Drug abuse is almost very common these days; it can be a situation where it is not happening in our circle. We may not have heard of or seen such incidents, but drug abuse is happening in our society. Several drugs are happening around us, including cannabis, synthetic opioids, inhalants, etc. One of the most popular drugs is known as cocaine. In this article, we will uncover the facts related to cocaine. Is cocaine addictive? What are the effects of cocaine use, and what is the psychological addiction along with the psychological treatment?
Stay connected and read the article till last to understand the dynamic of cocaine addiction and substance abuse.
To understand addiction, first, it is necessary to understand the drug. Cocaine is a stimulant category of medicine. These stimulant drugs cause mental and physical effects like intense feelings of happiness, sexual arousal, elevated heart rate, sweating, sometimes even high body temperature, and high blood pressure. Stimulants, psychostimulants, or the uppers, tend to create a sympathomimetic effect in the body. These sympathomimetic effects of cocaine use include increased heart rate, blood pressure, etc.
Cocaine, also known as crack cocaine, is deemed a highly addictive drug because of its causing effects and properties. It starts within seconds to minutes and lasts between an hour and more.
Cocaine is a stimulant substance created from the coca plant; it consists of two species of leaves from the coca plant, known as Erythroxylum novogranatense and coca. It can be snorted, diluted, sublimated, heated, or injected directly into the veins.
Is Cocaine Addictive?
Often people get confused between cocaine addiction and cocaine dependence, they inter use both terms, but they are very different.
Cocaine addiction is a bio-psycho-social disorder that consists of factors involving all these three factors. In contrast, Cocaine dependence is more of a neurological disorder, and nerve cells have a major role in it. However, in both diseases, the use of cocaine is persistent, and both create the same effects from cocaine abuse, which lead to blood vessel constriction, elevated heart rate, and increased risk of heart attack and brain damage.
Cocaine was first extracted from the plant in 1860. It was used by the indigenous civilization of ancient times for the use of treatment purposes where it was turned to make a sachet and put in the mouth against the inner cheek; however, it was taken orally in the form of tea from using its leaves to fight against cold, altitude sickness and sometimes also hunger, because, in the last time, the food used to be more costly than the cocaine, so poor people of the past had to resort to this path, which is somewhere still found alive today, where there is poverty present.
Is cocaine addictive? Let’s see how broadly the uses of cocaine can be termed into two domains- recreational and medical. However, medical use of cocaine has gradually declined in the hospital industry, but recreational activities still happen in our society.
Medical professionals have been using cocaine for medicinal purposes of numbing to suppress pain and sometimes even constrict blood. Gradually it came out that cocaine uses in surgery can cause other implications for the body. However, they were minimal and rare. The use of cocaine in the medical industry is still going on but has been reduced to a difference.
The recreational method is the path that leads to substance abuse/ cocaine addiction/ cocaine abuse. However, there have been patients in the past that got addicted to cocaine after its medicinal uses in their lives. Still, people who use cocaine for recreational purposes have often found themselves in the trap of cocaine addiction.
Cocaine or crack cocaine can be used from various methods, like snorting, inhaling, diluting, injecting, and many more but dominating of them all is found to be the snorting cocaine method, which involves creating lines or rails of dry powdered form of cocaine and then insufflating it through a straw-like instrument, it can be anything from rolled up bank notes to hollowed-out pens, the jugaad never ends for cocaine users.
Another method in south America is using coca leaves as a tea by boiling and straining them; some also use coca leaves for the buccal pouch, putting the bag against their inner cheek to retain its effect slowly. In all these methods, we tend to forget that even if unprocessed coca leaves are still a form of drug use, long-term effects of cocaine can cause adverse effects on health, including sometimes violent behavior and other physical signs.
Is cocaine addictive? Yes, it can be from anything. Recreational use of cocaine addiction is banned in many countries, and where it is regarded as a schedule ii drug as it means high risk for addiction but is still allowed in medical provisions for use.
So if a question asks, is cocaine addictive? Yes, it is highly addictive.
Difference Between Cocaine and Crack Cocaine
To see whether cocaine is addictive, we first have to see its differences; cocaine and crack cocaine are both highly addictive drugs, and they both are of the same element as in the coca plant; the only difference between cocaine and crack cocaine is that crack is a more processed form. Meanwhile, cocaine is just derived from the coca plant.
Crack cocaine is made after heating or boiling cocaine with water and mixing cocaine with any other substance, say, mixing cocaine with baking soda to solidify it. It is called a crack as it is sold into pieces afterward.
Compared to cocaine and crack, crack is more highly effective on brain systems. Considering the form, cocaine is more like in a powdered form such as talcum powder, but the damage is mostly into pieces and used for smoking, whereas cocaine is used for snorting and injecting cocaine. Their tripping period is almost similar, but cocaine hits slowly, whereas crack starts hitting within seconds. However, both are highly dangerous and addictive and have identical cocaine effects and other symptoms.
What Happens to Your Body when You Take Cocaine
To see whether cocaine is addictive, we should first see how Cocaine in a powdered form is considered cocaine hydrochloride. Dopamine is regarded as a neurotransmitter and a happy hormone, as it is usually rewarded for reward, motivation, and happiness purposes. It helps to perform simple physical tasks, including food and sex, and is sometimes also triggered by other drugs and drug use. Low and high levels of dopamine hormone are linked to many mental health disorders, including anxiety and bipolar disorders.
Dopamine is a natural chemical messenger in the body. When cocaine or cocaine powder is ingested in the body, it creates a situation of constricted blood vessels along with blocking the neuron’s synapse to transmit a certain amount of dopamine from one neuron to another; hence dopamine results in producing itself in a large quantity to function properly which causes the euphoric or “high” state of a body.
Long-term uses and frequent doses of drug use or any other central nervous system stimulant can lead to drug addiction, which can cause physical dependence, substance use disorder, cardiovascular system failure like cardiac arrest due to restricted blood flow, a higher risk of respiratory failure as the reward circuit eventually adapts the dopamine stimulation by polysubstance abuse of cocaine and other drugs.
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
Is cocaine addictive? that is still a concern. Still, one of the major results of cocaine addiction is substance use disorders, which are mental health disorders that cause physical, behavioral, and cognitive consequences, which lead them to consume drugs in more and more quantities than before and cause a tolerance building in the body, which is increasing a handling limit to the drug one is consuming. Eventually, leading to consuming more drugs to feel the same effects, it is a vicious loop that cycles around in the form of a trap, and most of the time, one doesn’t realize it until cocaine overdoses. It is too late to control their strive for cocaine addiction.
Cocaine is a drug highly recommended in the stream for quick addiction for its shortcut to the brain’s reward circuit, and chances of its repeated use are common to obtain relief. Most cocaine users, as they say, are in it for the kick or the “magic,” which is usually the heavy amounts of dopamine in the body that makes the body addicted.
Withdrawal is a common side effect of regular cocaine drug use; it is experienced when a cocaine user is not taking the drug and feels all sorts of mental and physical symptoms that lead the person to take a snort of cocaine as soon as s/he can. A person experiencing withdrawal symptoms needs assistance from mental health care providers and a suitable addiction treatment to treat cocaine addiction. Drug addiction or substance abuse treatment can easily be found online, where they ask the person to visit their addiction treatment centers or sometimes be anonymous.
Common short-term withdrawal symptoms include:
- Depression or dysphoria after the drug crash or cocaine abuse.
- Sudden mood swings
- Social isolation
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- High blood pressure
- Sexual arousal
- Runny nose
- Blurry vision
- High body temperature
- Attention deficit
- Cardiac restlessness
- Dilated pupils
- Violent behavior
- Delusions, Hallucinations, and Paranoia
Some of the long-term side effects or symptoms that can be marked out in a cocaine user’s body are mentioned as follows:
- Low energy levels
- Low sexual energies
- Erectile dysfunction
- Lack of concentration
- Chills or fever
- Body pain or aches due to constricted blood vessels.
- Not to mention the constant poverty or debt that comes with no ability to earn an increased need for money to buy cocaine.
These symptoms are sometimes very visible in a person of cocaine use and sometimes can not. However, sooner or later, they all emerge in one’s physical dependence if one persists or regular cocaine use.
In an emergency, like a cocaine overdose, one can even face situations like fits, tremors, unconsciousness, cardiac arrest, or even death. Therefore, it is important to look for your loved ones and your knowns, and everyone should know the symptoms and behavior patterns irrespective of the drug user around them. If you find anyone in the above-stated condition, call the emergency hospital immediately and try to reach the medics as soon as possible.
Also read: How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System: Best 101 Guide to Drug Addiction.
Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
With the growing cocaine use and an increasing number of cocaine users, but positively so are the mental health providers, cocaine use is sometimes surely started recreationally or can sometimes be due to other reasons, but once a user gets entrapped into it, there is no going back even when a user wants to quit.
In the situation mentioned above, a person needs more help than it seems. For the treatment of cocaine addiction, concrete mental, physical and social support should be assisted to a drug user in the form of medication-assisted treatment.
Nowadays, all this help is provided in a rehabilitation center where mental health providers are present 24*7; some rehabilitation centers require you to live and resort there, whereas some centers ask you to come on an appointment basis; mostly, the patient decides on their own. A mental health support group is crucial for drug addiction treatment, also available in treatment centers.
There are several national institutes in almost every state and country for the treatment of cocaine, such as the national institute on drug abuse in the USA.
Now it is not about whether cocaine is addictive. Still, to fight cocaine’s effects on the body and other brain systems, a person also requires therapeutic assistance. One is given treatment assistance through behavioral or cognitive therapy through a licensed clinical psychologist. Behavioral therapy is found to be more successful in fighting cocaine addiction. However, medicines are not only restricted to cocaine addicts but to any other drugs and other substances with which people are at a higher risk of their lives.