Cocaine is a powerful stimulant and painkiller. It is notorious for its addictive nature and near-instantaneous effects. Overcoming cocaine addiction alone is virtually impossible, but with support from a team of medical professionals and therapists who can address the underlying causes of the addiction, anyone can maintain long-term sobriety.
The Effects of Cocaine Use
Using cocaine causes a release of dopamine in the brain. This enhances feelings of pleasure, creating the “high” effect. Cocaine forces the brain to release more dopamine than it is used to, which interferes with its normal ability to produce dopamine. It also recycles the existing dopamine released, so the pleasurable effect lasts longer and the brain does not have any need to produce dopamine on its own. Over time, the brain and body build a tolerance to cocaine, which means users have to increase their usage to feel the effects.
The effects of cocaine are not limited to the brain— it impacts the body as a whole. One of the side effects of cocaine is blood vessel constriction. Body tissues that come in contact with cocaine become stressed and shrink the blood vessels. This increases the risk of serious cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke.
An Addiction that Hides in Plain Sight
Although cocaine has many physical and mental effects, it is not difficult to attribute the symptoms to an unrelated issue. Cocaine abuse often causes people to become stressed and agitated, but these feelings could be attributed to work, school, or any number of other things. Furthermore, people on cocaine can be very productive and efficient, which may mislead others into thinking that the user does not have a problem.
The following are some symptoms you can use to identify cocaine use:
- Dilated pupils
- Frequent mood swings
- Bouts of excitability
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Rapid, incessant talking
- Low impulse control
- Frantic, erratic behavior
Recovery Is Possible for Everyone
The elated effects of cocaine coupled with the difficult effects of withdrawal can make it difficult for someone struggling with an addiction to admit they have a problem and seek treatment. Cocaine addiction is dangerous, as it results in serious life-threatening health conditions. Furthermore, it makes it difficult for the user to experience pleasure without using cocaine, which can do serious damage to relationships.
Despite all of this, sobriety is a possibility for everyone. The first step is admitting the problem and addressing it head-on. At Silver Ridge, we believe in tackling recovery in a very personal way. While group therapy sessions are a component of our program, our primary focus is on individual therapy where we can address a client’s personal struggle with addiction.