Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the United States government because of its high potential for abuse and addiction. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has determined that in 2018, cocaine played a part in the overdose deaths of over 14,000 people.
In order to properly understand Swift River’s approach to treating cocaine addiction, it is important to know what the substance is and how it interacts with the user’s brain and body.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is derived from the coca plant of South America and is completely illegal in all forms in the United States. After it is processed into a white powder, it is then ingested by the user in a number of different methods. It can be sniffed up the nostril, smoked, or dissolved and injected. We also saw the rise of another form of cocaine in the 1980s when dealers began processing the drug with baking soda to create what is known as “crack” cocaine. Crack became a cheaper, stronger, and longer-lasting option for users seeking the high of cocaine. Crack cocaine is typically smoked but can be ingested in other ways as well.
Signs of Cocaine Abuse/Addiction:
It is very important to be able to recognize the signs of cocaine abuse and addiction. If you notice any of the following warning signs in yourself or a loved one, it may be time to seek treatment:
- Dilated pupils
- Runny nose
- Weight loss
- Mood swings
- Talkative habits
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- White powder residue around the nose and mouth
- Burn marks on the hands or lips
- Deterioration in personal hygiene
- Financial difficulties
- Loss of interest in things that once brought joy
- Increased need for privacy
- Spoons, razor blades, plastic baggies, and other drug paraphernalia in the person’s room or clothing pockets
Short-Term Effects of Cocaine Use:
Cocaine users feel its effects almost immediately after ingesting. It starts by providing the user with a rush of energy by flooding the brain with dopamine. Dopamine is what is known as a neurotransmitter, it sends messages between nerve cells. It plays a big role in the brain’s ability to feel pleasure and the uniquely human ability to think and plan. Because of this chemical reaction, users often feel as though the drug helps them with productivity or their creative process.
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After this initial euphoria, the effects of cocaine taper off rather quickly. This results in a “crash” that is marked by periods of depression, sleeping, and generally feeling down or low.
This crash is so intense that users may avoid it by continued use of the drug. After a while, the user will need more and more of the drug in order to obtain that desired high. This is one of the major reasons why cocaine is so addictive.
Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use
With repeated cocaine use, the brain begins to adapt to this new synthetic happiness by stopping the production of naturally occurring dopamine. Along with this, the neural circuits involved in stress become increasingly sensitive, leading to increased irritability and negative moods when not taking the drug.
To avoid negative feelings, the user may place more focus on seeking the drug rather than relationships, food, or other natural rewards.
With increased regular use, the user starts to develop a tolerance for cocaine. Because of this, the user must take the drug in binges, using repeatedly and in higher doses. This can lead to intense irritability, restlessness, panic attacks, paranoia, and even full-blown psychosis, in which the user loses touch with reality and experiences auditory hallucinations. With increased doses and higher frequency of use, the risk factors of adverse psychological and physical issues increase.
Cocaine use can damage many other organs in the body as well. It can decrease the blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract, leading to an increased risk of ulcers. It also affects the heart and cardiovascular system, leading to a highly increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Starting Treatment for Cocaine Addiction in Massachusetts
Now that we know just how cocaine affects the mind and body, we can start on the road toward healthy living. Seeking sobriety and obtaining a long-lasting recovery are a multi-step process. Here, at Swift River, we’ve assembled the finest team of addiction professionals so that we can offer you, or your loved one, the epitome of good care. Our program has been created around one guiding force, providing you with the highest caliber of evidence-based drug treatment so that you can successfully obtain and maintain a drug-free lifestyle.
The Cocaine Detox Process
The first step toward your sobriety is detoxing from the harmful substance that you were addicted to. As a person progresses from substance abuse to addiction, the toxic overload on their body increases, creating a greater frequency and intensity of health troubles and side effects.
The length of time it takes to detox from cocaine may vary based on a number of factors. A cocaine user will often use the drug alongside other drugs or alcohol, leading to increased complications during the detox process. Because of this, it may take the user up to 10 weeks to fully detox from cocaine.
At Swift River, we never recommend that you or a loved one quit “cold turkey” or at once altogether, as this can be dangerous and even life-threatening in some cases. Instead, we recommend a medically-supervised detox.
Our physician-supervised staff will stand by you through this trying time, 24/7, offering you compassionate support so that you progress through detox as comfortably, and as safely, as possible. Our clinicians will also aid you in fighting off the cravings that can threaten your pursuit of a life free of cocaine use. Detox from cocaine not only places a burden on your body and brain but on your emotional and mental standing as well. Our compassionate staff will closely monitor these states.
At times, you may feel overwhelmed or experience anxiety. This is one reason why seeking medically-supervised treatment is so essential. In addition to providing medical support, we have counselors standing by that offer you distractions, provide you with companionship and address any worries you might have, all while preparing you for your next step in treatment.
Click here to learn more about Swift River’s approach to the detox process.
Treatment Methods at Swift River Massachusetts
We know that everyone is different, so naturally our approach to treatment must be individualized to meet your needs. That’s why we offer a range of different treatment options so we can guide you toward an approach to treatment that’s right for you.
Residential/Inpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Programs:
Residential treatment is a type of treatment program that involves living on-site within our treatment facilities to participate in a formal schedule of individual and group-based activities. Each patient’s residential program schedule is individually tailored in order to best suit their needs and goals for cocaine addiction treatment.
At Swift River, we recognize that cocaine addiction is far more than just a physical health problem. It can affect every aspect of a person’s life, from mental and emotional health to relationships with those closest to us. Our residential program is designed to address the potential roots and causes of your addiction based on your unique life circumstances. We believe that this approach to treatment is more conducive to permanent, healthy change.
Swift River is proud to be home to a beautiful campus spanning over 500 acres of land, including several hiking trails, ponds, and creeks.
Choosing this natural and peaceful environment for our treatment campus was no simple coincidence. Rather, it is one of the greatest benefits we offer as an ideal site for experiential and therapeutic opportunities integrated within our addiction programs.
Components of our residential cocaine addiction treatment program include:
- Around-the-clock medical supervision and support
- Individual therapy including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing (MI), and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Expressive therapies (e.g. creative writing, art)
- Outdoor-based adventure therapy
Learn more about our residential/inpatient programs here.
So What’s Next?
There are several levels of addiction treatment that can help people recover from cocaine abuse. Swift River offers day treatment for addiction in Massachusetts, which helps patients transition from residential treatment back into the community. Our first priority is getting you into a safe, comfortable treatment setting to build a solid foundation for permanent success.
Cocaine abuse and addiction is a very serious issue and can be deadly. If you’re concerned about your, or a loved one’s, relationship with cocaine, don’t wait to seek help.
Contact one of our specialists today at 844-906-0978 to learn more about cocaine addiction and to find suitable treatment options.