimulants can create a false emotional high, too, which will convince the user that nothing is wrong. All the while, more and more doses or uses of cocaine continue to cause more and more problems.
Side effects of cocaine include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart failure
Without emergency medical care, many of these side effects can be fatal. It is crucial for someone who is addicted to cocaine to seek rehab and addiction treatments as soon as possible to reduce the risk of such a tragic outcome.
The major symptoms associated with cocaine abuse (no matter the form of the drug used) include:
- High energy
- Talking fast
- Increased mental alertness
Cocaine also causes sexual arousal and often results in risky encounters. The effects on the body of this powerful stimulant can cause users to put themselves at risk of HIV, hepatitis C, and other dangerous STIs, especially when needle sharing occurs.
If you’re worried that someone you know may be suffering from cocaine addiction, you need to know what to look for. Drug addictions can be easy to hide from loved ones, but not if those loved ones are educated about the signs of cocaine abuse.
Here are some other common signs that might give away a cocaine user:
- White powder around the mouth or nose
- Constant sniffling
- Risky behaviors
- Dilated pupils
- Runny nose
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Bloodshot eyes
- Erratic Sleep
- Curled-up dollar bills
- Excessive amounts of cash
- Frequent disappearing
While the user may be extremely talkative and sociable while high, they are likely to experience mood swings. As the drug becomes more enjoyable than anything else, parts of their brain change, especially the dopamine “reward” mechanism. As a result, an addict needs increasing quantities of drugs to feel high and loses enjoyment in everything they once found rewarding.
Because cocaine becomes the center of their world, they may steal to afford their habit. They may also withdraw from work, school, or family life. Often, they will stop taking care of their basic needs and can quickly end up homeless.
Specific symptoms of cocaine addiction exist when considering injected or smoked cocaine, rather than snorted.
Symptoms of cocaine addiction caused by injecting or smoking the drug can include:
- Needle marks: These can be seen on various parts of the body but are most prevalent on the arms, legs, hands, feet, and neck. These are often called track marks.
- Burn marks on hands or lips: Caused by smoking crack cocaine.
- Collapsed veins: This occurs when a vein becomes completely blocked by blood clots that have formed into scar tissue. This is caused by using the same injection site repeatedly.
- Abscesses: Sores filled with pus and fluid from injection sites.
- Hepatitis C or HIV: These diseases can be contracted by using a shared needle.
- Endocarditis: An infection of the heart’s inner lining, often caused by mixing acid with cocaine to make it soluble before injecting.
According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, someone can become addicted after the first time using crack cocaine. It’s much less likely that someone will become addicted as quickly when snorting cocaine, but it is still highly dangerous. After methamphetamine, cocaine is the most psychologically addictive illegal substance.
Common signs that cocaine addiction is forming include
- Your day revolves around cocaine—getting it, using it, planning the next use, etc.
- You have tried and failed to quit.
- You have given up things you love for cocaine.
- You have neglected responsibilities because of cocaine.
- You notice that you require more and more cocaine to get high.
- You notice that as you continue to use cocaine, the drug withdrawal symptoms worsen.
- Your loved ones have expressed worry that you are addicted.
The symptoms of cocaine addiction vary by the length of the addiction has been going on, how much is used, how frequently it is used, and the individual’s dependence on cocaine.
Some of the signs of cocaine addiction include:
- Always wearing long sleeves to cover track marks
- Break from reality or psychosis
- Elevated feelings of well-being or supremacy
- Euphoric mood followed by depressed mood
- Excited, fast speech
- Failure to maintain work (job, school, etc.)
- Gastric ulcers
- Hiding use from friends, family, loved ones
- Impaired sexual function
- Lying about use
- Paranoia or anxiety
- Recurring nasal issues
- Strained relationships
- Sudden money problems or legal problems
- Trouble swallowing
- Violent behavior
The above symptoms can occur during detoxification from cocaine, which means that the user is attempting to quit. For this reason, it is important to always seek professional help from a rehab center or addiction treatment clinic.
You should also remember that people can be functionally addicted to cocaine, meaning they seem to still maintain relationships, work, and a normal life. This does not mean that the cocaine use disorder that they have is not harming them each day.
Seeking help doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may seem. There are resources, treatment centers, and people available to help.
Some of the most common treatment options for cocaine addiction include:
- CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is a therapy model that helps practice coping mechanisms that will help prepare the user to resist the future temptation to relapse.
- Contingency management, also known as motivational rewards, incentivizes good behavior/sobriety maintenance.
- The Matrix Model is an intense form of therapy that has shown to be particularly effective for those addicted to stimulants. It uses family therapy, group therapy, education on addiction, prevention of relapse, and support groups. It also uses regular drug tests to ensure sobriety.
Cocaine detox is best carried out in a supervised and supportive environment. Although withdrawal from cocaine is not as medically dangerous as alcohol or heroin, the temptation to relieve symptoms with the drug is just as strong. It is best, therefore, to undergo professional, supervised detox before entering a cocaine addiction treatment program.
The facts about cocaine can make you feel like you’re stuck, but you don’t have to feel that way forever. While it is a dangerous drug that is highly addictive, it’s also one that you can put into your past if you’re determined. Here at SOBA New Jersey, we offer a unique approach that follows the pace of each person as they plan for and create their new life after sobriety.
At times, you can feel lost and confused when struggling with addiction or mental health. Our team understands what you are going through and works with you to reclaim the life you deserve.