Understanding Cocaine: The Basics

Cocaine is a strong stimulant drug that increases activity in the central nervous system (CNS). It was first discovered in the 19th century and gained popularity for its stimulating and euphoric effects. It was widely used for various purposes, including as an anesthetic and as a tonic to combat fatigue. In the early 20th century, health experts realized the drug’s addictive potential, leading to restrictions on its medical use and eventual classification as a controlled substance.

Cocaine is currently classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, indicating a high potential for abuse, but approved medicinal use. In the U.S., the FDA has approved cocaine for use as a topical analgesic, but it is not the same cocaine that is found on the streets and is not sent home with patients.

Street cocaine comes in the form of a fine, white powder. Sometimes it takes on a shiny or scaly appearance, leading people to nickname it “fish scale.” Other common street names for cocaine include:

  • Coke
  • Blow
  • White girl
  • Snow
  • Powder
  • Nose candy
  • Yayo
  • Rock
  • Crack

Due to its form as a fine white powder, cocaine is typically snorted. However, it may also be injected. Sometimes, cocaine is mixed with baking soda and cooked down into crystals. This substance is known as crack cocaine. Crack cocaine is a more potent form of cocaine that users smoke.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 4.8 million people abused cocaine in 2021 and 1.4 million were addicted to it.

Side Effects of Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine can immediately affect your behaviors, health, and mood. Some of the short-term effects of cocaine include:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Faster heart rate
  • Increased energy
  • Heightened senses
  • Euphoria
  • Increased alertness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased body temperature
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Tremors or muscle twitches
  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Increased risk-taking behavior
  • Hallucinations or psychosis (in high doses or prolonged use)

In addition to the desirable effects of cocaine use, people may also experience unwanted side effects. These may include:

  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Vertigo
  • Panic attacks
  • Psychosis
  • Anxiety
  • Unpredictable or violent behavior
  • Irritability
  • Muscle twitches

Cocaine’s effects don’t last very long, so people may use it multiple times in a short period. Heavy cocaine use and taking large doses can increase the risk of unwanted side effects.

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Recognizing the signs of cocaine use disorder can be crucial in seeking help and support for oneself or a loved one. Common symptoms of cocaine addiction include:

  • Frequent nosebleeds, runny nose, or stuffiness
  • Changes in eating and sleep patterns, including reduced appetite, weight loss, and irregular sleeping or insomnia
  • Tolerance—needing to take progressively higher doses of cocaine to feel the same effects as before
  • Dependence—experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when no longer using cocaine
  • Lying to loved ones about drug use
  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Legal or financial issues
  • Spending excess time and money on cocaine use
  • Wanting to stop using cocaine but feeling like it is impossible to do so
  • Making multiple failed attempts to quit using cocaine
  • Neglecting responsibilities or hobbies that were once enjoyed

Without professional treatment, it can be challenging to stop using cocaine. If you or someone you love are struggling, Invigorate Behavioral Health offers a comprehensive cocaine rehab program in Los Angeles and would be proud to be your trusted partner in recovery.

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Abuse and Addiction

Long-term cocaine abuse can be harmful to both the mind and the body. It can increase the risk of various mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and psychosis. When individuals are addicted, they often experience significant impacts on their social and family lives.

While cocaine addiction can impact mental, emotional, and social health, it also has far-reaching physical effects. Potential long-term health risks of cocaine abuse include:

  • Cardiovascular complications such as heart attacks and strokes
  • Respiratory issues including respiratory distress and chronic cough
  • Gastrointestinal problems like abdominal pain and bowel ischemia
  • Neurological disorders including seizures and cognitive impairments
  • Increased risk of infectious diseases due to needle sharing (if injecting)
  • Dental problems such as decay and tooth loss due to poor oral hygiene and bruxism
  • Sexual dysfunction and reproductive health issues
  • Skin infections or tissue damage at injection sites (if injecting)
  • Increased risk of cocaine overdose, which can lead to coma or death
  • Development of tolerance and dependence, leading to escalating use and addiction

The only way to avoid these long-term consequences is to stop using cocaine and seek professional help as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal

People who are physically dependent on cocaine will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it or reduce their usage. Withdrawal symptoms appear after an initial crash, typically a few hours after the last dose. Symptoms may peak in severity between days 2 and 3 and begin to subside after 3-5 days.

Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Increased appetite
  • Vivid dreams
  • Agitation
  • Slowed thinking
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Increased craving for cocaine
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors

Cocaine withdrawal can be risky to attempt alone due to the potential for agitation, suicidal thoughts, and relapse. As a result, it’s essential to attend a professional cocaine detox program.

Cocaine Detox & Addiction Treatment

Cocaine addiction is a complex condition. People with cocaine addiction require comprehensive treatment and support to overcome the roots of substance abuse.

Cocaine rehab begins with detox. During detox, the body works to eliminate cocaine and its byproducts, often leading to withdrawal symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Medical supervision during this process is essential to manage these symptoms and ensure the safety and comfort of the individual.

Following detox, the focus shifts to addressing the psychological and behavioral aspects of cocaine addiction through therapy and counseling. Cocaine addiction treatment programs usually include:

  • Assessments and screenings
  • Individual therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Support groups
  • Family therapy
  • Relapse prevention education
  • Holistic therapies like yoga, mindfulness, massage, and nutrition support
  • Aftercare planning

Holistic substance abuse treatment programs can help people safely stop using cocaine and avoid relapse. They support a person’s body and mind at each stage of recovery.

Find Treatment for Cocaine Addiction in Los Angeles, CA

If you or a loved one struggles with cocaine addiction, Invigorate Behavioral Health is here to help. We offer effective treatment options that are compassionate and evidence-based. Our treatment programs ensure you have the tools and support you need to achieve long-term recovery.

At Invigorate Behavioral Health, our medical detox program is supervised by experienced medical professionals who provide personalized care to manage withdrawal symptoms and ensure your safety and comfort throughout the detox process.

Following detox, our inpatient rehab program provides a structured and supportive environment where you can focus on your recovery journey free from distractions and triggers. Our team of addiction specialists, therapists, and counselors work closely with you to address the underlying causes of your addiction, develop coping skills, and create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Our inpatient rehab program in Los Angeles offers a variety of evidence-based therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), individual and group counseling, family therapy, and holistic therapies such as yoga and meditation. Additionally, we provide life skills training, relapse prevention education, and ongoing support to help you build a solid foundation for lasting sobriety.

To learn more about our cocaine rehab program in Los Angeles, please contact us today.

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