Cocaine (which is also processed and sold as “crack”) is an extremely addictive drug that is derived from the coca plant in South America. It can be abused by snorting, smoking, or injection. Depending on the manner of absorbing the drug, highs can last between 5 and 30 minutes.
The limbic system (the part of the brain that controls pleasure and motivational control) is affected by cocaine use. These temporary changes in pleasure sensations and motivation can quickly lead to addiction. Because the cells that trigger euphoric feelings in the brain are artificially stimulated, and a person is neurologically moved to want to experience such sentiments over and over again. Not only is the cocaine desired, but the people, places, and paraphernalia associated with the drug use are often falsely interpreted as desirable and pleasant memories.
Signs and Symptoms
On a short-term basis, this drug may cause highs of euphoria and energy that make a person seem happy and talkative. In some cases, it can increase aggression and anger. Dangerous physical effects of cocaine abuse come in the form of high blood pressure and increased heart rate. Cocaine also causes digestive distress and stomach-sickness, change in appetite leading to weight loss over time, sleeplessness, restlessness, panic attacks, high body temperature, and dilated pupils.
People who abuse cocaine have a diminished ability to make decisions. Among other problems, people who are high on cocaine may become more sexually tolerant and promiscuous, leading to a higher rate of sexually transmitted diseases that cause a host of other undesirable symptoms.
Those who sniff cocaine regularly might be prone to frequent nosebleeds, an inability to smell scents or odors, and a constant runny nose or hoarse voice. The tissue within the nostrils may become inflamed, infected, or even cancerous. Bowel problems are more common with cocaine that is administered orally. These bowel complications can make it difficult to go to the bathroom because there will be a limited blood flow in the users’ intestines.
Integrated Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
Many people who use cocaine also misuse other drugs or have complicated stressors associated with cocaine use. Multiple addictions may have occurred and need to be treated at one time. Because substance use usually begins as a way to self-medicate, and because cocaine addiction can lead to traumatic life events, addiction to cocaine often includes more than one disorder. The effects of addiction plague family life, cognitive thinking ability, and general health. All of the issues that surround cocaine use can be addressed in a supportive, helpful way during treatment.
Family therapy can be very helpful and can also include relationship counseling. Family counseling can help educate all family members and answer any lingering questions about the situation. Often, family counseling helps the entire family learn to no longer enable an addiction. Family therapy is also a safe place to address old arguments and relationship difficulties in order to build a better future. Whatever the case, having an outside professional counselor can restore love and peace into an aching relationship.
Emotional management skill-building is an important part of integrated treatment.Building stronger mental health can helpeach person better balance stress after treatment and prevent thoughts about drug use to avoid anxiety or depression. Issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, ADHD or other mental health concerns can be assessed and treated to help ensure lasting wellness.
Often, addiction treatment offers space to assess physical medical concerns that may come to light once sobriety begins. Integrated rehab offers a full body and mind treatment that can address a number of issues in one location. Treating all of the contributing factors to an addiction can greatly reduce the chances of relapse.
Cocaine Addiction and Co-occurring Mental Health Disorders
Any substance use disorder treatment must simultaneously treat any present mental health disorders. It is not important whether the mental health disorder was present before the abuse disorder or came into existence as a result of the drug abuse. Wellness of mind and body go hand-in-hand.
When a person completes his or her cocaine addiction treatment, he or she will also be better equipped to fight emotional and mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar or other disorders. Likewise, stronger awareness of mental health can greatly reduce the chances of substance use relapse.
The Process of Cocaine Recovery Treatment
Although cocaine addiction is so widespread that treatment advancement has progressed greatly, there are not currently any medications that the FDA has approved to treat this particular addiction.
Behavioral interventions, on the other hand, prove very successful in the battle against cocaine use, both in inpatient and outpatient settings. Although ideally medical and behavioral approaches to treatment will be combined to help a person to pass through detoxification, rehabilitation and relapse prevention, behavioral training alone can be extremely effective.
Motivational incentives, or motivational interviewing therapy, is one manner of therapy that moves a person to seek out or stay in rehab for cocaine addiction. The goal of this type of treatment is to help the individual regain power over his or her life and understand how positive recovery can be.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is another behavioral treatment method. This is a valuable tool in preventing relapse, as a person is taught to take negative thinking and addiction related thought trains and to re-route them into more productive areas. The learning processes that ingrained addiction are reversed to establish healthy thinking patterns.
Evidence-based treatment for cocaine addiction can be quite successful. Quality treatment with the experienced team at Skywood can help you or your loved one. There is hope for a brighter future.
 Nestler, Eric J. “The neurobiology of cocaine addiction.” Sci Pract Perspect. NCBI. 1 December 2005. Web. Accessed 18 February 2016.
 “What treatments are effective for cocaine abusers?” National Institute on Drug Abuse. May 2016. Web. Accessed 18 February 2016.