In the UK, 2.6% of people between 16 and 59 took powdered cocaine from 2017 to 2018. This number was 2.4% from 2013 to 2014, which indicates that there’s a growing population partaking in this substance.
Do you or a loved one have a cocaine addiction? Then you may be at a point where you want help with your cocaine abuse or want to learn more about what it is and what symptoms of cocaine use are.
Here, we give you a complete guide to understanding the dangers of cocaine addiction so you or a loved one can get the help needed.
When you see someone use this drug, you’ll usually see a line of coke that they sniff. But what is cocaine exactly?
This white powder is classed as a stimulant drug; more specifically, it’s a Class A drug in the UK. This powder is derived from the cocoa plant, which is found in South America.
Some street names include blow, coke, and snow. You may also find crack cocaine, which is referred to as crack or rock.
It’s very rare that you’ll find pure cocaine, as dealers will cut it with other substances to stretch out their supply more. Some will cut it with something harmless like flour or cornstarch, but others might cut it with other stimulants such as amphetamine or fentanyl. Because of the latter, it can be very dangerous to buy street cocaine, as you never know 100% what you’re taking.
In most cases, snorting cocaine is the preferred method for users. This is why they develop something called “coke nose”; the cocaine use causes the tissue to die, which causes deformities.
They may also rub the powder directly onto their gums or inject it into their veins. Some users may also combine cocaine usage with heroin.
With crack cocaine, users will heat up the rock crystal of cocaine and smoke the resulting vapours. A less popular method is to put bits of crack cocaine with marijuana and/or tobacco to smoke.
What does cocaine do to your body?
First of all, it creates a flood of dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter and hormone that’s partially responsible for your happiness and pleasure. It’s very similar to serotonin in that they both regulate your moods.
As you can guess from this, a cocaine high can make you feel like you’re on top of the world. Not only will you feel like you’re extremely happy, but like you can do anything you want. Users will experience an excess amount of energy and alertness.
In addition, it can cause a temporary lack of appetite. In the right situations, you may also feel paranoid, angry, and/or irritable.
So why is cocaine addictive? It’s because after you use it repeatedly, it changes your brain chemistry to be dependent on it.
On a long-term basis, you’ll need more and more cocaine to achieve the same high you got in the beginning. As a result, this may cause brain damage and a severe dependence on the substance. Cocaine use decreases grey matter in your brain, which is related to memory and cognitive functions.
Other detrimental side effects cocaine can have on your body are chronic cough, chest congestion, and serious seizures.
When cocaine and alcohol are taken together, the risk of overdose is significantly increased.
How long cocaine has an effect on your body depends on how long you’ve used it for, how much you’ve taken, and the method you’ve used.
When you first take cocaine, the effects are pretty much immediate. For some, these effects will last for just a few minutes. For others, it may last up to an hour.
When you snort cocaine, the effects last between 15 to 30 minutes. With smoking or injecting, the effects last only 5 to 10 minutes, but are much more intense than with snorting.
Cocaine will stay in your blood for up to 2 days. If you’re a heavy user, cocaine in the system can stay for up to 2 weeks.
Something you may be wondering is how to tell if someone is sniffing coke. As we’ve discussed above, coke nose is a huge sign of cocaine use. They may also have runny noses or bloody noses.
Other signs of cocaine use include difficulty with sexual arousal and changes in sleeping and/or eating patterns. They may also have tics and twitching, as well as dilated pupils.
What about the behaviour of someone on coke?
Well, because they may have mood swings, they might be excessively happy one minute and aggressive in the next. The person may also act paranoid and have an excessive amount of confidence as well.
Cocaine addiction symptoms include an obsession with cocaine and problems with their finances and relationships. They may also take lots of risks and stop taking care of their physical appearance.
Once a person’s cocaine high wears off, they’ll go into withdrawal. Symptoms include:
Because these cocaine symptoms for withdrawal are so unpleasant, users will usually seek more of this substance to feel good again.
If you or a loved one has a cocaine addiction, then you might be at a point where you’re wondering how to beat cocaine addiction. There are usually 3 steps: detox, rehab, and aftercare. Read on to find out more about each step.
The first and most important step in how to overcome cocaine addiction is to go through detox. It can be difficult to get rid of dependence on any type of substance on your own. Not to mention, it can also be dangerous to do so.
At a treatment centre, you’ll be able to go through cocaine withdrawal under the care of medical professionals. You’ll go through some or all of the withdrawal symptoms we’ve listed in an earlier section. If your symptoms are particularly bad, these medical professionals may be able to prescribe you painkillers to ease your discomfort.
Detox consists of 3 phases: the crash, withdrawal, and extinction. The crash happens around 24 hours after the last time you partook in the drug. Withdrawal is also relatively short, but extinction can take up to 6 months for some people.
Despite the fact that extinction can take up to half a year, you’re usually ready to move onto rehab once you’re done with the withdrawal phase.
When it comes to rehab, you have 2 choices: inpatient or outpatient. Inpatient is where you stay and live for the entire duration of your treatment, while outpatient is where you come in for your appointments.
Inpatient is best for recovery, but understandably, it’s not doable for everyone. Not only is it more expensive, but it also requires you to drop your everyday commitments. If you’re not able to do that or don’t have the finances for inpatient treatment, then you can always choose outpatient care.
Either way, the programmes are the same. You’ll work with trained professionals who will teach you effective ways of dealing with drug cravings. This can dramatically decrease your chance of relapse.
They’ll also help you figure out what your triggers are so you have effective coping tools. This may include delving into some painful and uncomfortable discussions about your past experiences. While this may not be something you want to do, it’ll help you in the long run when you can understand what drives you to substance abuse.
You’ll get to participate in group counselling sessions so you can relate to others who are going through the same process you are. In addition, there are alternative therapy sessions that help your body, mind, and soul. They include things like yoga, meditation, massage, cognitive behavioural therapy, and music therapy.
Once you’re done with treatment in rehab, you’ll have to resume normal life again. Understandably, it can be difficult to transition from a safe and sheltered environment back to the realities of life. This is why it’s important to go through aftercare.
Here, you’ll experience many of the things you did in rehab. The key difference is it’s not as frequent as when you were in rehab, especially if you were in inpatient care.
Aftercare programmes are there to help you stay sober and readjust to normal life. You can attend both individual and group counselling sessions. In fact, you can find a strong support group with other people in recovery.
In addition to counselling, you’ll also get to participate in the alternative therapy sessions you enjoyed in rehab.
After reading this article, you should now be familiar with the signs of cocaine addiction and withdrawal. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, then cocaine addiction help can be beneficial.
By checking into cocaine rehab, you’ll be able to get professional help when it comes to detox and recovery. While it can be a scary step to take, it’ll certainly be the right one to find and stick to a sober life.
If you’d like more information on cocaine addiction treatment, then please feel free to contact us. We’ll be more than happy to give you free advice on how to fight cocaine addiction and how to get cocaine out of your system for good.
Sources and references:
Cocaine Anonymous: https://cocaineanonymous.org.uk/ For cocaine addicts
Co-Anon: https://www.co-anon.org For families of cocaine addicts
Office for National Statistics (ONS)