Cocaine is a popular party drug in the bar and nightclub scene. It’s a quick-acting drug that gives the user a burst of excitement and energy, a great match for a night out on the town.
Many people start using cocaine casually but what starts as infrequent recreational use can quickly spiral out of control.
It might seem like a weekend party drug has little potential to do much damage, but this is far from the truth. Cocaine abuse is common in the United States and can lead to long-term effects if it goes untreated. Thankfully, cocaine rehab at Peace Valley Recovery provides care and support for individuals trying to quit using drugs. Continue reading to learn more.
More About Cocaine
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug with a high potential for abuse. It’s made from coca leaves, a plant found in South America. Despite its valid medical use under certain conditions, cocaine is a Schedule II substance with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Recreational use is illegal throughout the United States.
This doesn’t keep people from finding and using the drug, though. It’s usually found as a crushed white crystalline powder but is often cut with other substances, such as flour or talcum powder or other amphetamines, to increase profit.
Cocaine, also called coke, is an incredibly fast-acting drug. Users typically feel its effects with 5 to 10 minutes of ingesting it. But it’s also very short-lived since the high usually lasts no longer than an hour. This leads people to use it in binges, meaning they ingest large amounts in a short period to maintain their high.
Cocaine is popular in the party scene because its stimulating effects decrease drowsiness and increase awareness. It relieves some of the intoxicating feelings of alcohol use and allows users to drink greater amounts.
People usually snort cocaine or rub the powder into their gums, the quickest way to ingest the drug. Some mix the drug with water and inject it intravenously and others smoke a form of cocaine called crack cocaine.
Are Cocaine and Crack Cocaine the Same Thing?
Cocaine and crack cocaine (usually referred to as “crack”) are often confused by those who don’t use these drugs. They are not the same thing. Cocaine is derived directly from the coca plant and, although it’s commonly cut with additional substances, more “pure” than crack. Its effects both come on and leave quickly, but is no comparison to crack.
Crack cocaine, on the other hand, is made by mixing cocaine with water and baking soda to make a rock crystal. Users then heat the crystals in a crack pipe and inhale the vapors into their lungs. The effects of smoking crack are intense and almost immediate but they last for only 5 to 10 minutes before the user needs another hit.
While the stimulating effects of cocaine alone are addictive, crack cocaine is on another level. Crack is a notoriously difficult drug to quit using. It interacts with the nervous system and quickly causes users to develop a dependency. The extremely short high causes an even greater level of binge use to keep their high going.
Cocaine is one of the most used illicit substances among people in the United States. After a downward trend in the late 2000s, cocaine use rose again over the past few years. High rates of cocaine use have held steady over the past few years, behind marijuana, prescription medications, and hallucinogens.
Over 5.5 million people in the United States ages 12 and older, or 2 percent of that population, reported using cocaine at least once in the past year. Additionally, 17 percent of people ages 26 and older have used the drug at least once during their lives. Although some may have used cocaine only once, this is still a staggering number of users.
Although the above figures do include crack cocaine use, the rate of crack use alone is far lower. Of those 5.5 million people who used cocaine, 757,000 reported the use of crack cocaine. This equates to 0.3 percent of the population, lower than the number of methamphetamine or heroin users in the U.S., but still a severe addiction to overcome.
Cocaine users are not immune to the dangers of death due to overdose either. 14,666 individuals died of a cocaine overdose in 2018, more than any drug aside from opiates and opioids. People using large amounts of cocaine, or who mix it with other substances, put themselves at a high risk of overdose.
Substance use disorders involving cocaine are also important to consider. An estimated 997,000 people over the age of 11 reported having a cocaine use disorder, or 0.4 percent of the population. Cocaine use of any kind is dangerous but individuals with a cocaine use disorder will benefit from cocaine rehab.
Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
Are you concerned that someone you love might have a cocaine addiction? If you think they might have a problem with their use it helps to know which types of signs to look for. Some signs of cocaine abuse can include:
- Side effects of recent cocaine use including dilated pupils, being overly talkative, restlessness, and hyperactivity
- Sudden changes in mood or confidences levels
- Insomnia or struggles with sleeping
- Decrease in appetite
- Noticeable weight loss
- Unexplained nosebleeds or overly runny nose
- Burn marks on the hands or mouth area
- Cocaine paraphernalia, including small plastic baggies, razor blades, straws, or rolled up bills
- Secretive behavior
- Difficulties with finances
- Asking to borrow money without repayment
Not everyone will show the same side effects but this is a general list of what you can expect. And noticing these signs doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem. As people fall deeper into their addiction, though, the signs become more noticeable and the need for cocaine rehab will become apparent.
If you’re worried about the signs you’ve noticed in your loved one, try to have a conversation with them. Don’t confront or accuse them but come to them in a compassionate and caring manner. There are resources available to assist you in approaching your loved one and expressing your concern with the help of a neutral third party.
People who use regularly use cocaine for extended periods develop tolerance and eventual dependence on the drug. As with other addictive substances, suddenly quitting cocaine without medical attention can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms may include:
- “Crashing,” or the intense physical and emotional comedown after the rush of the leaves
- Intense cravings for cocaine
- Fatigue or sleepiness
- Losing pleasure or interest in activities that were once enjoyable
- Anxiety or depression
- Agitation or frustration
- Mood swings
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms differ from other drugs because they usually aren’t visible. In most cases, there are no signs like tremors, nausea, or vomiting seen in withdrawal symptoms from other substances.
The lack of noticeable physical symptoms doesn’t make the detox process any less intense, though. Quitting cocaine without the help of treatment, especially for those who mix cocaine with other substances, can lead to a dangerous outcome. Seeking help from cocaine rehab will provide the safest and most effective transition into recovery.
Options for Cocaine Rehab
There are various levels of cocaine rehab available to those who need assistance. The particular level of rehab necessary depends on the needs of an individual.
Since the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine use are not as severe, drug detox is not always necessary. While substances like heroin often require the attention and 24-hour care provided in detox, this isn’t always the case for people who use cocaine. Individuals who mix cocaine with other substances, though, may benefit from a higher level of care.
Cocaine rehab programs, particularly partial hospitalization programs, are a beneficial starting point for most people. Partial hospitalization programs, or PHPs, are a full-time outpatient treatment option. Patients attend treatment five days during the week for individual and group therapy, alternative therapy methods, facility activities, and education.
Patients work with an individual therapist where they can work through specific issues they want to address in a one-on-one environment. Group therapy incorporates peer discussion and feedback into the treatment process. Alternative therapy methods, such as yoga therapy or music therapy, provide additional ways to process early recovery.
Unlike an inpatient facility, though, individuals in PHP do not reside in the facility. They have the option to live at home or an offsite sober living facility while not at programming. These programs offer a versatile approach to treatment that can work with an individual’s situation.
Outpatient Cocaine Rehab
Outpatient cocaine rehab is a great follow-up to the more intensive level of care in PHP. It acts as a step between treatment-centered PHP and everyday life. Rather than jumping straight from full-time treatment back into your regular environment, outpatient treatment makes for a smoother transition.
The high level of adaptability is the best aspect of intensive outpatient programs. There is a program for everyone who needs it, regardless of the amount of time available for treatment. Individual therapy is at the core of outpatient rehab with a selection of groups depending on each person’s needs.
Additionally, some choose to skip the PHP portion of treatment and start with outpatient cocaine rehab instead. Since cocaine is not physically addictive in the same way other drugs are, this outpatient-only is an adequate approach for certain individuals. It’s best to seek input from a qualified professional before deciding whether to only attend outpatient rehab, though.
The Role of Cocaine Rehab in Recovery
Although the dangers of cocaine abuse are real, it doesn’t necessarily lead to the same physical dependence as other substances do. This might cause some people to think they can quit on their own without the help of cocaine rehab.
While this might be true for some, cocaine addiction is still an addiction. And addiction is not about the substances so much as it is about the psychological reasons for using drugs in the first place. Quitting cocaine use is only the first part of working through cocaine addiction. There is plenty more work to do once the substances clear from their system.
Cocaine rehab plays an important role in recovery because it addresses the root cause of addiction: incorrect thinking patterns and poor coping skills. Participating in a cocaine addiction treatment program identifies each person’s stumbling points, then provides support and encouragement as they work through them.
Those who try to quit using without addressing the psychological component of addiction often relapse or they see their addiction play out in other areas. They may turn to other types of drugs or alternative addictions like gambling or sex. These alternatives create a new cycle of addiction that simply results in the same problem with a different name.