Cocaine addiction has become more prevalent than many people realize. More than 5.2 million people over 12, or around 1.9% of the population, report using cocaine within the past 12 months. As many as 0.2% of eighth graders and up to 1.2% of 12th graders report having tried cocaine within the past 12 months. Furthermore, around 1.3 million people, or 0.5% of the population, suffered from a cocaine use disorder within the past 12 months.
Those numbers are staggering. Cocaine use has become a serious problem for many Americans, and addressing that problem can be crucial to improving the overall quality of life. However, before approaching rehabilitation or detoxification, many people need a better understanding of cocaine and its impact on the body and the potential impact of the detoxification process.
Cocaine is a drug that binds to dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine transport proteins. It causes a mood-elevating effect in users that has led to widespread use, particularly when depression and anxiety levels have skyrocketed among many members of the population. Cocaine is highly addictive and can cause several health problems when used regularly.
Crack is a form of cocaine combined with water and another substance, usually baking soda. Those substances are then boiled and form a solid when cooled. Those cooled pieces are broken into smaller chunks, commonly known as crack.
Crack and cocaine, while the same basic substance at the core, do have several key differences.
Cocaine is a white powder. While often pure, it can also be cut with other substances, which may enhance, decrease, or change the high experienced by the user. On the other hand, crack is generally found in rock form, which can be any shade from white to brown. The substances may look completely different on the surface.
While straight cocaine is snorted or inhaled through the nose, crack is typically intaken through smoking. Cocaine can also be taken through injection, though most people do not prefer that method for getting high. Injecting or smoking cocaine generally leads to a faster high, including more intense symptoms. However, since crack is not “pure” cocaine, it may not cause the same high, depending on the quantity of additives in the substance.
The level and type of high between crack and cocaine can be very different, primarily due to how the substance is consumed. When cocaine is injected or smoked, as with the crack form, the high is more intense but may last for a shorter period. When cocaine is snorted, on the other hand, it may take longer for the user to feel the high, but it also may last longer.
Detoxing from cocaine may depend on how much cocaine has been consumed and over how long. On average, it takes between 5 and 7 days to detox from cocaine. However, some people may find that the detoxification process lasts as long as three weeks.
Furthermore, long-term rehabilitation efforts may last much longer. Many users go through the detoxification process more than once since they may return to heavy cocaine use due to ongoing psychological stimuli or inadequate coping mechanisms.
The symptoms of cocaine detoxification may vary depending on the individual, the individual’s tolerance to the drug, and how much cocaine has been consumed over a long period. Symptoms may include physical and psychological symptoms, which may require treatment and intervention from a mental health professional to prevent the patient from experiencing more severe, dangerous, or life-threatening symptoms.
The psychological symptoms of cocaine detoxification can feel overwhelming for many patients.
The psychological symptoms of cocaine withdrawal can be complicated to overcome alone. Some patients, while going through cocaine detoxification, will decide to return to cocaine use due to the intense nature of the symptoms. Sometimes, patients have attempted suicide during the withdrawal and detoxification process. Working with a qualified professional, including a detoxification or recovery center, often makes it easier for patients to overcome those symptoms.
In addition to the psychological symptoms of cocaine detoxification, many users experience significant physical symptoms, which may require observation or intervention from a mental health professional.
The physical symptoms associated with cocaine detoxification can go on for a long time after the last dose of cocaine. While the worst symptoms often resolve in 5-7 days, patients who have used cocaine extensively may notice that symptoms continue for much longer. Furthermore, some symptoms may linger long-term due to chemical changes in the brain. Working with a detoxification center or qualified health professional can help many addicts overcome those symptoms.
The worst symptoms of cocaine detoxification usually last for around 5-7 days. The process begins between 8 and 12 hours after taking the last dose of cocaine, often depending on the frequency of use and the amount of cocaine usually consumed.
Symptoms may build for the first 5-7 days but typically start to alleviate after that point. Some patients, however, may notice that symptoms appear on a different timeline. Treatment for signs should be based on patient experience and information rather than on an arbitrary timeline.
Symptoms of cocaine detoxification can prove both physically and emotionally overwhelming. Many patients undergoing detoxification consider resuming drug use to alleviate those symptoms. However, a cocaine detoxification program can help offer several benefits.
While detoxing from cocaine addiction may not be as medically risky as detoxing from other types of drugs or alcohol addictions, it can still cause significant symptoms. Those symptoms can be dangerous and, at times, life-threatening.
In many cases, medical supervision can help reduce the risk of complications. Furthermore, symptoms of cocaine withdrawal or detoxification can mean considerable physical discomfort for the patient. Supervised detoxification can provide support that may help alleviate some of those symptoms.
In some cases, medications can help ease the symptoms associated with cocaine withdrawal. Going through the detoxification process in a supervised withdrawal program can help you get much-needed medication support that can help alleviate patients’ symptoms and help them feel more comfortable during the detoxification process.
For many patients, that may offer the support needed to help them get over the worst of that detoxification process, which may increase the odds of completing the program. Medication may be used to address both physical and emotional discomfort during the detoxification process. For example, some patients experience severe depression or anxiety during the detoxification from cocaine. Medical treatment can help manage those symptoms and prevent more dangerous effects.
Support and accountability can prove crucial for many people going through the cocaine detoxification process. When patients enter a supervised detoxification program, there are held accountable for any further decisions to engage in drug use. Furthermore, they have the support they need as they go through the process, including knowing that there is someone on hand to help talk them down in the event of difficulties or moments when they may feel like giving in.
Sometimes, family members and friends can see that a loved one is heading for a devastating spiral, but they may not know how to help support them or how to avoid those potential consequences. An intervention staged with the help of a qualified treatment program can make it easier for family members to help them take those next steps and provide them with resources in a highly supportive environment.
Often, people turn to drug abuse to help cope with other underlying symptoms or challenges. Substance abuse disorders, including cocaine abuse, often occur along with other mental health conditions and disorders.
People with mental health disorders and conditions, including ADHD, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and more, may have a higher risk of substance abuse than mentally healthy individuals.
Through a certified detox and rehabilitation program, people suffering from cocaine abuse disorders can receive the support they need to develop healthier coping mechanisms. That, in turn, can help them address underlying conditions and avoid returning to addictive behaviors.
Recovery from addiction may involve changing how patients think about problems or cope with them as they arise. Often, patients have difficulty dealing with the impact of life changes or stressors, which may have caused many initial symptoms. By working with a qualified detoxification center, patients can address those challenges more effectively, which may put them in a better position to resume everyday life following detoxification.
Working with a qualified program that helps with the detoxification and rehabilitation process can offer a great deal of support during the rehabilitation process. Often, cognitive behavioral support can offer a great deal of assistance in overcoming addiction by providing considerable incentives for staying clean.
Contingency Management, which helps provide rewards based on positive behaviors, may help many patients overcome cocaine addiction and stay clean, including encouraging them to engage in behaviors like going to the gym or healthy eating, which they may have let fall by the wayside at the height of addictive behaviors.
Cocaine can have a number of both short-term and long-term effects. Effects may change based on individual tolerance, the dose taken, and the length of addiction. Over time, patients who use cocaine regularly may build up a tolerance to the drug that can change the initial effect but may lead to more long-term symptoms.
Short-term cocaine causes an intense high. It can increase heart rate, blood pressure, energy, and euphoria. Under the influence of cocaine, many people feel more energetic, hyperactive, or restless. Cocaine can lead to impulsiveness and impaired decision-making.
The high associated with cocaine is usually short-lived, lasting just a few hours after the initial event. Once the high wears off, users may experience various symptoms, known as a cocaine crash. Symptoms may include depression, paranoia, or anxiety. Cocaine users may also have to deal with the following:
Over time, users may experience higher drug cravings, including cravings so intense that the user would do anything to get more of the drug. Those cravings can cause the negative behaviors and effects often described in drug addicts.
As users consume more cocaine, it can take more to reach the desired “high.” Increased tolerance may mean the user does not get the immediate high, but it may also increase the risk of adverse effects.
Cocaine users may experience an increased risk of:
People who become addicted to cocaine may find that they rapidly lose interest in other areas of life. They may focus increasingly on how they can get high, when they can get high or where they can get more of the drug. Addicts may also have difficulty engaging in events that once brought them joy or participating actively.
Cocaine can cause a great deal of damage to the body, particularly as use continues. Cocaine use can cause permanent damage to the blood vessels in the heart and brain, which may lead to increased health risks over time. It can also damage the liver, kidneys, and lungs or cause an increased risk of respiratory failure.
Addicts often focus on obtaining more cocaine to exclude food, which may put them at high risk of malnutrition and weight loss. Cocaine use may also lead to tooth decay.
For patients suffering from cocaine addiction, having the right resources and support on hand can make a huge difference. Look at these resources and how they can help you on your journey.
At Inland Detox, you will find Southern California’s leading provider of drug and alcohol detoxification and rehabilitation services. We offer a variety of programs that can help you get the help you need to detox from cocaine in a safe setting or to build the skills and resources you need to get clean and stay that way.
Contact us today to learn more.