How Addictive is Cocaine? – Cocaine (coke) is a stimulant drug most commonly found as a white powder that can be snorted, smoked, injected, rubbed into the gums, or swallowed. Cocaine has a high potential for addiction because when used, it floods the brain with dopamine, a neurochemical responsible for feelings of reward and pleasure.
This feeling is short-lived, however, and typically dissipates in less than 30 minutes. Therefore, cocaine is often used in a binge-like fashion, leaving users craving more when they begin to come down from the last dose’s high. This rapid, repeated need for more cocaine serves to propel people into addiction rather quickly.
What is Crack?
Another form of cocaine known as crack looks like rocks or crystals and is most often smoked. Crack cocaine is an excess substance produced during the process of making pure cocaine. It’s known as a cheaper and less refined version of the drug and can be even more addictive than regular cocaine.
This form of cocaine has a growing reputation as a very potent and highly-addictive drug that is particularly dangerous due to its affordability and availability. Some people who become addicted to powder cocaine may find themselves resorting to crack as an inexpensive way to feed their dependence, a move that can exacerbate health risks and further progress their addiction.
How Addictive is Cocaine?
Cocaine is considered highly-addictive and one of the most habit-forming drugs in existence. Upon reaching the brain, cocaine alters the brain’s pathway and its production of specific chemicals related to pleasure. The person who uses it then associates these positive feelings with memories of their high, and as a result, begins to have cravings and wants to re-experience the sensation.
Cocaine, particularly crack cocaine, has been known to lead to addiction after just one use. The person abusing the cocaine may begin to neglect school, work or personal responsibilities in lieu of drug use. The restlessness and anxiety that tends to occur between uses can quickly become overpowering and lead to a loss of judgment.
As a result of that loss of judgment, some people deplete their finances as they actively pursue the next high. They may also rapidly develop a tolerance, which means that it takes a stronger dosage to achieve the desired euphoric effects. This behavior, if it continues, will eventually cost the person’s professional, financial, social, and emotional stability.
In addition to the destructive behavior that results from cocaine addiction, cocaine binge episodes can cause someone to lose track of how much they are using and place themselves, and others, at significant risk. A drug overdose is not an uncommon outcome of cocaine binging, and it can result in permanent damage or death.
Is Cocaine Physically Addictive?
Physical cocaine addiction may not always develop as quickly as other narcotics, such as heroin. However, psychological addiction and repeated exposure often pave the way for the development of severe physical dependence and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
The faster and more intensely the drug reaches the brain, the more susceptible a person is to developing abusive behaviors. For example, snorting cocaine takes longer to reach the brain than say, inhaling smoke or injecting. Those who smoke or inject it, therefore, have a higher risk of becoming dependent. This is also why crack use is often considered to be more likely to produce an addiction – this fact, however, does not make powder cocaine any less of a threat.
Signs of cocaine abuse include:
- Excitability and talkativeness
- Dilated pupils
- Runny or bloody nose
- Weight loss
- Social isolation and increased need for privacy
- Risky, impulsive behaviors
- Increased confidence
- Changes in sleeping and eating habits
- White powder residue around nose or mouth
- Burn marks on the hands or lips
- Decline in hygiene habits
- Financial or legal difficulties
- Lack of interest in things that once brought enjoyment
Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
There is no cure for cocaine addiction, but it can be effectively treated using a comprehensive approach that consists of a number of therapeutic modalities. These include psychotherapy, individual and family counseling, education, and group support. These treatments can be delivered in an inpatient (residential rehab) or outpatient format.
Our center employs caring medical providers who specialize in addiction and render these services to clients with professionalism and expertise. Treatment is customized to meet the needs of each client while placing their experience into the context of a whole solution.
We can help you reclaim your life and restore your sanity and wellness – contact us today to find out how!