Cocaine is an extremely powerful and addictive drug. Cocaine causes increased levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. This causes the euphoric feeling associated with it. In this article, you will learn all about cocaine withdrawal, and the dangers they can bring about.
Those good feelings come at a cost. Dependence on cocaine forms very quickly. Withdrawal symptoms can occur shortly after use and last up to a month for long-term users.
Forms of Cocaine
Cocaine comes in different forms. It comes most frequently as white powder. Users snort, inject or eat the drug to experience its effects. In its powder form, cocaine is often the most dangerous. It is nearly impossible to know what else the drug may be cut with.
Cocaine can also be found as crack-cocaine. Crack-cocaine is a rock form of cocaine that is made by cooking the drug with baking soda. It turns into a rock that can be broken into pieces and smoked.
Crack cocaine can also be injected. Since crack cocaine is not water-soluble, it is usually dissolved into an acidic base like lemon juice and injected. This is very harmful to the veins and can cause deterioration of the vein at an expedited rate.
Effects of Cocaine and Crack
Aside from the euphoric effects of the drug, there are also some side effects that can be concerning. High blood pressure, extreme paranoia, muscle spasms and lack of judgement are all effects of cocaine use. Combining these with the confidence and irritability that most cocaine users experience can often be a dangerous equation.
As people continue to use cocaine, dependence on the drug builds quickly. Since cocaine’s effects last only a short period, people use cocaine more frequently only compounding the addiction.
Extended cocaine abuse can cause serious psychological effects. The constant cravings alone are a detriment. The “violent, erratic, and paranoid behavior” combined with the potential for psychosis are the most prevalent psychological risks for cocaine addiction according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Stages of Cocaine Withdrawal
The first stage of cocaine withdrawal is the comedown stage. Most cocaine users experience a short term high that comes with overwhelmingly high energy. When the effects of cocaine finally wear off and the user stops administering more, they begin to crash.
They experience extreme fatigue, mood swings, depression, anxiety, irritability and frequent headaches. The body cannot maintain such high energy levels without needing to recuperate. The body reacts to finally stopping excessive dopamine and serotonin release by crashing, hard.
The next stage is true withdrawal from the drug. After the first couple days of the crash, the user starts to experience more severe physical and mental symptoms.
These usually include severe anxiety, shakes, body aches, night sweat and chills. Users will also experience depression paired with insomnia. Some also experience suicidal thoughts. The severe cravings for more of the drug combined with these negative symptoms often lead even the most willful to relapse.
The final stage of cocaine withdrawal is the conclusion of withdrawal symptoms. The ending of withdrawal symptoms usually cause an increased appetite and reduction in anxiety or depression. Unfortunately, the length of time for people to stop experiencing cravings and depressive symptoms varies by the individual.
Some people report feeling normal with little to no cravings after a week or two, while others report severe cravings even up to 6 months beyond their sobriety date.
For all cocaine users, there is always a high risk for relapse. The intense cravings that cocaine causes often brings people to relapse. The best course of action for addicts of cocaine is cocaine treatment.
Detox for cocaine under medical supervision followed by continued treatment gives cocaine users the best chances of long term sobriety.
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Long Term Health Complications
Most people who are able to overcome a cocaine addiction live a normal, happy life. Those who use cocaine heavily for longer periods of time can suffer life-long damages to the body and their mental stability. Depression, heart damage, and other medical conditions can sometimes afflict users for a lifetime.
Getting help for a cocaine addiction sooner can help prevent long-term damage to the user.
Medical vs. Self Detox
Many users of cocaine think they can detox themselves at home. They stop using cocaine abruptly and try to drink water or sleep off the symptoms of withdrawal. This is never the safest option. Our staff highly recommends detoxing in a medical setting.
Detox in a medical setting is far safer for the individual. Doctors and other staff can ensure a more comfortable detox by providing medication and medical direction. In addition, they monitor the individual’s symptoms as they present to ensure safety.
Additionally, those who attempt to detox at home are far more likely to relapse. Without the removal of triggers and support of professionals, cravings often overtake people’s desire to stay sober resulting in more use of cocaine.
In a medical setting, cravings are managed by therapy sessions, support systems, and group therapy. They are also managed by medications wherever possible.
After the detox process, longer term treatment is always beneficial. To learn more about the cocaine treatment process, click HERE
We Treat Cocaine Withdrawal
We offer treatment options that are second to none. Our cocaine detox is comfortable, safe, and structured to help those struggling with cocaine addiction and withdrawal. If you or a love one need guidance on how to get started, call us at (800) 817-1247
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