So exactly what is cocaine?
Cocaine addiction is caused by the use of a powerful and addictive stimulant drug derived from the leaves of the coca plant, native to South America. For thousands of years cocoa leaves, the source of cocaine has been chewed and ingested for their stimulant effects. The purified chemical, cocaine hydrochloride, was isolated from the plant more than 100 years ago. Before synthetic local anaesthetics were discovered, surgeons used cocaine to block pain. Research has since shown that cocaine is a powerfully addictive substance which can alter brain structure and function with repeated use. As a street drug, cocaine appears as a fine, white, crystalline powder and is also known as Coke, C, Snow, Powder, or Blow. Street dealers often dilute (or “cut”) it with non-psychoactive substances such as corn starch, talcum powder, flour, or baking soda to increase their profits. TiK (Crystal Meth) OR even Flakka which is much cheaper is often mixed with or is passed as Cocaine. People abuse two chemical forms of cocaine: the water-soluble hydrochloride salt and the water-insoluble cocaine base (or freebase). Users inject or snort the hydrochloride salt, which is a powder.
How did cocaine become so prevalent?
Cocaine became super popular in the 1970s and peaked in stardom in the 1980s. It was associated with celebrities, high rollers and glamorous parties. A crystallised form of cocaine (crack cocaine) then appeared. Crack cocaine is a solid “rock” version of the drug which could be smoked. Not only was this new form of cocaine more potent, but the effects of the drug were felt faster. It was also much cheaper, which allowed it to spread quickly into poorer communities. Its use became recognised as an “epidemic” around 1985, which lasted for ten years. Today cocaine has spread across the globe and should still be regarded as an epidemic.
How is crack cocaine made?
The base form cocaine is treated by processing the drug with baking soda and water, then heating it to remove the hydrochloride which reduces the melting point making it a smoke-able substance. The term crack, which is the street name given to freebase cocaine, refers to the crackling sound heard when the mixture is smoked.
What are the effects of cocaine?
Being high on cocaine is often described as a unique experience. Cocaine addiction users often claim to feel more confident, chatty and derive pleasure from taking the stimulant. Users can feel euphoria, pleasure and extreme focus. For these reasons, the stimulant has become incredibly popular. However, being high on the drug has its downsides. The drug can also create extreme anxiety and paranoia. In addition, it can also make the user extremely angry, as well as nauseated. In the long term, it can even cause heart defects. The effects of cocaine can last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours, depending on how the cocaine is taken. When the immediate ‘rush’ of the cocaine has worn off, the person may experience a ‘crash.’
How long does cocaine stay in your body?
After last use, cocaine can show up on a blood or saliva test for up to 2 days, a urine test for up to 3 days, and a hair test for months to years. A heavy user can test positive on a urine test for up to 2 weeks.
What are the signs that someone is using cocaine?
Cocaine use has symptoms that are physical, mental, and emotional. Physical signs and symptoms of cocaine use are:
- Large, dilated pupils
- Stomach pain
- Twitching or shaking
- Headaches and migraines
- Bloody nose or running nose
- Rapid heartbeat
- Increased body temperature
Long term effects of cocaine addiction and use
Possible long-term health effects of cocaine can be affected by route of administration and include:
- Increased risk of stroke and seizures.
- Increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.
- Risk of HIV and hepatitis.
- Loss of sense of smell.
- Deficits in attention, inhibition, memory, decision-making, and motor tasks
- Inflammation of the heart muscle.
- Aortic ruptures.
- Weight loss.
- Reduced ability of the heart to contract.
- Worsening of asthma.
- Trouble swallowing.
- Chronic inflamed, runny nose.
Why is cocaine so addictive?
Cocaine creates one of the greatest psychological dependencies of any drug. It stimulates key pleasure centres within the brain and causes extremely heightened euphoria. A tolerance to cocaine develops quickly and the addict soon fails to achieve the same high experienced earlier from the same amount of cocaine leading to the almost uncontrollable desire to use more.
Is there a cure for cocaine addiction?
Counselling and other types of therapy are the most common treatments for cocaine addiction. You may need to stay in a rehabilitation centre. Sessions with a trained therapist can help you make changes to your behaviour and thought processes. Medical detox centres can help your body adjust to treatment, but you’ll probably have to pay for them out of your own pocket. Most insurers don’t cover hospitalization for withdrawal anymore. No medicines are approved by official governing bodies to treat cocaine addiction.
What are cocaine withdrawal symptoms?
Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Physical symptoms, such as chills, tremors, muscle aches, and nerve pain
- Inability to experience sexual arousal
- Vivid, unpleasant dreams or nightmares
- Increased appetite
- Increased craving for the drug
- Slowed thinking
- Anhedonia, or the inability to feel pleasure
- Depression or anxiety
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Slowed activity or physical fatigue after activity
Types of addiction treatment for cocaine
Cocaine addiction is sadly, a common form of drug addiction. Houghton House Group of Treatment Centres treats individuals suffering from cocaine addiction in a caring and professional manner. It is important to remember that cocaine is not just in the party circuit, but this drug has also found its way into use in a business environment. The use of cocaine gives you a cheerful and energetic feeling which makes the drug very attractive for successful people with a busy and hectic life. Treatment centres are the ideal place to deal with cocaine addiction. There are many treatment options which are available including:
- Counselling for your addiction
- Addiction clinics
- Medication for withdrawal symptoms
- Psychotherapy: treatment of underlying psychological problems or disorders
- A combination of treatments
Remember, trying to quit on your own is incredibly difficult and almost unfair on you. The best thing you can do is seek help from a cocaine treatment centre, like Houghton House Group of Treatment Centres so that you can give yourself a fighting chance to kick this horrific addiction to the curb.
Houghton House Group of Treatment Centres offer cocaine addiction treatment programmes which yield high success rates. Our treatment centres specialize in various substance addiction cases including cocaine addiction and have been helping patients to control their cravings and beat their addictions for the past 20 years. We are located in Randburg, South Africa. Call us now and get ready to experience a new you.
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