Cocaine is an incredibly addictive stimulant refined from the leaves of coca plants, which are native to South America. Cocaine produces affects such as short-term euphoria, energy, and talkativeness. It was once used in medicines, but its use was banned once its harmful effects were more widely understood. Cocaine addiction can become a problem after only a few uses of the drug because it changes the way neurotransmitters are absorbed in the brain. For this reason, a cocaine high seems very pleasurable, and as users begin to crave that high they fall prey to cocaine addiction. Because of the serious effects cocaine has on the brain chemistry, cocaine addiction is incredibly hard to overcome.
If you or someone you know is using cocaine or has any other substance abuse problem, it is important to call a professional drug rehab center, like The Crossroads Program for help. Because of the addictive effects of cocaine, professional cocaine rehab may be the only way you or someone you love can overcome this powerful addiction.
Why Cocaine Addiction is so Dangerous for Teens & Young Adults
Cocaine is known by several street names, which include: dust, blow, flake, snow, powder, coke, and rock (for crack). Crack is a more chemically refined version of the drug that is designed to be smoked. It is heated in a pipe to produce vapors, which are absorbed by the lungs into the blood and brain. This method of getting high from cocaine produces a very powerful but short lived high, lasting for as little as five to ten minutes. Because of this rapid cycle, cocaine addiction is very common for people who use crack cocaine.
In its powdered form, cocaine is typically snorted or injected. When snorted, it travels through the blood vessels in the nose to the brain. This form of use creates a high that may last up to thirty minutes. When injected, it is first dissolved in water. The injected cocaine then makes its way to the brain through the blood. This usually results in a quicker and stronger but shorter lasting high.
Tolerance to cocaine often develops with repeated use, and as a result, users will increase the amount they use in attempt to intensify and prolong their high. One of the greatest concerns with cocaine addiction is overdose from repeated, successive use. Cocaine results in reduced oxygen in the blood that can lead to heart attacks, as well as increased blood pressure, which can lead to strokes or seizures even in people who are otherwise healthy and have no history of heart disease. Users who sustain their cocaine addiction by injection also expose themselves to potential blood-borne pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis.
Signs of Cocaine Use & Cocaine Addiction
Because cocaine interferes with the brain’s use of dopamine, a powerful “reward” neurotransmitter, cocaine addiction is incredibly powerful. Signs and symptoms of cocaine use include:
- Extreme Talkativeness
- Dilated Pupils
- Lack of sleep
- Increased temperature and heart rate
- Irritated sinuses
- Decreased appetite
- Chronically runny nose
- Loss of the sense of smell
Signs that a teen or young adult is using cocaine include:
- Unexplained white powder on face or clothing
- Possession of items such as broken pen casings, rolled up dollar bills, straws, and mirrors used for snorting
- Possession of pipes or foil for smoking
- Possession of spoons, syringes, lighters, missing shoelaces and belts (used to form a tourniquet) for injecting
Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal
Cocaine withdrawal for those with cocaine addiction, while rarely a medical emergency, can be physically and emotionally trying, which is why cocaine rehab is so important to recovery. Symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Extreme fatigue
- The inability to feel pleasure
- Difficulty concentrating
- Cravings for more of the drug
- Body aches and pains
- Tremors and shakiness
Learn More About Cocaine Addiction Treatment
Cocaine is a powerful drug. However, cocaine addiction can be overcome with the right treatment and support. If your child is showing signs of cocaine addition, contact The Crossroads Program today to learn more about our cocaine rehab options for teens and young adults. Reach our drug rehab centers are in St Louis at 636-532-9991, in Columbia at 573-256-8020, and in Kansas City at 816-941-4000.