Cocaine Addiction

Treating Cocaine Addiction At Axis Treatment West

Cocaine is classified by the DEA as a Schedule II drug, which means that while there are legitimate medical uses for cocaine, there is a high potential for users developing a cocaine addiction.  Cocaine is a stimulant, a.k.a. an upper, with anesthetic qualities that give the user a short term burst of energy and confidence.  While it is more commonly snorted or applied directly to the gums, cocaine can also be smoked or used intravenously for a more intensified high.  Cocaine addiction can develop extremely quickly, caused by a physical and psychological dependency that is created the drug’s blocking the body’s dopamine neurotransmitters.


A Brief History of Cocaine

Cocaine, which is extracted from coca plant leaves, has been used medicinally for both pain relief, as well as an energy supplement. In Europe, coca leaves were chewed to sustain energy in the 16th century, but by the mid-1800’s chemists discovered they could isolate and purify cocaine.  Before long, it was being used by doctors as a numbing agent and an anesthetic.  While the medicinal properties of cocaine became more widely accepted, and the various methods of use more easily accessible to the general population, the negative effects and addictive qualities became more prevalent.  Soon, regulations were set in place.  As cocaine addiction became more common, it was made illegal by the 1970’s.  But its popularity continued to increase through the 1980’s with the creation of “crack”, a smokable rock form of cocaine.


Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction can have a wide range of physical and psychological side effects, which if present, may indicate the need for cocaine addiction treatment.

Physical symptoms may include eye irritation, dilated pupils, twitching from hyperactivity, a deviated septum from inhaling or snorting, and rapid weight loss due to the fact that cocaine suppresses the appetite of users.  Psychological side effects include a change in personality and behavior such as: rapid speech, a shortened attention span, mood swings, anxiety attacks, depression, hyperactivity, aggressive or violent behavior, and formication, a hallucination where one has the sensation of something crawling on the body or under the skin.  Users collecting paraphernalia such as “bullets”, razors, and small baggies with residue are also good indicators of cocaine addiction.


Health Concerns Related to Cocaine Addiction

There are a number of long term issues that are related to cocaine abuse and cocaine addiction. The effects it may have on your health can include any of the following:

Erectile dysfunction or problems with sexual performance, chronic bronchitis and emphysema from smoking or freebasing cocaine, hemorrhage of the brain, gangrene, constipation and diarrhea along with other digestive problems, liver disease, organ damage, and seizures or tremors.  While cocaine addicts build up a tolerance to desired effects of cocaine, they do not build a tolerance to side effects, which means the risks increase along with use and dosage.  If too much cocaine is used in one sitting, either death or an overdose could occur, possibly both if someone having an overdose does not seek immediate medical attention.  Cocaine overdose symptoms include: shaking or seizures, hyperthermia (an extremely high fever), chest pains, headaches, extensive sweating, unconsciousness, respiratory problems or arrest, slurred speech, nausea or vomiting, delirium, and possibly coma.


Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

While cocaine withdrawal can be less apparent than withdrawal from other drugs, there are both physical and psychological symptoms that come with sudden cessation of use in someone with a cocaine addiction.  Physical withdrawals include overeating as the appetite returns, delayed reaction time, exhaustion, and decreased motor skills. There are also psychological side effects that come along with detoxing from a cocaine addiction as the brain struggles to return to a normal state from the chemical imbalance brought about by extensive cocaine use.  The user will experience cravings for cocaine since the body has become dependent, they may have mood swings, be easily irritated or enraged, fall into a state of depression, paranoia, be lethargic, and go through sleep disturbances such as nightmares, insomnia, or hypersomnia.


Cocaine Addiction Statistics

-1 out of 4 people in the US between the ages of 26-34 has tried cocaine in their life.

-Up to 75% of people who try cocaine will become addicted to it, while only 1 in 4 who try to quit will be able to with no outside help.

-The highest percentage of cocaine users is in the age group between 18 – 25 years of age.

-Cocaine abuse is attributed for almost half of all emergency room visits related to drugs.

-In the US, cocaine is the second most commonly used drug, following only marijuana.

-Nearly 15% of the US population age 12 and up have used cocaine at least one time in their life.

As more and more people find themselves struggling with cocaine addiction (Source:, we here at Axis West want to remind those who are, or their loved ones, that help is just a phone call away.  Call our admissions specialists today at 866-737-3573 for more information about our program, and how we can help you combat your cocaine addiction.