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Cocaine continues to be a drug that's abused by many people and it's a very powerful and addictive drug that stimulates the brain. It's very easy for people who use cocaine to become addicted to it. Most people become tolerant after a while and have to increase their dose in order to achieve the high they're looking for.
There are two different forms of cocaine, hydrochloride salt and freebase. The hydrochloride salt is dissolved in water and either administered in the nose or in a vein. The freebase form of cocaine is smoked. Crack is the name given to the form of cocaine that's smoked. It doesn't matter how a person uses cocaine, snorting or injecting the stimulant drug is equally dangerous and addictive no matter how it's used. On the streets cocaine can be found as a crystalline power that's white in color, in a paste form or in the form of small rocks.
Street Slang for Cocaine
blow, C, coke, crack, rock, blow, white, toot, nose candy, base, powder, basa, smack, flake, snow
How Cocaine is Abused
When a person snorts cocaine the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal passages and tissues. When a person injects cocaine it goes directly into the bloodstream. Smoking cocaine sends the vapors directly into the lungs and the vapors are absorbed into the bloodstream. Smoking cocaine and injecting the drug sends a rapid dose into the bloodstream and the user very quickly feels the euphoric rush they're looking for. There are serious health consequences no matter how a person uses cocaine.
The quicker cocaine gets into a person's bloodstream the faster it gets to their brain and their intense rush takes place. The cocaine user feels full of energy and they're mentally alert and physically energized. This is why many people choose to either inject cocaine or smoke it because it gets to the brain much faster. Because cocaine's affects don't last real long the user tends to repeat their use which many times leads to a bingeing while increasing their dose each time.
Cocaine does cause tolerance when a person is a frequent user and the individual has to increase their dose to achieve their high. Cocaine addiction follows tolerance if the user continues with repeated use and unfortunately this can cause changes in the brain and the cocaine user has a hard time reaching the euphoria their looking for. Higher doses are usually needed to produce the intense euphoria which just adds to the mental and psychological problems associated with cocaine use.
Health Problems Associated With Cocaine Use
When a person chooses to use cocaine to get high they don't realize there's a price to pay physically and mentally that goes along with their euphoria they're looking for. Besides constricting blood vessels, dilating pupils, increased blood pressure and heart rates the user can experience abdominal pain and nausea. Depending on how a user chooses to use cocaine there are other serious health issues that can take place.
- Snorting cocaine can cause the user to have nosebleeds, lose their sense of smell, swallowing and hoarseness can become problematic, and their sinuses can constantly drain causing a runny nose. Snorting cocaine can also cause the user to develop a hole in the middle of their nose due to damage of the septum that's between the nostrils and this is very serious.
- Swallowing or Ingesting
- Swallowing or ingesting cocaine can be serious because cocaine reduces blood flow and the user can develop severe gangrene of the bowel.
- Injecting cocaine has been known to bring on serious allergic reactions and there is always the risk of HIV, AIDS and other blood-borne diseases.
- When a person binges on cocaine they can have problems with anxiety, restlessness and irritability. No matter how a person uses cocaine they can experience paranoia and paranoid psychosis, losing touch with reality and experiencing hallucinations associated with their hearing.
Other very serious problems associated with cocaine use include heart problems, heart attack, respiratory problems, respiratory failure, nervous system problems, strokes and digestive problems. Any one of these health issues can be fatal. Some users add crack cocaine to their marijuana joint or tobacco and smoke it. There are also cocaine users that combine the drug with an opiate like heroin and refer to it as speed-balling.
Mixing cocaine with alcohol is very serious and is the most common cause of drug related DEATH and here's why. Through research they have found that our liver combines cocaine and alcohol together and when it does another chemical substance called cocaethylene is produced. Cocaethylene is responsible for intensifying cocaine's euphoric effects which is why a person chooses to mix alcohol and cocaine together in the first place, they want that intense rush. The problem is cocaethylene increases the risk of sudden death much more than if cocaine is used by itself. Cocaine users are unaware of why mixing alcohol and cocaine together is so euphoric they just want the extreme experience, they need to understand that there may be a high price to pay when they do.
Cocaine Detoxification and Withdrawal Symptoms
- Cocaine cravings
- Appetite may increase
- Dreams can be affected
Cocaine Addiction Treatment
Many people try to overcome cocaine addiction on their own and if they were long term users or chronic cocaine users they more than likely relapsed. It's important to rule out co-occurring disorders, treat them if there is an existing mental health issue, recognize and change the way they view and think about drug use, and develop positive coping skills.
Mental disorders are very common in cocaine users so a full assessment should be done to make sure the individual doesn't also suffer from mental health issues like bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, ADHD, or schizophrenia. If the individual does have a co-occurring disorder treatment needs to address both the addiction and mental health disorder.
Outpatient and Inpatient treatment are both good options and it depends on the individual as far as which one would be best. Some people especially chronic cocaine users may need a more restrictive form of treatment or may have more than one drug dependency issue to address and treat.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy that's used in many chemical dependency treatment centers and is extremely successful in helping cocaine users recover from their addiction. CBT helps the individual recognize why they use cocaine, what their triggers are, positive strategies to avoid triggers, and develop positive coping skills. Addressing learned behaviors that are unhelpful and unhealthy and have a negative effect on their mental and physical well-being is very essential during cocaine treatment.
12 Step Group Therapy is also very affective for many people seeking abstinence and sobriety from the use of cocaine and addiction. Cocaine addiction is treatable when all areas of the individual's life are addressed.
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