COCAINE ADDICTION: STIMULANT GONE WRONG
For thousands of years, people have been using substances to alter their state of reality. Cocaine, though a more recent distillation of a natural substance, has become one of the more popular. It can be highly addictive and destructive, but addiction can be beaten.
WHAT IS COCAINE
Cocaine comes from the South American coca plant. In that region, it has been used as a mind-affecting substance for thousands of years. In the early twentieth century, coca leaves were transformed into a more purified form, cocaine, which was utilized in many healing elixirs and tonics of the era.
Cocaine is a white powder that is often diluted with other substances, such as sugar, cornstarch or even other drugs. It can be injected, snorted or smoked.
Those who inject or snort cocaine typically use the powdered, water-soluble hydrochloride salt form of cocaine. A water-insoluble form, often referred to as freebase, is made with ammonia or baking soda and the hydrochloride is heated out, producing a substance which can be smoked.
RECOGNIZING COCAINE ADDICTION
Cocaine, a stimulant, affects the mind by creating euphoria along with increased energy levels, mental acuity and confidence. Those who use cocaine often become more intensely active for a short period of time, but once the high is over, you may struggle with bouts of agitation, anger, anxious thoughts and sleeplessness.
Extended use reduces the pleasurable effects as your body grows more accustomed to the drug, and you experience the negative effects more intensely. As use continues, the negative after-effects may develop into depression, paranoia or a variety of physical conditions.
Those who suffer from cocaine addiction often lose weight and appear malnourished. Nosebleeds, loss of the sense of smell or general nasal irritation may indicate snorting cocaine, and injection marks can be found on those who choose to use needles. Increases in paranoia and panic attacks may also indicate cocaine addiction.
Because cocaine is highly addictive, breaking the habit can be very difficult. As with any drug, detoxification is an important first step toward recovery, but the symptoms of withdrawal can be intense. These symptoms include:
- Increased hunger
- Intense dreams
- Anger or restlessness
Even after the initial withdrawal symptoms, cravings may last for several months and require constant vigilance to prevent a relapse. Though these symptoms can be difficult to overcome, it is possible to stop using cocaine and live a healthy life.
BEATING COCAINE ADDICTION
Those who suffer from addiction often cannot overcome cocaine addiction by themselves, but there are treatments that can help. Behavioral therapy is the most consistent way to treat cocaine addiction. Through treatment, a person suffering from cocaine addiction can learn ways to manage stress and deal with cravings.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also used to treat cocaine abuse by attempting to teach the client to recognize situations that might encourage use, how to avoid those situations and to cope with the emotional factors which often initiate drug use.
Cocaine is incredibly addicting, and the struggle to overcome it can be long and arduous. Even so, the pain and negative effects it causes should not be ignored. You don’t have to continue using cocaine. With treatment, you can find a better way.