What is Cocaine Addiction?
Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that typically comes in the form of a fine white powder. Cocaine is generally ingested nasally, or snorted. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that cocaine works by increasing the amount of dopamine within the brain; a chemical messenger that partially controls both movement and reward. Cocaine prevents dopamine from being recycled as it normally is, and a large amount of the chemical starts to build up in the space between nerve cells, which will prevent them from effectively communicating and carrying out their regular function. Over time the brain will adapt to the excessive dopamine and it will become less sensitive to cocaine as a direct result. Individuals who have been using cocaine and have started to develop a tolerance will take larger quantities more frequently as a result, ultimately leading to substance dependency.
Once tolerance develops, symptoms of withdrawal will be inevitable upon ceased use. At Boca Detox we understand the full scope of cocaine abuse, addiction and withdrawal. Our main priority is helping individuals who have been suffering at the hands of a cocaine abuse disorder begin the lifelong journey of addiction recovery. The first step of this journey, medically monitored detox, is extremely important in setting a solid foundation for continued sobriety. At Boca Detox we consistently keep client comfort and safety in mind. Our carefully developed detox program offers an unmatched level of clinical care; one that will not be found in a hospital setting or in any state-funded facility.
Forms of Cocaine
Cocaine is most commonly used in a white, powdered form — however, it can also be used in a crystalline form, known as crack cocaine. The form that cocaine comes in affects how quickly it works and the intensity of its effects. There are three distinct types of cocaine, including:
- Cocaine Hydrochloride – This is cocaine in a fine, white powdered form. When used in this form, cocaine has a bitter taste and a numbing effect. It is usually used nasally, or snorted. In many cases, pure cocaine is cut with a variety of agents in order to increase its street value, including talcum powder, laxatives and baking soda. More recently powdered cocaine is being cut with fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid.
- Freebase Cocaine – This refers to cocaine in its powdered form, but it is often much more pure than cocaine hydrochloride.
- Crack Cocaine – Crack comes in the form of crystals, which might be off-white or somewhat transparent in appearance, often with a pink or yellow hue. This form of cocaine often contains impurities, and is reduced down to a liquid and injected intravenously or smoked.
Signs of Cocaine Dependence & Use
If you believe you or someone you love has been suffering from a diagnosable cocaine use disorder, there are several signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) outlines a list of diagnostic criteria used to identify the presence of a cocaine use disorder. If you answer “yes” to two or more of the following questions, seeking professional help from a medical detox center is likely a good idea.
- Do you sometimes end up using a larger amount of cocaine than you originally intended, or do you use cocaine more frequently than you intend to?
- Have you wanted to cut back on the amount you use or quit entirely, only to find you were unable to do so for any significant period of time?
- Do you spend a significant amount of time obtaining cocaine, using cocaine and recovering from its effects?
- Do you often think of using cocaine/do you ever experience intense cravings?
- Has your drug use interfered with your ability to fulfill personal obligations or negatively impacted your performance at work or at school?
- Have you experienced interpersonal problems as a direct result of your cocaine use?
- Have you given up activities which were once interesting or important to you in order to engage in cocaine use?
- Have you been engaging in risk-taking activities more often than normal, like driving while under the influence of cocaine or combining cocaine with other substances like alcohol or opioid narcotics?
- Do you continue to use cocaine despite physical or psychological health concerns directly related to the drug?
- Have you developed a physical tolerance, meaning a larger amount of cocaine is required in order for the desired effects to be achieved?
- Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when cocaine use is stopped abruptly?