Although cocaine detox is not listed on the top of the list for most dangerous drugs to detox from, it is still an aggressive mentally addictive substance that requires detox before treatment can commence. Instead of a physical dependence which comes with prolonged usage of opiates, alcohol, or benzos; cocaine is known for being mentally addictive. This means that detoxing from cocaine poses more emotional and mental withdrawal symptoms than the typical physical symptoms associated with drug detox. Although it may seem that mental symptoms may be more easy to deal with than physical symptoms, they can actually be much more challenging and take many months or even years to subside. Medical detox allows for professional guidance and medication management of mental withdrawal symptoms of cocaine so that individuals have a better chance of obtaining successful long-term recovery.
About Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine is an illicit drug taken from extracts of the cocoa plant native to South American countries. Cocaine has been illegal in the United States since the early 1900’s, but behind only marijuana, it is the second most commonly used illegal drug in the country for recreational reasons. Cocaine is sold on the streets in a white powdered form and is most often snorted through the nostrils or smoked. In the 1980s, it was discovered that the euphoric and awakening properties of cocaine could be expanded by turning the drug into crack-cocaine. Although cocaine is often combined with other dangerous drugs or chemicals by drug dealers on the streets, crack is known for its even more dangerous chemical composure and effects. Crack is sold in a crystalline form and is most commonly smoked through a pipe. Whether an individual is using cocaine in its powder or crystalline form, the chemical makeup cocaine is highly addictive and long-term use offers numerous biological and psychological consequences.
Cocaine Addiction and the Brain
Cocaine affects the brain differently than other drugs, leading to the debilitating mental withdrawal symptoms seem throughout detox. Dopamine is a naturally produced chemical in our bodies that are known as a neurotransmitter. It’s released by nerve cells in the brain so that it can communicate with other nerves. The purpose of dopamine is to reward behaviors. For example, when a person eats food when hungry or even buys a new outfit at the store, the body is rewarded by a surge of dopamine. The problem with cocaine is that in the bodies of its users, the reward system of the naturally occurring dopamine is thrown off. Eventually, because the brain recognizes a buildup of dopamine transmissions caused by cocaine use, it compromises by reducing the number of dopamine receptors in the brain. This causes individuals who use cocaine to have fewer dopamine rewards for naturally occurring dopamine responses. As a result, users tend to use more cocaine to experience a lift in mood.
The Long-Term Side Effects of Cocaine Abuse
Not only are the brains of cocaine users compromised of their natural reward system, but the body of a cocaine user is compromised by long-term use as well. Long-term effects of cocaine use may include:
- HIV or other diseases spread through blood if administered by needle
- Nosebleeds, breathing problems, and runny nose if administered by snorting
- Decayed bowels if administered through the mouth
- Malnourishment since cocaine reduces appetite
- Development of chronic nervous system ailments like Parkinson’s disease
- Experiencing psychotic episodes like auditory hallucinations and/or visions
Cocaine Detox with Discovery Institute
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms of long-term use or you are experiencing other signs of cocaine dependence, treatment can help educate you on how to live a life free from addiction. Before treatment can be effective, the drug must be removed from the body through cocaine detox. It is suggested that medical cocaine detox is utilized for individuals seeking treatment for cocaine dependence so that medical guidance, medications, and safety precautions can be utilized. Since the psychological symptoms of cocaine withdrawal are so severe and long-lasting, medical detox allows for individuals to have access to a number of non-habit forming treatments that ease cravings, restlessness, agitation, sleeplessness, and depression.
After detox is concluded, individuals can benefit from a number of educational and therapeutic treatments through both residential or outpatient programs, depending on an individual’s needs. Recovery from cocaine is possible for anyone, but the best first step is a medical detox at Discovery Institute.