Are you worried that you or someone close to you is addicted to cocaine? Help is at hand. Here we tell you a little about cocaine addiction, what to look out for and how we can get you or a loved one the best possible treatment.

What is cocaine addiction?

Cocaine is an extremely powerful stimulant that is obtained from the leaves of the cocoa plant. It is mostly manufactured in South America. Cocaine is the powdered form of the drug which is chemically the hydrochloride salt. The freebase version of cocaine is known as “crack” or “crack cocaine. Cocaine has many street names, including coke, blow, snow, candy and charlie. Cocaine is typically snorted through the nose in “lines” or dissolved in water and injected.

Cocaine has been abused as a narcotic substance for well over 100 years. Cocaine stimulates structures deep inside the brain and this is what produces feelings of pleasure. It makes cocaine highly addictive and easily abused. The pleasure, or high, that users experience is immediate and intense but short-lived. The addict will therefore seek to pursue this high by repeatedly using the drug and going on cocaine binges. Furthermore, addicts often develop tolerance to cocaine. This means that higher and more frequent doses are required to get a high.

Signs, symptoms and risks of cocaine addiction

When a user is experiencing a cocaine high, he or she will usually show signs of euphoria and excitement, and be full of energy.  Other signs of cocaine use include a runny nose, nosebleeds, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, nervousness, mood swings and weight loss.  Look out to see if your loved one has changed friends and his or her schedule, and is selling property.  Cocaine has devastating effects on the body.  If the drug is snorted, it can result in deterioration of the nasal septum. If it’s injected, the addict runs the risk of contracting blood-related diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. Cocaine increases blood pressure and the heart rate which can lead to heart damage, a cardiac arrest and, ultimately, death. Users can experience neurological effects such as seizures or strokes.  And of course, cocaine users are at risk of overdose which can cause permanent damage or be fatal. Cocaine may also have psychological effects, including hallucinations and paranoia.

Treating cocaine addiction

The first step to treating cocaine addiction is detox. Withdrawing from cocaine needs to be professionally managed, with medical supervision in a safe environment. Detox is most effective in a residential treatment centre. However, home detox is a real alternative to residential detox, and we can support you through this. For long-term recovery, the individual will need to participate in a full rehab program that includes therapy and counselling. As with detox, this is most effective within a residential treatment centre but there are other options available, including day or night programs and support groups. At Addiction Helper, we’ll help you find the best treatment for you, and do everything we can to support you and your family.