There’s nothing more heartbreaking than witnessing a loved one fall prey to addiction — especially if that addiction is coupled with denial. If you suspect your loved one is addicted to cocaine, you may be wondering if you should do or say something. They may say that their cocaine use isn’t a problem. They may deny that cocaine is hurting them and those around them. They may insist that they’re not addicted. But no amount of denial will change the truth.
Maybe your loved one has told you to stay out of it. However, here are three reasons you should help a loved one struggling with cocaine addiction and how you can influence change in their life.
1. Cocaine Kills
To say that cocaine kills may seem clichéd. Yet, those who have an addicted loved one live with this fear every day. There has been a huge spike in deaths involving cocaine in recent years.
Cocaine triggers the release of norepinephrine, a hormone that increases heart rate and gets the blood pumping. As a result, the drug can seriously alter how the heart functions. Cocaine use can lead to cardiac arrest, brain damage and fatal overheating even among experienced users.
Sadly, many people addicted to cocaine believe they are the exception to the rule. They tell themselves that it’s harmless — just a little bit of fun or a way to take the edge off. They think they can quit any time they want. Without professional help, some users believe these lies until the day they overdose.
2. Cocaine Devastates
Not everyone who uses cocaine will overdose. Still, addiction leaves a trail of devastation in its wake. As the disease worsens, your loved one may face a succession of hardships and heartache, such as:
- Lost jobs or ruined careers
- Family disappointment
- Broken relationships
- Financial difficulties
- Criminal behaviors, such as stealing or driving under the influence
- Jail or prison time
3. Cocaine Begins a Cycle of Abuse
Addiction produces long-lasting changes to your loved one’s brain. What started as a habit becomes a compulsion. Deep cravings drive them to seek out cocaine despite its harmful effects. Even if they quit, cravings and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms can drive them to return to cocaine. That’s why addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disease.
The sooner your loved one gets help, the sooner they’ll gain the strength they need to break free from the chronic cycle of cocaine addiction.
How to Help Someone Addicted to Cocaine
Whether it’s a close friend or a family member, you may be your loved one’s best hope of confronting their cocaine problem and encouraging them to get help. It may be confusing and scary, but here are some steps you can take to aid their recovery:
- Educate yourself. Addiction to cocaine or any substance is a disease — not a willful choice. By understanding how addiction has changed your loved one mentally, emotionally and physically, you can have compassion for their situation and come from a place of empathy.
- Join a support group. There are many support groups for the loved ones of addicted individuals. As you listen to these true-life experiences, you can gain insight into what works and what doesn’t.
- Be patient and persistent. It takes more than one conversation to get through to most people who struggle with addiction. Make it clear that you know about their cocaine use and that you don’t support it. However, tell them that you are here when they’re ready to take their first steps toward recovery.
- Set boundaries. Your desire to help your loved one could cross the line into enabling. Don’t make excuses for them and do not offer financial support. Instead, set consistent boundaries and uphold them. Your loved one needs to realize that there are real consequences for their actions.
Help for Cocaine Addiction at Gateway Foundation
For many, the key to starting a positive conversation about addiction and treatment is the input of an experienced, trained addiction professional. For over 50 years, Gateway Foundation has helped restore lives and bring people out of the prison of addiction.