There are two forms of the drug, a water-soluble powder that can be snorted or injected, and a water-insoluble base which is typically smoked. Cocaine in its water-insoluble form is known by the street name crack, referring to the crackling sound it makes when it is smoked.
Cocaine addiction is associated with many health risks, especially with repeated use. The effects of cocaine are short-lived in any form, lasting approximately 15-30 minutes at most. Most cocaine users will dose frequently to maintain the desired effects.
The History of Cocaine Addiction
For thousands of years, the people of South America have chewed the leaves of the coca plant for its stimulant effects. Coca leaves were originally used for an energy boost, much as caffeine is today. In the early 1900s, the purified chemical cocaine was isolated and used medically as a topical anesthetic and as a main ingredient in many tonics and elixirs. However, its highly addictive nature would soon lead to governmental attempts to control it.
In 1914, the Harrison Narcotics Act was one of the government’s first attempts at controlling coca and opium derivatives. Today, cocaine is classified as a schedule II substance, a substance with accepted medical uses but a high risk of dependence.
In the United States today, cocaine is the second-most widely used controlled substance after cannabis. Recent research suggests that as many as 1.5 million Americans struggle with cocaine addiction. As much as 20% of all overdose deaths involve cocaine in some form, second only to heroin and opiate overdose deaths.
Problems Associated with Cocaine Use
Cocaine addiction is a pattern of using that can be described as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain. Cocaine addiction is considered both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness caused by repeated use or misuse.
Cocaine Addiction Withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person and can set in within hours after reduced or completed consumption. Signs and symptoms can include:
- Agitation and irritability
- Fatigue and oversleeping
- General feeling of discomfort
- Increased appetite
- Vivid and unpleasant dreams
- Slowing of activity
- Chills, nerve pain, muscle aches
Risks Associated with Prolonged Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addiction can cause serious health problems including:
- Convulsions and seizures
- Heart disease
- Mood problems
- Sexual trouble
- Lung damage
- HIV or hepatitis if injected
- Loss of smell
- Runny nose
- Trouble swallowing
- Overdose and death
Detoxification from Cocaine
At Gateway Recovery Center, the detoxification process for cocaine addiction is highly monitored and medically assisted to minimize withdrawal symptoms complications. Individuals are closely monitored and medicated to ensure comfort, stability, and safety during the detoxification process.
How to Get Help
If you or someone you know is in need of cocaine detoxification services, a compassionate, trained professional is waiting to answer all of your questions. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer calls or provide information on immediate admissions. We know the first step can be hard. We’re here to guide you.