Cocaine is a drug that has been around for thousands of years. One of the oldest and strongest drugs in the world, natives of the Andes Mountains used to chew on coca leaves 5000 years ago to help them live through the thin air in the mountains. Since the 19th century, cocaine has been considered a medicine at first, before it became a recreational drug, up until it became a controlled substance in the 1920’s.
Once a drug reserved for the wealthy, cocaine has become increasingly accessible and fashionable in recent years. What many consider to be a sociable drug is in fact highly addictive, often become entwined with a lifestyle of late nights, parties and alcohol.
Many seem to fail to realise what taking cocaine can do to you, and your loved ones around you. Not only will you lead an unproductive life, and you even risk your life with every ingestion or hit of cocaine you take.
If cocaine doesn’t kill you, you’ll struggle to keep your personal relationships intact, or even change your personality – Cocaine tends to influence a person’s personality and behaviour.
The mental effects of cocaine are strong, and the physical effects of cocaine are often overlooked. It has been proven that cocaine has a strong after effects. Sustained cocaine use can damage the cartilage in your nose. Over time, this can completely wear away and there have been cases where users are left with only one nostril.
What comes up, must come down. Cocaine is notorious for its vicious comedown. The working substance affects the dopamine levels and serotonin levels in your brain, which are the chemicals that make you feel good or bad. If you feel good, that means that your brain is working hard to release those dopamine levels. Once the drug wears off, your brain will struggle to release a normal amount of dopamine and serotonin, which in turn could lead to very low mood and depression.
Those feelings of well-being and the dopamine releases can become very addictive. After cannabis, cocaine is now the UK’s second most popular illegal drug. It is regarded by many as a harmless and fun party drug, and often considered an essential part of a night out with friends. The euphoric rush and confidence boost it provides, combined with the fact it pairs well with alcohol, has seen cocaine explode of late. To justify consuming cocaine, users may start going out more frequently, legitimising their drug abuse to themselves. This can rapidly escalate into an extremely expensive and debilitating addiction that impacts on all facets of a user’s lifestyle. It’s estimated that one in five recreational cocaine users will develop a dependency on the drug.
On a social level, cocaine addiction impacts upon an individual’s priorities within their day-to-day life, such as their employment, financial management and routines. Users tend to become more and more destructive the more the addiction takes hold. Friends and family members are often pushed aside as more time is spent with other drug users, potentially leading to exposure to other addictive substances. As is well documented, the cost of sustaining a cocaine habit can easily become unmanageable and can often only be supported by users turning to criminal activity or accruing inflated debts with drug dealers. The impact can be insurmountable.
As well as impacting on an individual’s decision making and lifestyle choices, cocaine addiction impacts significantly on a person’s body – particularly their neurological system. Cocaine has been demonstrated to change the structure of brain neurons central to healthy cognitive functioning. The drug is also linked to strokes, heart failure and respiratory problems.
With appropriate treatment and a desire to change, all cocaine addicts have the potential to stop using the drug. There are numerous options available for cocaine treatment, with some being more successful than others. Depending on the extent of use, method of ingestion and the desire to commit to treatment, we are confident anyone can make the necessary changes.
Depending on the needs of the individual and the extent of their cocaine addiction, a variety of treatment techniques can be employed. Unlike drugs such as heroin, there are no physical withdrawal symptoms associated with cocaine; however, the psychological dependency and cravings are extremely testing for anyone trying to tackle cocaine addiction. Short term detox programmes can help break the cycle of cocaine use in the short term but success is more likely to be found in a long-term residential treatment programme that combines medical treatment with psychological techniques, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and group therapy. A multi-faceted approach tends to address all areas of an individual’s cocaine problem, increasing the chances of success dramatically.
Rehab 4 Addiction specialise in linking drug users to rehabilitation pathways that suit their needs. If you or someone close to you are struggling with cocaine addiction, contact us and speak to one of our advisors about how we can help.