Various drugs have been developed to be used medically. However, such medications may also be prone to abuse. While some are beneficial and helpful in treating certain illnesses, there are also those that are highly addictive. Cocaine is one such drug. When a person becomes addicted to this substance, he or she will eventually face harmful consequences. So, before things get worse, it is important to know how to overcome a cocaine addiction.
Cocaine has a way of locking itself to someone’s life. It replaces the need to use the substance for almost everything else. A person who is addicted to cocaine has one single thought: to get as much cocaine as possible for his own use. Predominantly, cocaine is used in the United States and South America. At present, Canada is also experiencing an increasing number of cocaine users.
Aside from tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol, cocaine addiction is known as one of the most common drug-related problems that strike the whole world. It is causing emotional, health, and financial problems in many people in Canada.
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a stimulant drug that is powerfully addictive. It comes from coca leaves which have been used by South Americans for its stimulating effects since thousands of years ago. The purified form is cocaine hydrochloride, and a hundred years ago it was isolated from the coca plant.
During the 1900s, this purified form of cocaine became an ingredient to many elixirs and tonics which were used in treating different kinds of illnesses. And yes, it was even used in the drink Coca-Cola in its early years. Before synthetic local anesthetic was developed, surgeons made use of cocaine in patients to block the pain.
As more and more studies of cocaine became available, it was found out that it is a highly addictive substance. Cocaine is able to change the way the brain functions if it is being used repeatedly.
At present, cocaine is known as a Schedule II medication. It means that cocaine may be administered by a physician for medical use. Some examples include surgeries in the throat, ears, and eyes.
Cocaine is prone to abuse as it is very addictive. As an illicit drug, cocaine is a crystalline powder that is both fine and white. Its other names include Blow, Powder, Snow, C, and Coke. Cocaine is also called crack and it is because of the crackling sound it creates when it is smoked.
Dealers of this drug often dilute cocaine with baking soda, flour, talcum powder, or cornstarch so that they’ll profit more out of it. They may also add amphetamine, procaine, and other drugs to cocaine. For some users, they add cocaine with another drug which is heroin. This is known as Speedball.
Cocaine that’s being used illegally has 2 chemical forms. One form is the water-soluble hydrochloride salt. The other form is the water-insoluble cocaine base. The first form is usually injected or snorted by the user since it is in powder form.
The second form is made through a process where cocaine is mixed with baking soda or ammonia and water. It is then heated so that the hydrochloride is removed. It can then be a substance that can be smoked.
Cocaine’s Addictive Properties
When a person repeatedly uses cocaine, he or she develops a tolerance for it as well as physical dependence. If they stop using cocaine, withdrawal symptoms will emerge. If cocaine is used continually, they will fall deeper into addiction and it can have adverse consequences to the health. Here are some examples of cocaine’s addictive properties.
- Cocaine can cause euphoric highs that are quick and doesn’t last very long.
- After the high from using cocaine has passed, the person will feel depressed and low. This leads the person to use more of it to get back to the pleasurable feeling that they get from using cocaine.
- Regardless of the method that cocaine is consumed, it can cause excess dopamine stimulation in the brain. This results in euphoric feelings that encourage the person to use the substance continuously.
What is Cocaine Addiction?
A person is addicted to cocaine when he or she can no longer control his or her use of cocaine. This means that even if they want to stop, they can’t. They’re hooked to the substance. Even when cocaine use is already causing person harm or distressed, once the addiction sets in, it becomes very difficult to stop.
Recreational use of cocaine doesn’t immediately mean that a person is addicted to it. However, it will eventually develop an addiction. The use of the substance becomes more compulsive. A user can start experiencing intense cravings for cocaine, spending most of their time and resources getting the substance and using it. In doing so, they tend to neglect their responsibilities just so they can continue to use the drug.
What are the Effects of Cocaine in the Body?
With cocaine use, there are short-term and long term effects in the body. When a person uses cocaine, they can feel an intense high but when that dies down, it is followed by an intense opposite feeling which is depression. This leads to a strong craving for more of the substance.
People using cocaine can often go for a period of time without sleeping or eating properly. They experience an increased heart rate, convulsions, and muscle spasms. Constant cocaine use can make a person more anxious, angry, hostile, and paranoid. And this is something that they can experience even if they are not high.
It doesn’t matter how much cocaine is being used or how frequent the intake is. Cocaine can increase the risk for the person using it to suffer from a seizure, stroke, respiratory failure, and heart attack. This can result in sudden death for the user.
For the long-term effects of cocaine use, the person who uses it will have increased tolerance. They will be needing more and more of it so that they can experience the same kind of high that they felt the first time that they used it. When cocaine is used daily, the user will feel a loss of appetite and sleep deprivation. Consequently, this causes a person to become psychotic and have hallucinations.
Cocaine can interfere with how the brain can process chemicals. To feel “normal,” the person needs more of it so he or she can function in some sense. As the person becomes addicted, the activities that they once enjoyed become uninteresting for them. Their main source of gratification is cocaine use.
When trying to stop cocaine use, the person can feel so depressed and deprived. Some may even commit crimes just to get cocaine for their next high. If they cannot get a hold of the substance, they may experience a very severe kind of depression that can lead them to commit suicide.
The damages that using cocaine can inflict on a person is not limited to the individual using the substance. If the person using cocaine is a pregnant woman, there can be very harmful consequences to how the fetus develops. The child may have deficits when it comes to its cognitive performance.
What are the Signs of Cocaine Addiction?
Since cocaine is a very addictive substance that can change how the brain works if it is being used regularly, the user can have a difficult time quitting without the needed help and support from health care professionals and the person’s loved ones. To prevent further harm from using cocaine, it is important that the warning signs of cocaine addiction can be immediately identified.
When a person uses cocaine, they can feel the effect of the substance quickly. However, it will also fade fast, ranging from five minutes to half an hour. It depends on how the drug was consumed and how fast it was absorbed into the person’s bloodstream.
Cocaine can create the feeling of being high because it can block dopamine from getting recycled. This means that artificially, it can increase dopamine’s activity and makes the person feel euphoric. When a person is high, they can be overly excited and talkative. They have a high level of self-confidence and few inhibitions. They don’t find the need to eat or sleep when they are under the drug’s influence.
But when the effects of the substance diminish, the person can feel the exact opposite. They may feel the need to eat or sleep more. They feel depressed and irritable without the drug. Since cocaine’s effects are quick to disappear, a person who’s becoming more and more addicted to it can use it in a binge pattern. They can take one dose after another.
Users may also take higher and higher doses of cocaine. This makes them more irritable, angry, hostile, and violent. Long-term users may become anxious and paranoid, experiencing hallucinations. If cocaine is being used along with alcohol or other drugs, there may be addiction psychological and physical side effects that can be noticed.
For example, the example above called “Speedball” which is a combination of cocaine and heroin can have contrasting effects. Cocaine is known to be a stimulant while heroin is a depressant for the central nervous system. A person taking this combination may have problems moving around, has blurred vision, problems with sleeping, and lack of appetite.
When cocaine is taken in large amounts or together with alcohol or other drugs, overdose can happen. The risk for other harmful health consequences is also increased. An overdose happens when too much of the substance is consumed and the body can no longer handle it. The drug will reach in the bloodstream at toxic levels.
Some signs of cocaine overdose to watch out for are increased body temperature and blood pressure, seizures, tremors, increased heart rate, vomiting, nausea, and chest pain. When a person has an overdose, he or she can suffer a heart attack or stroke. These are medical emergencies and anyone noticing these signs on a person should immediately call for help from medical professionals.
How to Overcome Cocaine Addiction
Some of the serious side effects of cocaine addiction include lung damage, seizures, headaches, heart attack and even HIV through the sharing of needles. Those who are beginning to recognize the signs of addiction may decide to quit, but if they’re not sure how to stop using cocaine. The road to recovery may seem difficult if you don’t know how to overcome a cocaine addiction.
Fortunately, like any other addiction, it is possible to break the cycle. Keep in mind, it is not an easy journey, and it may take a combination of approaches to make the actions stick. To help, the following are 8 tips for people who want to know how to stop using cocaine.
Having a strong support system during your journey to a clean life is critical in avoiding relapse. Friends and family are usually the people we see most often, so informing them about your addiction, as well as your goals to quit, will be imperative to a successful recovery.
Informing them of your goals to quit will hopefully increase your family’s and friends’ sensitivity to your journey, and may create more positive reinforcement from them. If you do not want to inform these groups about your addiction, you may choose to take part in anonymous support groups for that much-needed encouragement.
Admit Yourself to a Treatment Facility
Symptoms of withdrawal can be very dangerous and can include both physical and emotional experiences. It is often safest to admit yourself to a facility where a medical team can monitor and stabilize your health during your withdrawal stage.
This step is by no means the only way to stop using cocaine. However, it is an excellent option for those who are experiencing intense symptoms or for users who continue to relapse on their own.
Previous to quitting, it is likely that a user’s free time would be spent searching for another hit or getting high. One of the most important steps to stop using cocaine is finding new activities and hobbies to enjoy. There is so much that can be done and new activities to discover.
Try to sign up for things that you’ve never done before so that you’re exposed to new environments and a different set of people. This will help to keep your mind off of temptations and may help you to avoid triggers that you would be exposed to in familiar environments.
You may actually find that you enjoy this newfound free time and that you meet new people who like to spend their time doing similar things. This is one of the best ways to ensure that you won’t always be thinking about your past habits.
Remove All Triggers
As soon as you’ve decided to quit, it’s a good idea to remove all objects, images or avoid people that would trigger you to want to use cocaine. This includes any cocaine you currently have as well as tools for using it. Throw them away properly so that no one can use them.
It’s also a good idea to remove contact information for your dealer, or any of the people who you commonly used drugs with. A clean slate is important in avoiding relapse. Spend more time with your family and good friends instead.
Those who are looking for information on how to stop using cocaine are already on the right track. Recognizing an addiction problem is the key to being able to identify your problems and embrace a clean life. Consider these tips to stop using cocaine, and be sure to share them with others who are on the same journey.
Statistics of Cocaine Users in Canada
In the country, young adults and teenagers make up a high percentage of cocaine users. Surprisingly, most of the first time users are composed of younger teenagers. While there are more users of marijuana in the country, the number of cocaine users tends to increase in a steady and continuous manner.
Compared to a survey which was conducted in 2004, the rate of cocaine use among young adults and teenagers is climbing at approximately 1.8% every year. This is in stark contrast to the steady decrease of marijuana users and alcoholics in the country. In comparison to older users, people aged 15 to 24 years old show a very disturbing trend when it comes to cocaine use.
The survey has found out that users that belong to the lower age bracket are known to be nine times more dependent and addicted to cocaine than their older counterpart. There is a good trend that comes along with this, though. It is that a similar number of individuals who’ve been surveyed in their drug dependence have indicated that they didn’t use any in the previous year. Nevertheless, the fight to stop the spread and use of illicit drugs such as cocaine need to be strengthened.
Today, there are some kinds of headways which are being made in educating the people of Canada about illegal drug use. Although these remedies have been made and implemented in the country, the number of new users tends to rise continually.
The good part is that the number of people who were addicted to cocaine tends to fall off slowly and steadily. With the Canadian government’s strong will and determination to implement education, prevention, and treatment, the country has a chance to keep the rate on a downward and continuous trend.
Hopefully, you now know more about how to overcome a cocaine addiction. It will not be easy but it will always be worth your while to choose a path to recovery and healthier life. It is never too late to stop using cocaine and other illegal substances. Your will and good intentions to quit are good but you will have to need more than those. Find the best detox and rehabilitation facility today and get the help that you need.