Cocaine addiction causes severe health issues and reduces the quality of life for millions of individuals and families each year. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Among people aged 12 or older in 2021, 1.7% (or about 4.8 million people) reported using cocaine.” Professional rehabilitation programs provide clients with the tools they need to establish sobriety and manage symptoms. Exclusive Hawaii Rehab helps individuals struggling with substance use disorder (SUD) reduce their risk of relapse by identifying and addressing the root cause of their maladaptive thoughts and behaviors.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a stimulant derived from the leaves of the cocoa tree. The drug has several legitimate medical uses, including as a local anesthetic for surgery. However, it is a Schedule II drug and highly addictive even when used as prescribed.

Cocaine is snorted, injected, or smoked. The method of use significantly impacts the side effects and how quickly the body absorbs the drug. Illicit cocaine comes in two different forms – crack cocaine and powdered cocaine. The primary differences between the two include the method of use:

  • Crack cocaine: Typically smoked, causing an instant euphoric rush lasting 10 to 20 minutes and a more severe comedown
  • Powdered cocaine: Generally snorted with a slower build of euphoria, which can last for up to an hour with a slower comedown

Illegally manufactured cocaine may have additives, including stimulants and synthetic opioids. Taking illicit cocaine increases the risk of severe injury, illness, or overdose. Individuals cannot know what substances may have been mixed into the cocaine they use. Accidental overdose is a common side effect of mixing potent addictive drugs.

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The Dangers of Cocaine Dependency and Addiction

Cocaine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant directly affecting brain function. The drug causes dysregulation of the neurotransmitter glutamate, which plays a vital role in memory and learning. People who misuse the drug may have difficulty retaining new skills or information, making decisions, or avoiding impulsive behaviors. Many treatments for cocaine addiction target the glutamate system to reduce side effects and increase the speed of recovery.

Chronic cocaine misuse changes how the body responds to stress. According to NIDA, “Animals that have received cocaine repeatedly are more likely to seek the drug in response to stress, and the more of the drug they have taken, the more stress affects this behavior.” Dependency often develops quickly. Cocaine dependency causes people to need more of the drug to achieve the same effects. Over time, this gradual increase may cause severe health complications, overdose, and death.

Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Misuse

Everyone responds to cocaine differently depending on various factors, including genetic predisposition to dependency, overall health, and environmental factors. The presence of one or more signs of addiction does not indicate someone is abusing cocaine. A clinical assessment is required to diagnose SUD.

Some signs and symptoms of potential cocaine misuse include:

  • Manic behavior
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Dilated pupils
  • The presence of drug paraphernalia
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Uncharacteristic lack of proper hygiene
  • Changes in appetite leading to noticeable weight loss
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Risk-taking behaviors
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Fast speech and thought patterns
  • Socially isolating from friends and family
  • Panic attacks
  • Psychosis
  • Paranoid thoughts and behaviors

The influence of cocaine may cause some individuals to participate in criminal activities to gain access to more of the drug. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), “Results of two studies suggest that suspicious/paranoid thinking may be common among cocaine addicts, that violent behavior and crime are associated with cocaine use, and that paranoid thinking and the need to get money for cocaine may cause violent criminal behavior by cocaine users.” People who misuse cocaine often exhibit extreme changes in behavior and mood when actively using the drug.

Long-Term Health Side Affects

The method a person uses to take the drug determines how it will most likely affect their long-term health. For example, individuals who primarily snort cocaine may lose all sense of smell over time and experience permanent damage to the structure of the nose. Someone who frequently smokes cocaine may have an increased risk of throat or lung cancer.

A few other long-term health side effects include:

  • Ulcers and other gastrointestinal issues
  • Increased risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis C 
  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • Malnourishment due to loss of appetite 
  • Increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or aortic ruptures
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Increased risk of developing Parkinson’s
  • Bleeding in the brain

Individuals who go long periods without misusing cocaine may experience severe cravings, increasing the risk of relapse and worsening long-term health issues. Psychotherapy and other treatments provide individuals with healthy coping skills and the tools they need to manage their condition and long-term health side effects.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

Treatment Options at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Psychotherapy, behavior modification, and relapse prevention are used to help clients recover from cocaine addiction. Prescription medications and natural medicine are also used to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. According to Psychiatry MMC, “In the treatment of addictions, there are two goals for medications: To help patients attain an initial period of abstinence and to assist patients avoid relapse.” Personalized treatment programs use a combination of therapeutic tools and methodologies to address symptoms and provide clients with a healthy foundation for future healing.

Exclusive Hawaii Rehab offers a range of treatment programs and services, including:

  • Interventions
  • Detox
  • Stabilization
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • MAT Management/Withdrawal
  • Residential (RTC)
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Aftercare
  • Sober companions
  • Alumni services

Clinicians help clients stabilize their physical and mental health before providing them with the resources they need to transition out of treatment and into aftercare.