Cocaine Addiction Treatment
Cocaine is a highly addictive tropane alkaloid found primarily in the leaves of two coco species, Erythroxylum mixtures and Erythroxylum grandis. It’s most often used as a euphoriant and recreational drug. Cocaine’s actions create a sense of euphoria through stimulation of both serotonin (5-HT) the brain’s neurotransmitter, and norepinephrine (NE), a hormone that increases blood flow to muscles. It also has strong excitatory effects on the nervous system, increasing the number and strength of nerve impulses as well as the rate of nerve firing.
The cocaine’s euphoric effects make it highly desirable, but it is also used therapeutically. When injected intramuscularly, it can alleviate pain, reduce anxiety and reduce blushing. In some cases, cocaine has been used as treatment for depression, AIDS, and multiple sclerosis. However, in recent years, cocaine use and addiction have come under increased scrutiny due to its negative side effects.
Cocaine addiction begins with the acquisition of small amounts of the drug. Once sufficient amounts are acquired, the drug’s effects begin to become noticeable. With regular use, cocaine users experience the drug’s euphoric effects, but overtime their body craves for more of the drug. Eventually, without the need for the drug, they become physically dependent on it. Cocaine addiction alters the way the brain reacts to stimuli, making drug use highly desirable while also desiring other substances such as alcohol or heroin.
Cocaine addiction differs from other substance addictions in that most individuals suffering from cocaine addiction do not suffer physical symptoms immediately after using the drug. Most cocaine users don’t experience nausea, sweating, insomnia, restlessness or anxiety symptoms immediately after ingesting the drug. In fact, many cocaine users report feeling “high” or “in love” just minutes after cocaine is ingested. This absence of immediate discomfort provides some relief for cocaine addicts when seeking treatment, but continued use ultimately leads to severe symptoms and dependence. As the user’s tolerance to cocaine increases, his or her brain continually sends signals to the drug center requesting increased amounts of the drug which may include sleep, increased heart rate, and vivid dreams.
Although cocaine use and addiction can cause serious physical and psychological problems, there are a number of treatment options available for those struggling with this disease. Unfortunately, because cocaine addiction has no cure, traditional drug treatments, such as medications, are not an effective solution. In fact, when using cocaine the user experiences what is called a “hit” or “high,” which is designed to heighten the user’s level of pleasure. Unfortunately, this hit or high typically does not last long and only releases the temporary “high” created by the drug. This hit or high eventually leads to a number of uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms including: anxiety, paranoia, mood disorders, insomnia, irritability, depression, and anxiety or depression.
Thankfully, there are other treatment options available for those suffering from cocaine addiction. The first step in treatment is often in detoxification. This process removes all cocaine from the body, reducing both the physical and psychological use of the drug. During detoxification, users may find themselves staying awake for days at a time, drinking water frequently, or having to eat extremely sparse meals. However, these symptoms are only temporary and once again, the user returns to normal functioning.
Other methods of cocaine addiction treatment include detoxification through IV usage. Also known as an “ice bucket” treatment, this method is similar to going into the hospital in an attempt to flush out toxins and drugs from the system. However, with IV cocaine addiction, the user is kept in a closed environment, usually under observation, where medical staff can monitor the cocaine intake. After several days, the patient is weaned off the drug, usually with outpatient treatment facilities.
Other treatment options include residential rehab and outpatient services. Inpatient care is reserved for those who require more intense assistance. However, many addicts choose to use these services in an attempt to avoid relapse. In outpatient care, patients are released from treatment centers at specific times, allowing them to go to work or school without worrying about their addiction. Cocaine addiction treatment centers offer a variety of treatment options to those struggling with addiction.