Cocaine has stimulating effects on the brain and addictive properties. It impacts the chemicals in your brain to create a rush of pleasure that also encourages addiction. If you or someone you love has a cocaine addiction, Gateway Foundation can help. We support patients in the Chicago area in Illinois as they recover from substance use disorder.
WHAT IS COCAINE?
Cocaine is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States. It’s derived from the leaves of the coca, a plant most commonly found in South America.
Cocaine is an extremely potent nervous system stimulant. It causes the release of a surge of dopamine, the neurotransmitter most commonly associated with feelings of pleasure, while also inhibiting the brain’s ability to reabsorb excess “feel-good” chemicals. This reaction creates an intense state of euphoria that couples with the drug’s powerful stimulant effects. As a result, cocaine is known to create intense craving after just one dose. Those who use cocaine can keep dosing for hours on end to maintain their high, often resulting in extended binges.
There are two main types of cocaine:
- Cocaine: This drug comes in a white, pearly powder which is soluble in water. Also called coke, snow or blow, users either snort this substance or dilute it and inject it.
- Crack cocaine: This inexpensive form of cocaine is more often sold on the streets. It’s processed with ammonia or baking soda and water to form yellowish-white solid chunks of rock. These are heated in pipes and smoked.
IS COCAINE SAFE?
The DEA classifies cocaine as a Schedule II controlled substance. This classification means that it is sometimes used in medical settings as an anesthetic during procedures. However, that does not mean the drug is safe. Cocaine is highly addictive, even after just one use.
COCAINE’S HISTORY AND WHERE IT COMES FROM
Cocaine’s use began centuries ago. The indigenous people of South America chewed the coca leaf for the exhilarating sensation and energy it produced. It was also used in ancient rituals. However, it wasn’t until the late 1800s when it began finding its ways into Western medicine. It was first utilized as a surgical anesthetic. It was also an active ingredient in invigorating refreshments like Coca-Cola. However, as its addictive properties became more evident, the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 outlawed the sale and use of coca.
Although its use never entirely died out, the drug saw a resurgence of popularity in the early 1980s, as cocaine was seen as a glamorous drug. Crack cocaine was developed during this time. Throughout the 1980s, cocaine and crack cocaine remained the most popular illicit drugs. While their usage tapered off a bit during the War on Drugs in the ’80s and ’90s, today, an estimated 1.5 million people continue to illicitly use cocaine.
HOW COCAINE IS USED ILLICITLY
Cocaine is sold as a crystalline powder. However, the pure drug is often diluted or cut with other ingredients. This process is one reason cocaine use is so dangerous, as users never truly know what other ingredients they’re putting into their bodies.
Cocaine can be snorted, injected, smoked or taken in pill form. It affects the nervous system almost immediately with highs lasting up to 30 minutes when smoked or injected and 90 minutes when snorting. However, these effects don’t last long when compared to other illicit drugs. For this reason, many people who use cocaine binge to maintain their high.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE A COCAINE ADDICTION
Addiction has a variety of signs that might seem obvious to others but not to yourself. You may have an addiction to cocaine if you:
- Can’t stop using cocaine or reduce how much you use
- Dedicate excessive amounts of time to getting and using cocaine
- Need more and more cocaine to get the same “high”
- Have a harder time managing relationships, work and other commitments
A cocaine drug addiction rehab center in Illinois can help you determine if you have an addiction and develop a treatment plan.
THE EFFECTS OF COCAINE ON YOUR BODY AND MIND
As a stimulant drug, cocaine affects brain chemicals related to decision making, pleasure and memory. It increases the compounds dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine to create a rush of pleasure. Long-term use of cocaine can change the systems related to these chemicals, raising the risk of addiction.
Cocaine may also cause the following health issues:
- Higher risk of heart attack or stroke
- Rapid heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Constricted blood vessels
- Abdominal pain
- Decreased appetite
- Hallucinations and paranoia
When someone develops a physical dependence on cocaine, they may have withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it. Cocaine withdrawal can cause symptoms such as:
- Increased appetite
- Restlessness and agitation
- Vivid nightmares
- Slowed activities
- General discomfort
These symptoms can make it very difficult to stop taking cocaine. A cocaine drug rehabilitation center in Illinois can help you manage these issues if you have an addiction.
TREATMENTS AVAILABLE FOR COCAINE ADDICTION
Treatment strategies for cocaine addiction can include:
- Medication: Some addiction doctors will prescribe medication that helps you manage your withdrawal symptoms and cravings. These medicines restore balance in your brain chemicals to help you stay committed to recovery.
- Behavioral therapy: Cocaine addiction treatment can also include individual and group therapy. These services give you the chance to manage the emotional aspects of addiction in a supportive environment.
- Social services: If cocaine addiction affects your employment, housing, or another important aspect of your life, social services can help. Some treatment centers have social workers or provide referrals to community resources.
Your treatment plan may vary depending on the treatment center’s approach and your needs.
BENEFITS OF VISITING AN ILLINOIS COCAINE DRUG ADDICTION TREATMENT CENTER
If you think you have a cocaine addiction, entering a treatment program can help you improve your life. Cocaine addiction treatment gives you the opportunity to:
- Re-establish relationships with family, friends and loved ones
- Improve your physical and mental well-being with healthy coping mechanisms
- Manage the difficult symptoms of cocaine withdrawal
- Find support in a community of addiction professionals and patients
Getting treatment for your cocaine addiction allows you to build a new life for yourself or get your old life back.
GATEWAY COCAINE DRUG REHAB TREATMENT IN ILLINOIS
Gateway’s cocaine drug addiction rehab centers in Illinois use these approaches to treatment:
- Medical services: Our medical team works on the physical aspects of addiction, including withdrawal symptoms and related health issues.
- Peer support: We consider group therapy a critical element of addiction treatment. During group counseling sessions, you can get support from a community of fellow patients.
- Wellness habits: At Gateway, we aim to nurture every patient’s passions in life and help them build healthy coping mechanisms.
- Treatment for underlying conditions: Many cases of addiction have a related condition like pain or a mental health condition. We help patients find these connected issues and build strategies for addressing them.
With a combination of medical and emotional support services, we aim to address all aspects of addiction.
REASONS TO CHOOSE GATEWAY’S ILLINOIS COCAINE DRUG TREATMENT PROGRAM
At Gateway, we have more than 50 years of experience providing evidence-based treatments for drug addiction. Our cocaine drug addiction rehabilitation center in Illinois assists patients in the Chicago area from multiple locations. Request an intake today by contacting our staff online.