Cocaine Addiction: Understanding the Dangers
Table of Contents
Cocaine addiction affects millions of people around the UK and is responsible for untold suffering, disruption of lives and broken relationships. We’ll be looking at the causes, symptoms and available treatments for this disorder.
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that produces intense feelings of euphoria, common street names are: charlie, powder, blow, coke
The Nature of Cocaine Addiction
There are typically three main factors that contribute to cocaine addiction: biological, psychological and social.
Biological factors include genetics, which can play a major role in one’s vulnerability to developing an addiction to a particular drug such as cocaine. If you are predisposed to becoming addicted to substances like cocaine due to genetics, you need to understand how drug use interacts with your hormones and neurotransmitters. Hormones are chemicals that regulate various processes in the body, while neurotransmitters are responsible for relaying messages between neurons. Both of these can be affected by drug use, leading to changes in behaviour and physical cravings that make it difficult to stop using.
Psychological factors include your personality traits and psychological state at the time of use. For example, if you are more impulsive or have a tendency to take risks, that may be why you tried cocaine in the first place. Additionally, psychological problems such as depression, anxiety or trauma can also increase your likelihood of trying illicit stimulants.
Finally, social factors include environmental influences from people or places that may encourage drug use. This can include friends or family members who use cocaine themselves or peers who pressure you into trying it. It can also include the availability of the drug in certain areas or media that normalises its use such as movies, music videos or games. Reckless and risky behaviours are often observed in people who abuse cocaine regularly, and this drug has been linked to many crimes. Keep in mind that cocaine is an illicit drug in the UK, and using it alone is a crime.
At its core, cocaine addiction is a form of substance abuse in which we can get preoccupied with using cocaine (or crack cocaine) to achieve a desired psychological or physiological effect. While any use of an illicit drug such as cocaine is abuse, addiction occurs when we use the drug in more frequent or more significant amounts than intended, despite knowing the risks involved. Cocaine is an illegal drug linked to numerous health issues such as anxiety, paranoia, depression and even death due to overdose. While there are several effective treatments out there that can help those struggling with cocaine addiction, understanding the causes and symptoms can be vital in seeking help and getting back on track.
In addition, the COVID-19 special edition of the Global Drug Survey showed around 40% of respondents reported using ecstasy and cocaine less often than before the pandemic. Out of these, more than 80% said that the reason for doing so was that they have fewer occasions where they would use these drugs. Peer pressure is a real issue in the fight against addiction.
One of the most important telltale signs of cocaine addiction is if you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Cocaine withdrawal is much different than what you would go through if you are abusing opioids or cannabis, for example. Drug cravings are not physical with cocaine, but craving the release it gives for the side effects of cocaine use can be overwhelming.
You may experience cocaine withdrawal symptoms when you haven’t taken your usual doses on time. These signs and symptoms are related mainly to the effects of quitting. The physical symptoms of using powder cocaine include:
- Hot flashes
- Tremors or shakiness
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With crack cocaine, there are many physical withdrawal symptoms including:
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Increased appetite
- Tremors or shakes
- Muscle aches and pains
- Physical agitation or restlessness
- Slowed movements and decreased energy levels
- Generalised discomfort or feeling physically unwell
- Intense cravings for crack cocaine
- Increased sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chills or hot flashes
- Respiratory issues, such as coughing or shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
The Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
One of the most common signs is increased tolerance, meaning that more and more of the drug will be needed to achieve the same effect. There may also be physical changes such as dilated pupils, a runny nose or constant sniffing and snorting. Other psychological symptoms might include mood swings, irritability and agitation. Those who become addicted to cocaine may also experience a loss of interest in activities that used to please them, as well as difficulty concentrating and sleeping.
Here is a list of all the symptoms related to using cocaine:
Behavioural Cocaine Addiction Symptoms:
- Increased secrecy and withdrawal from family and friends.
- Engaging in secretive or deceptive behaviour to obtain or use cocaine.
- Neglecting responsibilities at work, school, or home due to cocaine abuse.
- Financial difficulties, such as borrowing money or stealing to support the addiction.
- Changes in social circles and frequenting environments associated with drug use.
- Risk-taking behaviours, impulsivity, and engaging in illegal activities to sustain drug use.
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities and hobbies.
- Relationship conflicts and strained interpersonal relationships.
- Mood changes and risky behaviours
Physical Cocaine Addiction Symptoms:
- Increased energy and hyperactivity.
- Dilated pupils.
- Noticeable weight loss and loss of appetite.
- Insomnia or altered sleep patterns.
- Runny nose or frequent nosebleeds (if cocaine is snorted).
- Damage to the nasal passages (if cocaine is snorted).
- Needle marks or track marks on the arms (if cocaine is injected).
- Intense cravings for cocaine.
Psychological Cocaine Addiction Symptoms:
- Euphoria, extreme happiness, and elevated mood.
- Anxiety, restlessness, and irritability during withdrawal or between doses.
- Paranoia, suspiciousness, and heightened sensitivity.
- Poor concentration decreased attention span, and difficulty focusing on tasks.
- Mood swings, including sudden shifts from extreme elation to deep depression.
- Feelings of invincibility and grandiosity.
- Hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis (in severe cases).
Impact on Health and Wellbeing
Cocaine is an incredibly powerful drug, with short-term effects that can range from increased energy and alertness to heart palpitations, nausea, paranoia and even seizures. Long-term use of the drug can cause further damage to the body, including brain damage, decreased cognitive functioning and permanent mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
It’s not just physical health that suffers from cocaine abuse—emotional well-being is also affected. If you are struggling with a cocaine addiction you may become isolated from family members or friends as you become consumed by this habit, hiding it and tiptoeing around the secret. There may also be financial problems due to the cost of purchasing the drug. All of this takes its toll on both you and your loved ones and your career.
Seeking Effective Treatment for Cocaine Abuse
If you or someone you know is struggling with cocaine addiction, it’s important to seek professional help. Addiction is a complex disorder that requires expert attention and treatment. Luckily, there are many resources available to those seeking help for their addiction, and the CATCH Recovery counselling services include both online and in-person options.
Both online and face-to-face therapy can be a great way to begin the recovery process by helping one understand the reasons behind cocaine addiction and providing the tools to learn how to manage cravings and stay away from drugs.
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Comprehensive Treatment Approaches
At CATCH Recovery, our comprehensive treatment provides a holistic approach to cocaine addiction recovery. We believe that addiction is a complex issue and requires more than just therapy—it requires an array of services to treat the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of this disorder. Our programmes are designed to help you understand addiction and find new ways of coping with cravings that don’t involve drug use.
Our treatment plans may include individual and group counselling sessions, 12-step programmes, educational classes, stress management techniques, nutritional guidance and fitness programmes. We also offer family therapy so loved ones can be part of the support network and learn how to best help you, their loved one, in recovery.
But before you begin any counselling, we will guide you through a free addiction assessment and screening which can help us define the best treatment path for achieving long-term effects and help you heal from the detrimental impact that cocaine misuse has on your mental health and personal relationships.
Behavioural Therapies for Cocaine Addiction
The road to recovery from cocaine abuse can be long and difficult, but it is possible. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone—our team of qualified counsellors and therapists at CATCH Recovery are here to help. With the right support and therapies, you can break free from the bonds of addiction and take back control of your life.
We understand that everyone’s recovery journey is different, which is why we tailor a programme specifically for you. We will work together to create a plan that meets your individual needs and goals.
Our treatment is aligned with the 12-step programme, meaning it is based on abstinence and accountability. We will help you identify triggers, create a strong support network and guide you in learning how to live a life free from cocaine addiction.
Our Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an especially effective treatment option as it focuses on identifying triggers, managing emotions and replacing your use of this recreational drug with more positive activities.
Of course, CATCH Recovery also offers Dialectical Behaviour Therapies, provided by our highly experienced DBT specialists, trained to help you understand how your thoughts and feelings can lead to compulsive drug-seeking behaviour. This therapy focuses on helping you learn new skills to manage challenging situations without resorting to risky behaviours.
Another proven technique we use in our therapies is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing). This is a psychotherapy method that involves the use of eye movements to help individuals process traumatic memories, which can be an integral part of cocaine addiction recovery.
Psychosocial Support in Recovery
At CATCH Recovery, we understand the importance of psychosocial support in recovery from cocaine addiction. We offer many supportive services to help you build a strong network of friends and family who can provide emotional and practical support during your recovery journey.
These services include family therapy, group therapy, 12-step meetings, peer mentoring and educational classes. Our experienced counsellors are dedicated to helping you find the right balance between recovery and day-to-day life. We also provide sober holidays if you want to spend some time away from all the everyday pressure and stress.
Start Your New, Cocaine-Free Life Today with CATCH Recovery
It is important to remember that recovery from cocaine addiction takes time and requires dedication and effort. The road may be long and there will be obstacles along the way, but with the right support, you can beat cocaine addiction!
At CATCH Recovery, we understand that your recovery journey is unique, which is why our team of experienced counsellors are dedicated to helping you find strategies for overcoming any obstacles you may face. We focus on helping you create a strong support network and develop coping skills, so you can stay sober and build a life of recovery.