Cocaine addiction is a prevalent issue growing in the United States. Cocaine is a stimulant known for its brief but euphoric quality and high profitability. Cocaine use manipulates the reward pathways in the brain by increasing dopamine production. Dopamine is recognized as the pleasure hormone. 

Finding a cocaine addiction treatment program is the first step in getting the help you need to overcome cocaine dependence. 

How Does Cocaine Affect You?

Cocaine recycles the production of dopamine. After the effects of cocaine wear off, the brain is too exhausted to create more dopamine without help. This can cause symptoms of depression and mood swings as the brain scrambles to adjust. Studies have suggested that cocaine use can alter your genetics.

Cocaine is noted for its effect on a gene (delta FosB) to produce glutamate receptors. These receptors can make you more sensitive to the effects of cocaine, inspiring more use. It can be frustrating for the body to maintain normalcy without cocaine.

What Are the Signs of Cocaine Addiction?

Cocaine is a highly addictive substance with a short half-life, lasting between 5-30 minutes. This will initiate the person to use more to attain the same level of pleasure. Depending on the method of use, it can absorb quickly into the bloodstream. Binging is a practiced method for cocaine. 

Cocaine is popular within polydrug use. The combination of side effects can drain the systems in the body, potentially increasing the risks of substance-related accidents. For example, a “speedball” is when a person mixes cocaine with heroin, even though heroin is a depressant. The same applies to alcohol and cocaine use, which cause conflicting effects on the body.

It’s best not to take high doses of cocaine with other substances to prevent the increased risk of fatal overdose. An overdose happens when your body takes in more of a drug than it can handle, reaching toxic levels. You could experience a stroke or heart attack at the hands of cocaine addiction.

Signs of cocaine addiction may vary depending on the severity but these are some signs to look out for:

  • Increased excitability
  • Burn marks on lips or fingers
  • Runny nose or nosebleeds
  • Increased sociability
  • Decline in hygiene
  • Increased isolation or need for privacy
  • White powder residue
  • Risky behaviors
  • Weight loss

If you suspect a loved one is exhibiting one or more of these symptoms, it would be encouraged to set up a cocaine addiction intervention. This can be challenging but necessary if their well-being and safety are at play. Make sure to include close friends and family in a neutral environment. Remind them you care through facts and how their addiction has affected you.


What are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction?

If you have become dependent on cocaine, you could be experiencing the following withdrawal symptoms of addiction:

  • Exhaustion
  • Chills
  • Sweats
  • Tremors
  • Muscle pain
  • Hunger
  • Concentration issues


What Does Withdrawal Timeline Look Like? 

The withdrawal symptoms of cocaine addiction mirror other addictive substance withdrawals, lasting up to a few days. A majority of the symptoms will begin within the first 1-40 hours since last use. Cocaine withdrawals symptoms are one of the main reasons people do not seek treatment.

The crash phase is reserved for the abrupt stop of cocaine use and is often the most intense. This is the phase that’s introduced through detox. You could be experiencing low mood, energy, and increased appetite.

The craving phase will soon follow, with cravings lasting up to 10 weeks from continued use. These cravings can spring up, making the recovery process more difficult than it already is. Your environment plays a major role in this, so it’s recommended to reduce the number of triggers. 

The extinction phase typically begins after 10 weeks of cocaine detox. You might still experience random bouts of cravings but it’s important to have a relapse prevention plan or support system. Each case is different so chart a plan that works with the severity of your case.


What are the Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Addiction?

Cocaine addiction can increase your risks of damage to your mucous membrane. The soft tissues in the nose dry up and lack blood flow. This damage can result in holes in the membrane and nose bleeds. Smoking crack can leave you with respiratory issues such as pneumonia and tuberculosis. 

Liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal damage can happen from the lack of blood flow to vital organs.  Increased blood pressure can cause damage to the kidneys through a lack of oxygen. 

Cocaine or crack use could introduce long-term brain damage, among other health issues.  Long-term use of cocaine might produce permanent mental health conditions such as depression if the person can’t establish normalcy without it. Paranoise, restlessness, and auditory hallucinations can unfold as well.

Cocaine is a notorious effect on the cardiovascular system. Cocaine use constricts the blood vessels, making it harder for blood and oxygen to reach parts. Cocaine can cause seizures and blood clots — leading to a potential stroke. If injected frequently, your veins and arteries can become damaged.

A study conducted by the University of Cambridge discovered that frequent cocaine use increased the reduction of gray matter in the brain. Gray matter is linked to memory and cognition.


History of Cocaine and Common Street Names

Common slang terms for cocaine:

  • C
  • Rock
  • Bump
  • Nose candy
  • Blow
  • Speedball
  • Pearl
  • Dust



Cocaine can come in two variations:

  • In powder form, which can be smoked, snorted, or injected
  • In rock form, known as “crack cocaine”, is typically smoked


Cocaine is one of the oldest but most potent stimulants. Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II drug by the DEA. Cocaine has ancient origins in South America; the Incas used to chew on coca leaves to alleviate the symptoms of high elevation in the Andes. 

When the Europeans discovered the effects of the coca plant on the indigenous people after colonializing South America, they began to implement it. In 1886, John Pemberton introduced coca leaves in the soft drink known as Coca-Cola, which improved the popularity of the drink. 

Despite the growing use in the public, the deaths and side effects mounted to an official ban in 1922. Entertainers and competitive business people began to use the drug more frequently, despite the consequences over the decades. The widespread trafficking of cocaine found its way globally, with the “rich man’s drug” image slowly fading.

What Is Cocaine Detox?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 14 million people use cocaine each year in the United States alone. Cocaine detox is the process of removing cocaine from the person’s body to adjust to life without cocaine. Detoxification is the common first part of addiction treatment by providing the person with a chance for clarity. 

The success of your cocaine detox is dependent on:

  • The amount taken
  • The frequency
  • Your physiology

There are currently no FDA-approved medications to treat cocaine addiction. However, there have been certain medications prescribed to treat the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine addiction. Those struggling with cocaine addiction may experience increased anxiety, which can be treated. 

For example, the medication known as propranolol is used for hypertension but has been used in cocaine detox. Propranolol has show effectiveness in reducing pleasurable sensations and cravings from cocaine addiction. 

It is possible to detox from cocaine addiction via cold turkey but it is not recommended. Medically supervised detox is available with the care of professional staff to tend to your needs. Since cocaine metabolizes quickly in the body, then your body can adjust better to detox, however, other factors play into this.

How Long Does It Take to Detox From Cocaine?

The length of time to detox can change from person to person. Those who have already been through the detox process may fair better but it depends on how long they’ve been in recovery. A complete detox from cocaine can last a few days to a few weeks, with some experiencing sporadic cravings.

There are physical and psychological risks associated with cocaine detox. Suicide is an all too common way people recovering from cocaine addiction deal with residual depression. Roughly 30% of people with a cocaine addiction attempt suicide at least once.

Cocaine detox may not relieve the psychological factors of cocaine addiction, such as anhedonia. Anhedonia is a lack of the chemical messenger in the brain called dopamine. Cocaine addiction and depression have been linked but the exact causes are unclear.

Cocaine detox is noted for its effect on the brain to release dopamine. The body has to adjust to the adjusted production of dopamine, along with other chemical messengers such as serotonin and norepinephrine. Dopamine receptor stabilizers can be administered to patients in order to reduce dependence.

What Treatment Options Are Available After Detox?

The continuum of care is a set of measures for facilities to approach addiction treatment. The continuum of care curates evidence-based therapies and methods to provide the best outcomes for patients seeking help. It can be categorized through inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, aftercare, and medication-assisted treatment.

If you’ve gone past the threshold of cocaine detox, then your counselor will decide where to proceed next. Outpatient treatment programs and aftercare are usually the next phases but the severity of your case plays a role. If you require more intensive care, you could remain in an inpatient treatment center or partial hospitalization. 

There are support groups to aid you in this process, considering that relapses are an inevitable part of this journey. Narcotics Anonymous is a support group designed for these specific scenarios and could provide more insight into the recovery process. It’s crucial to build connections and relationships in recovery.

If you find yourself seeking an alternative option, holistic addiction treatment programs are available for you. Holistic addiction treatment programs should not be used primarily for recovery, considering that more research is necessary to grant credit. It’s noted that patient satisfaction rates are typically higher through holistic addiction treatment, especially with complementary therapies such as music and massage therapy.

It’s vital to keep a sponsor or counselor by your side. Chances are you will want someone there to be transparent with and run scenarios where you might end up using again.

Find Support Through Nashville Recovery Center

Starting fresh from cocaine addiction can bring many obstacles and intense feelings. The recovery process is designed to treat you at the necessary level for your condition. Nashville Recovery Center is prepped with the tools and staff to guide you through this period. We understand that your needs are the main dish for a healthy lifestyle. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, please reach out to one of your facilities today.



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